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Low Porosity and High Porosity Hair Tips That Actually Work

Whether your hair is straight, wavy, curly, or coiled, knowing your hair's porosity gives you understanding and helps you discover the best ways to retain hair moisture. Hair Porosity is your hair’s ability and willingness to absorb water or moisture and keep it in. This is based on how closed or open the cuticles are. Porosity is mostly determined by genetics. However, heat, pH balance, and chemicals can affect and change your hair porosity. Hair porosity can range from low, medium, and high. low porosity Like the pores on your skin, when hair pores are open, it is easy for hydrated cream to pass through. When pores are blocked or have tight spaces, hydrated cream struggles to enter. Your hair behaves similarly. Low porous hair has low levels of pores or opening in the hair shaft. The cuticles are most resistant, making it difficult for water and moisture to absorb into the shaft. Once water or moisture makes it in, these tight or closed cuticles trap and block the moisture from escaping. Because low porosity hair has increased levels of protein, focus should be geared to achieving moisture and oil penetration.

Characteristics of Low Porosity Hair

The hair takes longer to absorb water to be wet. Product buildup in the hair and difficulty of substances to penetrate the shaft. The hair takes longer to dry. With highly porous hair, the cuticles are open and absorb much water easily. However, in return, it releases moisture quickly; therefore, retaining moisture is difficult, resulting in fast drying hair. The hair may be damaged, needing deep conditioning and protein treatment to fill the gaps to assist in laying cuticles flat. Therefore, sealing hair with heavy butters, pudding, crème, and oils in the LOC or LCO method can help to retain moisture. The LOC and the LCO method will be discussed later. Remember butters and oils do not necessarily hydrate the hair. The best method to hydrate the hair is to spritz it until wet or damp with water or a water-based mixture, then apply your butter or oil to lock in the moisture as is demonstrated in the LOC method.

Characteristic of High Porosity Hair

The hair absorb water easily. The hair loses moisture quickly. Hair is frizzy. More hydration and moisture are often needed. Medium porous hair is the ideal range. However, just be aware that your hair can change from this category if you apply frequent heat and chemicals. This type of porous hair should focus on maintaining balance of moisture and protein. You can alternate between deep conditioning and protein treatment every other week. For example, one week you can deep condition and the following week you can do a protein treatment.

Characteristic of Medium Porosity Hair

Your hair takes in water or moisture easily and retains it. There is a sheen to your hair. You may not need to apply as much moisturized products to the hair. It accepts color treatment or chemical processing on the hair well. So, let’s recap. Low porous means your hair will hold onto moisture longer than high porous hair, due to tight or closed pores making escaping of moisture difficult. High porous hair will lose moisture quickly due to open pores, and has no difficulty in pulling moisture in. With medium porous hair, there is a balance.

Low Porosity Recommendations

1. Use indirect heat to deep condition, such as a steamer or a hood dryer; set on medium heat to open the cuticles. You can also heat conditioner and apply directly to hair. Wash out with warm water to keep cuticles open. You can use apple cider to rinse and dilute the water to close the cuticles. You can also close the cuticles with cold water. 2. Use sulfate-free shampoo, sulfate-free clarifying shampoo, or baking soda. Rinse for increased buildup sitting on the hair. Just remember, when using a regular shampoo or clarifying shampoo due to stubborn buildup, this should be used sparingly due to its stripping agents. 3. No heavy creams or oils that can weigh down the hair as these make penetration difficulty. Use light oils like grapeseed oil, olive oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, and argon oil. Use light liquid-water based products, emollients, and humectants, such as honey, okra gel, marshmallow root, or glycerin to attract moisture to the hair, especially in warm to humid climates. Just remember certain ingredients will benefit and not others. 4. Try to soak the hair in alkaline water; this can help to gradually increase the pH (4.5 to 5.5) of the hair, which opens the cuticle to aid in moisture retention. 5. If protein-sensitive, use protein-free treatment, which lessens buildup on closed cuticles. If you do, use hydrolyzed protein treatment as needed and not frequently to hydrate the hair.

