What's the 411: Low Porosity Hair

What's the 411: Low Porosity Hair

Trying to figure out the right hair care routine can seem so time consuming and overwhelming! The worse part can be wasting money on products that you thought would help grow your hair, when in fact all it did was nothing. In this 3 part series, we will discuss the importance of understanding hair porosity and the role it plays in determining which products will benefit your hair the most! Healthy hair growth goals are in order all 2019!

To start off, we have to understand what hair porosity even means. Hair porosity is the hair’s ability to absorb moisture and retain it. There are 3 types of hair porosity:

  • Low Porosity- cuticles are laying down tightly on the hair shaft preventing the absorption of moisture
  • Normal Porosity- balance between both low and high porosity. This type is able to absorb moisture and retain it for a certain period of time.
  • High Porosity- cuticles are lifted causing moisture to quickly leave the hair.

Hair porosity tests to see which type you have:

  • The Float Test- take a few strands of clean hair and place it in a cup of water. Let them sit in the cup for a couple of minutes. If the strand sinks to the bottom of the cup, you have high porosity hair. If it stays on top of the water, you have low porosity hair. If it floats (middle of cup), you have normal porosity hair.
  • The Wet Strand Test- on clean hair, use a spray bottle to wet a small section of your hair (tie the rest of your hair back). If the hair becomes wet super quick, you have high porosity hair. If it takes a while for the hair to absorb the water, you have normal porosity hair. If the hair is not staying wet, you have low porosity hair.

Knowing your hair porosity is important because it’ll help you know which products will effectively moisturize your hair!

Low Porosity Hair

So, we’ve mentioned that low porosity hair is when the cuticles are tightly closed preventing the hair from absorbing moisture. Because the cuticles are laid flat and smooth, the hair appears healthy, but really it is hard to moisturize! The good thing is that once you determine the products that work for this hair type, then once you properly moisturizer your hair then that moisture is sure to stay there because those cuticles aren’t letting anything pass in or out! 

Other features of low porosity hair:

  • Resistant to chemicals, such as colors and relaxers, causing it to take longer for these things to penetrate the cuticle in order to work.
  • Hair always is dry, no matter how much moisture and oils you put on it
  • Water tends to sit on top of the hair 
  • This type of porosity is prone to product build-up (due to it not being absorbed)

Ways to care for low porosity hair:

  • Use a clarifying shampoo to get rid of product build up
  • Deep condition hair with heat (hooded dryer or use a deep condition cap and wrap head with warm towel to use body heat). This will the cuticles to open up allowing moisture to be absorbed.
  • Greenhouse/baggy method- the humidity this creates forces the hair to absorb moisture. This method is typically used overnight.
  • Humectants (ex. Glycerin)
  • Use water-based moisturizers
  • Avoid heavy oils (coconut, castor, olive) as they tend to just sit on top of the hair. Also, avoid thick & creamy moisturizers.
      • Use light oils (argan, grapeseed, sweet almond, jojoba)
      • Condition your hair with protein-free conditioners (protein is used to strengthen the cuticles and this is not necessarily needed with low porosity hair since the cuticles are already hard to open).
      • Wash hair with warm water to open up the cuticles allowing moisture to be absorbed. Then, use cold water for the final rinse to close the cuticles so that moisture is sealed.
      • Avoid co-washing (it causes build up)

Have some tips you’d like to share with us on how you maintain your low porosity hair? Leave a comment below! 


Comments (1):

Shequilla Mallory on

Thank you so much I tried these tips this weekend. I found out that I have low porosity hair and have been doing my hair regimen so wrong. Thank you so much for this.

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