4 Ways to Test Your Hair Health

Before and after testing hair health

During the first quarter of the year, my focus is my hair’s health. Length is great, but what’s the point if it will soon break off from being dry and brittle and damaged? There are 4 main ways to test your hair health that I will be covering here.

Last month, we asked the question, “Is Your Hair Still Unhealthy?”

While no one knows the true answer for your hair but you, there are some practical ways to test your hair health and find out.

Signs of Damaged Hair

Some signs of health are easier to detect than others because they are visible to the untrained eye. If someone’s hair has breakage or lacks shine, it won’t take a hair expert to identify it.

I would say that Stevie Wonder could probably see it, but I’m sure that’s taking things a tad-bit too far!

Other signs, however, are more difficult to detect. It’s no surprise that hair can be covered up to give the illusion of health.

For example, my hair may not be dry to the touch or immensely dull, but up close it is a different story that I’m forced to come to terms with on each and every wash day.

  • I’ve experienced breakage along my section lines (the 4 sections I wash, condition, and style in).
  • I have loss of elasticity in sections around my crown.
  • I have split ends that seem downright incessant. Ugh! It seems like I always have to trim just to stay on top of things!

There is no nice, PC way to put it: IT SUCKS!

Again, I’m asking myself if it is necessary to chop again, even after spending 2 1/2 years growing it to Armpit Length.

Rather than jumping completely out the window on a possibility, there are ways to test your hair health that can be done to make sure.

Water Test

This test is done on freshly cleansed hair. Also known as the Porosity Test, take a loose/shed strand of clean hair and put it in a cup of water. Let it set for a few minutes.

  1. If the hair sinks, it is high porosity.
  2. If the hair floats in the middle, it is normal porosity.
  3. If the hair rises to the top of the glass, it is low porosity.

Your hair’s porosity level determines the type of care and products it requires. Neither level is a sure-sign that hair is damaged, but high porosity hair tends to be the most unhealthy.

Touch Test

Using your fingers on product-free hair, touch a strand of hair. Gently run your fingers up and down the strand to make note if it’s rough or smooth. Sometimes product can build up and create a different feeling on your hair, so you want to start with clean hair for this test as well.

Typically, smooth hair is more healthy. Hair that is rough to the touch is less healthy.

Styling Utensil Test

More often than not, I use my fingers to detangle, but this test examines styling utensils such as combs and brushes for strands left behind. Having shed hair is normal to some degree, but make note of excessive hair left behind with this test. Too much shed hair is a sign or unhealthy hair, and even an indication of medical issues.

If there are concerns in that regard, please consult a physician as soon as possible.

Split End Test

This test requires patience. It is kind of a search and destroy type of thing, in which you would closely examine small sections of hair to detect split ends. I also like to look at shed hairs to see if they are split–am I the only one?!


Unless you go through legit training, you are the only one who will be able to determine the results of these tests. They are honestly for your information. Your hair evolves and changes and requires different things at different times. Test your hair health and determine the next steps that should follow.

What will you do with the information?

What changes–if any–do you plan to make to your regiment?

“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8 NIV



Candace is the founding voice behind Stretched and Outstretched, which was birthed in a wilderness season of frustration that caused her to chop off her hair and run--full speed--into the outstretched arms of God. She is a lower Delaware native and spends her free time enjoying spontaneous dance breaks with her son and tear-jerking laughter with friends.

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