What Does It Mean to Have Low Porosity Hair?

low porosity hair

Do you know your hair porosity?

It’s not just about texture and curl pattern. Hair porosity dictates a lot about your hair from styling regimens to products used. There are three categories of hair porosity: High, Medium, and Low.

Today we’re going to focus on low porosity hair.

Hair porosity 

Let’s rewind for a second and talk about what hair porosity is. Basically, your hair’s porosity determines how your hair absorbs and retains moisture. This is dependent on how tight or loose your hair cuticles (the outermost layer of your hair) are. 

What is low porosity hair?

Low porosity hair has cuticles that are very close together and overlapping. The lack of space between the cuticles makes it difficult for moisture to reach the hair shaft. 

While this category of hair porosity is genetic and not caused by chemical or heat, heat or styling damaged hair make result in high porosity hair (which also has issues retaining moisture).

Is Low porosity hair bad?

There is no such thing as bad hair, bad texture, bad porosity. Every hair type or porosity comes with its own set of quirks and techniques.

The key to beautiful hair is knowing your hair type, texture, porosity, and sensitivities and adopting a regimen and products that allow your hair to flourish. 

With low porosity hair, it is difficult to absorb and retain moisture. So it may tend to feel brittle, dry, and tangled. But once you learn to moisturize correctly, your hair will be healthier than ever. 

How to moisturize low porosity hair

If you have low porosity hair you should definitely focus on moisturizing. Here are some helpful tips to help your hair absorb and retain moisture.

  1. Pre-poo 
    • Start your wash day routine with a pre-poo featuring hair penetrating oils like coconut oil, EEVO, or avocado oil. This will help soften the hair as well as protect your strands from some of the moisture stripping that occurs with shampooing.
  2. Clarify
    • Using a clarifying shampoo will remove buildup and give you a fresh base to infuse moisture. 
  3. Water-Based Products
    • It’s important to use leave-in and conditioners that are water-based so they don’t sit on the hair shaft. 
  4. Deep Conditioner WITH HEAT
    • The use of heat while deep conditioning helps open up the cuticles and allows your hair to absorb your moisture better. 
  5. Steam Treatments
    • Biweekly steam treatments can also give your strands a boost. If you have a handheld steamer like the Q Redew, you can steam in small sections before applying your moisturizer or cream on retwist days. 
  6. Remember to Seal
    • Contrary to what you may think, heavier oils like castor oil do not necessarily mean more moisture. Low porosity hair can get weighed down easily. Opt for light oil to seal in your moisture using the loc method.
    • Think about incorporating humectants like aloe vera and flaxseed gel into your regimen. These products form barriers around your hair shaft preventing moisture from escaping easily.

Best products for low porosity hair  

It can be difficult to find the perfect hair care products for your hair type. You need products that penetrate deeply and infuse moisture while avoiding product buildup. Here are some of the best products for low porosity hair. 

Here are some of the best products for low porosity hair.


Design Essentials Oat Protein and Henna Fuller Thicker Stronger Deep Cleansing Shampoo $10.00

Hydratherma Naturals Clarifying Shampoo $15.99

Morrocconoil Clarifying Shampoo $26.00

TGIN Moisture Rich Sulfate-free Shampoo $14.99

Ouidad Water Works Clarifying Shampoo $10.00


Oyin Handmade Honey Hemp Conditioner from $13.99

Trader Joe’s Balanced Moisturizing Nourish Spa Conditioner $13.50

Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner $12.00

Giovanni 50/50 Balanced Hair Moisturizer Conditioner from $8.99

Carol’s Daughter Almond Milk Daily Damage Repair Ultra Nourishing Hair Mask $11.99

Ouidad Curl Immersion Triple Treat Deep Conditioner $38.99

Leavins and Stylers

Alikay Naturals Lemongrass Leave in Conditioner $13.99

The Mane Choice Soft as Can Be 3 in 1 Conditioner $13.99

CurlJunkie Curl Assurance Smoothing Daily Hair Conditioner $20.00

Kinky Curly Knot Today $12.00

MyHoneyChild Coconut Hair Milk $17.00

Camille Rose Curl Love Moisture Milk $15.00

SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie $13.99

TGIN Butter Cream Daily Moisturizer  $14.99


Silk Elements Pure Avocado Oil $5.99

Silk Elements Pure Jojoba Oil $9.29

How to know if your hair is high or low porosity – Porosity test:

If you’re not sure of your hair has low porosity, there are a couple of ways to find out how porous your hair is.

The most popular method is the Float Test to tell if the porous level is high, medium or low. Simply take a couple of strands of CLEAN hair (with no product applied) and drop them in a cup of water. Allow it to sit for about 5-10 minutes and take a look.

If the hair is floating, your hair is low porosity. If it has sunk to the bottom, it’s high porosity. Medium porosity hair will be floating in the middle.

There is another method known as the SlipNSlide Test to indicate the level of porosity. Here you take a strand of hair and slide your fingers up the shaft (from tip to root).  If it’s a smooth glide, your hair is low porosity. If you feel little bumps along the way then your hair is high porosity.

Are you a low porosity hair chick? What are some of your go-to products that load and lock in moisture?

what does it mean to have low porosity hair?

Morgan Greene
Morgan Greene

Morgan is a Chronic Illness + Holistic Wellness Blogger and Content Creator at Is Was Will Be. After being diagnosed with a rare chronic illness, Myasthenia Gravis, Morgan started blogging as a way to work through her struggles of living with a chronic illness. What started as a hobby has turned into a passion as Morgan continues to blog about all things chronic illness, mental wellness, and natural/nontoxic living.

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1 Comment

  1. January 6, 2021 / 8:41 am

    Thanks for sharing detailed info on low porosity hair.

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