Suggestive Low Porosity Products

Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque Shea Moisture Low Porosity Line Naked Detox Clarifying Shampoo Kinky Curly Come Clean Natural Moisturizing Shampoo Sulfate Free As I Am Double Butter Deva Curl One Condition Aphogee Curlific Moisture Rich Leave-In Eden Bodyworks Curl Defining Crème Camille Rose Naturals Curl Love Moisture Milk Crème of Nature Oil Moisturizer Eden Bodyworks Cleansing Co-Wash Beautiful Texture Tangle Taming Shampoo Tresemme Natural Silicone Free Condition with aloe vera and avocado Beautiful Textures Tangle Taming Shampoo Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Hello Tight Curly Leave-in Conditioner As I Am Leave-in Conditioner Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave-in Detangler TBIN Green Tea Super Moist Leave-in Conditioner with green tea and argan oil Hydratherma Naturals Hair Growth Oil Blend Ouidad Curl Immersion Triple Treat Deep Conditioner MicMas Remix My Porosity Hair Line Low hair porosity regimen that works! Use the Hair porosity test to build an Epic Natural Hair Regimen that Works. Source

High Porosity Recommendations

1. Start by deep conditioning your hair to repair potential damaged cuticles. When rinsing with warm water, end by rinsing with cold water to close the cuticles. 2. Use anti-humectants that blocks the moisture from the humid climate to cause your hair to frizz, or alternate hairstyle. Natural anti-humectants, such as aloe vera gel, aloe vera juice, coconut oil, bee wax, avocado oil, castor oil. Silicones in hair products limit moisture from getting into the hair, which suffocates the hair. In return, they help guard your hair against the humidity. More on silicones will be discussed later. 3. Use heavy butters or products labeled as puddings and crème for moisturizing. Use oils/butters as sealants to lock in the moisture, such as shea butter, mango butter, cocoa butter, castor oil, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and jojoba oil. 4. Try apple cider vinegar; rinse and dilute with water. This will help to close the cuticles and lock in the moisture, give sheen, and provides anti-bacterial benefit. 5. Incorporate protein treatments to restore hair structure and strength. Protein treatments can help to hydrate, limit breakage, and shedding. You can use protein treatment one (1) to two (2) times a month, depending on the condition of your hair. I had used the Aphogee Keratin 2 Minute protein treatment when my hair felt much weaker. However, you may consult with your trusted cosmetologist. 6. Avoid direct heat, such as a flat iron and blow-dryer. Your hair may have been damaged by too much heat and chemicals, risking further drying and breakage. If you must use heat, use a heat protectant.

Suggestive High Porosity Products

Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie Eden Body Works Hair Line: Eden BodyWorks Jojoba Monoi Moisturizing Shampoo ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor Deva Curl Heaven In Hair Carols Daughter Sacred Tiare Hair Mask Shae Moisture High Porosity Line Kinky-Curly Knot Today Leave In Conditioner/Detangler Oyin Handmade Hair Dew Daily Quenching Hair Lotion As I Am Co-Wash Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask Moisturizer for Dry Hair Gleau All Natural Argan Oil Low hair porosity products that work! Use the Hair porosity test to build an Epic Natural Hair Regimen that Works. source

Suggestive Anti-Humectants Products for Warm/Humid Climate

Ouidad Climate Control Heat and Humidity Gel Aveda Brilliant Anti-Humectant Pomade or Aveda Hair Line Karen’s Body Beautiful Sweet Ambrosia Leave-in conditioner Carol's Daughter 3-pc. Cupuçu Anti-Frizz Starter Kit Carol’s Daughter Mimosa Hair John Freda Frizz Control Sabino moisture blocker Although hair porosity is attributed to genetics, there are three (3) popular porosity hair strand tests that you can use as suggestive indicators.

The Float Test

High porosity, the hair strand will sink to the bottom when submerge in the water (water enters the open cuticles quickly). Low porosity the hair strand will float on top of the water (water has difficulty entering tight/closed cuticles). Medium porosity the hair will float in the middle. Low porosity and high porosity hair care tips Photo Credit: Pinterest There are mixed controversies when it comes to the float test. Product on the hair or hair’s natural oil may cause the hair to float. Hot water can cause the cuticles to open, therefore may cause the hair to sink. Cold water closes the cuticles that may cause the strand to float.

Glide Strand between Finger Pads Test

Gently pull on single strand to make straight. Start at the strand’s end and glide between index finger and thumb. If hair feels smooth, you may have low/normal hair porosity (cuticles lay flat or closed). If hair feels rough or bumpy, you have high porosity (cuticle remains open).

Spray Bottle Test

Spritz section of water on your hair. Low porosity: if you notice beads of water or just lay on top of your hair. High Porosity: if your water quickly penetrates your hair. Medium Porosity: if water takes some time to be absorbed into your hair.


With high porous hair, it is important to maintain balanced protein and hydrated-moisturized hair. Your head can have different sections of hair porosity and texture. For example, your roots may have low porosity and ends may have high porosity. This is more noticeable in heat-damaged, chemically processed, and colored hair. Knowing where your hair falls in this range is the key to developing effective hair care regimens. During your hair journey, through trial and error, you will better understand your hair porosity needs. You will discover what hair products hydrate, moisturize, and make it feel dry and brittle. With all hair types, it is important you seal with a natural oil or a hair butter after applying water to retain moisture. Share and pin this post!