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How to Moisturize Low Porosity Hair: A Detailed Guide

December 19, 2022

 by

Verna Meachum

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Last Updated on January 18, 2023 by Verna Meachum

We have been misguided that low porosity hair is difficult to deal with and can be tricky to moisturize. In reality, it doesn’t need to be complicated! To comprehend how to moisturize low porosity hair, we must recognize that hair porosity plays a vital part.

Due to the cuticles of low porosity hair laying flat and close together, it’s difficult for moisture and oils to be absorbed. This offers a natural resistance against them both, causing the hair to struggle in staying and becoming moisturized.

In today’s blog, let’s learn how to effectively moisturize low porosity hair and keep it looking hydrated and healthy!

What is Low Porosity Hair?

Low porosity hair strand for how to moisturize low porosity hair blog.
Macro view of hair strands

Having porous hair strands can be a difficult obstacle to overcome when trying to achieve healthier, more vibrant locks. Porous hairs are weak, lack shine and are difficult to style.

Scientists have correlated hair porosity with fiber quality and its tensile mechanical strength.1 This is why those seeking haircare solutions are so eager to find instantaneous, effective treatments – leading companies everywhere to produce products uniquely designed for highly porous strands.

Hair scientists and hairstylists have characterized hair porosity in two levels —High Porosity Hair and Low Porosity Hairs. This categorization is based on the results of a series of trial-and-error experiments designed to measure the porosity level in individual hairs.

Examining the quality of hair fibers and considering a person’s recent hair treatment history can provide clues to help determine their porosity level.

However, it can be quite tricky to assess low porosity hair accurately due to its fiber texture and quality. Low porosity hairs are often difficult to assess as they display a defiant nature that makes assessing their porosity level nearly impossible.

Nonetheless, while the strands appear healthy on the surface, the ends tend to become damaged rather quickly leading up to potential breakage or split ends in the future.

For those with low porosity hair, creating and sticking to a successful hair care routine is paramount. Moisturizing and hydrating treatments are the ultimate solution for keeping your porous locks healthy and beautiful.

How to Identify Low Porosity Hair

If you’re looking to determine if your hair has low porosity, then the following indicators can provide some insight. Note that low porosity hairs are typically virgin and untouched by chemicals.

  • While the remainder of your hair may appear glossy and fine, you may still be having issues with dry ends.
  • Despite no prior chemical treatments or extreme thermal styling, your hair may still lack luster and shine.
  • Chances are your mane appears unruly and frizzy more often than not.

Test for Low Porosity Hair

Hair researchers have formulated modern, state-of-the-art research methods to measure hair porosity.2-3 These techniques look at individual strands of hair for both qualitative and quantitative analyses in order to generate a numerical porosity value.

Hair care formulators use this information to assess the effectiveness and quality of new products on hair porosity, helping them make well-informed decisions.

However, the average consumer needs an uncomplicated way to determine hair porosity when visiting a salon or at home.

To discover your hair’s porosity, hair experts have provided some speedy and effective tests to try. The float test is one of the most popular methods used to determine hair porosity.

Quick side note – Although there are several factors that can affect the accuracy of this test, it gives us a good understanding.

Generally speaking, your hair will often have a tendency to float due the natural oil it contains (oil floats on water). This sebum combined with any additional haircare products you may use will have an impact on your test results.

Keep in mind that having oily hair does not mean necessarily low porosity. To ensure accurate results, make sure to test your hair when it is clean and collect several stands of hair from several parts of your head for testing.

Keep this in mind: the following is a mere suggestion to give you an idea of what hair porosity type you could have.

Floating Test

Hair porosity test for How to Moisturize Low Porosity Hair blog.
  1. Take a single hair fiber from your comb or brush.
  2. Take a glass of water. The temperature of the water should be normal (25-30 degrees Celcius, wet hair is greatly influenced by temperature).
  3. Put the single hair strand in water without disturbing the water’s surface.
  4. Then, immediately start your stopwatch.
  5. Watch the time the hair strand become immersed or sinks.
  6. Hair with high porosity will absorb water more quickly and sink faster than low porosity hair, which requires a longer time for absorption.
  7. To gain a more thorough understanding of the effects on porosity, it is necessary to conduct this same experiment with color-treated or highly damaged bleached hair fibers. Doing so would highlight any discrepancies in absorption between treated and untreated fibers.

So you’ve got low porosity hair, but how can you get it looking and feeling its healthiest? The answer is simple: water.

Even though your locks may look healthy and shiny on the surface, they still need tender loving care to really thrive. Make sure to take extra special care of your hair by giving it regular treatments with plenty of hydration!

To overcome the struggles of low porosity hair, locking in moisture is essential. To help you out, here’s a list of the best ways to moisturize low porosity hair.

Best Ways to Moisturize Low Porosity Hair

Cleansing

Cleansing is perhaps the most frequent and common hair treatment where hairs are exposed to chemical surfactants and water.

Cost-efficient sulfate-based surfactants are a common ingredient found in a majority of the shampoos available on the market. Among the sulfates, four varieties reign supreme; sodium dodecyl sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium cocoate sulfate and most commonly used is sodium laureth sulfate.

These sulfate-containing shampoos may not be so good for hair fiber. They are known to dissolve hair protein residues and strip off the essential lipids from hair surfaces when used excessively.

Accordingly, those with low-porosity hair should avoid using sulfate shampoos. Using this type of shampoo on may result in fiber damage and an increase in porosity level.

