High Porosity Hair- How to Retain Moisture

Learn all about the characteristics of high porosity hair and how to retain moisture beginning with wash day.

High Porosity Hair- How to Retain Moisture

Last week we finished our low porosity series (click here if you missed it) and now we will focus in on high porosity hair. So what is high porosity hair and how can we identify its characteristics?

High Porosity Hair is very porous because the cuticles that surround the hair shaft are raised, damaged or broken thus allowing moisture to quickly enter and exit the hair. How can you identify highly porous hair?

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Hair absorbs water quickly, but loses water just as fast

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Absorbs products quickly but remains dry

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Tends to be frizzy and tangles easily

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Is prone to breakage, especially when wet

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Hair air dries exceptionally fast

So, what causes high porosity hair?

There are two main factors- genetics and damage to the hair shaft.

Genetics vs. Damage leads to two different type of high porosity hair. Generally, those who genetically have high porosity hair do not tend to have severely raised cuticles while those who have damaged hair from constant heat styling, bleaching or highlighting hair, chemicals from relaxers, or abrasive styling products or practices tend to have extremely raised cuticles.



Just like we learned last week that there is a range for low porosity hair, the same applies for high porosity hair. With those genetically predisposed with generally more normal to high and those with damaged hair on the extremely high end.


So regardless of why your hair is highly porous, you can benefit from a high porosity regimen which helps to seal in moisture and prevent moisture loss. Let鈥檚 begin with a high porosity wash day.

Well, we just learned that water can easily enter and exit the hair shaft because of the raised or broken cuticles. However, when this happens, the endocuticle, or the layer beneath your cuticle causing it to swell. The stress of hair-washing comes from the swelling layer beneath a non-swelling layer. As the expandable endocuticle swells beneath the cuticles, it increases in girth and exerts force outward, on the cuticle shell. As a result, cuticles are strained and stand away from the hair. In this state, they are more easily damaged and broken. According to one study, the key to preventing this is to begin wash day with a pre-poo or pre-shampoo treatment.


Studies have shown that adding a penetrating oil-based pre-shampoo treatment, particularly coconut oil, for at least 8 hours prior to shampooing adds a protective layer to the endocuticle which prevents it from over, swelling when water is applied.


Now that you have your prepoo treatment on, it鈥檚 time to begin your shampoo or cleansing process. Those with high porosity hair want to avoid sulfate shampoo and harsh surfactants that completely strip all the oils from your hair cuticle that you just added in. You want to use sulfate free shampoos, or cleansing conditioners to help cleanse yet moisturize your hair, additionally, look for ingredients that use oils and butters high up on the ingredient list ( first 5 ingredients) 聽

Look for products that contain some of the following ingredients

  • Glucosides 鈥 they come from renewable, plant-derived raw materials. Examples are vegetable oils and starch. Lauryl glucoside, a surfactant made from coconut oil and sugar, is one of the gentlest cleaners on the market. Because it is naturally derived, lauryl glucosides facilitate effective cleansing with a reduced potential for irritation.

  • Taurates and Fatty Acid Isethionates 鈥 Derived from the coconut fatty acid. They have an excellent cleansing ability and hair conditioning effect. Also, they are exceptionally mild for the hair, skin and eyes.

  • Glutamates 鈥 Amino acid-based surfactants often find themselves in certified organic products. Hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic, glutamates are also known for being one of the mildest active agents on the market.

  • Amino Acid Sulfosuccinates 鈥 These have mild and anti-irritant properties. Surfactants are especially suitable for products made for delicate skin and baby shampoos due to their super gentle nature.

Some shampoos to use are the Shea Moisture High Porosity Mongogo and Hemp Shampoo, Shea Moisture Strengthen and Restore Shampoo, Jane Carter Solution Moisture Nourishing Shampoo, Living Proof Restore Shampoo, Sulfate-free Shampoo bars from Henna Sooq use code MICHELLE20 for 20% off.

Cleansing Cowashes are the As I Am Coconut Cowash and Eden Body Works Cleansing Cowash. Cowashing can be done frequently about 1-2 times a week to help add in moisture.

Protein Treatments

Protein treatments should be something every high porosity girl should be including in their hair- and doing so regularly! Remember protein adds a coating or barrier to the strand which helps prevent moisture loss, locking the moisture in and preventing its escape.

Those who may have genetically high porosity hair, may be able to do light to medium hydrolyzed protein treatments with no problems while those with damaged hair may need large molecule or stronger protein treatments more frequently. Some lightweight protein treatments are Aphogee 2 minute Reconstructor, hair conditioners or masks such as Miche Protein Treatment, Naturalology Strengthening strands. A strong protein treatment is Aphogee 2 step treatment is a stronger protein which is great for those with severely damaged hair. Additionally while herbs are not protein treatments, they provide a strengthening barrier to your hair, preventing moisture loss, such herbs as henna, cassia, and brahmi. 聽


Henna Mask https://youtu.be/JD_5nKeWLa0

Henna Gloss https://youtu.be/GhKdXYgNIYI


Cassia Mask https://youtu.be/eGqtF9j2jgw

Cassia Gloss https://youtu.be/lgHAPz6Ov-U

Deep Conditioners

Now when it comes to deep conditioning treatments you want to look from products with water-insoluble films. Those are the oils and butters that help form a waterproof barrier to keep water from escaping too quickly. These products should also contain emollients instead of humectants, especially in humid climates. So, look for deep conditioners that have aloe, butters and heavier oils in the first 5 ingredients such mango, shea butter, hemp oil and emollients such as behentronium methosufate, ceterayl alcohol, cetyl alcohol and Stearyl alcohol.

Some products that contain these ingredients are: Ouidad Curl Immersion Deep Treatment, Obia Naturals Deep Conditioner, Miche Deep Conditioner, Shea Moisture High Porosity Mongogo and Hemp Deep Conditioner. Deep conditioning should be done weekly.

Finally, after you鈥檝e done your wash day, you should help lay the cuticle down with an ACV rinse or Aloe Vera rinse (something acidic) to help flatten the cuticle. These acidic substances help lower the pH of your hair shaft causing the cuticles to close. Check out my video below for more details on high porosity hair.