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what you should know about low porosity hair

Everything You Need to Know about Low Porosity Hair

Here’s how to manage your hair health, even if your hair is low porosity.
06 Jan 2023
Mastering proper hair care is no easy feat. Understanding your hair type and texture can be enough to handle, but when you add hair porosity to the mix, it can be a bit overwhelming. But in case you thought hair porosity was nothing to be considered about, think again. Determining your hair porosity can be the difference between mediocre strands and curls that are #hairgoals.

Hair porosity deals with your hair's relationship with water and moisture, and without understanding that, you might just be trying product after product and technique after technique with little to no success. Everyone has a hair porosity, but for this article we will dive into low porosity hair. Keep reading to learn more about low porosity hair, what it is, how to know if you have it, the best low porosity hair products, and tips for managing it.

What is low porosity hair?

If someone has ever asked you about your hair porosity and you have no clue, don’t fret. The truth is, most of us are pretty clueless when it comes to hair porosity and we tend to focus on the curl type, density and thickness of the hair to determine a proper hair care regimen. But hair porosity really does make a difference in how your hair performs and how it reacts to certain products.

Porosity, in general, refers to the openness or lack thereof of the hair’s cuticle layer. There are three categories of hair porosity including high, medium and low. Low porosity hair has very, very tight cuticles. In fact, the cuticle layer is so tight that water molecules cannot penetrate the hair shaft. This means that low porosity hair is practically resistant to moisture. It is very difficult for water (or other hydrating ingredients) to be absorbed into the hair to keep it moisturized. This means low porosity hair tends to be very dry (more on that below).

How do I know my hair porosity?

If you’re wondering how to test hair porosity, you’re in luck. There are a few at-home hair porosity tests that can help you determine your hair porosity. Before performing any tests, wash your hair with shampoo to remove any product buildup, dirt or debris. Reach for a sulfate-free shampoo like the Born to Repair Nourishing Shampoo. It’s gentle on the hair and it helps to prevent, repair and reverse hair damage.

Once your hair is clean and dry, take a strand of your hair and drop it into a glass of water. If your hair floats on the top before sinking, you’ve got low hair porosity. If your hair floats toward the middle of the glass, you likely have medium porosity. And if the strand of hair sinks to the bottom of the glass, you likely have high porosity.

If you fall into the low porosity camp, in most cases, there’s not something that caused it to happen. Low hair porosity is simply genetic. But with a few tips and tricks, low hair porosity can be more manageable.

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What are low porosity hair characteristics?

If you took the test and believe your hair is low porosity, here are a few more characteristics to confirm your assumption.

Low porosity hair doesn’t absorb product

So you applied your favorite styling cream, but it seems to be sitting on top of your hair shaft instead of your strands soaking in its moisture. Yes, that sounds like low porosity hair. Because the cuticles are so tight, products including creams, oils and water-based formulas, tend to sit on top of the hair instead of being absorbed.

Low porosity hair can be hard to get wet

Have you ever gone to cleanse your hair and find that it takes time for your hair to actually feel wet? This happens with low porosity hair since the water molecules can’t fully penetrate the hair.

Low porosity hair doesn’t respond well to protein treatments

Protein treatments are good for some hair types, but low porosity hair isn’t one of them. If you’ve attempted a protein-rich deep treatment and found your hair to feel stiff and straw-like after, you may have low porosity hair. Protein treatments for low porosity hair aren’t recommended.

Tips to take care of low porosity hair with a low porosity hair routine

Now that you know if your hair is low porosity or not, there’s a few tips to keep in mind to maintain the ultimate hair health.

Don’t skip cleansing — use products for low porosity hair

Since low porosity hair doesn’t easily absorb products, routine shampooing with a shampoo for low porosity hair is vital. Opting for a reparative formula like the Born to Repair Nourishing Shampoo leaves hair 10 times more moisturized and four times stronger than traditional non-conditioning shampoos. It’s also suitable for color-treated strands, too.

How to moisturize low porosity hair

Since moisture often sits atop the hair shaft and rolls away in low porosity hair, focus on products that help to keep moisture sealed into the hair. The Born to Repair 60-Second Moisture Treatment is a great option since it’s lightweight and infused with nourishing coconut oil.

Apply products in sections

Since your hair doesn’t absorb products well, slathering on large amounts of conditioner, creams and leave-ins won’t allow you to reap the benefits of the product. Instead, take your time and gather your hair into sections. With each section, apply the product or conditioner with warm water. This will help to open the hair cuticle for a higher rate of absorption.

Steam treatments are a great idea

Just like warm water helps to loosen up and open the hair cuticle, so does steam. After you shampoo, apply a conditioner like the Born to Repair Nourishing Conditioner, then use steam to help it deeply penetrate the hair. If you don’t have a hair steamer, sitting in the bathroom while running a hot shower can do the trick.

Load up on humectants

Humectants help to attract and lock moisture in, so these are your friends. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid, honey, hyaluronic acid, collagen and keratin. Humectants can be found in various haircare products including shampoo, conditioner and styling creams.

Steer clear of heavy products

We often think drier hair needs buttery, rich products to stay moisturized, but that’s not the case with low porosity hair. You’ll want to keep thick creams and butters to a minimum since they add weight to hair and can’t be absorbed. Instead, reach for lighter weight products like the Born to Repair Defining Cream. This formula is formulated with shea butter to help keep moisture locked-into the hair instead of seeping out. If you do want even more moisture, consider layering it with the Born to Repair Reviving Oil, which is 99% naturally derived and vegan.

Don’t skip trims

All hair types should stick to routine hair trims, but for low porosity hair it’s even more important. Since low porosity hair tends to be drier, the tendency to have dry, brittle ends that snap is greater. Schedule routine trims every 6-8 weeks to avoid split ends and breakage.

Does your hair need even more moisture? Try a deep conditioning hair mask.

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