The Hair Health Hotline provides direct access to dermatologists, trichologists, hair stylists and other beauty professionals. Each story in this series addresses common hair and scalp concerns and offers science-backed solutions for taking care of your strands.
Many factors affect how hair looks and behaves, from the rate at which your scalp produces oil to your hair’s curl pattern (or lack thereof). Another important feature? Porosity of your hair.
While the word “porosity” might make you think of sponges and kitchen countertops, hair can also be classified by how much water can pass through it. With high porosity hair, hair absorbs and loses moisture relatively easily. Here, trichologist Angela Onuoha details how to make sure you have high porosity hair, and if so, how to care for your strands accordingly.
Q: I have dyed my hair for years and now have very porosity hair. How do you fix high porosity hair so it doesn’t dry out or break down?
A: According to Onuoha, the most effective way to avoid the negative effects of high porosity is to limit damaging styling. That said, hair treatments can also help with temporary improvements, she says. .
What is high porosity hair?
As mentioned earlier, water passes more easily through hair with high porosity compared to hair on the low porosity end of the spectrum. Onuoha explains that it reflects the state of the outermost layer.
“You can think of the outer layers as tiles stacked on top of each other like a roof,” says Onuoha. “Every time damage occurs, this can occur in multiple ways. [the cuticle] As a result, the hair is no longer closed and therefore more brittle. High porosity hair typically has a compromised cuticle layer that allows moisture to pass through easily, due to damage,” says Onuoha.
According to Onuoha, multiple causes can lead to damage, including chemical treatments, styling with hot tools, and exposure to the sun’s UV rays. I will add. “It may be due to friction from brushing or tension from tight hairstyles.”
What are the signs of high porosity hair?
Some pros suggest trying a “float test” (putting a strand of hair in a glass of water and noting how long it takes to sink to the bottom) to get an idea of the porosity of your hair. Too many other variables, from water hardness to hair mass, can affect how long it takes your hair to sink, she says. The only test we recommend is that there are labs where you can literally send your hair over to have your strands tested,” she says.
It’s worth noting that very few people have low porosity hair, says Onuoha. “As soon as hair grows and is exposed to all these normal elements, it develops a sort of porosity build-up,” she says. No,” Onuoha says, as a general rule, the tips are more porous than the roots because they are exposed to the damaging elements for too long.
There is a particular giveaway that your hair is damaged enough to reach the high porosity end of the spectrum. Onuoha says. A closed cuticle creates a flat surface that reflects light, but damaged hair looks like frayed rope up close, she says.
The best indicator of high porosity hair is that it’s noticeably more brittle than it used to be, says Onuoha. I had more shine, more defined curls, and more hair at the ends.” All of this indicates that the hair is more damaged or has more porosity.”
How to choose the best high porosity hair products
You can take steps to prevent your hair from becoming very porous, but it’s impossible to return damaged strands to a less porous state, says Onuoha. Limiting the use of hair and heat styling and using hair products with UV filters are all precautions.
Plus, using a microfiber towel instead of cotton when drying your hair and avoiding frequent brushing can help, both of which can reduce chafing, says Onuoha. “Excessive brushing is a very easy way to damage the cuticle, resulting in highly porous hair,” she says. Simply use and brush before showering. If your hair is rough, detangle it in the shower while the conditioner is still in your hair.
Prevention is the best way to go, but steps can be taken to improve the appearance of high-porosity hair, says Onuoha. , bond-building treatments temporarily repair the damage.
The more you enjoy styling and changing your hair color, the more likely you are to have highly porosity strands. If you’ve been feeling let down by how dry and dull your hair has been lately, try looking for ways to cut back on damaging styling methods and add treatments to your routine.
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