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I'm Verna,
Your Curly-Haired Friend.

Curly hair is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. It could be super-defined one day and a frizzy concoction the next day – and it's never exactly the same from one head to another. Our mission is to equip you with the necessary tools for restoring and maintaining healthy locks and celebrating the hair you were born with! 

A Complete Care Guide for High Porosity Hair

September 25, 2018


Verna Meachum

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Curl care

I am highly experienced in the beauty industry and specialize in writing for brands and websites that focus on curly hair care. Moreover, I actually have curly hair and have curly-haired children with varying hair textures. I am also surrounded by curly-haired friends, including curly hairstylists and curly-haired family members. You get the point :) I’m well-versed in the language and nuances of curly hair care, styling tips, and product recommendations.

Furthermore, I collaborate with my friend who has a Ph.D. in organic and inorganic chemistry and works as an R&D Chemist to help us navigate through the misinformation around curly hair care. He advises us on Hair Care Science to ensure we are well-informed.

Hi,I'm Verna

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Last Updated on April 18, 2023 by Verna Meachum

Disclaimer: Keep in mind that all high-porosity hair types are not the same; everyone’s individual journey and reactions to various treatments may vary. This is only to be used as a source of reference NOT a one-size-fits-all.

Are you struggling to keep your high porosity hair happy and healthy? If so, you’re not alone!

As someone who has had high porosity hair most of my life, I understand all too well the challenges that come with it. This can range from dryness, difficulty retaining moisture, or even breakage.

Fortunately, these issues CAN be managed as long as you have a few tricks up your sleeve or – more accurately – in your haircare kit.

In this post, I am going to share my complete care guide for how to care for high-porosity hair–from best practices for daily styling, deep conditioning methods, and tips on avoiding breakage and drying out–to product suggestions.

What is High Porosity Hair?

We can’t talk about high porosity hair without talking about porosity. Porosity literally means the state or quality of being porous. Porous refers to a surface that is full of tiny pores, capable of allowing water or air to pass through.

All hair is porous and permeable to water by nature, although the degree of porosity varies considerably depending on the individual, as well as the condition and health of the hair’s cuticle layers.

Hair that is high porosity (also known as “highly-porous”) has many cuticles that are raised or lifted, which means it absorbs water easily but loses it quickly too.

Image of magnified view of normal closed cuticle, porous open cuticle, and extra porous cuticle hair of high porosity hair.
Photo credit: Kingshow International

Think of high porosity hair as a sponge; it soaks up everything around it, whether it be water or product. Thus, because of the numerous pores in the cuticle, porous hair will take on water and other chemicals readily.

When your hair is exposed to harsh treatments like bleaching or chemical relaxing, the protein structure weakens and the protective layer of cuticles is compromised. This damage can lead to a lack of moisture in your hair that cannot be undone without proper care.

When hair is porous, it tends to be dry and rough; tangly with a puffy texture that can make styling efforts difficult. Unfortunately, this type of mane also weakens easily and breaks easily due mainly to raised cuticles.

The solution? Smooth down these layers as much as possible – an effort that will truly alleviate the majority of porosity issues.

Pro-tip: Do not determine that the porosity of your hair resembles anyone else’s simply because you both have a similar curl pattern. Just because you share similar curl patterns with them doesn’t necessarily mean that you have comparable levels of porosity. Porosity varies from individual to individual.

What’s the difference between low porosity, medium porosity, and high porosity hair?

Image of hair cuticle showing low porosity, medium porosity, and high porosity.
Photo credit: iStock

Low porosity hair is a technical term that measures the number of small openings and pore size in each strand relative to broken or damaged hair.

Those with medium porosity hair have medium-sized cuticle openings and a medium amount of pores, which permits active ingredients and water to enter their strands without difficulty.

With a large amount of pores and plenty of empty spaces or gaps along its shaft, high-porosity hair is easily recognized. It’s often drier, more brittle, and tangles more easily than other hair types.

What causes porous hair?

High porosity hair is not only something you can be born with, but it’s also a state of your hair that can occur as the result of chemically or mechanically damaging practices.

More wear and tear on the cuticle layer means higher levels of absorption when wet yet even greater moisture loss.

For this reason, caring for high-porosity hair requires extra care to ensure that it remains nourished and hydrated.

There are a few things that can cause porous hair:

  • Heat styling tools (curling/straightening irons, hot rollers, blow dryers on high heat).
  • Excessive direct UV ray exposure.
  • Swimming in chlorinated water or saltwater.
  • Bleaching or highlighting.
  • Rough handling of hair.
  • Daily wear and tear.
  • Chemical relaxers or permanent waves.
  • Harsh ingredients, such as sulfates (when used in excess).
  • Regularly wearing tight bands/ponytail holders, which can shear away pieces of cuticle or entire scales.
  • The friction of a cotton towel/pillowcase can also shear off cuticles.

