Low Porosity Hair Care: 8 Essential Tips You Need to Know

In-depth guide to caring for low porosity hair, highlighting the importance of understanding hair porosity. It details causes, challenges, and testing methods. It provides a care routine with essential tips such as regular clarifying, using lightweight products, and avoiding heavy moisturizers and heat styling for healthier, manageable hair.

Low Porosity Hair Care: 8 Essential Tips You Need to Know

Just like your skin, your hair can bring confidence in your approach and personalityJust like your skin, your hair can bring confidence in your approach and personality. Caring for and pampering your hair with a religious hair care routine is crucial. But before you start your hair care routine, understanding your hair type helps you select the right product. While you always consider just your hair thickness, knowing the porosity can be very helpful. Generally, low porosity hair can cause many hair problems. Caring for your hair based on the porosity it has will help achieve healthy and bouncy hair. Here is all you need to know about hair porosity and low porosity hair care routine.

Understanding Hair Porosity

Hair porosity is usually the ability of your hair to absorb and retain moisture. The cuticles, also known as the outermost layer of your hair, determine hair porosity. This can directly affect how your locks absorb moisture and how well hair care products can be absorbed in your hair.

Low Porosity Hair

Low porosity hair usually has cuticles that are tightly packed, making it difficult for moisture from products to penetrate the hair shaft. This results in water resistance and a slow absorption rate of hair care products. As a result, your hair becomes dry and starts thinning. Women with low porosity hair may often see hair care products deposited on the surface of their hair rather than being absorbed. To manage and solve this, following a low porosity hair care routine is vital. Using lightweight and water-based products can easily penetrate the cuticle.

Medium Porosity Hair

Medium porosity hair features cuticles that are less tightly packed compared to low porosity hair. These hair types are more flexible, allowing for a good balance of absorption and retention of moisture. It has a moderate drying time and responds well to most hair care products. Medium porosity hair is generally considered the easiest to manage because it doesn't require any specialized hair care. If you have medium porosity hair, maintaining it generally involves balancing moisture and protein treatments to keep it healthy and strong.  

High Porosity Hair

High porosity hair contains cuticles that are raised and have big gaps in the hair shaft. This leads to the quick absorption of moisture from anything applied to hair. However, due to big gaps, the absorbed moisture is lost quickly. This results in hair that is dry and frizzy and gets tangled easily. High porosity can result from damage caused by chemical treatments, heat styling, or environmental factors. To care for high-porosity hair, it's important to use thicker and heavier creams and oils that help lock in moisture and create a barrier against water loss. Deep conditioning treatments and protein-rich products can help strengthen the hair.

Causes of Low Porosity Hair


While we get our features and habits from parents, hair type, especially low hair porosity, is usually genetic. If any one of your parents has low porosity, you are highly prone to having the same. Genetic factors affect cuticle formation, which directly affects porosity.

Product Overuse

Since ancient times, women have been treating their hair with a nice and rich hair oil massage followed by loads of hair care products. Without proper knowledge, using excess products leads to buildup which eventually creates a barrier. This affects moisture and nutrient retention leading to more problems with low porosity hair care. Products like coconut oil, castor oil, and heavy hair creams, when used excessively, can contribute to this issue.

Chemical Treatments 

Regular use of chemical treatments including bleach color, perming, or relaxing can alter the structure of the hair cuticle. While low porosity hair is naturally resistant to these treatments due to its tightly packed cuticles, repeated attempts of chemical application can further damage the cuticles, leading to permanent hair damage. It can reduce hair porosity to a very low level, which can make your hair look like plastic.

Natural Hair Oils

Like your skin, your scalp also has sebaceous glands that help produce sebum. This sebum is a natural oil that helps hydrate and nourish your hair naturally. But if you have low porosity hair, it becomes difficult for sebum to reach the end of your locks, leading to a lack of moisture and frizzy hair ends. As a result, you use deep conditioning and heavy creams, which leads to product buildup and more hair problems.

