Caring for Your High-Porosity Hair

Last Updated on December 29, 2022 by Gaga

What is Hair Porosity?

Hair porosity is the ability of hair to absorb and retain moisture and to properly take in color, or any other hair treatment. Porosity is determined by the state of the outermost layer of the hair. Porous hair strands have highly raised cuticles and can’t retain moisture for long.

Although high-porosity hair quickly absorbs moisture, it loses water through the damaged cuticle layer just as quickly as it is absorbed. High-porosity hair feels dry and can be susceptible to frizz and tangles. Such hair is difficult to comb, and you may notice that it has split ends and breaks easily.

Knowing your hair porosity allows you to select the best products that may help to lower porosity and improve your hair’s texture.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Overly Porous Hair?

Chemical/heat damage: In most cases, a damaged cuticle layer and highly porous hair are the results of over-manipulation, frequent thermal styling, and repeated chemical treatments, such as bleaching and chemical straightening.

Sun Exposure: Too much sun exposure can deplete keratin and damage the cuticles, living your strands, dry, porous, and brittle.

Genetics: Like some other hair characteristics, the level of porosity can be inherited. Hair porosity also increases as you get older.

Upset girl touching her porous hair

What Are The Signs of High-Porosity Hair

Hair tangling: The raised cuticles make strands rougher, and therefore prone to tangles, as well as being difficult to manage. 

Hair breakage: low moisture retention causes hair to look and feel dry and dull, and to become prone to split ends and breakage.

Frizz: high porosity hair easily absorbs water due to raised cuticles, and takes more effort to combat frizz.

Faster color fading: high porosity speeds the progression of color fading because the raised cuticle allows the color molecules to wash away quickly.

Uneven hair dye: hair dyes tend to grab unevenly on porous hair, so it may be difficult to achieve even coverage.

Over-absorption of chemical products: due to raised cuticles, perm solutions and relaxers are absorbed too quickly. This requires some adjustments in the processing time, otherwise, your hair can be severely damaged.

Attractive nervous woman with curly high porosity hair

How to Fix Porous Hair

High-porosity hair should not be exposed to harsh chemicals. If you dye your hair, make sure you include protein fillers as a pre-color treatment, or ask your stylist to incorporate a bond multiplier into your color service, to reduce damage and minimize the chances of breakage.

  1. Pre-Po Treatments: If you have overly porous hair, consider incorporating a pre-shampoo treatment into your hair care regimen. Pre-wash hair treatments are formulated to protect your hair from the drying effects of hair shampoo and provide nourishment for your dry, porous locks. These treatments are supposed to be applied before shampooing to lock in moisture, increase elasticity, and provide a good slip for detangling. They will also make hair look healthier, softer, and shinier.
  2. Protein Treatments: Overly porous hair needs a protein that fills in the gaps within the damaged cuticle layer, helping the hair to retain moisture. Protein treatments should be alternated with deep conditioning treatments to maintain the correct moisture protein balance.
  3. Deep Conditioning: Hair masks for overly porous hair seal in moisture by closing the cuticles and making porous hair softer, more manageable, and frizz-free. Keratin hair masks help to increase your hair’s elasticity, soften roughness, and increase manageability.
  4. Hair Glaze: To refresh your color, and to reduce the frequency of your color sessions, you can apply a hair glaze between color services. Hair glazes fill the gaps of porous hair strands and prolong your color results.
  5. Hair Botox: Chemical relaxers and straighteners may cause irreversible damage to your already over-processed strands. Try hair Botox instead, as this treatment will improve your hair’s appearance without causing any damage.
Attractive woman with curly hair showing ok

Hair Care for High Porosity Hair

1. Shampoos and Conditioners for Porous Hair

Use sulfate-free shampoos made with naturally delivered cleansers, which are rich in hydrating ingredients, to help seal in moisture. Keratin-infused shampoos with mild cleansers wash your hair without drying it out. Keratin conditioners reduce friction and prevent static, making your hair smoother and easy to comb.

2. Hair Oils for High Porosity Hair

Natural oils such as coconut, avocado, almond, and olive oils will coat and seal the cuticle, and prevent moisture from escaping.

3. Hair Porosity Equalizers

Porosity equalizers are meant for use before or after chemical treatments. These products ensure more even absorption of chemical solutions, enhancing the results of perms, chemical relaxing, and coloring.

4. Neutral Protein Filler

One product is a life-saver for individuals with over-processed, overly porous hair – a protein filler. The neutral protein filler helps to repair damaged protein bonds and to reduce breakage after chemical treatments. This product is especially handy when you need to color your high-porosity hair. Protein fillers are used as a pre-color treatment to equalize hair porosity and to prepare your hair for better color absorption and more consistent results.

5. Keratin-Enriched Styling Products

Keratin-infused hair styling products will restore missing protein and increase your hair’s ability to retain moisture. Keratin helps to restore the cuticle layer, making your hair less porous and easier to detangle.

Leave-in conditioners infused with keratin and hair oils will give you smoother, more shiny hair.

a happy young girl with nourished curly hair

About the author

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Gaga is a blogger and founder of the Softer Hair website. She often says that insomnia is to blame for her first blogging attempts. Being the night owl, she hated the morning alarm. She left her office job and returned to what she loved most - writing.


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