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Your Guide to Caring for High Porosity Hair

Read this if your hair quickly absorbs all water and oil.
December 13, 2023

Hair porosity
is an important component of hair health and hair care maintenance. Whether you know all about low porosity versus high porosity or you didn’t even know there was a difference, the porosity of your hair strands is vital for your overall care and the products you use for it.  


No matter how diligent you are with a moisturizing hair care routine, if it seems as though moisture leaves your strands just as quickly as it goes in, hair porosity is most likely the culprit. That’s because your hair’s porosity plays a huge role in how you keep your tresses hydrated, and high porosity hair has unique needs in this area. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about managing high porosity hair, plus the right products to give your high porosity hair the care it deserves. 


What is High Porosity Hair?

Simply put, high porosity hair can easily absorb moisture or water but is unable to hold onto it as well. That’s because  hair cuticle remains open in high porosity hair, so that moisture leaves as easily as it enters, confirms the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. It’s the opposite of low porosity hair, which has a closed cuticle that repels water and moisture and prevents them from ever entering the hair shaft in the first place.  Both hair types can look and feel dry, however high porosity hair is more prone to a frizzy appearance since moisture isn’t retained in the hair, leading to breakage and dehydrated strands.


What Are Signs of High Porosity Hair?

High porosity hair is often closely associated with curly hair types that aren’t able to retain moisture, along with damaged strands from too many chemical treatments or bad hair habits. However, any hair type or damage level experiences high porosity; it varies from person to person. 


If you were to look at a piece of your hair under a microscope, you may see a sleek strand that represents low porosity hair, or something with various cuticles looking spread apart or layered (like roof shingles), representing high porosity hair. For the most part, high porosity hair easily absorbs water and dries faster than low porosity hair and tends to break easily from lack of moisture. 


To test your porosity at home, grab a glass of water and pluck a strand of hair from a brush or comb (no need to yank any hair from your head). Place the piece of hair in the water and watch as it floats, sinks or rests somewhere in the middle. Low porosity hair will float to the top and medium porosity hair will float somewhere in the middle. If the strand sinks your hair is most likely high porosity since the hair absorbed all the water it could before getting heavy and falling to the bottom.


How Do You Moisturize High Porosity Hair Daily?

No matter your hair type, you’ll want to use the right hair care products to keep your mane hydrated and healthy. High porosity hair is no exception, so adopt these hair care tips to ensure that your mane stays moisturized.


Try a Moisturizing Wash Day Routine

When it comes to caring for high porosity hair, your first line of defense should always be using a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. Your top priority is to boost your strands with moisture, and you’ll want to start things off on the right note. Try L'Oréal Paris Elvive Hyaluron + Plump Hydrating Shampoo, Paraben-Free and L'Oréal Paris Elvive Hyaluron + Plump Hydrating Conditioner, Paraben-Free, which is a sulfate-free hair care duo that works to gently cleanse and deeply replenish hair with hydration. Each product is formulated with hyaluronic acid to plump dry hair with replenished moisture that lasts up to 72 hours.

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Seal Moisture Into Your Mane

One of the easiest ways to provide high porosity hair with long-lasting moisture is the LOC method: liquid (or leave-in conditioner), oil and cream. This hair technique consists of combining water or a water-based product, hair oil and a hair cream to help your mane retain moisture. 

Regarding a leave-in conditioner, you don’t want to use a heavy formula that can weigh down your strands. We recommend L'Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Simply Clean Curl Cocoon Creme to deeply nourish your hair and deliver soft, defined curls daily. 

You should also always make it a point to seal in moisture with a light oil or a hair serum after every wash session. Pick up L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Simply Clean Sheer Oil to infuse dry strands with lightweight hydration while minimizing frizz and adding shine. 

Finish the LOC method with another hair cream to better define curly hair and reduce frizz in all hair types. Try L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths No Haircut Cream Leave In, which is formulated with castor oil, vitamin B3 and vitamin B5 to help seal split ends and reduce breakage without leaving behind a greasy texture.

Don’t Shy Away From Deep Conditioners and Oils

Another way to help high porosity hair look and feel its very best is to rely on a deep conditioner that goes the extra mile to provide your strands with intense moisture, leaving you with the maximum level of hydration.

Of course, heading to the salon for a hair treatment might be preferred, but if that’s not an option (let’s be honest, those visits can get pricey), you can do it yourself right at home. Consider giving L’Oréal Paris Elvive Total Repair 5 Power Restore Multi-Use Treatment a try. Designed for all hair types, this deep conditioner treatment is formulated with concentrated protein for stronger, healthier hair that nourishes deep in the follicle for fortified, moisturized and silky strands. 
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What Is Bad for High Porosity Hair?

Those with high porosity hair should avoid using hair care products with sulfates, parabens and silicones that tend to dry out hair. Since high porosity hair is already dealing with moisture loss it’s best to use hair care products that are formulated without these ingredients for the healthiest hair possible. Additionally, hair that is high in porosity will want to avoid any hair care habits that may be dehydrating like: Showering with extremely hot water and not using conditioner after water (to name a few).

Our Best Products for High Porosity Hair 

In addition to the hydrating products mentioned previously, check out a few styling products from L’Oréal Paris that are perfect for those with high porosity hair types. 

L’Oréal Paris Elvive Hyaluron + Plump Flash Hydration Wonder Water, Sulfate-Free

After shampooing and conditioning your hair with Elvive Hyaluron + Plump Hydrating Shampoo, Paraben-Free and Elvive Hyaluron + Plump Hydrating Conditioner, Paraben-Free, follow up with this in-shower treatment for added hydration. Apply one dose (for thin hair) or two doses (for thick hair) of the liquid to the entire length of your wet hair and gently massage for eight seconds before thoroughly rinsing. Hair will be instantly hydrated with the added hyaluronic acid for the ultimate boost of moisture.  

L’Oréal Paris Elvive Hyaluron + Plump Moisture Plump Serum, Paraben-Free

High porosity hair will appreciate this moisturizing serum from the L’Oréal Paris Hyaluron Plump collection that makes styling and further detangling easy. Spray this creamy hair serum all over your mane to refresh and revitalize strands to define curls and leave all hair types soft to the touch and shiny in appearance. This hair serum is perfect to add moisture to the hair between wash days and when your strands need extra hydration but you don’t have time for a deep conditioning treatment.


L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Curls Leave-in Conditioner

Since curly hair types are more prone to high porosity, it’s important to use styling products like this leave-in conditioner that add and retain moisture for long-lasting hydration. Similar to other hair care products in this guide, the goal is to add intense moisture that lasts multiple days and this leave-in does just that. The formulation of hyaluronic acid and castor oil helps soften curls while keeping them hydrated for a more defined and shapely look. 


Next: What Is a Hair Cuticle and Why You Need to Seal It


Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn; Art Director: Hannah Packer; Associate Creative Producer: Becca Solovay; Production Assistant: Jason Parigian; Digital Tech: Sam Kang; Photo Assistant: Hannah Lewis-Lopes; Makeup Artist: Jonet Williamson; Hair Stylist: Akihisa Yamaguchi ; Wardrobe Stylist: Melina Kemph; Wardrobe Assistant: Kayla Martinez; Prop Stylist: Katrina Rozeville; Prop Assistant: Zach Molina; Model: Alexandra Cunningham

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