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Hair 101 - Hair Porosity

Hair 101 - Hair Porosity

Wanting to achieve your perfect coloured look? Finding the right balance between having healthy hair and hair light enough to colour can be tricky! Having healthy and vibrant hair comes down to something many of us haven't even heard of: hair porosity.

What is hair porosity and how does it affect colouring?

Hair porosity is a measure of how well the hair follicle can retain and absorb water. How absorbent your hair depends on your hair structure. Several factors affect your hair’s porosity, such as your natural hair texture, the amount of heat you’ve used, colour history and environmental factors. 

It is important to get a good balance to achieve great hair results! Non-porous hair will not take on the colour well, but hair that is too porous will let it out quickly.

In addition to weakening hair, excessive heat, bleach and sun also increase its porosity. Healthy, newly grown hair has a closed cuticle, which protects the hair shaft but can make it difficult for colour to penetrate! 

Working out your hair porosity is a great way to help determine whether you're using the right products for your hair type. 


Low porosity

Healthy, new hair has a low porosity as the cuticles are closed together. This hair does not allow moisture to enter or leave the hair, such as water, dye and other products.  

Hair may not hold onto colour well even if it's blonde because the pigment cannot penetrate the protective layer. 

Low porosity hair needs to be treated to achieve the best results!

Medium porosity

The cuticles of medium porosity hair aren't too close together, but they aren't too open either. As a result, moisture penetrates easily, and can be retained for a longer period.

Medium porosity hair tends to hold styles for longer and take colour well.

High porosity

If you look at the cuticle of high porosity hair (the top layer), you'll notice that your cuticles are raised and uneven. This makes your strands more vulnerable to damage which  means they'll break easily. 

Because of this tendency for breakage and split ends, people with high porosity tend to experience dryness much sooner than others—even when using oils or moisturising products! 

High porosity hair stays wet for long periods due to damage.

Testing porosity

A way to test your hair porosity is to place a stand of your hair into water.  

If your hair doesn’t sink, you have low porosity hair. This means your hair does not allow moisture to enter or leave the hair. 

If your hair sinks slowly, you have medium porosity hair. This means your hair allows moisture inside and holds it in for a long time.

If your hair sinks quickly, you have high porosity hair. You will find that your hair stays wet for long periods due to damage.

So now you’ve figured out how porous your hair is, there are things you can do to help. 

How to care for low porosity hair

Find products that include ingredients that can easily penetrate your hair, such as natural glycerine, lanolin, avocado, jojoba, and shea.

Apply products when your hair is wet and warm. Heat can lift the hair cuticle, allowing oils and moisture to penetrate the hair.

How to care for high porosity hair

If your hair has high porosity, you will need to nourish, moisturise and repair your hair. Use products that include heavy oils such as castor, olive or avocado that help to nourish hair.

Apple cider vinegar and aloe vera work to adjust the pH balance of your hair.

Wanting to still dye your hair though even if it’s low or highly porous? Our range of semi-permanent hair dyes with our added ingredients will really benefit your hair. So whilst you’re adding a pop of colour to your locks our ingredients will help both low and highly porous hair.

Take Hydrolysed Quinoa, which you can find in our formula - because the protein molecule is very small, it can penetrate low-porosity hair and provide needed moisture beneath the cuticle.

It also works great for hair with high porosity, as it provides a flexible film coating that locks in moisture, keeping your hair smooth and hydrated.

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