Hair Porosity & protein sensetivity

AmiraAmira Member
Hello everyone, 
I hope u would participate in this discussion. 
Hair used to be classified as dry, normal and oily hair. And we formulate accordingly. Plus, cases like split ends, dandruff, bleached hair and straightening treated hair. 
Now there is Porosity (high, low & medium).
Many routines like  curly routines which need products to be sulfate & silicone free. 
The new thing (which i can't get it), hair classified as high protein & low protein and a * protein sensetive hair*
I formulate hair products (shampoo, conditioner& mask) using hydrolyzed wheat protein (i ahve a good feedbck about the products) ... And some people see this & talk about having high protein hair so, it is not suitable for them. 
many informations & misunderstanding people have through blogs and websites is confusing for me. 
So, anyone can explain to me that thing? 
How to get & where the right informations? 
Thanks in advance 


  • What exactly are you seeking to have explained? 
  • letsalcidoletsalcido Member
    edited June 4
    I’m not an expert by any means. This sounds to me like something not based on science but rather common talk based on anecdotal experience or marketing.

    There’s been plenty of talks here about the use of proteins and amino acids in cosmetics and whether they “work”. Consensus is that they don’t, specially on rinse-off products. They’ll simply wash away (among other reasons). Chances are what people are experiencing is either a shampoo that is too stripping, or one that is leaving too much residue.

    Here’s a decent article I just found you’ll see it’s mostly sebum that makes the hair shine, smooth and more maleable. Lack thereof makes it brittle, etc. Conditioners (the ingredients) mimic the role of sebum. So you can formulate shampoos that are more stripping for people with oily scalps, and less stripping (and with conditioners) for those with dry hair. Add or remove claim ingredients as you see fit for your marketing story.

    I’m not a hair expert, but this is just coming from a someone with a general chemical/life science background, and using critical thinking when reading online. It would be interesting to see what others say.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    edited June 4
    As @letsalcido said, these things are not based on science. Cosmetic formulators do not refer to hair porosity (it's hair damage) and hair protein sensitivity is not a thing. Different hair might react differently to hair protein treatments but I've never seen evidence of it.

    It's a bit like studying the stars.  Astronomers and Astrologers both look at the sky and see the same things. But they have vastly different ways of assessing and explaining what they see. One approach is scientific. And one approach is...not.

    If you want to learn what types of beliefs about hair are being propagated and what they mean, a good place to go is There are lots of discussions and consumer questions answered by a range of people with different experience in the subject.

    It's called hair science but that doesn't mean it's based on science. The discussion board has some misinformed stylists and hair "experts" who seem to have learned all they know from salon brand marketing departments and personal experience. So, there is both good and bad advice there. 

    It's not necessarily a good place to get answers about hair treatments and what works, but for a formulator it is a good place to be informed about myths and dubious advice that consumers are being told. 
  • AmiraAmira Member
    @Perry @letsalcido thank you for your responses
    I understand what you said well and i know it isn't scientific. 
    But dealing with people, what i a suposed to do? 
    Do as a chemist and tell people that there is not such a thing like Porosity, high protein & low protein hair and all that not scientific. 
    Or do as a brand owner using that marketing claims as people believe in that so much. 
    Since this cg (curly girl) methods & routines, and all that blogs, many myths and misunderstanding are there. 

  • AmiraAmira Member
    I was asking about the classifications of hair according to Porosity & what called hair with high protein and hair with low protein. Is it Scientific? 
  • @Amira the science behind high protein and low protein hair: peroxides, bleach etc can definitely denature proteins and I would not be surprised if some were actually lost during certain cosmetic procedures causing hair to be more or less porous. That I believe. 

    What I do not believe is that proteins in a shampoo or conditioner is causing adverse effects (or any effect for that matter) on hair. The reason why information is hard to find and is confusing or contradictory even, is probably due to lacking a solid scientific foundation.

    As a hypothetical example: someone that has done market research may notice that people that claim to have “low protein hair” complain from dryness, breakage, and frizz. Knowing this, you formulate products with slightly more conditioning agents (butters, oils, quats, silicone) to mask their issues and add just enough protein to make a marketing claim. But you know what is actually doing the job is not the protein. 

    As a formulator your job is to understand what the real issue is behind what people observe, then find a way to mask it with the right ingredients. Also go with the flow and trends if you really want to sell your product, give the people what they want (add protein, remove protein etc). 
  • AmiraAmira Member
    @letsalcido i really appreciate your talk. Thank you 
    I agree to all the points u explained 
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @Amira - I would not tell consumers, or even stylists, that they are wrong. Directly telling someone they are wrong about something is almost never appreciated or effective.  What I would do is to find out what problems people have that they want addressed. Then formulate to fix those problems. If people believe they have protein sensitive hair, then don't add protein. Or for other people who want protein, you can add it. Protein in hair products doesn't actually do much in my experience. But at least a small part of cosmetic formulating is giving people what they want.  (That's why you see panthenol, which does pretty much nothing in my experience, in so many hair care products).
  • AmiraAmira Member
    @Perry i got your point. 
    Thank you so much for always responding my discussions. Realy grateful for learning from you. 
  • Damaged hair cannot be restored in the full meaning of this word. We can only wait till new healthy hair grow and to make the damaged potion look better by applying special treatments. It's a sad truth that my hairstylist Inland Empire Bridal Hair told me when I visited him to get my bridal hair look healthier.

  • @Amira, thank you for bringing up this topic. I first heard all these weird concepts (several months ago) on the haircare science subreddit that Perry mentioned above. Tried to look it up and couldn’t find any reasonable sources mentioning hair porosity. I also always thought there’s damage or no damage but now it’s getting complicated and people get quite religious about their hair.
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