You have probably heard the word “hair porosity” thrown around, and you have wondered what it is all about. If you are hoping to learn all you can about hair porosity, this article is for you.

Hair porosity is your hair’s ability to hold moisture (water) and retain it. This simply translates to how easily your hair gets soaked and how long it takes to dry.

Table of Contents

What Is Hair Porosity and Why Is It So Important?

We have already said that hair porosity is your hair’s ability to absorb water and hold it in. Your hair’s ability to draw in moisture and retain it will depend on the condition of its outermost layer.

This means that the condition of the hair’s cuticle will determine its porosity.

Research shows that human hair cuticle is made of flat cells that are arranged like tiles on a roof or fish scales and serve a protective purpose.

These scales (flat cells lipo-protein) face downwards to form a protective layer, and depending on how tightly they are packed, your hair’s porosity will be different.

Low porosity hair has tightly packed scales on the cuticle, which makes it hard for the hair to absorb water, and once it absorbs the water, it becomes hard for the hair to lose this water.

If your hair has low porosity, you will discover that it is hard to get it soaked wet because the water seems to roll right down.

And once you get it soaked wet, it tends to stay soaked for longer than you even need. This hair also experiences difficulties absorbing hair products, and they might stay on the surface longer than necessary.

On the other hand, normal porosity hair contains scales that are slightly raised, allowing for slightly more water absorption than low porosity hair.

This hair seems to get wet at just the right time and takes just the right amount of time to dry up.

So, what about high-porosity hair? This species of hair contains widely spaced and very well-raised scales on the cuticles.

As a result, this hair finds it easy to absorb water but also loses it just as easily. If you have high porosity hair, it will get soaked fast and dry just as fast. This hair also absorbs products fast.

Is porosity good for your hair?

So, you have heard all you can about hair porosity, and maybe now you even know what type of porosity you have. But you may still be asking, why should I care about all this hair porosity hullaballoo?

Hair porosity is important so that you can design an effective hair care routine (we will get to that later on).

Hair porosity affects how well-moisturized your hair is. Well-moisturized hair is healthy, manageable, and less prone to damage.

In essence, hair porosity is a key component of healthy hair. To make sure that your hair gets the moisture, nutrients, and protection it needs to thrive, hair porosity should direct your hair care routine, product decisions, and style techniques.

Long-term hair health, resilience, and beauty can be improved by recognizing and treating your hair’s porosity degree.

Benefits of Knowing Your Hair Porosity

Hair Moisturization

As we mentioned earlier, hair porosity will affect how well your hair maintains moisture. Low-porosity hair will repel moisture, meaning that most hair products will have a hard time penetrating through these dragon-like scales on the cuticle.

However, if you have high-porosity hair, you may notice that it tends to lose moisture very quickly due to its open cuticles, which can mean more product consumption.

If you know your hair’s porosity, you will know which routine and which products are the best for you.

Product Efficiency

The porosity of you will affect the effectiveness of different products. For instance, light products may penetrate low porosity better than heavy or thick products, which could be best suited for high porosity hairs.

Preventing Hair Damage

If you know your hair’s porosity, it may be easier for you to prevent hair damage. For instance, using heaving products on low porosity can lead to product build-up, just as failing to moisturize high-porosity hair can raise the risk of hair breakage.

Hair Style and Management

If you know your hair’s porosity, you can style and manage it with ease. High-porosity hair may absorb products too fast, producing inconsistent style results, while low-porosity hair may resist absorbing styling products, making it more difficult to attain the desired look.

You can select the appropriate style techniques and products by being aware of your porosity.

What causes hair porosity? : FACTORS THAT AFFECT HAIR POROSITY

Now that you know what hair porosity is and how it affects your hair care routine, let’s find out what affects hair porosity.


Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on where you fall on the scale), like most things about our bodies, genetics hold the master blueprint.

This means that your genetics (biology) determines your hair porosity. Your biological make-up will play a great role in determining the porosity of your hair.

If the majority of your family members turn out to have low-porosity hair, you are likely to have low-porosity hair as well.

Overall, your genetics will affect the structure of your hair’s cuticles, which in turn affects its ability to absorb and retain moisture.

Genetics affect hair type, and the type of hair you have can affect the porosity of your strands. The porosity of various hair types (straight, wavy, curly, coily) and textures (fine, medium, coarse) varies naturally.

For instance, due to its thicker cuticles, coarse hair often has higher porosity, whereas fine hair may have lesser porosity.


Like with most parts of our bodies, hair also changes as we get older. As you get older, you will notice that your hair will lose some of its natural oils and elasticity.

As a result, this can affect its porosity. Older hair is likely to be highly porous, absorbing more water fast and losing it just as fast.

Hair Treatment and Management

How you treat and manage your hair can also affect its porosity. We should probably say amen here coz this means that you have a small chance of changing your hair’s porosity.

Hair Damage

The degree to which your hair has sustained damage can affect its porosity. The extent of damage your hair has undergone can affect its porosity.

For instance, chemical treatments such as hair coloring, bleaching, relaxing, and perming tend to open the cuticles, which can change your hair’s porosity from low to high.

