A Low-Porosity Hair Care Guide

Low porosity hair is usually a source of frustration. The tightly closed cuticle that gives it strength also makes it resistant to absorbing moisture and nutrients. This can lead to dryness, lack of shine, and difficulty with styling. Low-porosity hair can be healthy, manageable, and beautiful with the right approach.

What is low-porosity hair?

The hair cuticle is the outermost layer. In this type of hair, the layer lies flat, making it difficult for moisture and products to penetrate. This can lead to:

  • Dryness and brittleness
  • Lack of definition in curls or waves
  • Difficulty with product build-up
  • Slow drying time

The low-porosity hair care routine

The key to caring for low-porosity hair is to gently lift the cuticle to allow moisture absorption and prevent build-up. Here's a step-by-step guide:

1.    Cleanse

Clarify regularly (every 2-4 weeks) with a gentle clarifying shampoo to remove product build-up that blocks moisture. Look for sulfate-free options to avoid stripping natural oils.

Use a lightweight, water-based shampoo that cleanses without leaving residue. The J-beauty SHISEIDO Tsubaki Moist and Repair Shampoo is a good option as it focuses on moisture without being heavy.

2.    Conditioning

Low porosity hair benefits from heat to open the cuticle. Apply a deep conditioner like the Japanese KAO Essential CC Hair Milk Treatment after showering.

Wear a shower cap and sit under a dryer for 15-20 minutes, or wrap your hair in a hot towel. This helps the conditioner penetrate deeply.

Depending on your hair's needs a deep condition weekly or bi-weekly.

3.    Apply humectants and lightweight oils

Humectants are ingredients that attract and retain moisture. Look for ingredients like glycerin, aloe vera, and honey. 

Lightweight oils like jojoba, grapeseed, and argan oil are easily absorbed by low-porosity hair.

The K-beauty ELIZAVECCA Milky Piggy Collagen Coating Protein ION Injection is a terrific choice as it has humectants and lightweight protein. Be mindful of protein overload, which can cause dryness in low-porosity hair. Use protein treatments sparingly.

The Korean NARD Intensive Hair Pack: This rich hair mask is a great occasional treat for low-porosity hair. Use it as a deep conditioner with heat to deliver moisture and nourishment.

4.    Steam it up

Steaming your hair before conditioning helps open the cuticle for better product absorption. You can use a steamer or stand in a hot shower for a few minutes.

5.    Less is more

Apply products in thin layers and focus on the mid-lengths and ends, avoiding the scalp.

6.    Apple cider vinegar rinse

After conditioning, dilute apple cider vinegar with water (1:4 ratio) and use it as a final rinse. It closes the cuticle and adds shine. 

7.    Drying techniques

Avoid heat styling whenever possible.

If you must use heat, apply a heat protectant spray and use the lowest heat setting possible.

Air-drying is best for low-porosity hair.

Additional tips

  • Consider getting a hair porosity test done at a salon to confirm your hair type.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated from the inside out.
  • Eat a healthy diet rich in vitamins and nutrients to support healthy hair growth. 
  • Trim your hair regularly to remove split ends and prevent breakage.

Low-porosity hair can be a source of pride, not frustration with the right care and a little ingenuity. Every head of hair is unique, so experiment and find what works best for you. Be patient and consistent with your routine, and you'll see your low-porosity hair thrive!

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