What Is Low-Porosity Hair: Characteristics & Treatments

What Is Low-Porosity Hair - Characteristics and Treatments


Hair porosity is a term used to describe human hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. If you have average porosity hair, your hair maintains healthy moisture levels. In contrast, low porosity means your hair cuticles are tightly closed. As a result, it’s difficult for water, oils, and products to penetrate the hair shaft.

Low-porosity hair makes it challenging for your hair to get the nutrients it needs. Styling low-porous hair also becomes more difficult due to its tendency to repel moisture. While this condition may feel frustrating, there are ways to overcome the issues. With regular hair salon visits and a robust hair care routine, you can minimize the inconveniences of low porosity.

The unique quality of low-porosity hair affects how you maintain it. You will need to implement a slightly more involved hair care routine in most cases. The following guide explains what low-porosity hair is, how to identify it, and the best treatments.


What does low-porosity hair mean?

What does low-porosity hair mean?


Low-porosity hair means your hair has a weaker capability to accept moisture. It cannot receive water, oil, or styling products as efficiently as porous hair. Low-porosity hair tends to appear greasy and oily, even though it lacks hydration. Also, this type of hair is prone to product build-up and takes longer to dry after washing.

There are three layers in a single strand of human hair: the cuticle, the cortex, and the medulla. The cuticle is the outermost layer. Its structure resembles shingles on a roof, as numerous plates overlap to create an exterior. In low-porosity hair, these plates pack tightly together, leaving little room for moisture to enter or exit. As a result, water, conditioners, and oils cannot quickly moisturize the shaft.

Low porosity hair is typically a genetic cause. It is also found primarily in people with straight hair instead of coiled or curly hair. There are other factors besides genetics that contribute to low porosity hair. Heavy blow drying, bleaching, straightening, and using harsh products can damage the cuticle over time. UV ray exposure can also lead to low-porosity hair.


Low-porosity hair characteristics

Low-porosity hair characteristics


There are ways to tell if you have low-porosity hair. Understanding its symptoms is essential for your hair care routine. Once you have identified a low porosity problem, you can choose the best products and treatments to keep your hair healthy.

The most common low-porosity hair characteristics include:

Characteristic #1: Hair doesn’t absorb product

Hair products tend to remain on low-porosity hair and don’t absorb quickly. They may even rub off after being applied.

Characteristic #2: Hair doesn’t dry

Low-porosity hair tends to resist moisture, so it takes a long time to dry. After washing, the texture feels brittle and stiff.

Characteristic #3: Hair doesn’t feel clean after washing

Water doesn’t saturate low-porosity hair as naturally as washing porous hair. As a result, it may feel oily and greasy after your cleanse.

Characteristic #4: Dull frizzy hair 

Low-porosity hair is notoriously tough to maintain. Your hair may become dull and frizzy. Likewise, it tangles easily and becomes prone to breakage.


Low-porosity hair routine

Low-porosity hair routine


A low-porosity hair routine requires diligence. Your habits must center around managing dryness and encouraging water retention. How you develop your hair care routine will change according to your lifestyle, so consult your hairstylist for tips. The stylist will help you create a treatment plan and recommend the best products for low-porosity hair.

Here are some things to include in your low-porosity hair routine:

Clarifying shampoo

Use a clarifying shampoo on low-porosity hair once or twice a week. This shampoo will ensure products aren’t building up and sitting on the hair’s shaft.

Hair products

When applying products, focus on areas that need extra hydration or nourishment. If you have dry hair, target those areas with a thicker cream or leave-in conditioner for optimal hydration.

Hair trims

Since the low-porosity hair is resistant to moisture, the ends often become dry and brittle. Regular trims ensure you aren’t holding on to unhealthy parts of your hair.

Heat-protectant products

Apply a heat protectant spray when blow-drying or flat ironing your hair. Heat damage can be especially damaging for low-porosity hair, so take the necessary steps to protect it from heat.

What to avoid

The less manipulation you put on your hair, the better. Avoid excessive brushing and combing. Instead, opt for protective styling methods like buns, braids, and updos.


How to moisturize low-porosity hair

How to moisturize low-porosity hair


Living with low-porosity hair means you’ll often have dry, brittle, and frizzy hair. It can feel frustrating to manage, but there are ways to moisturize it. If you have low-porosity hair, dedicate extra time to ensure your hair receives the nutrients needed to stay healthy.

Pre-shampoo treatment

A pre-shampoo treatment involves applying oils or deep conditioners before shampooing. The treatment locks in moisture and prevents strands from getting stripped of their natural oils. Pre-shampoos contain various penetrating oils like coconut, olive, sunflower, and avocado oil. Ensure you wash your hair thoroughly after using pre-shampoo.

Deep moisturizing

Take the proper steps to moisturize low-porosity hair since it needs ample hydration. Ensure your hair is completely saturated with water before you apply any product. You want the product to penetrate deeply into the strands to maximize the results.

Apply heat when deep conditioning. Heat application can help open your hair cuticle, allowing moisture to settle in. It helps your hair receive the nutrients it needs. Apply a deep conditioner and then cover your hair with a shower or heat cap. Use a steamer for several minutes to help moisturize and soften your hair.

Best products for low-porosity hair

Since your hair requires constant hydration, it’s wise to stick to water-based styling products. They are light on the hair and won’t contribute to any unwanted build-up. When shopping for water-based styling products, look for healthy ingredients like glycerin, aloe vera, and honey.

Use a gentle shampoo or cleansing conditioner. Avoid sulphates since they strip hair from its natural oils. For deep conditioners, the best ingredients are avocado, coconut, and olive oil. Also, look for styling creams free of alcohol and heavy oils. Some excellent options include flaxseed gel, mousse, argan oil, and jojoba oil.