These products work by breaking down the protein bonds in the hair, making it more susceptible to moisture loss.

Additionally, heat styling, such as using flat irons, hairdryers, hair straighteners, and curling irons, may also damage the hair cuticle and make it highly porous.

Using heat tools can increase your hair’s porosity since the high temperatures involved lift the cuticles, affecting the hair’s ability to retain moisture.

Hair Dye and Manipulation

As mentioned earlier, if you dye your hair, you are likely to affect its porosity. For instance, bleaching the hair can make it more porous, although semi-permanent coloring may have a more subtle effect.

Brushing, combing, and towel drying too vigorously can harm the cuticles and reduce porosity. Detangling and drying your hair gently might help avoid needless cuticle damage.

The porosity of your hair may be affected by how you maintain and manipulate it. Using abrasive shampoos, using too much heat when styling, and not conditioning enough can cause cuticle damage and increased porosity.

However, utilizing mild products and implementing the right moisture-balancing methods can support the maintenance of better porosity levels.

Environmental Exposure

Hair porosity can change based on exposure to external elements such as the sun, wind, humidity, and pollution.

For instance, UV radiation and hard weather can damage your hair’s cuticles, which increases porosity. Your hair may become more porous and vulnerable to moisture loss if it is overexposed to the outdoors.


As we said before, hair porosity is the hair’s ability to absorb and maintain water or moisture. Think of a sponge; how fast does a sponge absorb water if you drop it in a basin of water?

It’s pretty fast, but it also loses it just as fast when you take it out of the water. This is how high porosity hair behaves.

What about your towel? It takes time to get wet, but once it is soaked wet, it takes time to lose the moisture.

Is this normal porosity hair or low porosity hair? Let’s get into the details of how you can determine the porosity of your hair.

Hair porosity test

There are several ways to determine the type of hair porosity. Such as

  • Porosity Test Using a Glass of Water
  • Porosity Test by Observing Water Absorption

Porosity Test Using a Glass of Water

It is easy to perform a hair porosity test. All you need is

  • A freshly washed, clean strand of hair (It should not have any product)
  • A glass of room-temperature water
  • Porosity Test by Slide Test

Follow the following steps and observe what happens.

Make sure your glass is filled with water and placed on a flat surface.

Once you have made sure of this, place your strand of hair on the surface of the water in the glass. Then, wait to observe one of the following.

Normal Porosity

The strand should sink slowly to the bottom of the glass. You should be able to observe it sinking.

Low Porosity Hair

The hair strand should float on the surface for a while, sometimes even a long time. Because low-porosity hair tends to repel moisture (water), it will take time for it to absorb water and become heavy enough to sink to the bottom.

High Porosity Hair

If you have high porosity hair, it will sink rapidly. The sinking will happen almost immediately. This fast-sinking will happen because high porosity hair has open cuticles that allow quick water absorption.

This means that your strand becomes heavier than water very fast, forcing it to sink to the bottom of the glass very fast.

Porosity Test by Observing Water Absorption

You can do this by observing how well your cleaned and dry hair (preferably one that does not have hair products) absorbs water.

Low Porosity Hair

If you have low-porosity hair, you will notice that

Water beads will form on the surface of your instead of being absorbed.

Also, it will take a while before the hair starts to feel wet.

If your hair has low porosity hair, it might feel as if it is resistant to absorbing hair care products.

High Porosity Hair

High porosity hair will appear to drink up the water, and It will quickly absorb the water upon exposure.

Also, the hair will feel wet almost immediately after you have exposed it to water.

Additionally, the hair products disappear quickly, and your hair may become frizzy and dry too fast.

Normal Porosity Hair

Normal Porosity hair will absorb water moderately.

It will also feel damp relatively quickly after exposure to water.

As a result, your hair will typically respond well to different varieties of hair care products.

Porosity Test by Slide Test

Slide test simply involves using your fingers and sliding them on a hair strand. Make sure the hair strand is clean and dry (no products on it). Run your fingers up and down the hair strands and identify the following.

High Porosity Hair

If your hair is high porosity hair, you will feel little resistance as you slide your fingers up and down the hair strand.

Low Porosity Hair

On the other hand, if you have low-porosity hair, you will feel a lot of resistance as your fingers slide smoothly without a lot of friction.

Normal Porosity Hair

Normal porosity hair will give you a slight resistance, but your fingers will slide easily without too much effort.

Now that we have covered different ways of identifying the type of porosity for your hair let’s dive deeper into what that means for each type.


Slow Absorption of Products and Water

Low porosity hair is resistant to absorbing anything and everything. As we mentioned earlier, the cuticles of low-porosity hair are packed together, which makes it hard for products and water to penetrate past the outer layer.

For this reason, you will notice that hair treatments, such as deep conditioners and hair masks, may require extra effort from you.

You may need to pre-heat treatments or use products that have penetrating ingredients to help improve their absorption.

 It is for this reason that low porosity hair exhibits the other characteristics mentioned on this list.

Water repellant and Slow to Get Wet

When you apply water to low-porosity hair, you will notice that it tends to form beads on the surface instead of being readily absorbed.

