Porosity And Hygral Fatigue – Two Problems One Solution

Woman looking at the ends of her curly hairIn a recent email newsletter I touched on the problem of porosity in black hair. Here I go a bit into a bit more detail and also look at another problem that goes hand in hand with porosity, hygral fatigue.


A pore is a gap/hole in the fiber of your hair that both allows fluids in and out again. Because of the natural bends in afro hair, cuticles on the curvature of the hair when in it’s natural state usually remain open so a higher level of porosity is to be expected.

With relaxed hair, porosity is increased during the relaxing process because the high alkalinity of the relaxer will cause some damage to the hair fibre as it straightens.

Other factors that increase porosity is bleaching, mechanical damage or even prolonged exposure to sunlight. Under a microscope you will often find that the ends of long hair (which have had the most exposure to sunlight) will be completely devoid of cuticles! They have either worn away or fused together, and this is before taking into account any mechanical or chemical damage.

Hygral Fatigue

Hygral fatigue is usaully a direct result of high porosity in hair. It is the weakening of hair caused by the strands swelling during the uptake of water and contracting when the water is lost. The swelling and contracting of the strands weakens them substantially and increases the likelihood of breakage.

I have often noted some contradictions in hair care. While some will say that mineral oil is the devil, there will always be an example of someone with waist length hair who uses a procuct laced with mineral oil. Same goes for some hair care techniques.

Some relaxed and naturals ladies have noted great length retention with wet bunning but I on the other hand got tangles and breakage for my troubles! Where hygral fatigue is concerned, some people swear by co-washing their hair 2-3 times per week.

If your hair has high porosity and subsequently hygral fatigue, co-washing so often would be one of the biggest mistakes you could make. But it’s not all doom and gloom, moisture is still vital in hair care and the solution is so simple it’s laughable!

Oils, Butters, Thick conditioners and Prepooing

There are things you can do to keep porous hair looking and feeling healthy. The best solution of course would be to try and reduce the things you are doing that caused the high porosity in the first place. But once the damage is already done then there still a second line of defence.

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About Alma

Hi! I'm Alma Ruddock, a full time blogger. I stumbled on a hair care forum in 2008 frustrated with my breaking relaxed hair and the information that I found there changed the fate of my hair forever!. I started BlackHairInformation.com as a way to help both myself and other women of color achieve their dreams of long healthy hair. I have now achieved my goal length and I continue to bring new information about hair on both this website and my personal blog.


  1. 1
    Sharonda says:

    Thanks for clarifying this. I always assumed that porosity and hygral fatigue were the same thing. Coloring my hair has definitely made it more porous.

  2. 2
    Hairchica says:

    Thanks for this, good read

  3. 3
    Harriett says:

    lol i could have sworn that hygral was a typo. I didn’t even know it existed!

  4. 4

    Thank you sooo much. I spent 30 minutes online looking for answers on this. I have never relaxed my hair, but have always been a slave to the heat (blowdrying and flatironing weekly). Two months ago I decided to stop the heat because I noticed that when I did not use heat how much growth I had. After two weeks of Co washing moisturizing and sealing regularly my hair was glorious, but now another six weeks later using the same processes my hair is so dry that the ends stick together even after deep conditioning. In fact it seems to he in worse discontinuance when used to abuse it with heat and used products laden with silicone and mineral oil. Like you bunning has also wreaked havoc on my hair! Now I finally have answers, hygral fatigue. Thank you for providing this valuable resource… Now I can come up with another regime rather than running back to the heat

  5. 6

    Beautiful lady

  6. 7

    Yes ma’am

  7. 8

    Great information. Keep it coming!

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