How to Test for Low Porosity Hair?

1. The Float Test

    • Plug a strand of clean and freshly washed hair. It is vital to ensure that the hair has no oil, conditioner, or creams before doing the test.
    • Take a transparent glass filled with room-temperature water. Avoid cold or hot temperatures for the test.
    • Gently drop the strand of your hair in the glass and let it be soaked in water.
  • Observe:
      • If the hair floats on the surface of the glass, it indicates low porosity hair.
      • If it sinks slowly, it suggests medium or normal porosity.
      • If it sinks quickly, it indicates high porosity hair.

    2. The Slip 'n' Slide Test

    • Take a clean hair strand that is free from any oil or cream conditioners before you start this test.
    • Hold the strand with the tip between your fingers and the scalp end falling downwards.
    • Glide your finger from top to bottom and feel the texture of your hair strands.
    • If the hair feels smooth and your fingers glide easily, you have low porosity hair.
    • If it feels slightly bumpy or your fingers meet resistance, it might be higher porosity.

    Challenges of Having Low Porosity Hair

    Product Buildup

    One of the main challenges of low porosity hair is product buildup. Whether using volumizing shampoo and conditioner or other products, the tightly closed cuticles prevent products from penetrating the hair shaft, products often sit on the surface. This leads to a greasy, heavy feeling, and dull appearance. Frequent use of oils, anti frizz hair serum, and heavy conditioners, which are common in Indian hair care, can increase this issue.

     Moisture Retention

    While low porosity hair resists the absorption of moisture, it also struggles with retaining hydration. Even when you manage to hydrate your hair with a step by step guide to use a hair mask, the moisture doesn’t stay in the hair shaft for long. This can result in hair that is dry and brittle, even after conditioning.

    Absorption of Hair Care Products

    Hair care products, including moisturizers, damaged hair oils, and treatments, often have a hard time penetrating low porosity hair. This means that even the best products may seem ineffective because they cannot reach the inner layers of the hair where they are most needed. 

    Protein Sensitivity

    Low porosity hair care is sensitive to protein and keratin treatments. While protein is essential for hair strength, too much protein can make low porosity hair feel stiff and straw-like. Finding the right balance is crucial, as an overload of protein can exacerbate dryness and brittleness.

    Heat Damage

    While heat damage often requires you to use dry and damaged hair care products, understanding its effect on low porosity hair is vital. Because low porosity hair takes longer to dry, there's a tendency to use more heat during styling. This can lead to heat damage, causing the cuticle to become even more tightly sealed and resistant to moisture. Over time, excessive heat can lead to breakage and split ends, further damaging your hair.

    Low Porosity Hair Care Routine

    Start with Cleansing

    Proper cleansing is essential for low porosity hair. It helps remove product buildup and environmental residues. Begin with a clarifying dry frizzy hair shampoo once a month to deeply cleanse the hair and scalp, effectively removing any product buildup and minerals from hard water. Look for shampoos with natural clarifying ingredients like apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, etc., which help to lift away impurities without harsh chemicals. For regular cleansing, choose a sulfate-free shampoo that cleanses gently, preserving the natural oils and preventing dryness. This step is crucial to ensure that the hair is free from barriers that can prevent moisture absorption. 

    Regular and Deep Conditioning

    Conditioning is a vital part of the hair care routine for low porosity hair. After every wash, use a lightweight, hydrating hair repair cream. Avoid heavy, creamy conditioners that might lead to buildup on the hair’s surface. For deep conditioning, it’s beneficial to include weekly damaged hair mask treatments. Use a deep conditioner that can penetrate the hair and apply heat to enhance its effectiveness. You can use a heat cap or wrap a warm towel around your head to help open the cuticles slightly, allowing the conditioner to penetrate deeper. Do not use heating tools. This practice helps to infuse the hair with moisture and nutrients, combating the natural resistance of low porosity hair to hydration.

