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What is high porosity hair and how does it affect your haircare routine? We’ll explain the need-to-knows in this expert guide to hair porosity.

What Is High Porosity Hair, Really?

What is high porosity hair and how does it affect your haircare routine? We’ll explain the need-to-knows in this expert guide to hair porosity.
What Is High Porosity Hair, Really?

Knowing what type of hair you have is crucial if you’re looking to achieve your hair goals. While you can probably describe the texture and type of your hair fairly accurately—for example, is it curly or straight? Thick or thin?—those aren’t the only characteristics to consider. One of the most important is identifying your hair’s porosity, as high porosity hair and low porosity hair have very different needs.

High porosity hair can be particularly challenging to care for, as it’s prone to concerns such as frizz and dryness. The good news? The right routine can help keep bad hair days to a minimum. We spoke with Biolage Artistic Director Danielle Keasling for her expert advice on identifying and caring for high porosity hair. Keep reading for her tips and tricks—plus, discover a few of her favorite products for high porosity hair.

What is high porosity hair?

Porosity refers to how porous or absorbent your hair is. Low porosity hair cuticles are difficult to penetrate, while high porosity hair is highly absorbent—kind of like a sponge. Medium porosity hair, meanwhile, falls somewhere in the middle: it’s neither difficult to penetrate nor overly porous. In high porosity hair, Keasling explains, “the outer cuticle layer has been raised. Moisture tends to flow in and out of the hair strand quickly, not staying in the hair.” As such, high porosity hair is often prone to dehydration and may feel dry and be difficult to tame.

How can you tell if you have high porosity hair?

Cared for improperly, high porosity hair may look and feel dry, rough, and frizzy. It may also be fragile and split or break easily. Though anyone can have high porosity hair, it’s most common for those with wavy and curlier hair textures.

Is high porosity hair bad?

Nope—having high porosity hair isn’t “a good or bad thing,” says Keasling. While having high porosity strands may pose a few challenges, you can still achieve your hair goals by “learning how to best work with it” and using products designed for your hair’s unique needs.

How should you care for high porosity hair?

The trick to high porosity hair, Keasling says, is to be gentle. Air dry your mane as often as possible and keep your use of hot tools to a minimum. Similarly, limit the amount of chemical treatments (like bleaching or permanent straightening) you get.

Having a reliable, effective everyday routine is also key. To help give your hair what it needs to look and feel its best, seek out products with protective ingredients, like hair-friendly lipids. Oils and other lipids, Keasling says, “play a crucial role in protecting hair and keeping it healthy, shiny, and strong.”

She’s particularly fond of Biolage’s Strength Recovery range, which features a daily-use shampoo, conditioner, and leave-in treatment, as well as a weekly deep treatment pack. All of the products in this nourishing line are formulated with vegan squalane derived from olives. This ingredient, she explains, mimics your hair’s natural protective lipids and can help “protect [against] future damage while increasing softness and shine.” It also helps strengthen hair’s protective barrier, making your strands better able to hold on to moisture—an essential component of caring for high porosity hair. These same benefits apply to the Strength Recovery collection, which deeply moisturizes porous hair to help reinforce weak and fragile strands, reduce breakage, and improve your mane’s manageability. The result: silky, shiny strands that look and feel healthy.

Now that you know how to properly care for your high porosity hair, check out our article 15 Heatless Curl Techniques That Will Save Your Mane From Heat Damage for no-heat styling inspiration.

Book an appointment with an expert who knows how to properly care for your high porosity hair and other mane needs using our salon locator.

Header photo credit: @biolage and @hairbyvalerien

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