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Everything you need to know about Low Porosity Hair
Every person dreams of having luscious, soft, and healthy hair. But what does it take to keep your hair healthy-looking?
If you want to know how to manage your hair effectively, it is important to first understand your hair porosity. It is the porosity of your hair that determines how easily moisture passes in and out of your hair cuticles.
Your hair can have high porosity, normal porosity, or low porosity, and the treatment methods and management techniques for each of these is different.
While high porosity hair is known to absorb moisture easily, low porosity hair repels moisture. In this article, we will discuss everything there is to know about low porosity hair, from management tips to product recommendations.
Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
- Low Porosity Hair - Definition
- Low Porosity Hair – Causes
- Low Porosity Hair - Characteristics
- Products do not get absorbed in the hair
- Longer washing and drying time
- Greasy hair
- Lesser volume
- Dry hair and thin ends
- Low Porosity Hair – Solutions
- Use Clarifying and Volumizing Shampoo
- Use Lightweight Products with Hydrating Ingredients
- Conditioning You Hair
- Hair steaming to increase absorption
- Protective hairstyles
- Low Porosity Hair - Recommendations
- Low Porosity Hair - Expert Tips
Low Porosity Hair – Definition
A hair strand is made up of three layers – the cuticle, the cortex, and the medulla. While the cortex and medulla make up the middle and inner layer, the cuticle is the outermost layer which comprises of tiny cuticles. These individual cuticles are stacked on top of each other, very much like the tiles on roofs.
The hair porosity depends on how tightly or loosely these cuticles are packed together. While high porosity hair has more spaces between the cuticles, with low porosity hair the cuticles are packed together tightly. When there is little to no space between the cuticles, it makes it harder for moisture to enter the hair shaft.
Low porosity hair is one that repels water. Although low porosity hair is generally considered to be healthy, it lacks volume and elasticity. Besides this, managing low porosity hair can be difficult as products tend to sit on top of the hair rather than providing deeper nourishment. However, with the right techniques and products, managing low porosity hair can become easier.
Low Porosity Hair – Causes
Low porosity hair is usually the result of genetic factors, and not heat damage or the use of chemicals. Heat styling your hair and using harsh chemicals do damage the cuticle layer, but the result of it is high porosity hair.
If you want to find out whether you have high or low porosity hair, here are some simple tests that you can do –
- Float Test: In this test, you take a few strands of your hair and drop them in a glass or bowl of water (room temperature). If you find that the hair strands are floating on top of the water, it means your hair has low porosity. If it drops down, it has high porosity, and it stays in the middle, which means that the hair is normal porosity.
- Spray Bottle Test: In this test, all you have to do is spray some water on the ends of your hair. Observe the movement of droplets on the hair. If the water rolls down the shaft in the form of water beads, it means your hair is low porosity.
- Slip n’ Slide Test: Take a strand of hair between your fingers and slide down your fingers from the tip to the roots. If your finger glides down easily and the hair strand feels smooth and dense, you have low porosity hair.
Low Porosity Hair – Characteristics
Here are some characteristics that can be commonly observed in low porosity hair –
1. Products do not get absorbed in the hair
The problem with low porosity hair is that it does not allow products to seep into the hair. Instead of being absorbed, the products sit on top of the hair strand on application. If you have low porosity hair, you will notice that whenever any product like conditioner or oil is applied to your hair, it will remain on the surface. Sometimes, when you touch it with your fingers it can also come off easily. This is because the product was not absorbed by the tightly-packed cuticles in the hair strands.
2. Longer washing and drying time
When you have low porosity hair, you can expect washing and drying to take longer than usual. This is because the water does not get absorbed into the hair, making it difficult to get the hair wet. Getting your hair fully saturated for shampooing takes time. After that, the process of drying the hair can also be quite long-drawn. You might think that blow-drying the hair would quicken the process, but that also takes substantially longer as compared to other hair types.
3. Greasy hair
Since low porosity hair makes it difficult for products to get absorbed, any rich creams or lotions applied to the hair tend to sit on the outer surface. Instead of looking glossy and shiny, your hair might end up looking greasy. If your hair is straight, the product can also slide down your hair, as a result of which your hair will continue to feel dry.
4. Lesser volume
Frizz is not a problem with low porosity hair, however, volume is. Low porosity hair tend to look quite flat. Any styling product applied to the hair can lead to product build-up, which weighs it down further. If you want to achieve bounce and volume in low porosity hair, you need to ensure that there is minimal build-up of product.
5. Dry hair and thin ends
Low porosity hair also remains dry and brittle, even after frequent application of hydrating products. Besides this, low porosity hair also tends to have thinner ends, which can make the hair look scraggly.
Low Porosity Hair – Solutions
The biggest upside of having low porosity hair is that it is relatively undamaged and does not require as much care as high porosity hair.
However, it can be dry and brittle if it does not get the right hydration.
The key to managing low porosity hair lies in two things –
1. Preventing the build-up of product.
2. Ensuring that moisture penetrates the hair fibers.
Here are some ways you can take care of low porosity hair –
1. Use Clarifying and Volumizing Shampoo
When washing your hair, look for a good clarifying shampoo that can help in removing residue (natural or artificial) from the hair as well as the scalp.
