Hair Porosity 101: What is Hair Porosity?

You may be familiar with your hair type and texture and how to manage it, but do you know your hair porosity? Identifying the porosity of your hair can help determine the right method of care for your hair type. 

What is Hair Porosity? 

The first step towards understanding hair porosity is to familiarize yourself with the structure of the hair. Each individual hair shaft is comprised of three layers1
+ The medulla is the weakest part of the hair shaft. It’s a loosely packed region of air and space in the very center of the hair. 
+ The cortex is the middle layer that makes up the majority of the hair shaft. It is mainly made of keratin proteins – the building blocks for hair, skin, and nails. 
+ The cuticle is the outer most layer of the hair that is responsible for protecting the hair shaft from external damage. The cuticle is made up of overlapping scales called keratinocytes that resemble shingles on a roof. 

The shape and distribution of these “scales” on the cuticle layer are mainly responsible for the strength, friction levels, and porosity of the hair.2 Hair porosity is characterized by the ability of hair to hold and retain water, products, and treatments. The larger the distribution between the cuticle’s keratinocytes, the larger the porosity of the hair – and vice versa. If the spacing is too wide, the hair may have trouble retaining moisture. Too thin, and the hair may have trouble letting moisture in.3 

Both high and low hair porosity can lead to dryness, frizziness, and breakage of the hair.3 Learning about your hair’s porosity can help understand how to best care for your hair type. So how do you know if you have high or low hair porosity?  

 High Porosity Hair

When hair porosity is high, this means the keratinocytes on the cuticle are widely spaced. The wide spacing of keratinocytes will allow water to easily enter the hair shaft. However, it will also allow water to easily escape the hair shaft as well, leading to water retention issues. Along with other signs of high porosity, you may notice that your hair is always craving a little extra moisture. Quickly spot additional red flags if you notice that your hair3  
                        + Dries quickly
                        + Is often frizzy and dry
                        + Breaks easily
                        + Loses style quickly
                        + Has trouble absorbing conditioners and oils 

Low Porosity Hair  

When hair porosity is low, the keratinocytes on the follicle are spaced closely together. In this case, the hair may be able to hold onto moisture more easily, but it is much more difficult for the cuticle to be penetrated in the first place. This may also result in hair that is in need of extra moisture. Low porosity hair may3  
                        + Take a long time to wet and air dry
                        + Resist absorption of conditioners and oils
                        + Shows signs of product buildup 
                        + Appear dry or frizzy

Normal Porosity Hair  

Normal or medium porosity occurs when the keratinocytes are spaced wide enough to let moisture into the hair shaft, but close enough to lock moisture in. Hair with normal porosity may3 
                       + Naturally appear smooth and shiny
                       + Be strong and show minimal signs of breakage
                       + Hold style well throughout the day 

While hair porosity is mostly genetic, it can also be altered by environmental factors, heat styling tools, and chemical treatments. If you think your hair may be having trouble retaining moisture due to high or low porosity – meet The Mane Agent | Advanced Molecular Bond Repair 

The Mane Agent | Advanced Molecular Bond Repair

The Mane Agent is the latest advancement in growing your healthiest hair. It’s an innovative, at-home, no-rinse, lightweight bonding treatment that actually repairs the hair from the inside out – unlike other leave in treatments.  

The Mane Agent covalently bonds to broken amino acid and keratin bonds in the hair. It works hard to protect the hairs bonds, volumize each individual hair shaft, reduce breakage, and lock in moisture. Overall, hair will appear stronger, smoother, more volumized, silkier, and all around healthier.

For both high and low porosity hair, The Mane Agent will work to actively repair damage caused by lack of moisture retention. It goes beyond the cuticle to lock in hydration, while also smoothing and conditioning the outermost layer of the hair – working to restore the porosity of those strands. The Mane Agent will also work to preserve normal porosity hair types by preventing the hair from being thrown off balance by external factors while repairing any existing damage from inside the hair shaft. 

No matter the hair type, texture, or porosity The Mane Agent | Advanced Molecular Bond Repair works to restore your hair in a way we hope you find transformative. 

1. Cruz, C. F., Costa, C., Gomes, A. C., Matamá, T., & Cavaco-Paulo, A. (2016, July 25). Human hair and the impact of cosmetic procedures: A review on cleansing and shape-modulating cosmetics. MDPI. Retrieved December 30, 2022, from 
2. Gavazzoni Dias, M. F. R. (2015). Hair cosmetics: An overview. International journal of trichology. Retrieved December 29, 2022, from 
3. Evans, Amber. “An Overview on Hair Porosity.” NYSCC, New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists, 11 Nov. 2020,,grooming%20practices%20to%20varying%20degrees.