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Field Guide: How Porosity Affects Your Hair Color

by Cheryl Locke August 20, 2014

Field Guide: How Porosity Affects Your Hair Color

Image by Madison Reed

If you weren’t formally trained in beauty school, you may never have come across the term porosity when dealing with your hair. Familiarizing yourself with this lingo, though technical, turns out to be immensely handy–especially when coloring your hair yourself and/or talking to your colorist.

What is Porosity?

Porosity refers to hair’s ability to absorb moisture. How absorbent depends on your natural texture, color history, styling, and degree of environmental exposure. The usual suspects that damage hair–bleach, excessive heat, sun and salt water–not only leave hair weakened, they also increase hair’s porosity. In healthy hair, the cuticle is closed, protecting the hair shaft.

What Porosity Means for Hair Coloring

When the cuticle is frayed and lifted, as in the case of highly porous hair, color penetrates too easily and the formula can further weaken strands. On the other side of the spectrum, hair that’s low in porosity, while slick and smooth, repels color and often requires longer processing times.

Know Your Hair’s Porosity Level

It’s absolutely worth knowing your hair’s porosity levels. Finding out takes literally a second. 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.

Take Control of Your Hair

Simply understanding your hair type will skyrocket your hair care skills. First off, you can do some damage control with deep condition treatments and nourishing oils.

And when it comes to actual coloring, you’ll have the wisdom of knowing the general instructions may not apply to your fast-acting, highly efficient hair. For high porosity, shorten your process time to a zippy 10 to 15 minutes, and your hair will thank you by being bouncier and having more even color.

Talk to the Madison Reed Color Crew for even more advice on how to get to your perfect hair color. Email, start up a chat, or give us a call at 888-550-9586.