Make sure that your shampoo is free of harsh chemicals like sulfates and parabens that can lead to over-drying of hair. This is the last thing you want for your hair, since it already has trouble absorbing moisture.
Another property you should look for in a shampoo is the volumizing ability, since low porosity hair tend to look quite flat. When shampooing your hair, remember to focus on the roots of your hair to remove product build-up and sebum.
2. Use Lightweight Products with Hydrating Ingredients
Providing hydration to low porosity hair can be the tricky part. Rather than using rich and dense conditioners and masks, look for good quality products that provide hydration while being lightweight. Look for emollients and humectants in the products for the best results.
The molecular weight of humectants is low, which means that they can enter the hair shaft easily. Besides this, humectants also attract moisture from the air into the hair fiber to provide more hydration.
Glycerin and aloe vera are widely known to be great humectants. Emollients, on the other hand, are moisturizing agents. They form a thin film around the hair shaft, which increases the moisture-retention capacity of the hair strand. Some great emollients are coconut oil, shea butter, and argan oil.
3. Conditioning Your Hair
With low porosity hair, you want to apply conditioning products that get absorbed into the hair strands. At the same time, you do not want them to leave behind an oily residue.
You should consider using deep conditioning treatments and a rinse-out conditioner to provide your hair with the necessary hydration. The advantage of using these products is that they provide your hair with much-needed hydration, but there is no hassle of grease as the conditioning products are washed off.
Just make sure that you avoid the scalp while applying the conditioning treatments to avoid greasiness. Good quality conditioners would leave your hair hydrated and soft.
Another conditioning treatment that will work great for low porosity hair is a leave-in conditioner. These lightweight conditioning products contain emollients, humectants, and other moisturizing agents that provide low porosity hair with an extra dose of moisturization.
4. Hair steaming to increase absorption
The problem with low porosity hair is that it is difficult for moisturizing products to reach the hair fibers. This can be done by using warmth to open up the hair cuticle through the process of hair steaming.
All you have to do is apply a conditioner of your choice to damp hair, and provide it steam with a warm wet towel or a simple shower cap. Wait for 10-15 minutes and wash off the conditioner with cold water to close the cuticles. This will help in sealing in the moisture.
5. Protective hairstyles
Hairstyles can go a long way in protecting your hair from the weather elements. If you have a problem with moisture retention and hair definition, you can try Bantu knots, braids, or twists. These protective hairstyles will help the hair absorb moisture better.
Low Porosity Hair – Recommendations
Cleansers are important for removing product build-up and dirt. Using good quality cleansers will also increase the moisture-retention capacity of your hair. The Wow Skin Science Activated Charcoal & Keratin Shampoo is a great option for deep cleaning your hair, as the activated charcoal is a great ingredient for removing oil, dirt, and impurities. It also contains the goodness of argan oil, jojoba oil, and aloe to nourish your hair.
The importance of conditioners cannot be emphasized enough when it comes to low-porosity hair. When choosing conditioners, look for ingredients like aloe vera, glycerin, honey, panthenol, and flaxseed gel, among other things. The Wow Skin Science Himalayan Rose Conditioner is a lightweight conditioner for providing low porosity with the hydration it heeds. If you are looking for a good deep conditioner, then the Wow Skin Science Coconut Milk Hair Mask is a good choice.
Remember to stay away from heavyweight ingredients like silicones, mineral oil, petroleum, etc, as they tend to sit on top of the hair making it greasy. You need to choose products that can reach into the hair cuticle to provide it with the moisture it needs. The Wow Skin Science 10-in-1 Apple Cider Vinegar Mist Tonic is power-packed with some great ingredients to provide the hair with the hydration it needs.
Low Porosity Hair - Expert Tips
Here are some expert-recommended Dos and Don’ts for low porosity hair –
DOs for Low Porosity Hair:
1. Hair Mask: A nourishing hair mask can be great for treating low porosity hair, and providing it the hydration it needs. All you have to do is saturate your hair with water and then apply the hair mask generously. Make sure it penetrates into the hair. Deep conditioning treatments work really well for low porosity hair.
2. Hooded Hair Steaming: Steaming is great for opening up the hair cuticle, so that the product can be better absorbed in the hair. If you have low porosity hair, you should invest in a hooded steamer. All you have to do is apply your conditioning treatment and steam your hair to make sure it gets absorbed. Seal the cuticle by rinsing it with cold water.
3. Hydration, Hydration, Hydration: Your low porosity hair needs all the love and attention it can get. It would be good to invest in moisturizing products specially formulated to give a boost of hydration to your hair.
DON’Ts for Low Porosity Hair:
1. Don’t skip shampooing: Cleansing low porosity hair is just as important as conditioning it. Shampooing is essential to remove the build-up of product from the scalp, however, it is important to use a formulation that does not strip the scalp of essential nutrients.
2. Don’t use heavy creams: While low porosity hair need conditioning products, heavy butters and oils are not the best choice for them. They can contribute to the build-up of product in the hair. Instead, you should go for lighter oils between washes.
3. Don’t use protein treatments: Low porosity hair does not need protein as an overdose of this ingredient can make the hair a little too stiff.
Low porosity hair is relatively undamaged and can be easily managed with a good hair routine. The only downside is the hair’s resistance to moisture and water. With the right hair care practices and tips provided in this article, you can easily overcome that.