NHP is reader-supported. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Does Porous Hair Hold Color? [Honest Answer]

Does porous hair hold color? The answer is no, atleast it doesn’t hold color very well.

Don’t worry though, porous locks can be remedied with smart, time and effort. Getting your hair to hold color again is a matter of fixing your hair porosity problems.

I’ll help you do that.

The reason this hair type won't keep color treatments is because highly porous hair has a damaged and lifted cuticle. In healthy normal porosity hair the cuticle lies flat and is smooth.

When the hair cuticle is raised and damaged, as is the case of high porosity hair, any color mixture that you have applied to your hair will penetrate too easily and over-absorb quickly, which often gives your hair a darker, duller color result as well as leads to further weakening of the hair strand. 

Very porous hair can also lead to rapid fading of color treatments like chemical dye and other tinting options.

This happens because the raised hair cuticles actually leak or release the color pigment molecules.

When the pores refuse to close they can’t retain the color molecules inside of the strands, it’s like leaving the front door open all day and watching all of the cats, dogs and children run outside. And you're left wondering does porous hair hold color or not, when the answer is obvious.

Without a doubt, there will be a noticeable fading of the color in high porosity tresses in everything from completely straight to coily type four hair.

Does Porous Hair Hold Color? Answer is no.Does porous hair hold color? Find out today!

Does Porous Hair Hold Color? No. See Why It Doesn’t In Comparison Photos

We’ve already established the fact that highly porous hair won't hold color like normal and low porosity hair will, I think it would help to see some visuals to explain why does porous hair hold color far less than non-porous hair. So let’s take a look...

Highly Porous Hair Won't Hold Color Because….

does porous hair hold color - high porosityDoes porous hair hold color?

High porosity hair is wide open like 7-11, sis….Here, you can see an image that demonstrates how a very porous hair strand looks on a microscopic level.

The raised cuticle scales and damaged cortex let your color treatments flow in and out freely.

If your hair is too porous, the cortex inside can begin weakening. Who doesn’t dread the consequences? Weak, frizzy hair strands that are more likely to get tangled.

When your hair gets too much damage, the keratin begins to break down, opening gaping holes in your hair strands that let more of your favorite hair color treatments leak out than normal and low porosity hair.

If the hair strands are weak enough, you can even get split ends and breakage, along with quick loss of hair color.

Normal Porosity Hair 

does porous hair hold color normal

Normal porosity hair strands have cuticle scales that are not wide open, yet still allow substances like color treatment products, water, and oils in and out at a normal rate.

Hair can become more porous when exposed to heat and the sun for too long, washed with very strong cleansers, or when treated with harsh chemicals. Those protective scales on the outside begin peeling up and sticking out more.

This allows hair dye, water and other substances to enter your hair more easily. It also lets some of the natural oils out, which makes hair more prone to dryness.

Low Porosity Hair 

Does porous hair hold color? low porosity

Low porosity hair has flat cuticle scales that repel water held in color for a very long time.

The hair coloring problem that low porosity hair has is getting the hair color to fully penetrate the closed cuticle. There are many solutions to this issue, no worries.

Healthy, newly grown hair is not porous, it comes out with neatly-layered cuticle scales that protect the inner cortex. Low porosity hair keeps in your hair’s color for much longer than high porosity strands.

Some think that this protective layer is the reason why low porosity hair may not hold onto color well even if it's blonde, this isn’t true.

The key is to make sure the cuticles are fully open during the color treatment process. Hair needs to be treated to allow you to get the most out of a hair dye.

[RELATED ARTICLE: Castor oil for low porosity hair]

Porous Hair Won't Hold Color - How To Fix Porous Hair

If your hair is too porous, the best solution is to outgrow the damage and avoid hair damaging practices for a truly long-term fix. 

However, if you don’t have time for all of that you can use protein fillers. Porous hair does hold color better after a proper protein treatment.

A couple days before coloring, do a healing hydrolyzed soy protein treatment, or do a protein filler if you are going a natural color any darker than a honey blonde. Using a protein filler gives the added color molecules in the dye something to hold onto so to speak, while adding more pigment, making the hair dye seem less translucent over even very light base colors.

Also, if you are going to do a protein treatment, make sure you have removed any silicones from your hair beforehand with a great clarifying shampoo, so that the same silicones that help high porosity hair hold color won’t don't block health and hair growth nutrients from absorbing

You can also use a protein filler after you color dye to help reduce color bleeding.

I’d suggest using semi-permanent browns, they work pretty well for highly porous hair. Red-based colors are good for porous hair that won't hold color because they’re less likely to fade green.  

So unfortunately, there is no permanent fix for highly porous hair that won't hold color besides treating your new growth like a queen and growing out normal to low porosity hair, there are a few things you can do to make highly porous hair color last longer:

  • Do not use anything on already processed hair that requires peroxide - This means no bleach, no permanents, no demis, and no "semis" that require peroxide (which are still technically are demis).
  • Try to really stretch your shampoos as much as you can.
  • Use as cool/cold water as you can stand when washing/rinsing to close the cuticles.
  • Use sulfate free shampoos. For high porosity hair it helps to use a conditioner with silicones in it like this Moisture Repair Conditioner from MoroccanOil brand, to give your hair more protection from the elements and color leakage., just be sure to clarify once a month or so to remove any silicone build up. 
  • Doing a vinegar rinse after coloring, and every so often helps lower the cuticle back down.
  • Mix some of your dye into your conditioner.

Lastly, always clarify and demineralize your last cleansing before any chemical process to avoid adverse results or unstable chemical reactions, this is one of the golden rules of hair care

Remember that test strands can save you a world of headache, that high porosity condition is because of protein damage and it is “patchable”with protein, yet, ultimately a permanent condition for those specific strands until you grow it out.

Remember that moisture is essential, you can use coconut oil as a light pre-treatment to minimize protein reduction, and products like Olaplex hair perfector treatment claim to reform broken disulfide bonds so long as they haven't already negatively paired, but it still doesn’t address lack of protein or moisture issues.

[RELATED ARTICLE: Best DIY deep conditioner for low porosity hair regimen]

The Wrap Up: Does Porous Hair Hold Color - Answered

For anyone asking “Does porous hair hold color?”, the answer is clear, no.

Still though, I hope you found some nice tricks and hacks to use until you grow your hair out and prevent high porosity damage to your new growth in the upcoming years.

And when it comes to common hair color application methods and processing times, you should understand that the general instructions may not apply to your fast-absorbing, fast-releasing,, porous hair. 

Remember – highly porous hair will over-absorb and over-process color, leading to darker, duller colour outcomes which will also weaken your hair further.

Porous hair naturals can take common sense actions  –  shorten your process time to a snappy 10-to-15 minutes, and your hair will thank you by being bouncier and with a more balanced, consistent and true color result that holds a little longer. I hope you enjoyed this "Does porous hair hold color?" tutorial! 

[RELATED ARTICLE: Does low porosity hair need protein]

Follow Author of "Does Porous Hair Hold Color?" Tutorial...


Melissa Lee is a Contributing Editor to NHP and a former owner of the BlackhairOMG website. She formed 4C Trichology Growth Services, LLC., a US based hair care consultation service. She has also contributed as a writer and consultant for various hair and beauty websites. Melissa can be followed on Twitter here.

Get TYPE 4 hair tips delivered to your inbox every week!

Plus, the NHP Black Hair Growth Guide FREE.