The 13 Best Products for High Porosity Hair

For those of you who are unsure of whether you even have high-porosity hair or not, let NYC colorist James Corbett first give you the low-down on what exactly it is. “The cuticle [of the hair] is the outermost layer of the hair strand that has overlapping layers that protect and strengthen it,” he says. “Porosity refers to the hair strands’ ability to absorb and hold moisture. It functions similarly to shingles on a roof. Hair can naturally have low, medium, or high porosity, but excessive heat styling and chemical services can also play a major role in the pH [and porosity] of the hair.”

To add to this point, leading hair expert and stylist Michael Van Clarke explains that porous hair is a bit less “complete” in a sense. “It will have breaks, holes, and voids in the structure that allow elements to pass through,” he states. “Severely damaged hair is like a honeycomb—very porous and water struggles to stay attached so the hair always feels dry and color leeches out quickly so ends become faded.”

If your hair does struggle with this, don’t worry, they’ve also got a few tips to help care for it. “Avoid color processes that go over the same hair each time, whether with peroxide tints or weak peroxide wash toners,” says Van Clarke. “These are usually totally unnecessary and whilst hair is a tough material, it cannot withstand a dozen encounters with peroxide. Color will simply fade faster. You’ll also want to avoid silicone-laden products in general. These solve a problem today with a coat of varnish, yet dehydrate the hair further for tomorrow. Dehydration leads to weaker structure, breakdown in bonds, and more porosity.” Corbett also adds that high-porosity hair can easily absorb moisture, but doesn’t retain it so it’s important to use thick, ingredient-rich products that will help seal that moisture in. Below, you’ll find each expert’s picks for high-porosity hair along with a few of my own favorites.

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