“Hair does what we tell it to do when it's in good condition,” says Sam James, director of award-winning SJ Establishment in Adelaide. “When you have porous hair, the last thing it wants to do is jump up, have volume and look happy.”

Porosity, which is like little potholes in our hair’s outer cuticle layer, translates to split ends, breakage, uneven colour, generally lacklustre-looking hair and short-lasting blowouts. You can blame colouring, brushing, heat tools, and chemical treatments like perming and straightening for all that.

Not sure if porosity is your problem? “If you take one strand of hair and put it in a glass of water, if it's porous it will sink, and if it's healthy it will float,” James says.

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Even if you fall somewhere between semi-attached and addicted to your hair routine, James believes that there’s plenty you can do to revive your porous mop.

Preparation is key

First, James says a repairing-yet-conditioning regimen will help you achieve the base you need to maintain healthy hair. At-home, pro-standard ranges, like Matrix’s Anti-Breakage Shampoo and Conditioner are packed with deep-cleaning and protein-building benefits, that help protect against the damage of heat styling.

“Every time you wash your hair, you should be putting a leave-in treatment in too,” James says, recommending Instacure’s Porosity Spray which she says counteracts porosity by filling in those potholes, fixing the root cause of dull hair, rather than masking it. But if you’ve got delicate, highly blond, or really thick hair, she says you should be using a treatment instead of a conditioner.

Also, remember to keep the washing to a minimum – the more you wash, the more you need to style it. Instead, James says to aim for two or three times a week because that oil is a built-in moisturising treatment.

Protect those strands

When it comes to styling, James says to add in your volume mousse or straightening balm of choice to still-wet hair, then make sure to use a heat protector on every section to safeguard your hair’s cuticle layer before you even think of switching on that dryer.

“If you're just giving it a spritz all over, brushing it through and then tonging your hair, it's not going to give you as much protection as if you're spraying every section,” she says.

Lasting the distance

Before you go to sleep with wet hair again, hear James out. “The best way to get the most protection and longevity out of your styling is to make sure you've got moisture in there from beginning to end,” she says. “If you let it dry naturally, and then you get up to straighten it the next morning, you'll be doing that twice a day to try and get it back to smooth because the memory won't be there.”

This is also one of the reasons your hair looks that good when you leave the salon – it was all done in one sitting.

On the flip side, leaving your hair to naturally dry when you plan to curl it works in your favour. “Because any natural movement in the hair is going to help the curl hold,” she says. “If you blow-dry it, it's going to drop really quickly and go back to smooth.”

Learn to refresh, not reset

If you’ve followed all the prep-steps and achieved an immaculate blowout, James says you should be able to stretch it out at least four or five days, with a bit of dry shampoo on the third. But you’re probably using it wrong.

“You're supposed to actually tip your head upside down after a couple of minutes and shake your head,” James explains. “Because the dry shampoo is supposed to collect the dirt in your hair and remove it.”

Other damaging culprits

James says you can equip yourself with a silk pillowslip, hair coils (those springy-looking hair ties) and a gentle brush, like the cult-favourite Mason Pearson, to further minimise breakage.

If you’re thinking of upgrading anytime soon, be sure to opt for a hairdryer with ionic technology, which helps seal in moisture rather than blast it bone-dry. Or consider replacing your straightener with a hot brush to smooth out those locks, rather than that direct, clamp-down heat you’re accustomed to.

And lastly, “We should be trying to wear our hair down at least three days a week,” James says. “Then pick three or four up-dos in different places on the head, so you're never putting your hair tie in the same place, distributing the tension.” Think topknot, half-up-half-down, braid or a low pony, avoiding the too-tight high pony as much as possible.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Matrix.