If you already know you have low porosity hair, then a low porosity hair routine is in order. Perhaps there was a time when you thought that hair was just hair, and what worked for your best friend would work for you. By now you probably know better, and also understand that a low porosity hair care routine is the best thing you can do for your mane.
Knowing you have low porosity hair will give you a lot of indication as to what will and will not work for your hair. In the past, learning about your individual hair type wasn’t a thing so we don’t blame you. However, you probably also remember getting annoyed because it seemed impossible to have a ‘good hair day’ no matter how much you tried.
By knowing your hair’s porosity level you’ll be able to choose the correct products and create a hair routine specifically for your hair type. This is huge for low porosity hair since the wrong products will stay on the surface of your hair rather than being absorbed; which means a waste of your hard-earned money.
It is easy to see, the impact of a proper low porosity hair routine; the benefits you’ll start seeing will make all the effort worthwhile. You’ll notice how your hair starts to grow, you’ll feel how smooth and healthier your hair has become, and you’ll see all these changes in no time. If you have no idea where to start, you are in luck. Below you’ll find a low porosity hair routine step by step guide and more.
Hair Porosity Explained
Let’s start from the beginning, hair porosity it’s your hair’s ability to take in and retain water and other cosmetic products. A human hair shaft is typically made up of three layers; cuticle, cortex, and medulla.
Your hair cuticle, which is the external layer of the hair’s surface, often determines your hair porosity. It’s made of plates that overlap each other in a structure very much like roof shingles.
Hair porosity comes in three categories:
- Low porosity: Very tight cuticles making it difficult for moisture to enter or escape
- Medium porosity: Slightly less tightly bound cuticles
- High porosity: Raised cuticles that look like scales on a rooftop; these cuticles easily allow moisture to penetrate through
So what is low porosity hair?
Low porosity means your hair strands have a tightly bound cuticle layer that lays flat and tends to repel water. Depending on your texture, low porosity hair can be shiny and tends to be stubborn with chemical processes.
If your hair is low porosity it can become high porosity over time with more mechanical, thermal, and chemical damage, so moderation and trims are important. Here are a few things to remember on what not to do if you have low porosity hair.
Low Porosity Hair Test
- You can test your porosity level by running a finger down a strand of your hair. Low porosity hair will feel smooth, whereas high porosity hair will feel rough and bumpy because the cuticles are open.
- Spray some water on your hair and observe it. Low porosity hair won’t easily absorb the water and will still have visible beads of water on the strand.
- You can also try another simple test. You take a glass of water and a strand of your hair and put your hair strand into the water. If the strand floats at the top or takes a long while to sink further down the glass you have low porosity hair.
Sings of Low Porosity Hair
- Your hair struggles to keep moisture: Having low porosity hair means that your hair finds it difficult to gain moisture. The cuticles of your hair are laid down tightly flat making it difficult for moisture to get in.
- Treatments may not work: As we already know moisture finds it difficult to penetrate into low porosity hair. This also includes products.
- There’s always buildup and dirt in your hair. If you start to notice that your hair is just not accepting products, that you have dry hair, or that you are getting a lot of unusual product buildup on your hair there is a very good chance that it is because you have low porosity hair.
- Your hair is too oily or too dry: Have you noticed a huge number of what seem like never-ending split ends? Well for low porosity hair this can happen. If your hair is not properly moisturized it leads to dryness which in turn leads to split ends.
- Little to no elasticity: If you have just washed your hair you might be expecting that your hair will have lots of elasticity and bounce. Unfortunately, if you do have low porosity hair you may find that there is not an awful lot of giving when you stretch it, even after having freshly washed hair.
- Hair is dull and frizzy: Low porosity hair can look dull in appearance because of the lack of moisture in your hair. Think of it in terms of your skin. When your skin is not cleaned and moisturized it can often look very dull and lifeless. This is the same for your hair.
- Takes a long time for hair to airdry: This has got to be one of the more annoying things about having low porosity hair. It can take absolutely ages for it to dry. The reason for this is because when you have low porosity hair your strands are tightly closed so whilst moisture finds it difficult to penetrate it will also sit on the surface of the strands.
Low Porosity Hair Care Routine
Step 1 Steam Your Hair
If you are battling low porosity hair your best friend is going to be indirect heat. You are going to want to steam your hair 1-2xs a week for 10-15 minutes to help open up the cuticle of your hair.
