13 Products Stylists Desperately Want You to Use if You Have High-Porosity Hair


(Image credit: @traceeellisross)

I've always had dry, thick, curly hair. I'm learning to embrace my natural texture now (it's a process and a journey), but I can't say that was the case five or six years ago. I used to heat-style my strands religiously, ironing them to perfection every week, but what I didn't realize was that this was causing next-level damage to my hair and making it even more prone to breakage than it already was. I then learned what the term "high-porosity hair" meant and it dawned on me—I wasn't doing myself any favors. Anyone who has high porosity hair knows. It can be a struggle if you don't use the right products.

Don't know what I'm talking about? Don't worry, I'll explain. But I will say that having it means your hair gets dry fast and isn't the best at retaining moisture overall. If this sounds familiar, read on below. I'm breaking down what high porosity hair is and the best products to help it maintain its health

What is high porosity hair and how can you keep it healthy?

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.

The Best Products for High-Porosity Hair


(Image credit: @hungvanngo)


(Image credit: @hungvanngo)

Up Next: 6 Tricks for Healthy Hair This Fall, According to a Top Colorist

Shawna Hudson
Associate Beauty Editor

Shawna Hudson has worked in editorial for over six years, with experience covering entertainment, fashion, culture, celebrities, and her favorite topic of all, beauty. She graduated from California State University, Fullerton, with a degree in journalism and has written for other publications such as Bustle, The Zoe Report, Byrdie, Elite Daily, Mane Addicts, and more. She is currently an associate beauty editor at Who What Wear and hopes to continue feeding her (completely out-of-control) beauty obsession as long as she can. Stay up to date on her latest finds on Instagram @shawnasimonee.