Our hair porosity is referred to the hair’s ability, or inability to absorb water or chemicals into the cortex. All hair is naturally porous and permeable to water, but the degree of porosity varies by the individual and the condition and shape of the hair’s cuticles layers.
When our hair faces a traumatic styling event such as chemical relaxing, or permanent coloring, it’s protein structure is attacked and its protective cuticles shielding becomes tattered and torn. Hair in this condition is said to be porous.

Our hair functions decrease as it ages. The hair protective cuticle layers begin to crack, peel and lift away. These changes in the cuticles presentation and shape, cause the hair to absorb and hold moisture lesser than it once could. Older hair is more porous or has higher porosity than newer hair. Hence, the reason why you may have different porosities on a different part on your head. Porosity increases as we move from the roots to the ends of the hair, because this represents age progression along the hair fiber.

3 levels of hair Porosity

Hair with low or poor porosity does not readily absorb moisture and also resists chemical treatments. Such hair is generally quite healthy and has not been exposed to cuticle-degrading treatments.
Low porosity hair cuticles imbrications or ridges along the hair shaft, are tightly closed, just as they are when the hair first emerges from the hair follicle.

Black hair tends to have low porosity naturally and is usually less porous than Caucasian or Asian hair types unless it has been chemically processed.

Porosity test

Hair with Good porosity is somehow in the middle of the two extremes of porosity levels. It retains moisture well and accepts chemical treatments like coloring or relaxing if desired.

Causes of Porosity problems:
High porosity is caused by anything that degrades or in any ways changes the cuticles, including excessive use of heat-styling tools, the sun, chemical relaxers, colors, and the use of sulfate-rich stripping shampoos.


The hair’s pH and porosity characteristics are intimately connected. Low pH products and styling treatments reduce the hair’s porosity by constricting the cuticle and causing it to tighten. The regular assault of daily living, chemical processes, and styling manipulation, however, eventually causes the cuticles scale to lift and lose their tightness over time.

The more damage the cuticle has endured, the greater the hair’s porosity, and the more water or moisture it tends to absorb. The downside of the level of absorption leads to a high level of moisture loss. Highly porous hair absorbs more water when wet but loses even more as it dries. When fully dried, porous hair feels swollen, puffy and rough to the touch due to the lifted, damaged cuticle layer which has instigated an inherent moisture deficiency.

Keeping this type of hair moisturized is difficult, as it tends to continuously soak in moisture without actually feeling moisturized. Such hair is chronically dry and will not stay moisturized unless the proper measure is taken to correct the issue. Using heavy products and making sure that you lock in your moisture by sealing it with oil

Relaxers and permanent hair color treatments use alkaline chemicals and heat force to open the cuticle layer, so that they may reach the inner cortex. The cuticles layers do eventually close on their own, but never back to the pre-treatment level. If the damage is repeated too often, too frequent the cuticle layers may never fully close. Reasons such as relaxed hair, heat damaged, and colored hair types have an inherently increased porosity.

With high porosity, the problem is raised cuticles. If you can close the cuticles layers, even a little, you will resolve the majority of the porosity issue. Low pH products and treatments help bring cuticles closure. Some porosity problems can be temporarily resolved by applying a low pH solution or product.

  • A weekly acidic rinse with apple cider vinegar
  • Low pH shampoo or even
  • Neutralizing shampoo
    These can help correct a porosity problem, help tighten and close the cuticles layer. Hair that gets wets easily as you prepare it for shampooing is typically porous. It is best to measure your hair’s porosity level on freshly cleaned and dried hair.

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