We recommend INFINITIPRO BY CONAIR GOLD Soft Bonnet Hair Dryer.
With all the features of the classic salon hood dryer, this bonnet dryer is perfect for gentle drying or deep conditioning treatment; It features ionic technology for less frizz and more shine
Perfect for gentle drying or for a deep conditioning treatment, this traditional bonnet dryer gets a modern update with ionic technology for less frizz and more shine! Choose from 4 heat/speed settings for your best look.
Comes with a compact storage case for easy storage and portability. From traditional bonnets to hi-tech dryers equipped with cutting-edge technology, Conair has a great selection of hair dryers for every hair type and every hairstyle.
How to use INFINITIPRO BY CONAIR GOLD Soft Bonnet Hair Dryer:
- Attach your hair dryer to the hose (it comes with a velcro strap for easy access)
- Set your dryer to low or medium
- Let the cap fill up with warm air and steam for 15 to 20 minutes
Step 2 Clarify Hair
Using a clarifying shampoo would leave a clean refreshed feeling without being stripped. You also want to rinse this mixture out of your hair with warm water to help keep the cuticles open as you proceed with your wash-day regimen.
Try Avalon Organics Shampoo, Clarifying Lemon. It offers to restore natural highlights and shine to dull, lackluster hair. This EWG VERIFIED shampoo is made with non-GMO ingredients and no parabens, harsh preservatives, synthetic colors, or fragrances.
Made with plant-sourced botanicals and essential oils, this formula gently cleanses and revitalizes hair while removing excess oils and dulling buildup.
A carefully balanced blend of lemon essential oil, quinoa protein, aloe and vitamin E work in harmony to gently condition and seal the hair cuticle, leaving it looking smooth and bright.
How to use Avalon Organics Shampoo, Clarifying Lemon:
- Apply to wet hair
- Massage into rich lather, then rinse.
- For best results use Clarifying conditioner
Step 3 Moisturize
Your hair needs moisture to make it soft, supple, and resilient. The moisture that is naturally stored within your hair strand may not be enough to keep it flexible. That is why you need to regularly moisturize your hair with a leave-in conditioner and other moisturizing products.
MIZANI 25 Miracle Milk Leave-In Conditioner comes highly recommended. Non-greasy and weightless, the nourishing spray is great for hair with low porosity.
This leave-in conditioning spray penetrates deep down to the follicle and provides a protective shield against heat damage and primes coils, curls, and waves for a detangled, frizz-free finish. Ideal for all texture types.
Strengthens strands and preserves the longevity of color-treated hair, whilst deeply conditioning and repairing damage to promote luscious locks. 25 benefits to protect and moisturize curly hair. Improves manageability, hydrates detangles, and controls frizz.
How to use MIZANI 25 Miracle Milk Leave-In Conditioner:
- Apply as needed to clean damp hair
- Comb through prior to styling to easily detangle and style
Step 4 Use Ligh Oils
Light oils are more absorbent and thus better suited for low porosity hair. They don’t burden your hair and can penetrate deep into the hair shaft.
We like PURA D’OR Organic Rosehip Seed Oil, which is the perfect all-in-one skin and facial moisturizer that helps reduce the visibility of wrinkles, fine lines, and appearance of other signs of aging.
Cold-pressed Rosehip Seed Oil is a premium high-quality oil extracted from the plant of Rosa Canina. Its high levels of essential fatty acids and linolenic acid, which plumps up skin to restore a youthful glow.
How to use PURA D’OR Organic Rosehip Seed Oil:
- Use a small amount and apply it directly to the scalp prior to shampooing
- Massage for 2 minutes
Step 5 Deep condition with heat weekly
Apply a conditioning product and use a steamer, thermal cap, or hooded dryer to heat up your hair. Even if you can not sit under a dryer, you can steam your hair while deep conditioning, use your handheld blow dryer, or count on a little body heat.
Also warming up your deep conditioner will help the process as well. When you are done you can rinse with cool water to seal in the moisture that your hair has taken in.
EDEN BodyWorks Jojoba Monoi Deep Conditioner is simply fantastic. The botanical blend of ingredients in this Deep Conditioner works to restore the smoothness and integrity of hair that’s suffering from breakage.
The ultra-hydrating ingredients of this thick Deep Conditioner penetrate the hair shaft, adding nourishment to dry, brittle strands. JojOba Oil, Tiare Flower, and Tea Tree Oil combine to bring nutrients to the hair that help smooth and repair.