As a result, your hair will be slow to get wet and soaked during wash days.

Longer Drying Times

Due to the difficulty of water penetration into the hair shaft and the slower rate of evaporation, low-porosity hair takes longer to dry than other porosity types.

During wash days, this can be challenging. Fortunately, Low-porosity hair does not require frequent washing.

Frequency of Washing

Because low-porosity hair does not absorb moisture and oils as readily as other hair types, it does not get greasy as fast.

For this reason, if you have low-porosity hair, you may be able to go for longer periods without washing your hair.

Products Build Up

Because of its low rate of absorption, you will notice that your hair products tend to simply sit on hair. Hair care treatments, particularly those with heavy and thick formulations, will find it difficult to penetrate through low-porosity hair. This can cause a build-up of products and cause the hair to become weighed down.

Therefore, if you do not properly clarify your hair with shampoo, excess product can build up on the hair strands. When this happens, it makes the hair feel as though it is coated, and it becomes less vibrant.


Low-porosity hair has a natural shine to it. This happens because low-porosity hair has a smooth finish. The fact that its cuticles are neatly and tightly packed together creates a smooth finish that reflects light, contributing to a glossy appearance.


Perhaps one of the most cherished benefits of low-porosity hair is that it is resistant to damage. If you have low-porosity hair, you should rejoice in the fact that your hair is less prone to damage.

Because its cuticles are tightly packed cuticles, low-porosity hair enjoys some level of protection against external damage.

As a result, the hair becomes less susceptible to breakage and split ends that tend to result from factors such as heat and environmental stressors.

Impact of Heat and Humidity

Low Porosity hair tends to be resistant to heat and humidity. This can be both helpful and a problem. On the plus side, your hair may be less likely to frizz during humid weather.

Unfortunately, this also means that your hair may be less likely to adequately absorb moisture from the air.

Challenges When Dealing with Low Porosity Hair

We have already mentioned several challenges when mentioning the characteristics of low-porosity hair, but this list is purely dedicated to the struggles that only people with low-porosity hair will experience. Let’s get started.

For you to address these challenges, you address these challenges; you will need to adopt a hair care routine that is tailored to the needs of your low-porosity hair.

For instance, you may need to shift to lightweight and water-based products.

You may also want to invest in pre-poo treatments for your hair. Also, using techniques that lift the cuticles temporarily can help with the diffusion of hair products.

Less of Volume

Most of us, if not all of us, want a voluminous mane of hair. However, the fact that low-porosity hair is resistant to moisture and products means that it may appear limp and less voluminous.

This will often happen when the hair’s natural bounce and lift are compromised by the weight of excess products that tend to sit on the surface of the strands.

Difficulties in Color Absorption

Low-porosity hair tends to be challenging when applying hair dye. This happens because the hair dye needs to penetrate the hair cuticles for it to change your hair’s color.

However, because the cuticles in low-porosity hair tend to be too tightly packed, the dye can have a hard time penetrating through.

As a result, it may be hard to achieve consistent color changes when you dye your hair. You may also end up with less vibrant hair.

Styling and Product Dilemmas

It can be a challenge to style low-porosity hair because the products do not absorb as easily, which means that they may not work as effectively as they should on normal hair.

Thus, you may take more time and apply more effort to achieve smoothness or consistent curls.

Because of its problems absorbing products, you may have a challenge when deciding which products to purchase for your low-porosity hair.

Choosing the right products may be confusing.

For instance, the dilemma arises when you know that heavy products have the most moisture, but they may weigh down your hair since they will mostly sit on the strands.

On the other hand, you may want to go for light products but become aware that they may not be able to provide enough moisture. The key is to find the balance for your hair.

Risk of Dryness and Breakage

Because low-porosity hair absorbs moisture slowly, it is prone to dryness and breakage. If you cannot find the right product for your hair, it can be left dry.

If not properly moisturized, your hair will most likely become brittle and prone to split ends.

Recommended Hair Care Practices for Low Porosity Hair

Having discussed the disadvantages and challenges that people with low porosity hair experience, it is only fair that we assess the practices that you can engage in to improve your experience. So, let’s get started.

Pre-shampoo Treatment

Pre-shampoo treatments will temporarily lift the cuticles and enhance the ability of low-porosity hair to absorb moisture and nutrients from the hair care products that will follow.

Here’s why pre-shampoo treatment is important for low-porosity hair:

Improve Moisture Absorption

Pre-shampoo treatments tend to contain lightweight oils or conditioners, which will slightly open the cuticles.

When this happens, the subsequent water and hair care treatments will easily penetrate the hair shaft, ensuring better hydration and moisture retention.

Prevent Product Build-up

If the hair care products are not easily absorbed, they run the risk of sitting on your hair shafts, leading to build-up.

However, because pre-poo opens hair cuticles, your products will be absorbed. Also, pre-shampoo treatment ensures that your hair is properly cleansed before using other products.

This prevents the accumulation of residues and maintains a healthy scalp and hair.

