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Porosity and Tensile Strength

Increasing porosity of hair has been found to correlate with decreasing tensile strength of the hair. What this means is that as the porosity goes up, it becomes much easier to break the hair. Gaps and flaws in the surface, which allow the hair to absorb much higher quantities of moisture, create stress concentration sites and weakness throughout the strand that cause the hairs to break easily.

What to do? Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to porosity problems.

  • Use the right products for your hair.
  • Avoid harsh surfactants and soaps.
  • Only comb tangles with a wide-toothed comb when hair is wet and saturated with conditioner.
  • Avoid chemical processes as much as possible.
  • Avoid thermal styling tools.
  • Protect your hair from the sun and the elements.
  • Get regular trims.
  • Treat your hair as gently as you would an expensive cashmere sweater!


If you already have a problem with high porosity, please make sure you have an excellent deep conditioning treatment available, preferably one that contains proteins. Use lots of conditioning and moisturizing products, especially those containing natural, plant-based oils. Avoid all of the sulfate-based surfactants and soap bars. Use a mildly acidic rinse regularly and avoid humectants. If possible, avoid the processes that created the high porosity, and get your hair trimmed regularly. These things should help restore your hair to a more manageable porosity level, but it will take time.

Protect your cuticle!

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0 Comments
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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