Human hair with low porosity does not readily soak up water and treatments. Your hair may be low porosity if it carries a long time to wet and dry. If you utilize hair care products, they tend to stay on the surface of your hair rather than being absorbed. This causes hair care treatments less effective.
Managing low porosity hair comes with unique challenges and it’s important to understand how to care for it correctly.
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What is Hair Porosity?
Hair porosity represents the ability of the hair shaft to take in and retain water and other cosmetic products. A human hair shaft is generally made up of three layers — cuticle, cortex, and medulla. The cuticle is the outermost layer. It’s constructed of plates that overlap each other in a structure very much like roof shingles. The cuticles of low porosity hair are tightly packed jointly and lie flat, leaving no gaps for moisture to enter. This means that moisture and remedies cannot penetrate the hair.
Hair porosity is usually due to genetics or specific hair grooming procedures. Low porosity hair is more common in people that have straight hair as compared with those with inherently coiled or curly hair.
How To Tell if You Have Low Porosity Hair
Low porosity hair takes significantly longer to wash and dry than normal or high porosity hair. This is because it repels water preventing it from penetrating the hair strand. When low porosity hair eventually gets wet, it takes a long time to dry.
Here are simple tests you can use to decide if you have low porosity hair:
Float test: Pluck a random strand of your hair and put it on top of room temperature water in a bowl. If it sinks quickly to the bottom, then it’s porous. However, if your hair floats for some time, then it’s possible to have low porosity.
Spray test: Spray some water on your hair and keep it. Low porosity hair won’t readily absorb the water and will still have visible beads of water on the strand.
Knowing your hair’s porosity is key to selecting the right products and creating a hair care regimen that retains it healthy.
Low Porosity Hair Care
Low porosity hair repels moisture due to its inherent structure, making it difficult to manage and style. Here are some tips on how to tame low porosity hair and make it moisturized, soft, and flexible:
Clarify. Clarifying hair concerns using a deep cleaning shampoo to remove the build-up of old products on your hair and scalp. Treatments and oils barely penetrate low porosity hair, so they are more possible to remain on the hair and the scalp. These build-ups block hair follicles and adversely impact the health of your hair.
Moisturize. Your hair needs moisture to stay supple, and resilient. The moisture that is inherently stored within your hair strand may not be enough to keep it flexible. That is why you need to regularly moisturize your hair with a leave-in conditioner and different moisturizing products.
Use light oils. Light oils are more absorbent and thus better served for low porosity hair. They are gentle on your hair and can penetrate deep into the hair shaft.
Deep condition with heat. Apply a conditioning product and utilize a steamer, thermal cap, or hooded dryer to heat up your hair. Heat opens up the tightly woven cuticle and lets the conditioner to push moisture into your hair shaft. Tangle the moisture by rinsing it off with cold water, which closes the cuticle.
Use humectants. Humectants — materials that love water — are excellent for low porosity hair. These contain pectin, honey, glycerin, and aloe vera.
Humectants draw moisture from their environment and have it, keeping their surroundings moist. These assist prevent low porosity hair from drying out.
Low porosity hair doesn’t have to be a concern. It’s comfortable to care for once you learn how. You just need to test out the methods detailed above and create a personalized approach that works for your hair.