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Leo possesses more than 17 years of valuable experience as a researcher and lecturer within the fields of Biology and Genetics. Holding a PhD in Biology from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina...
Low porosity hair isn’t just a term; it’s a specific hair characteristic defined by a healthy, resilient shaft with well-aligned cuticles. Often found in untreated, virgin hair, this type is marked by fewer pores and reduced pore volume, making it inherently less susceptible to damage.
You might assume that managing low-porosity hair is a Herculean task, but with the right approach, it’s entirely manageable. The first step? Understanding the very nature of low-porosity hair. Knowledge here is more than power; it’s the pathway to optimal hair care.
To elevate your understanding, I’ve partnered with a leading expert in the field: a Ph.D.- holding hair scientist specializing in cosmetic chemistry. Together, we’ve delved deep into the science of hair care to offer you not just tips but well-researched guidance for making informed decisions about your hair.
Hair porosity serves as a revealing metric for assessing the quality and condition of your hair fibers. This measure offers insights into your hair’s structural integrity and its capacity to absorb and retain moisture. 1
Hair porosity exists on a spectrum that encompasses three primary categories: low-porosity, medium-porosity, and high-porosity.
High-Porosity Hair: Often associated with damage,2 high-porosity hair (also known as porous hair) boasts a dense pore structure. It features an abundance of pores, empty spaces along the hair shaft, and raised or lifted hair cuticle layer, making it particularly vulnerable.3
Low-Porosity Hair: Generally indicative of healthier, often untreated hair, low-porosity hair possesses medium-sized cuticle openings and a modest number of pores. However, it’s worth mentioning that even low-porosity hair isn’t immune to wear and tear. Specifically, the tips may show signs of aging more than the roots, influenced by environmental factors and grooming habits.3
Medium-Porosity Hair: Occupying the middle ground, medium-porosity hair has moderate cuticle openings and a balanced pore structure. This allows it to readily absorb small molecules, such as active ingredients and water, without much difficulty.
Understanding your hair’s porosity level is crucial for adopting an effective care routine, as each type comes with its unique set of challenges and benefits.
But how can you determine if you have low-porosity hair? Let’s delve into some telltale signs that can help you pinpoint your hair’s specific needs, enabling you to tailor a more targeted and effective care routine.
Here are some common indicators that you may be dealing with this particular hair type:
While there are a handful of DIY tests you can perform, they are not always accurate or reliable. However, they can certainly serve as a starting point or helpful guide. Let’s explore your options for gauging your hair’s porosity—both at-home hacks and professional evaluations.
For those curious about the float test, it’s relatively straightforward but demands some preparation for more accurate results:
Check out this video tutorial for alternative ways to test your hair porosity:
For those interested in indisputable analysis,5 professional laboratories can assess various properties of your hair, including thickness, level of damage, and, of course, porosity. These specialized services can also recommend products suited to your hair type based on their expert analysis.
Understanding your hair’s porosity through these methods sets the stage for selecting care routines and products that are not just effective but are also well-aligned with your hair’s unique characteristics.
Beyond the multitude of products and tools flooding the hair care market, sometimes the most insightful instruments are your own senses: sight, touch, and intuition. Learning how to interpret the signals your hair gives you can be transformative, guiding you toward making wiser, more personalized choices for your hair care regimen.
If you find that oils and conditioners tend to sit atop your strands instead of absorbing into them, and you’ve generally been gentle on your hair—meaning no harsh dye jobs or mechanical abuse—your hair likely falls into the low to normal porosity spectrum.
Conversely, if your hair seems to gulp conditioners effortlessly, hardly ever feeling weighed down, yet frequently appears dry and brittle, you’re probably dealing with high porosity hair.
Life—and hair—is rarely black and white. It’s entirely plausible to have a melange of porosity levels across your head. You might find low porosity hair sprouting from the roots, transition to a normal porosity mid-shaft, and discover high porosity towards the ends.6 This complexity necessitates a more nuanced approach to hair care.
Ultimately, tuning into what your hair is telling you is invaluable. While tests and professional consultations can offer guidance, nothing replaces the daily dialogue you have with your hair. Let your observations dictate the care routines and products you choose, ensuring a personalized strategy that respects your hair’s distinct personality.
Now that you’re well-versed in decoding your hair’s signals, let’s dive into tailored strategies to help your hair flourish.
Managing low-porosity hair can be a bit like solving a puzzle, especially when it comes to moisturization. The cuticle layer of this hair type is tightly bound, creating a sort of natural barrier against moisture penetration.
For optimal hair health, targeted care strategies are more than advisable; they’re crucial. Central to this is the practice of thoughtful conditioning and lubrication, designed specifically to navigate the challenges unique to low-porosity hair.
Understanding that this hair type is naturally water-repellent elevates the importance of deliberate and specialized moisturizing efforts. This isn’t merely a recommendation—it’s a cornerstone principle for achieving well-conditioned, vibrant hair.
Navigating the diverse spectrum of low-porosity hair types can make finding the ideal care routine feel like a quest. However, once you’ve discovered the regimen that resonates with your specific hair texture and needs, it becomes second nature.
After mastering the art of caring for your low-porosity hair, you might be curious about what factors can actually alter your hair’s porosity level. Knowing these factors can arm you with the knowledge to better preserve your hair’s health. Here they are:
Having explored the factors that can change your hair’s porosity, it’s only logical to turn our attention to the ingredients that make a real difference in low-porosity hair care. The right ingredients can be game-changers, helping you not only maintain but also elevate the health of your hair.
Let’s examine this curated selection of ingredients:
Be sure to check out my post, “Ingredients to Avoid for Low Porosity Hair: A Comprehensive Guide” for a comprehensive list of ingredients to avoid.
