Afro Hair & Self Care

So you just did the famous porosity test and your hair floated at the top of the water? Or does it seem like products coat your hair and leave it feeling even more dry? What now? Find out out how to moisturize low porosity hair the right way.

Identifying your hair as low porosity means there are certain ways to care for your natural hair so that it accepts moisture easier than before. The last thing you want are products sitting on top of your hair resulting in dry hair.

The hair is made up of three layers cuticle, cortex and medulla. The porosity of your hair is defined by the condition of the outermost layer which is called the cuticle.

The cuticle layer of the hair is comparable to scales on a fish. When you have low porosity hair, it means the cuticle layer of the hair lays flat and closed.

This makes it harder for water and products to get past that layer and reach the cortex to fully moisturize the hair.

However, low porosity hair retains moisture very easily once you are able to get it in.

The cortex layer of the hair is the powerhouse of the hair strand where it builds strength and retains moisture so if your products aren’t reaching it, this results in dry dehydrated.

Top Signs of Low Porosity Hair

  • Your hair takes a long time to soak up water
  • Clean strands of hair floats in water
  • Your hair appears to have a natural sheen
  • Hair products leaves a visible white film on your hair

Watch this video for a demonstration of the porosity strand test to help you determine your hair porosity.

How to test hair porosity

Now we will learn how to actually open the cuticles and make your low porosity hair receptive to all the good moisture you’re giving it.

Top Ways To Moisturize Low Porosity Hair

Use heat on low porosity hair

Before you get carried away and start breaking out the flat iron and blow dryers, we are going to explore a very healthy way to add heat to your regimen using steam. Dry direct heat from blow dryers, curling irons and flat irons isn’t as beneficial to the hair.

Steam is the most effective and healthiest option to moisturize dry and brittle low porosity hair!

Steam opens up the cuticles and allow product to penetrate the hair strand and reach the cortex. It will be beneficial to add steam when you are conditioning the hair or after moisturizing.

Steam treatments can be done a number of ways conducive to your budget and convenience. The most important thing is the heat source itself.

How to steam the hair

  • Cover hair with plastic cap during your conditioning sessions to trap body heat
  • Sit under a warm hooded dryer while conditioning with plastic cap
  • Apply conditioner and sit under a hooded steamer without plastic cover
  • Use a thermal cap to deep condition
  • Use a handheld steamer during your moisturizing sessions
  • Shower without a plastic cap and allow steam on the hair
  • Wash your hair with warm water instead of cool

Best Way To Cleanse

Use shampoos with a more a powerful cleansing agent. Look for shampoos that specializes in removing buildup. Since low porosity hair is prone to buildup, it’s important to make sure your shampoo isn’t contributing to even more buildup.

Clarifying shampoos will most likely work better but use with caution and always listen to the feedback from your hair. Start by using every other week and tweak the frequency based on how your hair responds.

Avoid using too much gentle moisturizing shampoo or co-washing as these deposit conditioners on the hair which leads to a blocked cuticle unable to receive moisture.

Look for shampoos labeled as “removes buildup” for best results.

Beware Of Oils

The higher the dosage of fatty acids in an oil determines how much of it sits on top of the cuticle or actually penetrates the cuticle.

For low porosity hair, opt for using oils with higher fatty acid levels and lighter in consistency so that they absorbs into the hair.

Avoid heavy sealant oils since these create a barrier on the cuticle and restricts moisture from reaching the cortex.

Some examples of penetrating oils are argan oil, coconut oil, babassu oil, sunflower oil.

Make Moisture Top Priority

Low porosity hair takes better to moisture based products versus protein based ones. Protein ingredients bind to the cuticle and can leave low porosity hair feeling very dry due to the cuticle having a barrier over it that blocks out moisture.

Make sure that most of your products are moisture rich and use protein in small quantities.

Also opt for products with a lower dosage of a protein versus concentrated heavy protein treatments.

You do not want to completely ignore protein since the hair may need it sometimes. Just make moisture based products your top priority.

Use moisturizing treatments, moisturizing leave in conditioners, moisturizing stylers.

Use Lighter Weight Products

The weight of your products matter when you are trying to avoid product buildup.

Begin to use more products with a liquid or watery cream based consistency whether it’s your shampoos, conditioners, treatments, leave in conditioners, stylers or moisturizers.

I will also recommend to avoid products containing sealant oils, silicones, petroleum, mineral oil. These ingredients do not penetrate the hair shaft, instead they coat the shaft and prevents penetration.

Low porosity tips

Use these tips to build a regimen perfect for your low porosity hair and enjoy moisturize hair that grows.

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8 thoughts on “How To Moisturize Low Porosity Hair The Right Way

  1. Hey ❤️

    I am a new natural hair grower. I would like to know the products to use for my 4C hair. I am a student and don’t have much money, please recommend cheap product.

  2. I read your article. it has helped me a lot to understand the porosity of my hair.Your work is good keep it up as well !I have a question? if i use coconut oil on my hair. so Will it be into absorbed my hair.My hair type is low porosity hair.

    1. Yes coconut oil is a penetrating oil due to it’s high fatty acid content. It is perfect for low porosity and will absorb well without build up

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