March 2, 2009

Pomade, Pins and Porosity

Porosity means the 'condition' of hair, interested now ?

Hair Porosity is the ability of the hair to retain & absorb moisture, determined by how raised or compact the cuticle layers are. Porosity is commonly referred to as the CONDITION of the hair, which affects a lot more than you think! The degree of porosity is directly related to the condition of the cuticle layer - when the cuticle layer is damaged that's when you feel your hair and think, "I must deep condition my hair, get a hair cut or a hair color . . . something is just not right."
Hair porosity is classified as:
  • resistant : has a tight, compact cuticle layer that resists penetration. Chemical services performed on resistant hair require a more alkaline solution. A high pH raises the cuticle and permits uniform saturation and processing. . . therefore requiring a longer processing time . Cuticle -- Tight = Hair resistant therefore a Longer processing time.
  • normal : is neither resistant nor overly porous. Color services performed on this type of hair will usually process as expected. Isn't "normal" wonderful sometimes!
  • porous: Has a raised cuticle layer that easily absorbs color. Chemical services performed on overly porous hair require a less alkaline solution than those performed on resistant hair. A lower pH minimizes swelling and helps prevent excessive damage to the hair. Cuticle is lifted which makes the color take quickly AND Fade quickly.

Manufacturers write formulation recommendations with average, normal hair in mind -- that is, medium texture and normal porosity. For very coarse hair, very fine hair, resistant hair, or over-porous hair, adjustments are necessary which is a big chunk and the largest percentage of most of your hair out there . . .another of the points not taken into account with BOXED Color Kits, They don't ask, they don't explain and you can see by this Post it is a very important part of each individuals color formula. I solve this when we go through the HHCC Home Hair Color Consultation, making that a better choice than just randomly throwing color on your hair. Its all about education here, that is my goal, I simply hope to get more of you involved.
Both the diameter of the hair strands(texture) and the condition of the cuticle (porosity) significantly affect hair color acceptance.
The Cuticle
Starting from the outside -- in on a hair strand . . .we first encounter the cuticle...which is the tough outer layer of the hair. The cuticle surrounds the inner layers and protects the hair from damage. A strong compact cuticle layer makes for resistant hair, meaning that the hair resists penetration and is difficult to service.
Effect of Porosity on Hair Coloring
Resistant hair takes longer than average to soften and penetrate...therefore should be allowed the maximum timing when processing. Very-low developer volumes ( less than 15 to 20 Volume) won't soften it sufficiently. Super-duper resistant hair sometimes referred to as "tenacious" which is Gray sometimes requires pre-softening or pre-pigmentation.
Hair of normal porosity accepts and retains color normally. A slightly open cuticle allows chemicals in normally, and, once the coloring process is complete, closes enough to prevent dye molecules from escaping. Timing and formulation are normal for hair of normal porosity.
Porous hair sponges up color - it drinks it ---but it releases color quickly, too. It lets it IN and it lets it OUT. A highly raised cuticle is penetrated instantly (so timing is shorter) but it is not compact & intact enough to retain color molecules normally. Overporous hair tends to fade faster than the other 2 classes and may require 'filling' ( a subject I have yet to go into). High volume developers are generally unnecessary and can be quite detrimental on super overporous hair. If the color service is deposit only, a low or no-peroxide color is a gentle alternative (demi-permanent or semi-permanent products are great choices).
Overporous hair accepts dyes differently than that of normal porosity. The more overporous the hair, the more selective its acceptance of permanent hair color (oxidative dyes). With permanent haircoloring, overporous hair tends to reject warm artificial pigment ( red & gold) and accept ash (cool & drab) pigment.
The problem with many client's hair is: there may be multi-porous hair along one strand, more than one porosities along one strand, YYYepp! What solves that? Equalizing the porosity of the entire head of hair prior to coloring makes huge difference, I am such a promoter of this idea that I carry many products in the store to combat the problem. I am finding many hair stylists don't under stand the concept either. (about 1/4 to 1/3 of our members are licensed Cosmetologists!) I write this to accommodate you the CRIB COLORIST, I want you to be as educated as I was, if you choose to do so. Here are a few of the porosity equalizing products I carry in the Killer Color Clinic hl=en
  • In Depth by WELLA
  • Malibu 2000 Treatment Packs - Color Prep package
  • Malibu 2000 Shampoos
  • Spray Porosity Equalizer (its on its way for the Killer Color Clinic) which I use on my clients, helpful with blonding especially.
  • Thriven : leaving this on overnight as directed, would be the closest product to regaining some of your original porosity.
badasshair3471Porosity Post
Keep this in mind about porosity: it lasts forever. Once the cuticle is lifted, there is no returning it to it virginal / compact state. Any porosity you create will remain forever, until the hair is cut off and GONE ! Another reason to keep your haircuts regular!
2110_lg malibu_2000_hard_water_weekly_demineralizer
Although normal porosity cannot be restored once lost, treatments such as the Malibu 2000 Treatment Packs that only sell for $3.50 in the store, are of great value, along with the Gold Standard for Hair Conditioning : THRIVEN. Both the entire Malibu 2000 line and my Killer Strands Line of products is dedicated to the porosity of the hair, as you can see its not an easy concept to explain OR understand . . .so I am hoping with this post, I have made it a little more clear at least and expressed the importance of porosity with your hair.