Ensure Products are Effective

Remember that if products are not absorbed into the hair shaft, they are less likely to be effective. However, because pre-poo treatment will open the cuticles and allow the products to be easily absorbed, they become more effective.

Reduced Dryness and Increased Scalp Health

By opening up the hair cuticles, pre-poo ensures better hydration and moisture retention. When your hair is properly hydrated, it is less prone to dryness, breakage, brittleness, and split ends.

Pre-poo is likely to give rise to softer and more supple hair that is easier to manage.

Similarly, a well-hydrated scalp is likely to result if your hair is well moisturized. A healthy scalp is a precursor for healthy hair growth.

Pre-poo tends to nourish and moisturize the scalp. As a result, these treatments promote a balanced environment for optimal hair growth.

Wash with Warm Water

It is advisable to wash low porosity with warm water instead of cold. Hot water is not good for any hair, even normal porosity. But what are the benefits of using warm water on low-porosity hair? Let’s find out.

Improved Cleansing

Warm water can help to loosen dirt, excess oils, and product build-up from the hair and scalp. This ensures a more thorough cleansing process, which is essential for maintaining a healthy scalp and promoting overall hair health.

Opening the cuticles

Warm water can help to open the cuticles momentarily, allowing water, shampoos, conditioners, and treatments to access the hair shaft more easily.

Washing your low-porosity hair with warm water ensures that the cuticles are open, leading to the following benefits.

  • Improved product penetration
  • Better product distribution
  • Improved hydration and moisture retention
  • Efficient styling
  • Improved sense of comfort: Warm water can relax the scalp, promote circulation, and create a more soothing washing experience.

Use a Leave-in Conditioner

Using a leave-in conditioner can be an advantage for your low-porosity hair. This is because leave-in conditioner provides continuous moisturization for your hair.

Other than providing long-lasting hydration for your hair, here are other benefits of leave-in conditioner on your low-porosity hair

Improved Hydration

Unlike conventional conditioners, leave-in conditioners are frequently made with light, water-based chemicals that may more easily penetrate the hair shaft.

A leave-in conditioner will, therefore, provide continuous hydration throughout the day. This will help in keeping your hair soft, supple, and manageable.

Sealing Moisture in Your Hair

Leave-in conditioners will also establish a protective barrier around the hair. When this happens, the extra layer can seal in moisture and prevent it from escaping. As a result, your low-porosity hair is able to maintain hydration over time.

Reduced Frizz and Dryness

Because of the moisture-retaining properties that leave-in conditioners have, you will notice less frizz and dryness in low-porosity hair.

As a result, you will notice your hair becoming smoother and having a more controlled appearance.

When this happens, it will also be easier to detangle and style your hair. As a result, there will be reduced breakage and overall damage.

Improved Styling and Heat Protection

As your hair becomes smoother and more manageable, it also becomes easier to style. Leave-in conditioners tend to prime your hair for styling products, as they enable them to adhere better to the hair.

Leave-in conditioners create a smoother surface for styling techniques such as braiding, twisting, and even curling.

This extra layer on the surface that leave-in conditioners can act as a protection against heat for styles such as curling or blow-drying.


Leave-in conditioners have vitamins, proteins, and natural oils that are beneficial components. They help to nourish and fortify your hair. These components can repair any harm and encourage stronger hair development.

Make sure to choose leave-in conditioners that are designed for low-porosity hair. Pay attention to ingredients such as aloe vera, glycerin, and lightweight oils.

Also, leave-in conditioner should be applied after you have shampooed and conditioned as usual. Ensure to distribute the leave-in conditioner thoroughly in your hair, with additional focus on the ends.

Seal with Lightweight Oils

Following the above treatments that are meant to open the cuticles of your low-porosity hair, it is best to seal (close) the hair with lightweight oils so the products (moisture) do not escape.

Lightweight oils will not weigh down your hair or make it look greasy. Instead, they will lock in the moisture. Here are the benefits of using lightweight oils for your low-porosity hair

Sealed Cuticle and Retained Moisture

Lightweight oils have hydrophobic properties; what this means is that they repel water. When you apply them to your low-porosity hair, they will create a barrier that prevents water and moisture from evaporating from the hair shaft. As a result, your hair will remain moisturized.

Lightweight oils will smooth the cuticles of your low porosity. Lightweight oils help to smooth down the scales, which reduces their ability to remain raised and allows them to lay flat. When this happens, the moisture that has been absorbed is protected from escaping, keeping your hair further moisturized. Other benefits include

  1. Reduced frizz and dryness
  2. Balanced hydration
  3. Protection from environmental factors

Best Lightweight Oils for Low Porosity Hair

You may be asking what types of oils are best for low porosity. I’ve got you. Here is a comprehensive list you can choose from

Grape Seed Oil

Read this comprehensive article here on how Grapeseed is ideal for low-porosity hair and why you should start using it now.

Jojoba Oil

Research has shown that jojoba oil closely resembles the natural oils that your scalp generates to nourish your hair. For this reason, it will be easily absorbed in your hair, allowing for balanced moisture.

Argan Oil

Argan oil contains essential fatty acids and vitamin E that can ensure nourishment and hydration for your low-porosity hair. It is also easily absorbed.

Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil will also help your low-porosity hair retain moisture by providing a protective barrier against stressors from the environment.

Sweet Almond Oil

Sweet almond is another lightweight oil that is gentle on low-porosity hair. It helps to lock in moisture and promote a healthy shine.

Apricot Kernel Oil

Apricot kernel oil is rich in vitamins and fatty acids that will moisturize and condition your low-porosity hair without making it heavy or greasy.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil may not be lightweight, but it is beneficial to low-porosity hair. Peppermint oil will promote hair growth by increasing blood flow to the scalp and stimulating hair follicles.


When choosing which oil to use, make sure to consider the requirements and preferences of your low-porosity hair. You can also experiment with different combinations of these oils to come up with a solution that is specifically tailored to your hair type.

To avoid over-application, start with a tiny amount and increase or decrease as necessary, depending on how your hair reacts. For instance, some oils that are not lightweight, such as avocado oil, can be used as part of your pre-shampooing treatment to ensure moisturization of your low-porosity hair.

Other Natural Products You Can Use on Low Porosity Hair

I promised you a comprehensive article on hair porosity. Now, having identified the best practices and best oils for your low-porosity hair, what else can we do to improve it? Here is a list of natural treatments that fall outside the list of commercial hair products:

Coconut Water for Low Porosity Hair

Coconut water will strengthen your low-porosity hair, treat alopecia, fight dandruff, hydrate, and condition your hair.

Onion Juice for Low Porosity Hair

Onion juice will promote hair growth, prevent hair loss, fight dandruff, prevent scalp infections, treat alopecia, and prevent early greying.

Aloe Vera Juice for Low Porosity Hair

Aloe vera will strengthen, soften, moisturize, condition, thicken, and grow low-porosity hair. Read the following article for the potential downside of using this product on low-porosity hair.

Rice Water for Low Porosity Hair

According to the following article, rice water will prevent irritation and improve scalp health, improve manageability of hair, improve shine and add strength to hair, moisturize, and improve combing and detangling experience.

Ingredients To Look for In Hair Products if You Have Low Porosity Hair


As we have already mentioned, low-porosity hair can have problems absorbing moisture. Humectants are ingredients that draw moisture from the environment.

Thus, they can help low-porosity hair to absorb moisture from the environment and retain the moisture already in the strands. Such ingredients include aloe vera, glycerin, and honey.

Emollient Oils

Emollient oils are those oils that can moisturize and soften your hair or skin. Such oils are ideal for hydrating and smoothing your hair.

They work by creating a protective barrier on the shaft of your hair strands, which can help to lock in the moisture. Such oils include jojoba, argan oil, and others already mentioned in this article.

Lightweight Oils

We have already covered the benefits of lightweight oils in sealing moisture and closing cuticles. Lightweight oils are important because they will not weigh down your hair.

Water-Based Formulas

Low porosity has problems absorbing water and moisture. Thus, choosing water-based products can ease this process.

Products that have water as their main ingredient tend to be more moisturizing for low-porosity hair.

Protein-Free or Low-Protein Formulas

As previously mentioned, your low-porosity hair has tightly packed or closed cuticles. This means that it resists penetration of most products.

Protein molecules are larger than water molecules, which means they will experience even more resistance.

As a result, using products with too much protein can overload the hair strands, creating a rough and undesirable texture. Too much protein will result in dry, brittle, and frizzy hair.

Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5)

Panthenol is a water-soluble vitamin with moisturizing and nourishing capabilities for your skin and hair.

The most common products with this ingredient will include shampoos, conditioners, leave-in treatments, and products meant for styling.

Products with Panthenol will benefit low-porosity hair greatly by reducing split ends, improving moisture retention, softening and smoothening your hair, enhancing thickness and volume, enhancing elasticity, and improving moisture retention.

Coconut Water

We have already mentioned the benefit of coconut water to low porosity. Coconut water is a hydrating component that can give low-porosity hair light moisture without leading to build-up.

Other beneficial ingredients include

  • Clarifying Shampoos
  • Humidity-Resistant Ingredients
  • Leave-In Conditioners


Having addressed all we can about low-porosity hair, let’s dive into the other extreme, which is high-porosity hair. Our counterparts with high porosity hair tend to have the opposite challenges and benefits.

As mentioned earlier, high-porosity hair tends to have cuticles that are more open and prone to damage, which allows moisture to escape easily. As a result, it will have the following characteristics.

Problems with Moisture Absorption and Retention

Because its cuticles are raised, high-porosity hair can absorb moisture pretty fast from the environment or from hair products.

While this may be a good thing, it can sometimes absorb too much moisture, especially when there is high humidity.

Because of these widely open cuticles, high porosity hair will also lose moisture quickly to the environment. When this happens, there is an increased risk of your hair becoming extra dry and having increased frizz.

Rough and Coarse Texture

Because high-porosity hair loses moisture fast, it tends to feel rough or dry to the touch. When hair is well-moisturized, it tends to feel smooth to the touch, as the hair shaft swells due to moisture content. However, as soon as high-porosity hair loses its moisture to the environment, it starts to feel coarse to the touch.