Those who have sensitive skin or skin conditions, chemically altered hair, and dry, frizzy hair, dyed should especially take care when using these types of sulfates.

Although there are plenty of sulfate-free shampoos on the market, it’s important to be aware that some may still contain compounds with similar properties.

As mentioned above, water is the key. A moisturizing shampoo is the best way forward. Sulfate Free formulations are thus preferred for regular cleansing because of their mildness towards protein fibers.

Scientists have developed a wide range of options for sulfate-free formulations. Among them, sugar-based alkyl polyglucosides (APG), are proven for their mildness and yet effective performance in removing sebum, debris, and product residue. 

Consumers should take the time to thoroughly examine shampoo ingredients before making a purchase. A great Moisturizing Shampoo should include soothing components such as mild surfactants, conditioning polymers and emollients for optimal results.

To prevent dryness and boost hydration in low-porosity hair, typical moisturizing agents or humectants are recommended for a mild cleansing routine. Because of this, opting to use a sulfate-free Moisturizing Shampoo is your best bet when it comes to upping the moisture levels!

Moisturizing Conditioner or Deep Conditioning Mask

If your hair is porous, it can quickly become dry and parched, and thus a moisturizing conditioning formulation is recommended to improve hair health.4

There are two ways to boost hair moisture levels:

  1. First, add more water to hair.
  2. Second, control water loss from hair. 

For the first approach, humectants and related moisturizing agents are commonly added to the formulation.

Glycerin is an ideal example of a longstanding traditional humectant, due to its capacity to bind water molecules from the air. When utilized on hair, this can effectively increase the amount of water concentration in the hair.

Thanks to material sciences’ recent progress, humectants have seen a new wave of molecules developed. These new-generation molecules offer advantageous effects and multiple benefits.

Sodium PCA,Betaine, and Lactic acid are some common humectants preferred for their efficacy. Moreover, these modern compounds leave hair feeling clean without any greasy or heavy residue!

The second approach is to preserve the hair moisture content and minimize the loss of water molecules from the hair shaft. This can be achieved by applying lipophilic (oil materials, emollients). These lipophilic materials will help maintain your hair’s moisture content while keeping it healthy and flexible.

They form a water-resistant coating over the hair shaft preventing the escape of water molecules from the hair surface. These lipid materials also provide much-needed slip to the hair surface by aligning cuticles.

Natural plant seed-extracted oils and exotic butter are recommended due to their multifunctional benefits to hair and scalp.

Low-porosity hair consumers should regularly use hair conditioners (both rinse-off and leave-in) containing a combination of humectants and emollients.

To restore the moisture that’s been lost from your hair, utilizing a deep conditioner with a high dosage of conditioning ingredients once a week is strongly recommended.

Additionally, for maximum protection against environmental factors, always remember to use a leave-in conditioner beforehand!

Lastly, safeguard your hair’s health and maintain its beautiful appearance by limiting direct sunlight exposure.

Oil Favorites

Oils and butter are natural, multi-functional remedies for any skin or hair concerns. With their lipophilic properties, these ingredients can help to preserve the moisture content of your scalp and tresses alike!

Not only that but they provide a wealth of additional benefits too; making them an ideal solution no matter what type of hair you have. Especially for hair, they reduce fiber-to-fiber friction and make it effortless to brush, comb, and style your locks.

For low porosity hairs, light textured oils or butter are great options. For example:

o Olive Oil

o Sweet Almond Oil

o Apricot Kernel Oil

o Shea Butter

o Mango Butter

o Macadamia Oil

o Argan Oil

o Baobab Oil

This list is merely a starting point. Feel free to explore any other natural oils or emollients you think will work best for your needs and preferences!

Key Points for Low Porosity Hair Care

Moisture is Key.

To ensure the most hydrated and healthy hair, it is best to steer clear from sulfate-based products. Opt for a moisturizing shampoo without sulfates.

To hydrate your hair, start by gently rinsing with Moisturizing Conditioner and then finish with a light coating of Leave-in Conditioner.

To keep your hair healthy and looking its best, limit the amount of chemical treatments you use, avoid too much sun exposure, and abstain from extreme thermal treatments.

For optimal health and wellness, a weekly oil therapy session is highly recommended.

How to Moisturize Your Low Porosity Hair

Video credit: Shanique Buntyn

Looking to craft a simple hair care routine specifically tailored for low porosity locks? Check out this tutorial by Shanique Buntyn!

By breaking down her own successful regime step by step, she can provide the tools you need to achieve and maintain gorgeous hydrated tresses.


References

1. Marsh, J. M.; Gray, J.; Tosti, A., Healthy Hair. Springer International Publishing: 2015.

2. Syed, A. N.; Ayoub, H., Correlating porosity and tensile strength of chemically modified hair. Cosmetics and toiletries 2002, 117 (11), 57-64.

3. Hessefort, Y. Z.; Holland, B. T.; Cloud, R. W., True porosity measurement of hair: a new way to study hair damage mechanisms. J. Cosmet. Sci. 2008, 59 (4), 303.

4. Schueller, R.; Romanowski, P., Conditioning Agents for Hair and Skin. Taylor & Francis: 1999.

troubleshooting
Curl care

 We treat our blog with a curious, open-minded, and customer-focused attitude. We ask lots of questions about everything.

We think that people should take what information they need and leave what they don't. We suggest things we enjoy and believe are worth your attention.

Above all, we value your trust above anything else. We're so glad you’re here!

Hi,I'm Verna

product reviews
Textures

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