How To Tell If Your Natural Hair Is Low Porosity Or Full Of Buildup

African American Black woman looking at her natural curly hair“Porosity” is a buzz word in the natural hair community, but what does it mean?

According to the Pivot Point Salon Fundamentals Cosmetology Textbook, “porosity is the hair’s ability to absorb moisture, liquids or chemicals.”

READ: How To Keep Your Hair Fabulous When You Have Hard Water

So if hair is showing signs of low porosity, it usually means that your cuticle has a hard time lifting so that your hair is able to absorb products. But what if I told you that there are a number of people with hair that resembles having low porosity but it really doesn’t?


There are a number of women whose hair shows signs of the inability to absorb products and it’s all because they simply have not throughly cleansed their hair. That’s right. Hair that has not been properly cleansed with a shampoo containing surfactants is likely to collect tons of buildup which leads to the hair being unable to accept/absorb product.

What is the cause of this buildup? Buildup on the hair comes from the use of heavy oils and butters, hard water and using products made up of silicones that are not water soluble. When the hair is not throughly cleansed the cuticle is unable to lift and the hair isn’t able to get the hydration/moisture it needs from water.

So what’s the best way to determine your hair’s porosity?

First things first, EVERY natural needs to buy herself a clarifying shampoo. Clarifying shampoos contain strong surfactants that are able to remove dirt, oil and buildup. Now, if you’ve been using lots of heavy oils (like coconut or castor) and butters (specifically shea butter) it may take several shampoo sessions to get all that gunk out of your hair.  Kinky Curly Come Clean (KCCC) is a favorite among participants in the #30dayhairdetox in removing dirt, oil and buildup.