Posted on February 09 2018


Do you find yourself dry, tangled, hard to manage kinks and curls even though you use multiple moisturizing products? The problem could be that you have low porosity hair. What does that mean for you? That means you’ve probably got some changes to make.

Porosity is all about your hair’s ability to absorb and maintain moisture. The outer layer of the hair shaft, the cuticle, opens and closes to allow for the absorption and escape of moisture. Low porosity hair has cuticles that don’t open as much to allow products to penetrate the strands. There are many factors to why someone may have low porosity hair. It could be genetic. It could also be the types of heat or chemical treatments that are used. Whatever the case, knowing your hair’s porosity can help you choose products that are better suited for you to help keep your hair shiny, soft and well-moisturized.

How do you find if you have low porosity hair? Try one of these tests:

  1. Take a few strands of hair from your comb or brush and place them in a bowl filled with water. Wait 5 minutes. If your hair is still floating in the bowl, you have low porosity hair. If it is at the bottom of the bowl, you have high-porosity hair.
  1. Slide your fingers up a strand of hair from the ends to the scalp. Was it smooth sailing with no resistance? If so, you have low porosity hair. If you can feel any bumps along the way, you have high porosity hair.

Low porosity hair has very tightly closed cuticles. The reason low porosity hair is dry is because the products used are practically sitting on top of your hair with the moisture evaporating. Your first thought might have been to get yourself a super thick deep conditioning treatment. Without the help of heat to open up the cuticle, deep conditioners aren’t going to be as effective.

Heavy, thick protein-rich conditioners cannot be absorbed properly because the molecules are too big for the hair shaft, which leads to product build-up. You could try mixing your thicker treatment with something water-based (or just water) to break it down a little more and encourage absorption. But remember, too much protein will leave your hair feeling like straw.

Dry hair needs water as a primary form of moisture. Humectant products grab water molecules from the environment and keep the hair hydrated. Gels like flaxseed and aloe vera are film-forming humectants, which slow the release of moisture without weighing the hair down like some oils could. You might look into using an Ayurvedic Oil (which has the proper PH that will help the cuticle to open and close properly preventing dryness),, coconut oil, sweet almond oil or shea butter to use as a sealant for locking in moisture. 

If you are looking for a great detailed explanation of the science behind low porosity hair, you can check out The Science-y Hair Blog.


1 comment

  • ameerah: February 21, 2018

    Interesting! What if the hair floats for the 5 mins then eventually sinks? Is that still low porosity?

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