Beauty, Haircare

Low Porosity Hair: What It Is, And How To Care For It?

Imagine your hair as a sponge. Some sponges are incredibly absorbent, soaking up water and moisture with ease. Others, however, are less porous, making it ...

by Kendra Reed

Low Porosity Hair: What It Is, And How To Care For It?

Imagine your hair as a sponge. Some sponges are incredibly absorbent, soaking up water and moisture with ease. Others, however, are less porous, making it difficult for water to penetrate. This analogy perfectly illustrates the difference between high and low-porosity hair.

Low porosity hair is characterized by tightly bound cuticles that create a barrier, preventing moisture from entering the hair shaft. This can lead to a range of frustrating issues, such as dryness, brittleness, and difficulty styling. Despite your best efforts, your hair may feel like it’s rejecting the products and treatments you apply.

But fear not! With the right knowledge and care routine, you can unlock the true potential of your low porosity hair, achieving manageability, hydration, and radiant shine.

What Is Hair Porosity?

What Is Hair Porosity

Before we dive into the specifics of low porosity hair, let’s first understand the concept of hair porosity. Hair porosity refers to the hair strand’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. It’s determined by the structure and condition of the cuticle, the outermost layer of the hair shaft.

Think of the cuticle as a series of overlapping shingles. When these shingles are tightly bound, they create a barrier that prevents moisture from entering the hair shaft. This is what’s known as low porosity hair. Conversely, when the cuticles are more open or raised, it allows for better moisture absorption, resulting in high porosity hair.

What Is Low Porosity Hair?

Low porosity hair is characterized by cuticles that are tightly bound, creating a barrier that makes it difficult for moisture to penetrate the hair shaft. This tight structure can be caused by various factors, including genetics, heat damage, or excessive use of harsh chemicals.

While having low porosity hair may seem like a disadvantage, it’s essential to understand that it’s not a hair type to be “fixed.” Instead, it requires a tailored approach to ensure your hair receives the moisture it needs while respecting its unique structure.

Characteristics of Low Porosity Hair

If you suspect you have low porosity hair, you might recognize some of these common characteristics:

1. Moisture resistance: Your hair seems to reject moisture, making it challenging to achieve and maintain hydration.

2. Slow drying time: Even after hours of air-drying, your hair still feels damp or takes an eternity to dry completely.

3. Product buildup: Low porosity hair can be prone to product buildup, as the cuticles don’t readily absorb the products you apply.

4. Lack of elasticity: Low porosity hair may feel stiff, brittle, and lack the desired bounce and elasticity.

5. Difficulty styling: Styling can be a challenge due to the lack of moisture absorption, making it harder to manipulate and shape your hair.

How To Test For Low Porosity Hair?

If you’re unsure about your hair’s porosity level, there’s a simple test you can perform at home. Fill a bowl or glass with water and gently drop a few strands of your clean, shed hair into the water. If the strands float on the surface for an extended period (several minutes or longer), it’s an indication of low porosity hair. On the other hand, if the strands sink immediately, your hair likely has a higher porosity level.

Another way to test for low porosity hair is to observe how your hair reacts to water and products. If water beads up on your strands instead of being absorbed, or if products seem to sit on top of your hair without penetrating, it’s a sign of low porosity.

How To Care For Low Porosity Hair?

Caring for low porosity hair requires a tailored approach to ensure your hair receives the moisture it needs. Here are some tips to help you along the way:

1. Use heat: Applying gentle heat can help open up the cuticles and allow moisture to penetrate more effectively. Try using a hooded dryer, steam treatments, or hot oil treatments.

2. Clarify regularly: Low porosity hair is prone to product buildup, so regular clarifying with a chelating shampoo can help remove residue and prepare your hair for better moisture absorption.

3. Opt for lightweight products: Heavy, creamy products can struggle to penetrate low porosity hair. Instead, opt for lightweight, water-based products that can more easily penetrate the cuticles.

4. Experiment with porosity-friendly ingredients: Look for products containing ingredients like honey, glycerin, and aloe vera, which can help improve moisture absorption without weighing your hair down.

5. Seal in moisture: After applying your leave-in products, seal in the moisture with a small amount of oil or serum to help prevent evaporation and lock in hydration.

6. Avoid over-manipulation: Excessive brushing, combing, or styling can lead to cuticle damage and further moisture resistance. Handle your hair gently and minimize manipulation.

7. Trim regularly: Split ends and damage can exacerbate the challenges of low porosity hair. Regular trims can help maintain healthy ends and improve moisture retention.

8. Be patient: Low porosity hair often requires more time and effort to achieve desired results. Be patient and consistent with your routine, and you’ll start to see improvements.

9. Consider protein treatments: While low porosity hair generally responds better to moisture-based treatments, occasional protein treatments can help strengthen and fortify the hair strands.

10. Use a leave-in conditioner: A lightweight, water-based leave-in conditioner can help provide continuous moisture to your low porosity hair throughout the day.

Also Read: Which Vitamin Deficiency Causes Hair Loss?


Low porosity hair presents its own set of challenges, but with the right knowledge and care routine, you can unlock its true potential. By understanding your hair’s unique needs, incorporating gentle heat, using lightweight products, and sealing in moisture, you can achieve the hydration and manageability you’ve been craving.

Embrace your low porosity hair, and watch it thrive with a tailored routine designed just for it. Remember, patience and consistency are key when caring for this hair type. With time and dedication, you’ll be able to unveil its true beauty and enjoy a head of healthy, radiant locks.

Low porosity hair is not a hair type to be “fixed” or changed. Instead, it’s a unique characteristic that requires a specialized approach to nurture and care for it properly. By following the tips outlined in this guide, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your hair goals and loving your low porosity locks.


  • Kendra Reed

    Dr. Kendra Reed is a dedicated general medicine physician with 7 years of clinical experience. After graduating from medical school, she completed her residency in internal medicine, developing a well-rounded skillset in diagnosing and treating a diverse range of conditions. Patients appreciate Dr. Reed's warm bedside manner and commitment to providing comprehensive, personalized care. In addition to her clinical work, she is actively involved in community outreach programs, educating the public on important health topics. Dr. Reed is known for her ability to establish trusting relationships with her patients and help them achieve their wellness goals.

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