Ever wondered why your low porosity hair is not growing as much as you would want it to?
If so, then you are in the right place because in this article you will learn about the best tips on how to grow and care for low porosity hair. You will also get bonus tips on popular questions such as: Is rice water good for low porosity hair and how do I know if I have low porosity hair?
What is low porosity hair?
Low porosity hair has cuticles that are tightly packed together with no spaces in between them. Due to the lack of spaces it is difficult for water and other products such as conditioners and oils to penetrate the hair shaft.
Hair porosity is a term that refers to the hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. How open or closed your hair’s cuticle determines your hair’s porosity. The cuticle is the outermost layer of hair strands. It consists of individual cuticles which overlap each other.
If you have low porosity hair you will observe that the first few minutes after applying water, the water drops will bead up then roll off rather than getting absorbed instantly. This makes it hard for water to saturate the hair during a wash.
Because low porosity hair is moisture resistant it also becomes a challenge to process and style.
Whilst hair porosity is determined by genetics, when low porosity hair is exposed to mechanical, chemical and thermal damage, the porosity may be altered. The cuticles get raised and have more spaces in between them. This makes it hard for your hair shaft to retain moisture. Ensure you have moderate exposure of your hair to heat, chemicals and styles to avoid damage on your strands.
Characteristics of low porosity hair
- With low porosity hair the cuticles are close together this makes it hard for products to penetrate. When applied your hair absorbs a little amount and the rest forms build-up.
- Hair products tend to sit on your hair instead of being absorbed.
- It takes a long time for low porosity hair to get wet and dry because there are fewer spaces between the cuticles.
Low Porosity hair care tips
Caring for low porosity hair involves practices that will enhance the hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture and nutrients from products. Best tips include clarifying the hair to remove product buildup, using heat to deep condition among other tips.
Here are the best tips on how to grow and care for low porosity hair.
1. Moisturize properly
Moisture is important to your hair. The internal structure of hair uses water to provide strength. It also makes hair soft, easier to style and resistant to breakage.
Naturally occurring moisture stored within the strand are not enough to maintain your strands hydrated. Your hair becomes brittle and dry with a high tendency to break off. It is for this reason that you are required to moisturize your hair constantly.
There are several methods you can use to moisturize low porosity hair. The LOC Method (Liquid Oil Cream) is an example of one of the best methods for moisturizing low porosity hair.
When using this method you will be required to hydrate your hair with water (the liquid), seal the moisture with oil then apply cream product to close your hair cuticle so as to prevent moisture loss. The cream can be a leave-in conditioner, styling cream or butter.
2. Clarify the hair
Low porosity hair is prone to product build-up. This is because products do not easily penetrate low porosity hair. A little amount is absorbed and the rest remains as build up.
Product build up clogs hair follicles preventing hair growth and may causes hair loss. For this reason, it is important to clarify hair.
3. Steam for maximum hydration
Steaming is a perfect way to bring hydration even to the most moisture resistant low porosity hair. Here’s why:
Steam works well at hydrating low porosity hair because the moisture droplets are in vapor state and have more energy than when in liquid state. When compared to water at room temperature they move faster and more freely making it quicker and easier for moisture to penetrate your hair strand.
Also, steam hydrates better than water in normal liquid state because its surface tension is reduced to close to zero. Surface tension is the property of the surface of a liquid to resist external force due to the cohesive nature of the water molecules.
Surface tension makes it harder for water molecules to penetrate your hair’s cuticle. Surface tension together with water resistance in low porosity hair makes it even harder for hair to absorb moisture. With a low surface tension the water molecules become free to make their way into the limited spaces your low porosity hair has and get it hydrated.
A steamer is the best way to steam your hair. Steam produced by a steamer is water vapor that is hot and light enough to float in air.
4. Use light oils that are easily absorbed
Light oils are usually an ideal choice for low porosity hair. They can penetrate deeply into the hair shaft thus able to provide nourishment and promote hair growth.
Another good thing about light oils is that they do not weigh down your hair strands. Light oils such as Grape Seed Oil, Sesame Seed Oil, Argan Oil, and Baobab Oil are the most suitable to use on low porosity hair.
Avoid us of heavy oils or use them as a blend/ diluted with other oils.
Related Article: Best light oils for low porosity hair
5. Deep condition with heat
Heat helps open up the cuticle layer. Once the cuticle is relaxed enough the conditioning product is able to penetrate the hair shaft so as to deliver moisture. Heat sources such as steamer, hooded dryer or a thermal heat cap can be used.
Alternatively, you can simply use a plastic cap with something covered on top then let your body heat do the work for you. Rinse off the conditioner with cold water to close the cuticle.
6. Use the Green House effect
Green house is a procedure that is aimed at achieving hair growth and hair hydration. This method imitates the effects of greenhouse where heat is entrapped in an environment.
It involves the use of a plastic cap/ hair turban or towel to create a moist and warm environment around your hair and scalp. The humid environment created forces your hair to absorb moisture.
Your natural body heat causes an increased blood flow within your scalp that stimulates hair follicles resulting in increased hair growth.
7. Use humectants
Humectants are substances that are hydrophilic/water-loving. They include products such as such as honey, pectin, aloe Vera, glycerin.
Humectants draw moisture from their surroundings and holds on to it keeping their environment moisturized. This is a great way for low porosity hair to retain more moisture and evade dryness.
Ensure you dilute the humectant properly before use.
Discontinue use when the humidity is too high or too low. When humidity is too low you risk drawing moisture out of your hair to the environment. This effect leaves your hair dry. When the humidity is too high humectants draw too much water into the hair.