High Porosity Hair Characteristics

  • Absorbs product quickly.
  • Absorbs moisture quickly from the air.
  • The cuticles are raised.
  • Hair is fragile and can easily be damaged when any tension or stress is applied, as it has a minimal mechanical strength.
  • Can appear dull and lackluster.
  • Very dry.
  • Frizzy.
  • Requires more force and effort when brushing or combing it.
  • You’ll also notice after wetting hair, it dries quickly- in a matter of minutes and that’s because it has thinner, missing, or lifted cuticle layers that can’t block water from escaping.
  • You may notice that hair tangles easily—that’s because lifted or missing cuticle layers create an uneven surface throughout your hair. So rather than smoothly gliding by each other, the strands easily latch on to each other to create tangles.

“Characteristics is something you learn from studying your hair by running your fingers over a hair strand, observing shine or reflectivity, how hydrated your hair feels on a daily basis, and your hair’s response to products. Learn by studying…Yes, this is sensory and multi-faceted. You are the best judge of your hair’s porosity.”

According to Science-y Hair Blog

How to Improve High Porosity Hair

Image of my damaged high porosity hair.
Here’s a picture of my damaged high porosity hair.

Image of my healthy high porosity hair.
Here’s a picture of my healthy high porosity hair.

Once hair is damaged there’s really not much you can do to reverse it, and to cut it off is often the only way to start over.

However, these are some ways to help keep your hair hydrated while increasing elasticity, managing porous hair, and protecting it from further damage.

The most you can do is establish a healthy hair regimen that protects your hair’s cuticles on a consistent basis.

Before anything else, here’s a helpful tip: consistently monitor how your hair responds to different products and treatments. It is essential for the health of your hair that you are aware of what works best with it.

Always let your hair be your guide!

To read more about my healthy hair journey, read: A Brief Look Into My Healthy Hair Journey.

Deep condition

To protect your hair’s strength and health, you should establish a consistent hair care routine that provides it with regular moisturizing. A moisturizing deep conditioner is a perfect solution for high porosity hair types, as it will help to improve its moisture level.

Those with porous hair should pay close attention to the amount of “slip” in their conditioners, as this will help reduce friction.

Protein treatments

Protein is the ideal solution for filling the gaps in your hair cuticles and providing a barrier to prevent moisture loss.

Protein has been scientifically proven to hold onto water molecules, creating protection from external elements that could otherwise damage or dry out your curls.

It’s important to remember that high porosity hair doesn’t always require protein, but only if it has been damaged by the things mentioned above.

Select a protein that your hair will love and give it a try!

Pre-poo oil treatment

Get the scoop on one of my favorite secrets – applying oils to dry hair before going in the water helps prevent your hair from swelling due to excess water absorption. Coconut oil works best for this purpose!

I love to let Nutiva organic coconut oil do its magic overnight by letting it steep in my curls. But, if that isn’t your ideal choice of oil, then you can try grape seed or olive oil instead.

When oils are used on damp hair they will act as a protection against moisture from evaporating too quickly.

Applying the LOC (liquid – oil – cream) and LCO (liquid- cream -oil) methods is beneficial for this reason; these techniques help lock in the hydration on your hair strands while also delaying its release into the atmosphere.

Apple cider vinegar rinse/Acidic treatments

While this isn’t a one-size-fits-all remedy, using pH-balanced products can greatly contribute to keeping your porosity level healthy.

If you’re looking for more immediate results, consider reducing the pH of what you use on your hair weekly with an acidic rinse or solution. This will help temporarily control any existing issues with porosity that may occur.

Revive your hair and restore its strength by using apple cider vinegar; it can aid in remedying porousness, as well as lay the cuticle layers flat.

Nonetheless, be mindful not to overdo it: always dilute apple cider vinegar with water for a pH of 4, and pay attention to what your hair is telling you.

The pH of sebum and hair is between 4.5/5.5, so it’s important to stay within this range.

I like to mix 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with 8 ounces of distilled water. After shampooing and conditioning, I use the mixture as my last rinse before styling.

If you’re looking for an effective way to get your cuticles back in shape, reach for the Green Beauty’s pH acidic spritz. It is a liquid-based formula that helps tighten and lift those pesky raised or lifted cuticles. I’m the proud owner of this product – it even comes in handy after regular workouts.

