If you’ve determined that your hair is high porosity, you will need to reevaluate your routine to ensure that it is suitable for your hair. Here we’ll take a look at what the underlying causes of high porosity hair may be, what this means for your hair on a microscopic level, and how you can care for your high porosity hair to ensure that it continues to grow properly.
To better understand how to care for your high porosity hair, you need to first understand what high porosity hair actually is. Simply put, high porosity hair is hair that is highly porous – that is, it readily absorbs and release moisture or product. Your hair behaves this way due to the structure of its individual strands on a microscopic level – namely, the structure of your hair’s cuticle. The cuticle is the outermost layer of each strand of hair, and is similar in structure to shingles on a roof. In hair that is high porosity, these “shingles” lift when exposed to moisture, allowing the moisture to penetrate deep into the hair shaft. This unfortunately goes both ways, however. The absorbed moisture quickly escapes the hair due to the loose structure of the cuticle. In very high porosity hair, some of these “shingles” may be missing altogether, causing the hair to absorb and release moisture at an extremely fast rate.
The problem with this is that, while your hair is very good at absorbing moisture, it does a poor job at retaining it. This leads to hair that is prone to dryness, dullness, frizz, tangles, and, in extreme cases, breakage.
High porosity hair is often a result of damage to your hair over time. Hair that has been bleached, repeatedly exposed to heat, or has been chemically relaxed/straightened. Hair porosity also goes up as you age – grey hair is naturally more porous than younger hair that still has its natural color.
High porosity hair is not necessarily a sign of damage hair, however, and not all high porosity hair is necessarily damaged. Some people are just naturally born with higher porosity hair, even if they’ve never bleached, relaxed, or straightened their hair.
High porosity hair care must focus on both imparting and retaining moisture. Many people with high porosity hair find that no matter how often they use moisturizing masks, or how rich those masks are, their hair goes back to square one within just a few days. In order to stop this cycle, you need to supplement your moisturizing treatments with something that will seal the moisture in. Look for oils such as jojoba, castor, or coconut oils for this – they are great as sealing oils, and will help your hair hold onto moisture for longer.
If your hair is very porous, or if it is porous as a result of cumulative damage, you may want to consider adding protein to your routine. Protein can be added as hair masks, treatments, or protein-rich products that are part of your routine. The protein filsl in the gaps in the cuticle with a sort of “scaffolding” that provide the moisture you add to your hair somewhere to hold onto rather than immediately dissipating. Be careful with protein however, and introduce it into your routine gradually. If your hair doesn’t need protein, or if it gets more protein than it needs, you could find yourself with straw-like, dull hair that is caused by a buildup of too much protein. In extreme cases, protein overload can even cause your hair to break. Start slow with protein, and take your time to gauge whether your hair improves with the added protein. With the right protein and moisture balance, your high porosity hair will be able to grow instead of breaking, and retain a healthy shine throughout its entire length.