Hair is not just categorized as porous or non-porous. Some may also tell you that hair is either damaged or it’s not. I don’t agree with that because damage from the sun mixed with obsessive flat-ironing is completely different from that of too much chemical processing.

There are various grades of porosity and they are determined by the structure of the hair, the environment, products, chemical processes & color, and styling tools. I often hear clients in the salon saying, “maybe a trim will help” or “my hair is just so frizzy from summertime neglect”. That’s all true, but everyone forgets about the damage they inflict on their own hair. Box coloring, bad products, too much heat, no protection from UV rays or heat, and more are just a few of the culprits.

So, you can keep looking the other way….denying that your habits are damaging….or get the facts!

Which one do you have?


Grade 1

Your hair is natural, untouched by chemicals and combs easily when wet.

You’re lucky that you haven’t fallen victim to box coloring and I hope it stays that way!  Keep using a product regimen that protects your hair and don’t overdo it with styling tools on a daily basis.


Grade 2

Up to 3 stages lighter than your natural shade with mild chemical treatments.

You’re with the majority at this porosity level and will probably stay there unless you make an irrational and impulsive decision. Most clients at this stage still feel that they have great hair and if they haven’t had damage in the past there is no fear of it getting worse. Don’t grab a box of color on a whim or go to the salon asking for a drastic change in one visit….the results will take you to grade 3 or 4….or worse!


Grade 3

You definitely need a conditioning treatment at this point! You’re suffering from moderate exposure to chemical treatments and using styling tools daily.

The good news is that it’s not too late! The first thing you should do is cut back on using heated tools(only do it for special days), and get a good hair mask to use at home.


Grade 4

You’ve got major frizz and your hair may be up to 7 stages lighter than your natural level.

Lightening your hair isn’t the only way to get to this point. Perms, box color, heated tools(or a mixture of everything) can do just as much damage.


Grade 5

It’s over for your hair…there’s no turning back. Lot’s of chemical, heat, or environmental damage has occurred. Frizz has a new meaning at this point, breakage is happening and combing when wet is virtually impossible. This is what we call “mush”.

Please, don’t think about anything but getting a haircut to save what integrity your hair has left. Lay off the styling tools and treat your hair with love & care! The next thing you need to do is buy a deep conditioning treatment…and get used to wearing a ponytail :).


If you’re not sure if you’re hair is damaged beyond repair take my quiz- How Damaged Is My Hair?, to find out more about your hair’s porosity!

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About The Author


Professional Hairstylist | American Board Certified Haircolorist | Makeup Artist | Beauty Blogger

3 Responses to Hair Porosity & Damage Levels

  1. […] to lighten it first…and if it’s really dark you will probably have to bleach it to the danger zone. If your hair isn’t breaking off by then…you might get a bright pink-ish color…if […]

  2. […]  She didn’t understand why this happened, she followed the directions, but boxes do not explain the danger of porosity.  Porosity has a different meaning when it comes to haircolor so I’ll give you a short […]

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