8. Avoid too much products
Low porosity hair is prone to product build-up. This is mainly because of the hair’s tight cuticle which makes it hard for conditioners, creams and oils to penetrate easily. A little amount of product is absorbed and the rest remains sitting on the surface of your hair and scalp.
The more the product used the more the layers thickens and hardens. This layer continues to lower the ability of your low porosity hair to absorb moisture. Your hair strands beneath dry out and become less flexible. Also low porosity hair has fewer negative charges to absorb conditioners and other positively charged ingredients hence it is more susceptible to product build-up.
9. Avoid heavy products
When having low porosity hair it is best to refrain from styling products that are heavy for example conditioners or shampoos containing heavy butters and oils such as olive oil, castor oil or shea butter.
These products have a thick consistency that makes them not be easily absorbed. They quickly accumulate on the hair surface causing product build up that leave your hair feeling dry or sticky.
When you use heavy products, you will find your hair feeling dry with a shiny layer of product on it. Your hair goes dry because the shine gives you a false impression that your hair is receiving moisture while it’s not.
When dealing with low porosity hair water based hair products are highly recommended. This is because they have a thin consistency which makes them get easily absorbed. Light hair products always have water as their first or second ingredient. They include hair lotions or creams.
10. Stay away from Silicones
Silicones are hydrophobic synthetic polymers that are commonly used as an ingredient in hair care products such as shampoos, conditioners, hairsprays and serums.
Silicones form a hydrophobic coating on hair strands when applied. This coating acts like a barrier to the penetration of moisture and conditioning agents into the hair shaft. Because low porosity hair has a hard time getting and retaining moisture it is therefore best to use silicone free hair products.
11. Protect hair when sleeping
Low porosity hair takes long to gain moisture but once moisturized it is best to maintain the moisture intact. When sleeping cover your hair with a satin cap or rather use a satin pillowcase .This is because satin does not ‘steal’ your hair of moisture the way cotton does.
12. Pre-poo, shampoo & condition correctly
- When washing low porosity hair, you should aim at proper clarification and hydration.
- Pre-pooing low porosity hair with light oils is a good way to bring in extra moisture into the hair. To pre-poo is the treating of hair with oils before shampooing. It shields your hair from the harsh shampooing process.
- Saturate your hair with warm water. It is important to use warm water when washing hair because it loosens dirt and build up and lifts your cuticles gently opening your hair pores for maximum penetration of moisture.
- Use a clarifying shampoo for a deep cleanse. It’s advisable to use shampoos and conditioners with a balanced pH value of 7. When compared with the hair’s pH, between 4.5- 5.5, it is more alkaline. Thus it causes the cuticle layer to loosen and lift allowing moisture into the hair shaft. Products that are acidic/ have a low pH cause the cuticle to close.
- Wring out hair to remove excess moisture.
- Apply conditioner to damp not sopping wet hair. When hair is too wet the conditioner slides off and cannot penetrate your strands.
- Rinse thoroughly to the point your hair feels clean.
13. Keep off too much protein
Protein is good for your hair because it helps strengthen the hair cuticles but remember too much of something can cause even the good things to be harmful.
When protein is used in excess especially on low porosity hair, the hair experiences protein overload and as a result it becomes fragile and stiff. This increases the risk of constant hair breakage.
Rice Water for low porosity hair
Is rice water good for low porosity hair?
Rice water is great natural hair growth remedy for low porosity hair provided caution is exercised when using rice water on low porosity. Rice water contains high amounts of protein which if applied in excess will lead to hair breakage.
When using rice water on low porosity hair here some of the best practice tips you should take note of:
- Use dilute rice water to minimize the protein concentration
- Do not leave rice water on your low porosity hair for too long. Learn more on how long you should leave rice water on your low porosity hair in this detailed case study.
- Watch the frequency of using rice water on low porosity hair. Do not overdo it. I have low porosity hair and found that using the rice water once a month works best.
- Do not use rice water if you have done a protein treatment
Related Article: How to grow hair faster using Rice Water
How to know if you have low porosity hair
There are several methods such as the float test and slide test that you can use to know if your hair is low porosity. Below are 3 different methods you can use to know if you have low porosity hair. Use a combination of 2 or 3 methods to get the best results.
1. Sink/float test
Requirements: a strand of hair that has been naturally shed and a glass of water at room temperature.
Drop the strand of hair on a glass of water.
- If the strand floats you have low porosity hair. Low porosity hair floats because it is moisture resistant.
- If the strand floats in the middle, you have normal porosity hair.
- If the strand sinks immediately you have high porosity hair. Highly porous hair absorbs more water, gets loaded and sinks.
NOTE: You will not get accurate results if you use hot water for this test. Heat opens up the cuticle so regardless of your hair porosity the strand quickly absorbs water and sinks.
Shampoo hair then dry it before performing the float test. Clean hair gives you more accurate results
2. Spray bottle test
Spritz a small section of your hair with water. Observe how your hair’s reaction.
- If you notice water drops bead up and roll off, you have low porosity hair.
- If your hair absorbs the water quickly it has a high porosity.
3. Slide test
This test requires you to feel the surface of your hair strands. Place a strand between your thumb and finger then slide up towards your scalp. Repeat the procedure on strands from different areas of your head-hairline, nape, temple and crown.
- If your fingers move easily up your hair strands feeling dense and hard you have low porosity hair.
- If your hair strands have several bumps in between you have high porosity hair.
- If your hair strands, feel smooth you have normal porosity hair.
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