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How Hair Porosity Affects Hair Colour

What is Porosity?

Porosity refers to hair’s ability to absorb moisture. The absorbency or porosity of your hair depends on the natural texture, colour history, styling, and degree of environmental exposure.

Hair damage leads to physical effects on the hair which increase hair porosity.

Hair porosity refers to how much moisture it can retain. Grab one strand of hair, hold it from the end and run two fingers up it towards your scalp. If you feel any bumps or ridges, this indicates porosity. The hair cuticles in the outer layer of healthy hair lie flat against hair shaft, but if the hair is porous they are raised, and can be felt in this porosity strand test.

Natural Porosity

Hair can also naturally have high porosity, and this is more often seen in hair which is either very fine and thin, or in curly, textured hair. These hair textures tend to have a thinner outer cuticle layer, and it is this thin cuticle layer which can lead to over-absorption of colour, or colour leakage and rapid colour fade.

How Porosity Affects Hair Colour

Porous hair has a damaged and raised cuticle. In healthy hair the cuticle is smooth and lies flat, but the cuticle in porous hair is lifted or raised.

When the cuticle is damaged and raised, any colour mixture which is applied to the hair will penetrate too easily and be over-absorbed, which can lead to darker, duller colour outcomes. Increased hair porosity can also lead to rapid colour fade, as the raised hair cuticles can leak colour pigment molecules.

Fast Fading Colour

When the hair does not retain the colour molecules there will be a noticeable fading of the colour. Porous hair cannot retain colour effectively, leading to potentially both darker and duller colour results, and also colour results which fade rapidly. The raised cuticle on the outer layer of the hair allows colour pigments to leak, leading to fading colour results. Colour will fade and be short-lasting.

How Porous is My Hair?

You are seconds away from knowing your hairs porosity level. Grab a strand of hair and slide your fingers from the ends toward your scalp. If it feels bumpy, this indicates that your hair is quite porous. Porous hair may also look puffy, frizzy, and suffer from split ends.

How to manage highly porous hair

You can take some simple but effective steps to reduce further damage to your hair and to repair damaged and porous hair.

Our Repair Mask, Repair Spray and Split End Serum are loaded with organic botanicals and are free from all nasties. They will deeply nourish, hydrate, strengthen and repair dry, dull, porous, fragile and damaged hair, and leave your hair instantly softer and smoother.

Avoid Over-Processing Porous Hair

It is very important to avoid over-processing porous hair. Avoid heated styling tools, lightening and chemical straightening processes and avoid regular shampoo, conditioner, styling and care products which contain conventional ingredients which are too harsh for porous hair and which will further weaken and damage your hair.

Careful product selection and a simpler, more minimal care and styling routine which leans into your natural texture and colour range is best for porous hair. Porous hair is essentially a bit over-sensitive and it is essential to prevent any further strain on your hair. Porous hair will require more TLC. Regular hydrating and conditioning treatments will strengthen your hair, promote elasticity and support healthier hair which functions and performs better.

Talk to our colourists for personalised advice on how to best work with porous hair.

It has been over 3 weeks since I first colored my hair using The Shade. The color has started vibrant and fresh, and the condition of my hair has stayed shiny and healthy, which is different to the supermarket dyes that I have been using for years. Really happy with the result so far. I also love the convenience of having regular deliveries so I don’t need to remember to purchase each month!!


Gorgeous colour! I got individual help with my colour choice as my hair is damaged and the colourist helped me with a colour choice which really works for me to correct colour I didn’t like and also she gave me great advice to help with my hair health and condition (which is part of my colour problem). Very happy.

Amaya D.

The oil has done wonders for my hair!

K. Graf-Cameron

I love Tsubaki oil for my hair and face. It’s going to replace my La Mer cream.

K. Jones

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