How To Treat Very Porous Hair And Damaged Hair: The Complete Guide

I have talked about how to determine your hair's porousity in this post.

   Highly porous hair is compliant and yielding as opposed to low-porous hair which is resistant.
Porous hair yields to all kinds of hairdresser treatments like perms, straightening. It gets wet easily and dries easily, it reacts strongly to the weather (heat, humidity, wind). It looses its shape easily and get squashed out of shape by elastics, hats, sleeping on it.

* Porous hair is easy to dye, but the colours gets washed out quicker.
* Porous hair usually loves proteins.
* Is easy to damage and break, so be gentle!
* Dries out very easily.
* All damaged hair is highly porous, but not vice-versa.
* Tangles a lot.
* Gets dry when the air is dry, and gets frizzy when it rains.
* Looks very bad when not cared for properly.

Here is how to take care of porous hair and decrease its porousity:


   Wash the hair gently. Avoid SLS, SLES, ALS, and ALES as they create even more gaps in the cuticle, and don't even think of washing your hair with baking soda.


   It is very important to moisturise porous hair, as it tends to be dry. Look for moisturising ingredients like d-panthenol, propylene glycol, urea, hyaluronic acid, lactic acid, sodium lactate
sodium hialuronate, aloe vera. Ideally, keep the conditioner on the hair for a longer time. Use hair masques often, and even overnight. The open scales don't hold moisture, so to seal the moisture in, you should use oils and proteins to "stop" the gaps between the scales.


    Most porous hair loves protein. I have written quite a bit on proteins here. Especially milk protein, silk protein and keratin work well for porous hair.


   Porous hair loves oil, because the oils prevent the moisture escaping out of the open scales. It is tricky to find the right oil which will not get completely soaked up by porous hair but will also lightly coat it, but not weigh it down. Here is a basic guide to using oil on the hair. Wet oiling works very well: mixing oil with water rather than applying just oil.
Porous hair usually likes:
Polyunstaturated oils (containing Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids).  Flaxseed oil, evening primrose oil, wild rose oil, wheat germ oil, borage oil, hemp oil, grape seed oil, walnut oil, blackcurrant seed oil.
Monosaturated oils: (containing Omega 9), for example macadamia nut oil, sweet almond oil, olive oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, argan oil, grape seed oil.
Oils that usually don't work are coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, palm oil and babassu oil.
   However, oils is a very individual thing and you might want to try many very different kinds before you find your own "Holy grail". You can check the properties of oils online (Wikipedia or other websites).

pH level:

   A slightly acidic pH level will close the hair cuticles. Try a last rinse that is slightly acidic, for example water with a little bit of cider vinegar. Avoid anything too basic -- for example shampoos with sulfates.


   Avoid heat, especially the dry kind. Porous hair releases moisture so easily that a curling iron, straightener, blow dryer can dry it up very much and susceptible to split ends and breaking. If you must blow dry, use a not-to-hot setting and stop before the hair is completely dry.
  Cold water makes the scales close. Try rinsing your hair with very cold water at the end. This is best done with your head hanging down, rinse from ears down and you will not feel the cold. Hand-held showerheads are best for this.


   Porous hair is easy to style. Just remember that it is fragile, and be gentle. Avoid straightening and blow-drying with hot hair. Straightening can mask the hair damage and makes it temporarily look better, but it is one of the most damaging things you can do to porous hair. Avoid chemical dyeing and other destructive salon treatments.


  Henna decreases hair porousity and makes hair shine. If you don't want to change your hair colour, try henna-based hair colour in a shade close to your own, or the colourless Cassia.

Avoid mechanical damage:

    Handle the hair as if it were very fragile. Towel dry very gently with a microfibre towel or an oild T-shirt. Don't use hair clips that pull the hair or elastic with metal parts. Be very gentle when combing and use the right comb or brush. Coat your hair with oil before swimming --- this will prevent it absorbing so much water that it breaks from  the sheer weight. More ways to minimise mechanical damage are described here.

  If your hair is porous and in a bad state, it will take time, even some months, before you see the effects of a gentle and caring regimen. But it is totally worth it! With some care and a good routine, porous hair can be strong, shiny and beautiful.

   Is your hair highly porous? If so, what is your best tip? Alternatively, what doesn't work for your hair at all?

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