High Porosity Hair: What It Is and How to Care for It

Why your hair really isn't retaining moisture. 

Many of us are quick to blame a product or weather conditions for the damaged look and feeling of our hair. When it comes figuring out what is actually causing our hair to feel dry and brittle, we at All Things Hair try to get down to the root. We go to great lengths to find out our hair type and curl types, and we’re also curious to know whether our hair falls under the low porosity or high porosity end of the hair porosity spectrum. Knowing these things help us (and you) figure out the best products to use, and how to build the proper hair regimen—from wash to styling—for your hair type.

High Porosity Hair Explained:

high porosity hair washing
High porosity hair soaks up moisture but has trouble retaining it. Use products that claim to be great for moisture retention.

What is high porosity hair?

Unlike low porosity hair types, high porosity hair types can be compared to a leech, or a paper towel on a puddle: It’ll suck everything up. High porosity hair? Dip it into water and it’ll soak it all in. Sounds like this couldn’t do high porosity hair types any harm, right? Think again: “High porosity absorbs water instantly and needs high level of conditioning to protect and leave it manageable,” explains Unilever’s Research and Development Senior Manager of hair care, Leon-Van Gorkom.

Just because hair soaks up moisture doesn’t mean said moisture will be retained. Here’s why: The hair strands on high porosity hair types are composed of raised and chipped cuticles, which can be due to heat damage, hair coloring or chemical treatments, just to name a few. Eventually, the moisture will be released.

“High porosity absorbs water instantly and needs high level of conditioning to protect and leave it manageable” explains Leon Van Gorkom.

So how do you treat high porosity hair?

According to Leon, “High porosity hair may benefit from weekly mask and leave-in conditioning creams.” Look for products that strengthen the hair. Enriched with concentrated protein, Nexxus New York Salon Care Humectress Emergencée Reconstructive System can help strengthen low porosity hair types. For the uninitiated, hair is made up of a protein called keratin, and when damaged from the misuse of heat styling tools and chemical treatments, the cuticle is lifted and hair becomes more porous. Use this four-step system to restore the healthy look, feel and flexibility of your hair.

In terms of leave-in conditioners, you have plenty factors to consider. You can choose a leave-in that’s suitable for your hair type (fine, oily or color-treated hair); however, when it comes finding a leave-in to treat high porosity, look for leave-in creams that help repair problem areas of the hair. One great option (of many) is the Nexxus New York Salon Care Promend Leave-In Créme. Why? It’s pretty safe to say that high porosity hair types are prone to hair issues like broken hair fibers and split ends, and this formula helps mend both.

If you need help finding a wash and care system for your hair type, use this guide to help your find the best shampoo and conditioner for your hair.