Hair porosity is more important than you think. As Marissa Rullan, curly hair specialist and stylist at Studio 210 in Los Angeles, explained to Byrdie, “Porosity refers to how open or closed the cuticle layer is, which is the outermost layer of hair.” She continued, “Higher porosity hair has a very open cuticle layer with more gaps, while low porosity hair is moisture resistant because the cuticle layer is so tightly closed that water molecules are too big to penetrate the hair shaft, so the water just beads up and rolls off of the hair rather than absorbing into it.”
So, how exactly do you look after low porosity hair? It all starts with shampoo — a clarifying shampoo, to be exact. “Clarifying shampoos break down the protein structures that would allow the humectants and moisture to penetrate the hair fiber deeper, giving the hair more elasticity, softness, and shine,” Bridgette Hill, trichologist and colorist with Paul Labrecque Salon and Skincare Spa, explained to Vogue.
Low porosity hair responds well to deep treatments
Next up, it’s important to incorporate some kind of conditioning treatment. As French hairstylist Frederic Fekkai told ELLE.com, “Hydrating deep conditioning treatments should be added to your haircare routine. Low porosity hair loves products lighter products that provide moisture.” But that doesn’t mean you should use hair oil as a deep treatment. Instead, it’s key to “use conditioners and leave-ins that are water-based [or] light lotions or diluted heavy conditioners that do not sit on the hair shaft,” Hill told Vogue. And you can even maximize the benefits by using heat and/or steam.
“Use heat and steam when the conditioner or treatments are sitting in the hair; the heat will open the cuticle making it easier for the water and moisture to seep in,” hairstylist Danielle Malary of Lumiere Vive Salon advised mindbodygreen. Lastly, don’t forget regular haircuts. This will ensure your ends don’t become dry or brittle so quickly.
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