Killer Chemist
8 comments on "Pomade, Pins and Porosity"
  1. Dear KC.
    I have started reading your blog after 3 different color corrections and lots of $$ still noone seems to know how to do a blonde. I dont know how you feel about aveda color but i had a teacher of aveda color do it...but i guess she seems to like warm tones because that always what i get. its so refreshing to hear someone who actually knows what they are talking about.
    I was wondering if there is any possible way I could get you to do my hair???
    I know so much about color myself i would do it but i know that once i use a color remover my hair is going to be completely almost bleached out (which it was previously way over highlighted :0..which i may say started this mess) and i really need some help i am so tired of messing with it and just want to be comftorable with my hair again.
    thanks.. much love.
    Kate. <3

    my e-mail is

  2. sorry ....

  3. Kate,
    You know whats funny. . . I love walking into an Aveda Store . . .NOTHING smells better in my world. and there are a handful of products that work well . .. I like a couple of their new SLS-FREE shampoos...but you know what they are no good at? . . .Color.
    its funny to me that companies like Aveda . . . and Joico. . . who does a few celebrities hair....(their hair has never looked worse) . . . think that because they can make a room smell nice and make a few decent hair styling products that they can put out a fantastic line of hair color. Just baffles me. I have tested Aveda as the first Salon I worked in Malibu was an Aveda Salon and it would have saved me a helluva lot of money if I could have just used all the AVEDA color sitting around. . . but I was brand new to Malibu and I wanted to be known as the best colorist they had ever been heard or seen of... so there was absolutely NO way I could use that garbage hair color. . i PUT IT THROUGH TESTS ON Hair swatches of all types. . . the colors are all GOLD, my LEAST favorite color in hair color. Hair itself has enough of its OWN GOLD IN do not need to put more gold in anyone's hair I promise you. NEVER EVER USE GOLD in hair color. EVER.
    That is what all of Aveda's Blond's are, so no wonder you had problems.

    You know what I would suggest to you . . . pay for a $25.00 HHCC Home Hair Color consultation with me. . .no matter what you end up doing this way we can figure out what should be done to your hair and if you want to come to me. . . I am assuming you live in LA . . .we will know what we are going to do before you get here....remember I have an illness which is why I no longer work in a Salon . . . so I can only do 1 person per day . . every OTHER > day... as long as you can live within my guidelines... I still do about 25 clients hair. But I can't do anything super long and super complicated anymore . . so I need to know what it is first. .

  4. I can't wait for a tutorial on filling!!! That is exactly what I need to learn after trying(...unsuccessfully)to take my platinum back to medium brown... My hair ridiculously over porous. So, I'm FINALLY going to get a HHCC after I do my taxes! Until then, I'm learning my levels and religiously following the 1,000heads protocol (Which has been and effing GODSEND!!!) THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing your wisdom!!!

  5. thanks.. it was great to hear what you think of aveda. i honestly felt the same way about all the blondes that were working there...they were all too gold/orangey for me. i will definetly sign-up for the HHCC...
    i am so excited to do this. i love your is the most informative i have seen. : )

  6. Funny thing. I went to the store to find Matt blond in order to cancel redness in my hair and here in my country , we do not have the /2 line at all!How is this even possible!Is /1 or /9 good as an alternative!?

  7. Anonymous....

    And which country would this be? are you Germany, that would be the only one that it would be funny . . except this might be a tiny bit funny....This is Professional color we are talking about....that most likely is the difference, and why you don't see it.

    NO you cannot substitute any other color for the MATT series, it has to be a brown with a blue base, which is very rare.

  8. Hi KC!

    I know this thread is old but I have a question about the porosity test.

    When I do it, when I run my fingers down the bit of hair, some of it that is shorter gets scooped up in front of my fingers -- sort of like a snow plow?-- and this hair feels rough (probably because it is in the process of tangling).

    But, the hair that is long enough that it stays straight, and my fingers go over it, feels smooth and almost squeaky (well, I did wash it last night).

    Does it sound like I have resistant/smooth hair? And am I doing this right?


All comments are moderated. Please do not include: references to personal information, or any profane, inflammatory or copyrighted comments. We would appreciate it if we all stick to the subject of HAIR . Have a wonderful day.