Low Porosity Hair: Characteristics & Care Tips

by GAIA TONANZI 3 MINUTE READ
establish a proper low porosity hair routine to help care for your curls
Low porosity hair is one of the three main porosity types. Porosity determines how open and closed hair cuticles are. It is all about the hair’s ability to absorb and retain water. Identifying if you have low porosity hair is crucial to ensuring you have the most effective products to care for your curls.

Table of Contents:

What is Low Porosity Hair?

Low porosity hair is characterized by a very tight cuticle structure. Hair cuticles are the little scales that cover the external layer of curly hair. These control how much moisture can penetrate into the hair shaft. Those with low porosity hair have tightly closed cuticles. This means the hair is not too dry and can maintain moisture quite easily. However, this also makes it very hard for the moisture to penetrate through the cuticles when needed. No matter your type of curly hair, you may have low porosity hair and need to find the best ways to manage it.

6 Characteristics of Low Porosity Hair

Each hair porosity type has different characteristics that derive from the cuticle structure. Looking at whether these line up with how your own hair behaves can help you determine how porous your curls are. So, what does low porosity hair look like? Here are some key signs of low porosity hair to look for:

  1. Leave-in products tend to sit on the hair rather than penetrate, so it’s very easy to apply too much and cause scalp build-up
  2. When you spray some water on a clean, product-free strand, the water forms little beads on the surface rather than penetrating into the hair
  3. It takes a long time for the hair to get fully wet
  4. It takes a long time for the hair to fully dry
  5. The hair is easily weighed down and can struggle to achieve volume, which may make you want to use volumizing hair products
  6. The hair doesn’t take color very well

Identifying whether your curls respond like this can help you know if you have low porosity hair. Whilst taking a curl quiz helps you know exactly what products are best for your hair.

5 Tips to Care for Low Porosity Hair

Caring properly for low porosity hair is important. Those with this hair are prone to experience build-up and weighed down tresses. There are specific techniques and tips in product application. For a low porosity hair routine, try:

  1. Using heat to make moisture penetrate better - For example, use a heated shower cap during the waiting time of your hair treatment. Or try diffusing curly hair for a few minutes at the start of the treatment waiting time. 
  2. Using just a few protein-rich products to avoid protein overload, as this hair is healthy and doesn’t need a lot of repair.
  3. Clarifying more often to ensure you get rid of product build-up.
  4. Using lighter products.
  5. Trying a simpler routine, using only one product rather than layering them.

Best Products for a Low Porosity Hair Routine

Establishing a proper hair routine can help to leave your locks as healthy as possible. Here are the best products for low porosity hair:

Clarifying Products

As this hair type suffers from build-up you should regularly use products like clarifying shampoo. These help to remove build up, and keep your low porosity hair feeling as healthy as possible. Clarifiers, such as our Detox Kit, help to remove this building up of products. 

Adding Moisture

To moisturize low porosity hair properly, use a lightweight but hydrating hair product such as a deep conditioner. Our Hydro Creme Soothing Mask will help to penetrate moisture into the strands without weighing them down.

Hair Oils

Whilst hair oils are a great way to nourish hair, you should stick to products that contain lightweight oils. Using hair oils correctly, and choosing products that won’t sit on the hair strands and make it look greasy is essential. Look for products that contain glycerin as it helps to retain moisture within the hair. 

Lightweight Hair Products

Lightweight products are also a must for low porosity hair. They won’t weigh your strands down as much as heavier ones. Applying your styling products on soaking wet hair can help it be absorbed into the strands, so this is also recommended. We recommend our Hydro Style Flexi-Jelly, a medium hold weightless styling gel that defines curls without any build-up. 

Since low porosity hair doesn't need a lot of protein to maintain good protein moisture balance. You always need to maintain a correct balance of both protein and moisture. It is important to avoid protein overload, which can leave hair prone to snapping. Whilst moisture overload can result in hair which stretches too much and eventually falls apart. For low porosity hair we recommend using just one of our Strength Recipes products at a time to make sure you are not overloading your hair.

    low porosity hair characteristics

    The Differences Between High, Medium, & Low Porosity Hair

    Low porosity hair has a tight cuticle that makes it difficult for moisture to penetrate, as well as leave. Whilst high and medium types have different features:

    • High porosity - High porosity hair has looser cuticles that easily let moisture in, but just as easily let it out. This makes it difficult for this porosity type to retain hydration. 
    • Medium porosity - Medium porosity hair sits in between the high and low. The cuticles are looser than low porosity, but not as loose as high porosity. This means that moisture penetrates relatively easily, but isn’t lost too fast.
    • Low porosity - Whilst it can be difficult to get moisture into the tightly packed cuticles of this type, once it’s in there it becomes difficult for it to leave, making the hair more hydrated. 

    Identifying how porous your hair is can determine the curly hair products you need to care for your locks. That way, you can find a routine which works best for you and your hair.

    Why Choose Curlsmith?

    At Curlsmith, we specialize in hair care for curly, coily, and wavy hair. From shampoos, to frizz control products, designed with trichologists, made from natural ingredients. No matter your hair type, find the best ways to care for your hair.

    Gaia Tonanzi
    Product Development & Textured Hair Expert

    Product development expert on a mission to shine the spotlight on textured hair, bringing awareness of the category to the whole haircare industry. She is passionate about debunking false myths and bringing science-backed facts to the community, creating easy-to-follow guides to simplify curly haircare.

    Gaia Tonanzi
    Product Development & Textured Hair Expert

    Product development expert on a mission to shine the spotlight on textured hair, bringing awareness of the category to the whole haircare industry. She is passionate about debunking false myths and bringing science-backed facts to the community, creating easy-to-follow guides to simplify curly haircare.