Another reason for the coarse texture is because of its raised cuticles, which often appear damaged or raised under a microscope. The fact that the cuticles do not lie down smoothly gives the hair a coarse texture.

Quick Drying Time and Increased Risk of Tangles

The raised cuticles allow high porosity hair to dry quickly as the moisture in it can escape fast. While this is a good thing when you are air-drying your hair, it can be a disadvantage when it comes to dryness and brittleness.

As the hair loses moisture frequently, it becomes frizzy and rough, leading to more tangles and knots.

For the same reason, the high porosity hair is at a high risk of damage, breaking, and split ends. The damage can come from heat styling, chemical treatments, and mechanical stress.

Product and Color Absorption

Open cuticles that have high porosity hair allow it to absorb hair products too fast, which can be beneficial for your care routine. However, you may need to apply a large amount of hair products for it to be enough.

Unfortunately, high-porosity hair can have problems retaining hair dye. As a result, you may notice that your hair color fades pretty fast when you apply it.

Causes of High Porosity Hair

Sometimes, you can start with low or normal porosity hair, but then somehow realize that your hair is becoming high porosity hair.

If your hair is not high porosity because of genetics, then it may be because of some of the practices that you take.

Some practices can cause your hair cuticles to open permanently or temporarily. Such factors include

  1. Overprocessing
  2. Mechanical Stress
  3. Heat Styling
  4. Environmental Damage
  5. Chlorine and Salt Water
  6. Lack of protein
  7. Chemical Treatment
  8. Age and Wear

Managing and Caring for High Porosity Hair

High porosity hair requires unique treatment due to its texture. Here are some recommendations on how to maintain high-porosity hair

Use Gentle Cleansing Products

High-porosity hair is already at risk of increased dryness, so avoid cleansing products that will strip it of its natural oils. Opt for sulfate-free and moisturizing shampoos so that you can retain the hair’s natural oils.

Also, make sure to avoid hot water, as this can lead to further dryness by increasing moisture loss. Instead, opt for lukewarm water to prevent increased dryness.

Hydrate or Moisturize

As we mentioned earlier, high-porosity hair tends to lose moisture fast. You must counter this by moisturizing your hair as well as possible. Make sure you go for products that have extra moisturizing ability.

Avoid products with sulfates and opt for those designed to reduce frizz, restore moisture, lock in moisture, and protect the hair from heat.

Use Deep-Conditioners and Leave-In Conditioners

If you have high porosity hair, your hair is prone to becoming dry and brittle. Therefore, it is best to incorporate products that can increase moisture retention.

Deep conditioning can help to replenish moisture in your hair and may even repair damaged cuticles by smoothening them so they can lay flatter on your hair shaft.

When looking for deep conditioning treatments, make sure to look for products with ingredients such as glycerin, shea butter, and protein to strengthen the hair.

When choosing leave-in conditioners, it is best to go for lightweight ones. This will ensure continuous hydration, which is likely to seal in moisture in your hair.

You can choose leave-in conditioners with butter or humectants such as glycerin and aloe vera.

Invest in a Good Detangler

High porosity hair is likely to tangle and know when it becomes dry and frizzy. It is important that when you are combing out your hair, you use a good detangler to avoid further damage and breakage.

You can choose a detangler that has hydrating capabilities. Hydrated and softened hair is easy to comb and detangle without breakage and damage.

Trim Your High Porosity Hair Often

Because of its increased risk of split ends and tangles, you may need to trim your high-porosity hair more often than people with low-porosity hair. Trimming your high-porosity hair will have the following benefits

  1. Removing split ends
  2. Preventing breakage and tangles
  3. Improving texture
  4. Reduce Fizz
  5. Improve hair shape
  6. Promote healthy hair growth
  7. Improve Moisture Retention

Use Protein Treatment

High porosity hair probably needs protein treatments more than other types of hair. Particularly, opt for products with hydrolyzed proteins.

Protein treatment on high porosity hair will restore and maintain the health and integrity of the hair structure. Protein treatments will have the following benefits on high-porosity hair

  1. Improved elasticity
  2. Strengthened hair shaft
  3. Improved manageability
  4. Balanced moisture absorption
  5. Length retention
  6. Improved color and treatment results

Use the L.O.C Method for High Porosity Hair

The L.O.C. is an acronym standing for liquid, oil, and cream, respectively and refers to a method of hair care that will provide moisture to the hair and seal it.

Start with Liquid (Hydrating)

When using the L.O.C. method, start with hydration by using any water-based conditioner or moisturizing spray on damp hair. You may also want to use products with humectants such as glycerin because this will help your hair attract moisture from the environment.

Follow with Oil

The second step should be to use oil. Opt for natural oils such as coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, or argan oil, which will seal in the moisture from the previous step.

These oils will also smooth down the hair cuticles, which will prevent or reduce the loss of moisture to the environment.

Finish with Creamy Products

 To finalize the process, choose to apply emollient-rich products such as moisturizing hair creams and hair butter.

