Most non-colourists have never heard of porosity before when dealing with hair. It is always good to learn something new, so we’re letting you know a bit more about porosity and how it can affect your colour.
What is Porosity?
Porosity refers to hair’s ability to absorb moisture. The absorbency or porosity of your hair depends on the natural the natural texture, colour history, styling, and degree of environmental exposure.
The same factors which contribute to hair damage, such as bleaching or lightening processes, excessive heat, sun and salt water, not only leave hair weakened, they also increase hair’s porosity.
If your hair is damaged, then it is porous, as hair damage leads to physical effects on the hair which increase hair porosity.
Your hairs 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 can indicate 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 they can be felt in this porosity strand test.
How Porosity Affects Hair Colour
Porous hair has a damaged and lifted 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, as in the case of highly porous hair, 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 as well as lead to further weakening of the hair. Increased hair porosity can also lead to rapid colour fade, as the raised hair cuticles can leak the colour pigment molecules. When the hair does not retain the colour molecules there will be a noticeable fading of the colour.
How Porous is My Hair?
You are one second 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, your hair is overly porous, and may look puffy, frizzy, and suffer from split ends.
How to manage highly porous hair
You’ve read this article, and the results of your one second porosity test are in. Your hair did have a bumpy feel and is consistent with the description of 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.
We recommend weekly or fortnightly deep conditioning thermal Tsubaki oil treatments – a pure, gentle, lightweight oil which is high in nutrient and which can repair damage, strengthen, hydrate and boost the condition of your hair.
And when it comes to your colour application and processing time, remember that highly porous hair will over-absorb and over-process colour, leading to darker, duller colour outcomes which will also weaken your hair further, so you want want to shorten your process time to a zippy 10 to 15 minutes, and it could also be helpful to slightly soften your colour, to avoid darker colour results. Talk to our colourists for personalised advice on how to best work with porous hair.