    Moisturizing for Hair

    Keeping low porosity hair moisturized involves using the right products and techniques. Choose water-based moisturizers and leave-in liquid conditioners, as they are more likely to penetrate the tightly packed cuticles. Products that list water as the first ingredient are usually a good choice. Layering is an effective technique: start with a light leave-in conditioner to provide initial hydration, followed by a small amount of light oil like argan oil, jojoba oil, etc., to seal in the moisture. You can even use hair serum. This method helps to maintain hydration without weighing down the hair or causing buildup.  

    8 Essential Tips You Need to Know

    1. Clarify Regularly

    One of the most important steps in maintaining low porosity hair is to clarify regularly. Product buildup is a significant issue, as it prevents moisture from penetrating the hair shaft. Use a clarifying shampoo once every month to remove any accumulated residues from hair products and hard water minerals. This helps in maintaining a clean scalp and ensures that your hair is ready for moisture and nutrient absorption.

    2. Regulate Water Temperature

    Regulating water temperature is crucial in low porosity hair care. When washing your hair, use warm water to help open the hair cuticles slightly, allowing your shampoo and conditioner to penetrate more effectively. After conditioning, rinse with cool water to close the cuticles, sealing in moisture and making your hair appear shinier and smoother.

    3. Use Hair Care Products Designed for Low Porosity

    Choosing hair care products for women based on hair type is vital. Look for products formulated for low porosity hair. These products are lighter and penetrate better in the hair. Ingredients like glycerin, honey, aloe vera, etc., are great for providing hydration without causing buildup. Avoid products that contain heavy silicones and oils that can sit on the hair's surface. Also, protein-rich products like keratin therapy products are a big no for low porosity hair.

    4. Avoid Heavy Moisturizers

    Heavy moisturizers can be alarming for low porosity hair as they tend to sit on the surface and cause buildup. Always go for lighter, water-based moisturizers and leave-in conditioners that can penetrate the hair more easily. This ensures that your hair receives adequate moisture without becoming weighed down or greasy.

    5. Use Safe Formulations

    Be mindful of the formulations of your hair care products. Avoid products with harmful chemicals like sulfates, parabens, and phthalates, as they can strip your hair of its natural sebum and cause further dryness. Instead, choose products with natural, vegan, and safe ingredients that hydrate and protect your hair without causing any damage.

    6. Avoid Over Styling with Heat

    Heat styling tools, like flat irons, dryers, and curling wands, can cause significant damage to low porosity hair. Since this hair type already struggles with moisture absorption, excessive heat can make it even more prone to dryness and breakage. Limit the use of heating tools and apply a heat protection spray before using them to minimize damage.

    7. Take Hair Steam

    Steaming your hair is an excellent way to open up the cuticles and allow moisture and hydration from products to penetrate deeply. You can use a hair steamer or a simple hot towel method at home. Wrap your hair in a warm and damp towel, and let it sit for about 15-20 minutes. This process helps in deep conditioning and hydrating your hair, making it softer and more manageable.

    8. Avoid Protein Rich Products

    While protein-rich treatments can be beneficial for some hair types, they can be too harsh for low porosity hair. Excess protein can make the hair feel stiff and brittle. Avoid using protein-rich and keratin hair care products frequently and focus on moisturizing treatments instead. If you need to use protein treatments, opt for mild ones and follow them with a deep moisturizing treatment to balance your hair’s protein and moisture levels.

    Understanding your hair type and low porosity hair care routine requires patience and the right approach. Following tips and tricks, along with basic knowledge, can help you effectively maintain healthy hair. While low porosity is common, knowing which products to use can change your hair regime. Barcode Professional understands the basic requirement of low porosity hair care, bringing in just what you need for that extra dose of pampering for your hair. 100% safe, authentic, vegan, and dermatologically tested hair care products for women with low porosity hair make Barcode Professional your go-to choice. Start your hair porosity hair care journey today.

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