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Normal Porosity: Hair possessing average porosity will generally require the least amount of maintenance. It allows moisture to pass into the cortex as needed, but resists permitting too much water to penetrate. Repeated works by various research groups have found that healthy hair of average porosity can absorb water up to a maximum of 31.1% by weight. Normal porosity hair has a tendency to hold styles well. Perming or coloring can be done in a predictable manner, following the usual guidelines of the product. However, one must note that these processes will damage the hair and increase its porosity over time. An occasional deep conditioning treatment with a protein-containing product will be of benefit, but proteins should not be included in the daily regimen.

Opened highly porous cuticle

High Porosity: High porosity is an unfortunate result of damage to the hair. Chemical processes, harsh treatment, and environmental exposure are all responsible for causing cumulative, irreversible damage to the cuticle layer. This damage creates gaps and holes in the surface of the hair shaft—essentially chinks in its armor. Hair with this type of uneven, pitted and rough surface is prone to damage from more and more sources, resulting in a cascade of effects that culminate in unmanageable and unlovely locks.

Hair with a great deal of porosity has been found to be capable of absorbing significantly higher amounts of water than hair or normal or low porosity (up to 55%, in contrast with 31.1% for healthy hair). Excessive absorption of water from the atmosphere causes frizz and tangling on humid days. Total immersion of high porosity hair during bathing, swimming, or shampooing can lead to significant breakage due to loss of elasticity from the sheer weight of the water absorbed. It also takes on color much more quickly and in higher concentrations than normal porosity hair when undergoing a chemical color process.

People with high porosity hair should use products with lots of moisturizers and emollients and also use anti-humectants in high heat and humidity climates in order to seal their cuticle against excessive absorption of moisture from the air. Protein treatments can also be very helpful for patching some of the holes in the hair, but one must follow up with moisturizing products in order to avoid a stiff texture. Rinsing with a slightly acidic rinse will help flatten and seal the cuticle. Some clear color applications have proteins in them than can patch the gaps in your hair also. Consult your professional hair stylist for more information about such products.

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What if your hair both protein sensitive and has high porosity? What else can you do to help repair some of the damage besides using products with protein... beyond the use of moisturizing products?
What deep conditioning treatment products, which contains proteins, would you recommend?
I think I have low porosity hair...is there any way to help increase its ability to absorb water? I am fine in the shower - my hair gets very wet, but it's hard to refresh styles by water spritzing because the beads just sit on my hair...
I think this article just saved my hair! I definitely have high porosity with my 3c curls, and being that I have bleached blond hair, I have not been taking the necessary steps to protect my hair from damage. Thank you a million!
i love this site and its articles! i reccomend it to all of my curly girl friends as much as i can. i have beautiful 3a ringlets.... however i am still trying to find the right shampoo, conditioner, product,etc.i guess next time i take a visit to the hairdressers i'll ask the advice of my favorite curl experts!
Again, what defines a "soap"?
Retia McMullen: I'm a fairly new member to this forum and site, but I've been studying up A LOT and I've gathered that just because you have fine hair, doesn't mean protein is a must. It's very subjective. I have fine 3a Botticelli curls, and I'm pretty certain I'm low to normal porosity. My hair seems to like proteins, but at this early in my CG transition, I don't want to overdo it, so I'm using a moisturizer too. Figuring out your hair's protein/moisture balance seems to be something you just have to keep playing with until you find something that works. It's best to start with more moisture than more protein because your hair can recover from too much moisture faster than it can from too much protein. Hope this helps!
I love your article. I have low porosity hair. But, my hair is very fine, but thick corkscrew curls. It states that humectants and emollients are good for low porosity hair and proteins are not. I've tried humectant based conditioners and they just sit on my hair. I've heard people say that protein is a must for fine hair. Is there some type of balance that could be used to maintain the protein/moisture in my hair? I don't want to use to much humectants or too much protein.
You need to use a shampoo that's sulfate free. Examples: Original Sprout Baby shampoo and Children's Natural Shampoo; Mia Simone's Boutique Shampoo; Circle of Friends Shampoo; and Deva Curl makes some sulfate free shampoos as well.
Can you reccomend products that are SLS,SLES, etc free?
if your not suppose to use soap on your hair than what are you to use to clean your hair?
Awesome article! This has really helped my understanding of porosity. Thanks for the great information!

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