By repairing the hair shaft, this Deep Conditioner helps strengthen the strand, keeping it from breaking during future manipulation.
How to use DEN BodyWorks JoJoba Monoi Deep Conditioner:
- Use on freshly washed, wet hair
- Apply onto hair for even distribution
- Leave on hair for a minimum of 15-30 minutes
- Rinse well and style as usual
Low Porosity Hair Routine Additional Tips
- Low porosity hair is more prone to product buildup. Solely using cleansing conditioners or co-washing more than shampoo may not be the best low porosity hair routine. If you figure you have low porosity hair and suffer from buildup, try a clarifying shampoo and incorporate shampoos over co-washing to see if that makes a difference.
- Holding onto moisture is not the issue but getting it in is. Try using heat caps and hooded dryers for a deep conditioner. They are great tools to help certain ingredients adsorb onto the hair shaft and make your curls, coils, and waves feel softer.
- Traditional leave-in conditioners are usually formulated with proteins to help strengthen the hair cuticle, so your hair might become stiff from protein overload. Consider using or alternating your leave-in conditioner with a lightweight moisturizer.
- Thick butter and oils are too heavy for low porosity hair, especially for those with fine strands. Thick products accumulate quickly, causing product buildup that leads to dryness, especially with multiple applications between wash days. Consider light oils and light refreshers to rejuvenate your curls.
- Silicones form a hydrophobic coating on hair strands that act as a barrier to hydrating and moisturizing ingredients and make it even more difficult for low porosity strands to get moisture.
- Wrapping up your hair at night is not just for keeping your style fresh, so don’t think that if your hair isn’t newly done you don’t need to cover it. Sleeping on cotton sheets and pillowcases can draw out moisture from your hair so be sure to put on a silk or satin bonnet or scarf before you hit the hay.
Common Question About Low Porosity Hair Routine
What is good for low porosity hair?
Since low porosity hair is prone to build-up, it’s important to avoid heavy products that can sit on the hair shaft.
Should you add protein to your low porosity hair routine?
Low porosity hair does not need protein as it already carries a lot of its own natural protein called Keratin.
Low porosity hair is very protein sensitive so it’s best to stay away from products containing protein as it could make your hair feel very brittle and hard. This will only lead to breakage and damaged strands of hair.
How often should you wash low porosity hair?
Washing your hair weekly or every 2 weeks will keep it free of product build-up and give it another opportunity to absorb some moisture. Remember to wash your hair with warm water to open up the cuticles and then cold water at the end to seal in the moisture.
What Should low porosity hair avoid?
Look for shampoos, conditioners, and styling products that are sulfate-free and have natural ingredients. Avoid heavy ingredients such as mineral oil, petrolatum, lanolin, etc., because they can lead to build-up on the hair shaft.
Should I moisturize my low porosity hair daily?
The simple answer is that you should moisturize low porosity hair whenever it feels dry. Usually, a couple of times a week works for extra-dry hair. For everyone else, once a week should do the trick.
Can you wet low porosity hair every day?
You should wash your low porosity hair 2-3 times a week to keep it soft, moisturized, and free of buildup
What oils are best for low porosity hair?
If you have low porosity hair and want to achieve the best low porosity hair routine oils are on your side, but not all of them. You will notice that most hair products will rest on your hair but do not get absorbed.
Certain oils like jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, argan oil, sweet almond oil, sesame oil, and baobab oil are the best oils for low porosity hair.
Lighter-weight oils such as almond oil and argan oil are great to use on low porosity hair because they can penetrate past the tight cuticles and get deeper into the hair core.
Low Porosity Hair Routine Video Tutorial
Products Mentioned In This Article
- INFINITIPRO BY CONAIR GOLD Soft Bonnet Hair Dryer
- Avalon Organics Shampoo, Clarifying Lemon
- MIZANI 25 Miracle Milk Leave-In Conditioner
- PURA D’OR Organic Rosehip Seed Oil
- EDEN BodyWorks JoJoba Monoi Deep Conditioner
Disclosure: The Hair Products recommended in this article are our top favorites because they have a great combination of quality, features, and affordability. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases made through the links as a way to support this site. If you buy a qualifying product, you’re not charged anything extra, but I’ll get a small commission to help pay for my expenses. I hope you find our advice helpful and discover the Best Hair Products for your needs on this list.