If you’ve ever tried chemical processing on your hair, then you likely know the damage that it can cause. That’s why I always keep a bottle of Roux Porosity Control Corrector and Conditioner close by!

This product is undoubtedly my go-to choice for restoring strength, protecting against future damage, and maintaining healthy locks after any chemical process – trust me when I say this stuff works wonders!

When I thought my highlighted hair was beyond help, this product proved to be a lifesaver! It did wonders for restoring its condition.

Other things to consider

  • Do not rush when detangling hair! This is so important.
  • Don’t wash your hair every day.
  • Don’t let your hair become saturated with water for a prolonged period.
  • Stay away from tight hairstyles.
  • Air dry your hair as much as possible. If you must use a blow dryer, use it on the warm to cool setting.
  • Don’t let your hair spend long periods of time in the sun.

Tips for High Porosity Hair

Use a combination of products with protein and moisture.

High porosity hair can get away with layering more products.

Add protein treatments to reinforce the cuticles, as needed.

Rinse your hair with cold water to help cuticles lay flat.

Incorporate deep conditioning treatments.

Because the hair is more fragile, it is crucial to be gentle when detangling hair.

If you have issues with getting a gel cast, check out my blog on, Reasons Why You’re Not Getting A Gel Cast

Best Products for High Porosity Hair 


For more shampoo suggestions for high porosity hair, as well as a list of ingredients to watch out for, this comprehensive guide has all the answers: Shampoos For High Porosity Hair: Key Ingredients.

Clarifying Shampoos

Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo 8.5 oz.
$24.82 $21.59 ($2.70 / Fl Oz)
Grab it Here
06/10/2023 02:43 am GMT


Best For Color-Treated Hair


If you’re searching for the right Conditioners specifically tailored to high porosity hair, this guide can help: Rinse-Out Conditioners for High Porosity Hair – Learn Which Ingredients You Should Look For!

Bounce Curl Super Smooth Cream Conditioner
$39.98 ($5.00 / Fl Oz)
Grab it Here
06/10/2023 09:53 am GMT

Leave-in Conditioners

Shea Moisture Leave in Conditioner with Jamaican Black Castor Oil for Hair Growth, Strengthen & Restore, Vitamin E, Curly Hair Products Safe for use on Hair Color, 16 Oz
$14.50 ($0.91 / Ounce)

This is my all-time and go-to product since the beginning of my healthy hair journey. It's especially good for color-treated.

It contains Jamaican black castor oil and certified organic shea butter to nourish, moisturize, and support elasticity for hair that resists breakage during detangling. It literally heals your curls!

Grab it Here
06/09/2023 07:48 pm GMT

Curl Creams

For more Curl Creams designed specifically for high porosity hair, and what ingredients to be aware of, peruse this comprehensive guide: Curl Cream For High Porosity Hair: Key Ingredients.

Foams / Mousses


If you need more gel suggestions for high-porosity hair, plus the exact ingredients to include and avoid, this thorough guide has all the answers: Best Gels For High Porosity Hair: Key Ingredients.

Bounce Curl Light Creme Hair Gel Lotion (8oz)
$22.49 ($2.81 / Fl Oz)
Grab it Here
06/10/2023 03:33 am GMT

Deep Conditioners

Design Essentials Natural Almond & Avocado Wash Day Deep Moisture Masque

Looking for a deep moisture treatment to fortify and soften your dry, brittle hair? Then this is it. This is my absolute current favorite deep conditioner!

This rich formula is infused with sunflower oil, which delivers essential moisture, softness, shine, and protection to dry hair.

With regular use, it can help reduce breakage and improve hair elasticity for healthy-looking, lustrous hair. It is concentrated and a little goes a long way.

Simply apply a palm-sized amount of this moisturizing mask from roots to ends, using a wide-tooth comb to distribute evenly throughout your hair.

Leave on for 15 minutes before rinsing with cool water. Whether you have thick or fine hair, this nourishing mask will deeply penetrate your strands and leave them looking soft and silky smooth and moisturized!

On another note, here is a comprehensive guide offering the perfect deep conditioners for high-porosity hair, as well as an all-encompassing list of ingredients that are beneficial or should be avoided: Deep Conditioners For High Porosity Hair: Key Ingredients.


This thorough guide provides helpful information about the oils beneficial for high-porosity hair, as well as a comprehensive list of ingredients that are advantageous or should be avoided: Discover The Most Beneficial Oils For High Porosity Hair.

Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, 23 Ounce
$17.04 ($0.74 / Fl Oz)
Grab it Here
06/10/2023 03:38 am GMT

Protein Treatments

Here is an extensive guide to the ultimate protein treatments that provides beneficial details on how high-porosity hair can be nourished and repaired, as well as an in-depth list of ingredients that provide excellent rewards: Protein Treatments For High Porosity Hair (Learn The Best Type Of Proteins To Use).

ApHogee Intensive 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor (16 OZ)
$14.70 ($0.92 / Ounce)

The ApHogee Intensive 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor  is a protein treatment that helps to repair and protect your hair from damage. It only takes two minutes to work its magic, so it's perfect for busy folks on the go.

Grab it Here
06/09/2023 06:48 pm GMT

If you need a good dandruff shampoo, check out my blog, ‘The Best Dandruff Shampoo For Curly Hair: Find The Right Solution For You.’

Related Articles


In the case of product usage, you should test out, evaluate, and adjust as needed. It’s a learning process, but now you’re armed with the information to give your hair a head start toward a great, healthy finish.

The porosity level of your hair fluctuates. Check it twice a year just to make sure you’re staying on the right track and you’re not causing any self-inflicted damage throughout the year.

If this post has helped you, please share it with your friends/drop a comment. I always appreciate feedback.


 Is high porosity hair good or bad?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question – it all depends on your hair’s condition. High porosity hair can often be more prone to dryness, frizziness, and tangling, but with the right products and routine, it can also be very manageable.

Is low or high porosity hair better?

Again, this is a question with no definitive answer. Low porosity hair can be harder to moisturize and style, but it often has more shine.

High porosity hair can be more prone to dryness and frizziness, but it can also be easier to manage if you find the right products and routine.

What are the signs of high porosity hair?

If your hair often feels dry, rough, is difficult to style, tangles easily, seems like it never gets hydrated or moisturized, gets wet pretty quickly, or has a lot of frizz, then it is likely that you have high porosity hair.

What are the signs of low porosity hair?

If your hair is resistant to styling products, takes a long time to get fully wet or dry, is often frizzy, or absorbs products slowly (products seem to sit on top of your hair, rather than penetrate it), then it is likely that you have low porosity hair.

Does high porosity hair dry quickly?

Yes, it tends to dry quickly, but it can also be affected by different factors.

For example, if you live in a humid climate or if the air is very dry and/or heated then both high and low porosity hair will take longer to completely dry than they would otherwise.

Is high porosity hair difficult to style?

To keep high porosity hair healthy, using moisturizing products with ingredients such as glycerin, honey, and aloe. As well as deep conditioners, pre-poo oils, and protein treatments for when your hair needs an extra boost!

With these easy steps in hand you can easily manipulate the styling of even the most porous of hairs.

Does high porosity mean I have a bad scalp?

No, it does not mean that you have a bad scalp. High porosity simply refers to the condition of your hair’s cuticle and how easily water and other products can penetrate your hair.

How often should you wash high porosity hair? 

This is another question that does not have a definitive answer.

Some people with high porosity hair feel the need to wash their hair every day due to their lifestyle, while others can go several days or even a week without washing and still have healthy-looking hair.

It all depends on your individual scalp and lifestyle, as well as how much product you use and how often you them.

If I have high porosity hair, will it eventually become low porosity?

This is a common myth that many people believe to be true, but actually, the two types of porosities are fixed and cannot change over time or with certain treatments (although some products may temporarily affect them).

Do not worry if you have high porosity hair – it is not a bad thing, and there are many ways to manage it.

How do you grow high porosity hair?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to grow high porosity hair may vary depending on your individual hair type, condition, and genetics.

However, some tips for growing high porosity hair include using a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, applying deep conditioning treatments regularly. Also, use a leave-in conditioner, moisturizing styling product, and protein treatments (as needed).

How do you reduce frizz in high porosity hair?

Again, this depends on your individual routine and the products you use. If you are using a lot of drying ingredients in your products, then you will need to replace them with more moisturizing options.

You can also use a product specifically designed to reduce frizz, like anti-humectants. Sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase. Use a microfiber towel or old t-shirt when drying your hair.

Don’t wash your hair with hot water. Don’t touch your curls as they’re drying. Lastly, avoid using heat styling tools as much as possible.

Is high porosity hair sensitive to protein?

This is another question that does not have one answer.

Some people with high porosity hair do not respond well to protein treatments, but others need them in order to look their best and reduce frizz.

Many factors can play into this (such as the type of protein treatment uses), so it is always a good idea to start slowly and pay attention to how your hair responds.


  • Robbins, C. (1994) Chemical and Physical Behavior of Human Hair. 3rd edn. New York: Springer.
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