Embarking on a natural hair journey is an exciting endeavor, and the instinct to get everything just right is perfectly natural. You may find yourself eagerly filling your shopping cart with top-rated products and diving headfirst into different styling routines like the LCO (Liquid, Cream, Oil) or LOC (Liquid, Oil, Cream) methods.
Yet, it’s important to temper that enthusiasm. Overzealousness in moisturizing—or the opposite, neglect—can lead to hair that’s challenging to manage and style. This sort of setback can not only be frustrating but may even make you contemplate throwing in the towel.
Consider this article a cornerstone guide rather than an exhaustive list. It’s designed to give you a solid foundation from which you can build a regimen tailored to your unique hair type.
By balancing eagerness with knowledge and experimentation, you can find a hair care routine that not only works but celebrates your unique hair.
Selecting the right shampoo is vital for rejuvenating your scalp and hair while removing product build-up. Here are our recommendations:
Righteous Roots Clarifying Shampoo– this is one of the best shampoos for low-porosity hair
Be sure to check out my blog, “Shampoo for Low Porosity Hair: A Comprehensive Guide” for more in-depth information.
To see a list of more gels, make sure to check out my blog – Gels for Low Porosity Hair and Key Ingredients.
I hope these low porosity hair products will help you take your hair to the next level!
No, it is not bad. Many people believe that those with low porosity hair should take measures to make it medium porosity.
Contrary to popular belief, you shouldn’t aim to change your hair’s porosity level. Instead, get to know your hair type/curl pattern and learn to work with it.
To be frank, all hair types have both good and bad qualities. The key is learning how to take care of your specific hair type so that it can reach its full potential.
Yes. Porosity is an indicator of hair health because it shows how well the cuticles are laying flat on the surface of each strand.
Those with low porosity have tightly “closed” or compacted cuticles that highlight healthy hair strands by reflecting light and making it appear noticeably healthier, shinier, silkier, etc., than those with high porosity hair. Fewer pores on its cuticles make it the closest thing to undamaged hair fibers.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. You will need to experiment with different methods and products to find what works best for you and your hair type.
It is recommended that you test a small amount of rice water on a hidden section of your hair before applying it all over your head to avoid any potential damage.
No, it does not get wet fast. In fact, it repels water because of its compacted cuticles.4 This is why it is so important to use methods and products that help add hydration to the hair shaft.
Yes, low-porosity hair is curly. However, it can also be wavy and straight as well because all textures of hair are considered to have low porosity.
There are mixed opinions about using coconut oil on the scalp or strands of your low-porosity hair. Coconut oil is a penetrating oil that has many benefits. It is great for lubrication and adding softness to your hair.17
The trick to using it (or any other oil) is to use a very small amount and use it on just the ends of your hair and allow it to soak in for a few hours (adjust according to your hair’s needs).
If coconut oil doesn’t work for you, try using a lighter oil, such as sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, or sweet almond oil, etc. instead.
Yes, you can deep condition your low-porosity hair to restore moisture and nutrients that were lost during the washing process, or just from environmental or external factors.
However, keep in mind that moisturizing your hair before using a deep conditioner works well for some, as low-porosity hair does not absorb moisture as well as other hair types. So, play around with methods.
Also, using moisturizing conditioning products will help restore lost hydration in your low-porosity hair shafts.
There is no definitive answer to this question. Some people with low porosity hair need to wash their hair more often, while others can go up to a week or two without washing it, and still have healthy hair.
It all depends on your scalp’s oil production, how often you use heavy products, your lifestyle, and how much product you use.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as each person’s hair will respond differently to different styling methods and products.
However, some of the most popular styles for low-porosity hair include twist-outs, braids, Bantu knots, roller sets, and flexi-rods.
No one knows for sure if low-porosity hair grows more or less than other types of hair.
Low porosity hair has a difficult time retaining moisture, so it is very important to keep the strands well-nourished and moisturized, so you can see hair growth!
Understanding your hair goes beyond just its curl pattern; factors like density, porosity, length, elasticity, and strand width are crucial.
There are a few different types of protein that can be used to treat low-porosity hair, but hydrolyzed wheat protein is one of the best. This protein can help to fill in the gaps in your hair shaft, which will make your hair look and feel healthier.
Hydrolyzed wheat protein is also a great choice for low-porosity hair because it is less likely to cause build-up on your hair.4 If you are looking for a protein treatment for your low-porosity hair, hydrolyzed wheat protein is a great option.
The Coconut Cowash Cleansing Conditioner, the Leave-In Detangler, the Hydration Elation Intensive Conditioner, and the Doublebutter Cream.
There are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for low porosity, type four, and curly hair. The main thing is to look for products that will hydrate and moisturize the hair without weighing it down.
Oils and butter are great for this hair type, as they can help seal in moisture. Leave-in conditioners and deep conditioners are also key, as they will help hydrate the hair and keep it looking healthy.
Look for products that are specifically designed for low-porosity hair, as they will be the most effective.
With these things in mind, here are some of the best products for low porosity, type four, curly hair:
With these products, you will be able to keep your low porosity, type four, curly hair healthy and hydrated. They will also make it easier to style and manage. Experiment with different products to find what works best for you.
I know how challenging it can be to care for low-porosity hair. It seems like every time you try to do something new, it just wreaks havoc!
But after a few trials and errors, you can finally learn how to care for your low-porosity hair in a way that keeps it looking healthy and shiny.
Your regimen should make sense for you, not anyone else. There are no rules or restrictions on low porosity hair care other than using good judgment based on the ingredient list of the product(s) being used along with understanding how your hair responds to certain things after they’re applied.
Your hair might respond in a variety of ways to the same treatment. Only your hair knows best. Do what works best for you and always remember to let your hair be your guide!
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