Such products will also act to lock in moisture and establish an extra layer that will protect your hair. Hair products with cocoa butter, shea butter, and other moisturizing agents are ideal for this step.


When using the L.O.C. method, pay attention not to overload your hair with products as this can result in product build-up and even frizz and matting.

Good Natural Oils on High Porosity Hair

Jojoba Oil

As mentioned earlier, jojoba oil easily resembles the natural oils that your scalp generates for nourishment. As such, this oil is ideal for both low and high-porosity hairs. Other oils that you can use on high-porosity hair include

Olive Oil for High Porosity Hair

Olive oil will act as a moisture sealant for high-porosity hair but will also have multiple benefits. The fatty acids in olive oil give it nourishing capabilities for your scalp.

As a result, it can help with issues such as dandruff, dry scalp, and dry strands. Since it is a heavier oil compared to coconut and jojoba oil, olive oil will have super moisturizing properties for your hair.

Shea butter

Shea butter is not exactly an oil; it is a butter but will serve the same purpose. Shea Butter is quite dense and works well for styling and protecting the hair from moisture loss.

It can be a useful tool to seal in moisture in your hair. However, make sure to use it sparingly to avoid overloading your hair strands and weighing them down, causing them to mat.

Mango butter

Mango butter is not as heavy as shea butter, but it will provide you with the same moisturizing abilities. Mango butter is a natural butter that will help with moisture retention and sealing of the cuticles and prevent moisture loss.

Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is accepted as a super moisturizer because it is thicker and richer in texture than most oils. Thus, it is suitable for deep conditioning treatments if you have high-porosity hair.

Avocado oil is also rich in vitamins and nutrients, which will improve your hair’s health and manageability.

Coconut-Based Hair Oil

Research has shown that coconut oil-based hair products can lower hair porosity. They also decrease hair breakage and dryness. These products will also protect your hair color from easily fading.


There are two ways to use oil treatment for your hair.

You can use it during the pre-shampoo treatment, which would give the oils a chance to work. Apply the oil of your choice on your hair and scalp before you wash it. You can even leave it overnight and wash the hair the next morning. If you do this, you give your hair time to fully absorb the oils and have them penetrate into the scalp and the hair shaft.

The second method is to add a little of your oil to the conditioner that you use. You can add the oil to your deep conditioner mask or leave-in conditioner. This will improve the moisturizing and softening effects of your conditioner.

It’s crucial to maintain a regular cleansing practice utilizing sulfate-free shampoos or cleansing conditioners to prevent product build-up because heavy oils can cause build-up over time.

Achieving Protein-Moisture Balance for High Porosity Hair

Your hair is 80% (or more) protein, which means that while hydrating your curls is important, you will also need to make sure it has enough protein. Protein treatment is important in giving your hair structure and strength.

Excess moisture will leave your hair drooping and mushy, while too much protein, on the other hand, will leave your hair brittle and straw-like. Thus, balancing between moisture and protein is important in achieving healthy hair.

How do you know your hair has achieved optimum protein-moisture balance? You know this simply by stretching a strand of your hair and letting it snap back.

Hair that is adequately moisturized and has enough protein should feel smooth and be able to stretch far enough without snapping unless pressure is added.

If your hair has too much moisture, it will stretch too far and then snap back fast. It will feel too mushy. On the other hand, hair with too much protein will feel dry and brittle, and will snap back without stretching enough or even at all since it may break.

Does Your Hair Need Protein Treatment

Sometimes, your hair will have enough moisture but lack protein. This kind of hair will feel weak and will fall often. When you see your hair behaving this way, go for treatments that offer restoring and restrengthening properties. Such products will have high amounts of protein that will benefit your hair.

Does Your Hair Have Too Much Protein

Sometimes, your hair will lean towards having excess protein and this can also be a problem. to know if you have excessive protein in your hair, check if it feels brittle, beaks easily, and feels dry. Such hair will also have a damaged curl pattern compared to its natural form.

Too much protein will result in damaged curls that are dry, frizzy, and have a rough texture or appearance. They will also have tangles and knots, and appear dull to the eye. Your hair will have brittle ends and lack elasticity when you attempt to stretch it. When this is the case, you should try to balance it out.

To balance this out, opt for hydrating products since hair with protein overload has increased porosity and will have problems retaining moisture. Deep conditioning and hydrating masks can help to enthuse moisture back into your hair.

Ingredients To Look for In Hair Products if You Have High Porosity Hair

These products help high-porosity hair to absorb moisture from the environment and retain the moisture already in the strands. Such ingredients include aloe vera, glycerin, and honey.

Emollient oils are those oils that can moisturize and soften your hair or skin. Such oils are ideal for hydrating and smoothing your hair. They work by creating a protective barrier on the shaft of your hair strands, which can help to lock in the moisture. Such oils include jojoba, argan oil, and others already mentioned in this article.

Hydrolyzed Proteins

Hydrolyzed proteins are those proteins that have been broken down into small fragments, allowing them to penetrate through the hair cuticles and skin. Hydrolyzed proteins can reduce hair porosity, improve penetration, reinforce hair structure, enhance elasticity, reduce frizz, improve color retention, and enhance volume and thickness.


Ceramides are lipid molecules that are important in the health and integrity of your skin. Ceramides occur naturally on the outmost layer of your skin and your cuticle. Ceramides found in hair products are obtained from plants and will benefit your hair the same way they would your skin.

Products with ceramides as part of their ingredients will repair the cuticles, improve the elasticity of your strands, enhance moisture retention, reduce frizz, enhance shine, and improve color retention, in addition to offering protection from environmental factors.

Panthenol is a water-soluble vitamin with moisturizing and nourishing capabilities for your skin and hair. The most common products with this ingredient will include shampoos, conditioners, leave-in treatments, and products meant for styling.

Products with Panthenol will benefit high-porosity hair greatly by reducing split ends, improving moisture retention, softening and smoothening your hair, enhancing thickness and volume, enhancing elasticity, and improving moisture retention.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid refers to a naturally occurring substance in the human body, especially the skin, joints, and connective tissues.

It has an important function of maintaining hydration and lubrication. Thus, when used in hair products, it serves to improve the hair’s ability to retain moisture and provide hydration.

Some of the benefits of hyaluronic acid are enhanced hydration, improved elasticity, improved moisture retention, smoothening hair and reduced frizz, and increased shine and luster.


Your hair can go from low porosity to high porosity, depending on your maintenance routine. Age, heat, and environmental factors can lead to changes in hair porosity. Mostly, these changes will be from low to high porosity hair.

Porosity is mostly influenced by genetics and the structural makeup of the hair, therefore changing it from low to high is not a typical or natural process. Hair’s capacity to absorb and hold moisture is a result of the health of its cuticle layer.

High-porosity hair has elevated cuticles that make it easy for moisture to leave, whereas low-porosity hair has tightly closed cuticles that prevent moisture absorption. Thus, it is possible to shift your hair from low porosity to slightly high porosity.

There are a few methods you can take into consideration if you want to improve your hair’s capacity to absorb moisture and replicate some features of high-porosity hair. Remember that while using these techniques may momentarily change the porosity of the hair, they will not totally alter its underlying structure.

Heat and Steam Treatments

One of the easiest ways to open the cuticles of your low-porosity hair and increase its porosity is heat. Heat will open your hair’s cuticles, even if it is for a little while, allowing it to absorb products (including moisture) easily.

Heat is best applied during deep conditioning and pre-shampoo treatments. You can use a steamer or a warm towel to increase the effectiveness of your deep conditioner. If you do this, you will notice that your low porosity comes out feeling much smoother and softer.

However, pay attention not to use too much heat as this can be damaging by depleting the hair off its natural oils.

Use Clay and Bentonite Treatments

Bentonite clay treatments will clarify the hair and raise the cuticles of your hair, even if it is only slightly. Bentonite clay has negatively charged ions that will bond with the positively charged substances in your hair, such as build-up and oils, allowing you to wash them off.

When using Bentonite clay, mix it with water to create a gel-like paste, which you then apply to the hair. When this paste is applied to the hair, it will swell and exert pressure on the hair cuticles, pulling them upwards so that they open up.

Another way bentonite clay can raise the particles is through the positive-negative charge interaction. When the negatively charged particles in the clay mixture interact with the positively charged part of the hair cuticle, they create a temporary lifting effect on the cuticles.

You can enhance the effectiveness of the treatment by applying heat while doing the treatment.

Use Alkaline Substances

Alkaline are the opposite of acids and have a pH of above 7. Hair has a naturally acidic pH of 4.5 to 5.5, which keeps the hair cuticles closed and compact.

However, alkaline substances tend to disrupt the natural structure of the cuticle layer. When this happens, it slightly damages the cuticles, causing them to open slightly or completely depending on the extent of the damage.

Some of the products with alkaline substances include relaxers dyes with ammonium hydroxide, which is used to swell the cuticles and open them up, allowing the dye to penetrate the hair shaft.

Other alkaline substances used on hair include soap-based shampoos, baking soda, and pH-adjusting products.

Use Chemical Treatment

Chemical treatment includes products such as relaxers or perms, which change the structure of your hair and temporarily raise its porosity. It is important to note that this change involves damaging the cuticle layer, so the process should be done by a professional.

Use Hair Dyes

Hair Dyes are designed to penetrate the hair cuticles, especially permanent ones. Hair dyes contain alkaline substances that open hair cuticles so the color can penetrate the hair shaft and create lasting color changes.


Whether you have low porosity, high porosity, or normal porosity hair, you can still have healthy hair. What does healthy hair look like, you ask? According to this article, hair is considered healthy if it has a smooth texture and clean-cut ends or tapered tips. Ultimately, healthy hair is identified by shine and body.

On the other hand, loss of luster, frizz, and split ends are marks of unhealthy hair regardless of your hair porosity. No matter what porosity you have, you might want to opt for hair products that improve hair health by increasing hair volume, reducing frizz, improving hair manageability, and stimulating new hair growth.

Understanding your hair porosity will help you figure out which products to buy and how they will affect your hair. You know the best way to protect your hair and nourish it.

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