Hair Porosity, Types of porosity, Changes in hair porosity and How does hair Products pH affect hair Porosity.

 Our hair porosity is referred to the hair 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 cuticle layers.

When our hair goes through a traumatic styling event such as chemical relaxation, or permanent colouring, its protein structure is attacked, and its protective cuticle 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 a higher porosity than newer hair. Hences, why you may have different porosities on different parts of your head. Porosity increases as we move from the roots to the ends of the hair because this represents age progression along the hair fibre.


The Three (3) levels of hair Porosity

Hair with low or poor porosity does not readily absorb moisture and resists chemical treatments. Such hair is generally healthy and has not been expose to cuticle-degrading treatments. A low-porosity hair cuticles imbrications or ridges along the hair shaft are tightly closed, as 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.

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 colouring or relaxing if desired. 

High porosity hair is cause by anything that degrades or changes the cuticles, including excessive use of heat-styling tools, the sun, chemical relaxers, colours, and sulfate-rich stripping shampoos.



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

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

Keeping this types 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 to correct the issue. Use heavy products and make sure that you lock in your moisture by sealing it with oil. 


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


With high porosity, the problem is raised-cuticles. If you can close the cuticle layers, even a little, you will resolve majority of the porosity issue. Low pH products and treatments help bring cuticles closure. Some porosity problems can be temporarily solved, 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 and help tighten and close the cuticle layer. Hair that gets wet easily as you prepare it for shampooing is typically porous. It is best to measure your hair- porosity level on freshly cleaned and dried hair.

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