Your Guide to Low Porosity HairYour Guide to Low Porosity Hair

Your Guide to Low Porosity Hair

How your hair looks and feels can seriously impact your mood, and the more your know about your strands, the better you can care for them. And knowing the porosity of your natural hair is a bit of a game changer. 

Your hair's porosity is determined by how well the cuticle, the hair's outermost layer, is structured. The cuticle is made up of cells that overlap each other like shingles on a roof. Your hair's porosity depends on how well these cells can retain moisture. If your hair struggles with moisture retention, this low porosity hair guide has all the essential info you need. Plus, find out what all-natural, clinically proven products can give you your healthiest hair yet.

What Is Low Porosity Hair?

To better understand what low porosity hair is, you first need to understand the structure of each hair.

  • The cuticle layer of each hair strand is the outermost layer that protects the hair. It is comprised of dead cells that overlap each other to form a pattern.
  • The cortex layer is the middle layer that contains fibrous mass, which includes protein and pigments that give the hair color.
  • The medulla is the innermost layer of hair and is usually only found in thick or hair with a curl pattern.

If you have low porosity hair, your strands will struggle to absorb moisture, whether it be water or oil. Low porosity hair means your hair has very tight cuticles and is moisture resistant — even when it's washed.

"If your cuticle is smooth and flat, your hair is considered to be low porosity. This means that the cells are tightly packed together, making it difficult for moisture and oil to penetrate," explained award-winning dermatologist Dr. Alpana Mohta MBBS, M.D., DNB. "Low porosity hair is often shiny and resists tangles and frizz."

Locks with a medium porosity hair cuticle respond well to moisture and absorb it. High porosity hair doesn't have dense cuticles, and moisture flows through the hair effortlessly. Straight hair often has a low porosity compared to curly or kinky strands.

Shop: Clean, Sulfate-Free Shampoos

How To Recognize Low Porosity Hair

The characteristics of low porosity hair can vary, but typically, you'll notice the following:

  • Washing and drying take a long time. Low porosity hair strands struggle to absorb water, which can make the drying process pretty arduous. Getting each strand thoroughly wet can also be tricky because the cuticle is so tightly closed. If you have thick hair, air drying is often off the menu, and using a blow dryer can take forever — even compared to those with the same length and hair thickness.
  • Hair products don't trap moisture: If you have low porosity hair, you might discover that instead of absorbing gently into the strands, the hair product just sits on top. So, for example, you might apply light oils or a conditioner to your lengths and ends, but an hour later, you still feel the product on the surface of each hair strand. Super frustrating!

See Also: How to Figure Out Your Hair Porosity (And Why It Matters)

How to Test the Porosity of Your Hair With Water

How your hair looks won't always tell you the porosity of your strands. Trichologist Celestine Gitau told VEGAMOUR, "To test and recognize your hair porosity, one can use the water glass test." It's an easy float test that anyone can do unassisted. Here's how.

  1. Wash the hair with a good shampoo to remove any stubborn product buildup.
  2. Dry your hair as you usually do.
  3. Take a hair strand and drop it into a clear glass of room temperature water.
  4. Observe the strand and see where it floats. Hair that floats close to the top before sinking likely has low porosity.

    You could also try the spray bottle test: Spritz some water on your hair, and watch to see what happens.

    If you have low porosity hair, you'll notice water beads on the strands where the cuticle layer cannot absorb the water. If you have high-porosity hair, the water will absorb instantly.

    The better you understand your hair type, the easier your hair wellness journey will be. "Low porosity hair does not absorb water and hair products easily as the cuticles lie flat, preventing easy penetration of products into the cortex," said Gitau. "This means that it takes longer for low porosity hair to absorb sufficient moisture into the hair strand."

    Having low porosity hair is usually due to genetic factors. Environmental factors won't impact the porosity of your strands. And if the hair health is compromised by heat or styling, the cuticle is more likely to shift toward high-porosity hair.

    Also: How to Identify the Best Hair Supplements

    Low Porosity Hair Frustrations

    Low porosity hair often features minimally damaged hair fibers, which sounds good, but in reality, those who have it could struggle with specific issues.

    Greasy strands. If you've noticed that rich products never sink into your strands, your closed-off cuticle is probably the culprit. Many deep conditioning treatments stay close to the hair's surface, leaving locks looking greasy instead of glossy. Low porosity hair is usually straight, which makes it even easier for the product to slide down toward the ends. This often results in the hair remaining dry even after you've applied a ton of product.

    No volume: Straight hair does have its plus points. For example, you probably won't experience a lot of frizz. But, unfortunately, you'll probably be more prone to flat-looking, limp strands. And if you have fine, straight hair, it can often look like it's thinning, which leaves little room for bounce and volume.

    Hair Care Tips

    Having low porosity hair often means that it's relatively undamaged, which means it doesn't need as much TLC as other hair types. But taking steps to love on your low porosity strands will leave them looking and feeling better. In addition, knowing what ingredients to avoid and what will boost moisture could turn your hair care woes around.

    Use a Sulfate-Free Shampoo and Conditioner

    When it comes to washing your strands, pick a shampoo and conditioner that doesn't contain drying sulfates or heavy silicones in it. Make sure you massage the scalp to rid yourself of stubborn product and rinse thoroughly before applying conditioner. Massaging the scalp will activate the natural oils too, which can help keep hair strands moisturized.

    GRO Revitalizing Shampoo and Conditioner Kit containssulfate- and silicone-free formulas. The shampoo and conditioner feature powerful phyto-actives and VEGAMOUR's proprietary Karmatin™, which is a first-of-its-kind vegan keratin that physically bonds to the hair and remains even after rinsing to protect the hair strands.

    GRO Revitalizing Shampoo & Conditioner

    Opt for Lightweight Oils

    If you're looking to boost your strands with hydration, styling products with emollients and humectants will work well. Humectants act like magnets to attract water to the hairs, and emollients will cling and penetrate the strands. Jojoba oil, shea butter, argan oil, coconut oil, avocado oil and marula oil all act as emollients and won't build up on the scalp.

    Read: 12 Ways to Use Marula Oil in Your Beauty Routine

    Apply a Deep Conditioner Treatment

    You can make your own conditioner to infuse stubborn strands with moisture. Try diluting the conditioner with a little water to make it more absorbable, and you can also use a little heat to enhance the effects. Once you've chosen your deep conditioner, put a shower cap over your head, and use a heat cap or a blast of warm air from a blow dryer to warm things up and open up the cuticle. Next, rinse off the conditioner with cold water to seal in the moisture, and you're good to go.

    Low Porosity Hair Isn't So Bad

    Low porosity hair is often relatively undamaged but can be slightly limp and lackluster. However, those who have this type of hair can benefit from a well-rounded hair wellness routine.

    Less porous hairs struggle to retain moisture and can result in more split ends, so regular trims could serve you well. That, coupled with an all-natural hair care routine, will keep your locks looking their very best.


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      Disclaimer: Information in this article is intended for general informational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician.