Do you have to use a lot of products to lather up your hair in the shower? Does it seem like the hair care product just sits on your scalp and your scalp does not get wet easily? And once you are out of the shower, your hair takes a lot of time to dry. If you are facing any of these issues, there is a possibility that you may have low porosity hair.
If so, you don’t need to worry. In this article I am going to talk about, the most common signs of low porosity hair, its causes, and hair care tips for such people.
What is low-porosity hair?
Human hair is built in such a way that it absorbs some amount of moisture easily. Normal human hair has a hair root and a hair shaft. The root is the part of the hair embedded into the scalp, while the shaft is the part sticking out. A hair shaft comprises three main structures inside out: the medulla, cortex, and cuticle. The cuticle consists of overlapping cellular plates, like fish scales or roof tiles. These plates are loosely packed together, allowing moisture to get in.
Low porosity hair is hair that does not actively absorb moisture and treatments due to less gap between cuticle plates.
What causes low porosity hair?
Now, the question arises, what made your hair less porous? What causes low porosity hair? Hair porosity is not caused by environmental changes or heat damage. The basic cause of low porosity hair is genetics. If it’s in your genes, you cannot do much about it.
Straight hair tends to be more porous than curly or coiled strands. Frizz increases porosity. Hair that appears shiny and oily, is more likely to be less porous. Hair care treatments especially protein treatment shampoos and conditioners can increase the risk of hair breakage and be fatal for hair porosity.
Low porosity vs high porosity hair
Hair porosity can either be high, medium, or low depending upon the nature of the spaces between the cuticle plates.
If the cuticle has big fissures, it would allow a lot of moisture to get in very easily. Your hair will react positively to hair treatments, but this effect will not be long-lasting. The moisture will tap out just as rapidly as it got in. Such big holes do not retain moisture and hydrating products.
Medium porosity refers to hair that has cuticle gaps small enough to let the water particles in and not slip out rapidly. This is the ideal hair type. Hair treatments are the most effective on medium-porous hair types. Various varieties of products can make the hair susceptible to detritus. If you are lucky enough to have normal porous hair, you can style your hair beautifully in countless ways. Biochemical, temperature and environmental destruction can alter the porosity of hair with time.
On the contrary, if your hair cuticles are closely packed, they will not let water and hydrating products enter. These are the signs of low porosity hair. They take significantly more time to get wet and dry. When moisture manages to get in, it will take a lot of time to dry down. As a result, your hair will become fragile and keep breaking on account of the absence of necessary nourishment. Styling low-porous hair is a task.
Signs of low porosity hair
Before getting into the details of low porosity hair signs, first, you will have to access your hair porosity types. In this section of the guide, I’m going to discuss the three easiest and most efficient ways to determine porosity.
The Slip test:
The first step is to shampoo and dry out your hair thoroughly to remove any kind of buildup or debris. Then, hold a strand between your fingers, and run them up and down the strand. If your hair feels smooth and without any bumps, it is a sign of low-porous hair. If the strand feels bumpy and rough, you might have high-porous hair. However, if it feels equally smooth and bumpy, you are likely to have medium porosity hair.
The spray test:
Start by washing and drying your hair. Now, take a mist or a spray bottle and gently spray your hair with water. If the water gets absorbed readily, you have high-porous hair. If it seems to sit on the hair, forming water beads, it is a sign of low porous hair. And if you see the beads initially and after a few minutes, they get absorbed, it is a sign that your hair is likely medium porous.
The Float Test:
The float test is the most commonly used. However, it is the least effective. After shampooing, washing, and drying the hair, comb them and collect the strands that have fallen out. These strands are going to be your specimen for the test. Now grab a beaker full of water and drop your hair strand into the water. Hair that floats in water, is a low porosity hair sign. If it sinks immediately, it indicates high hair porosity. On the other hand, if the strand stays somewhere in the middle, you may have medium porous hair.
After testing your hair for porosity, here are some common signs to look for in case you suspect having low porosity hair.
- Your hair does not retain moisture.
- Shampooing your hair every morning takes up most of your time.
- You have to apply insane amounts of products to lather up your hair.
- Your hair always seems kind of dirty and heavy because of product buildup and debris.
- Air drying your hair takes time. Even blow-drying takes longer.
- Conditioning gives you a hard time. You cannot condition without heat.
- When you touch your hair sometime after conditioning, the product is still sitting there. Your hair has absorbed very little of it.
- Your hair is difficult to dye.
- It knots easily and is susceptible to getting dull and dry.
- Your hair is either very oily or too parched.
- You get a lot of dandruff and buildup.
Perks of having low porosity hair
Having low-porous hair is not as bad as you think. If you are seeing signs of low porosity hair, instead of being disappointed or discouraged, accept it and learn how to care for your hair health and nail them. Looking at the bright side, here are some pluses of having lower porous hairs.
- Since not much product is absorbed, you have to use fewer products to care for your hair and avoid buildup.
- Due to a lack of cuticle pores, such hair is almost undamaged and looks healthy.
- Such hair is strong and impervious. Low-porous hair strands are generally thicker than high or medium-porous ones. It makes them beautiful and strong.
- Since the hair is moisture and oil-resistant, you know that the rubble is just outside and not in your hair strands.
- Low porosity hair appears to be shiny and healthy because it does not have any bumps on its cuticle.
- You do not have to experience hygral fatigue (extra moisture).
Pitfalls of having low porosity hair
In this paragraph, we are going to discuss some common hair health drawbacks reported by people having low hair porosity. These effects may vary depending upon the extent of pore opening.
- As discussed earlier, extra washing and, drying time.
- Air drying is a pain. Drying requires a heating aid.
- Hair care product limitations make them harder to style.
- Most hair care products will not work on your hair. You will have to consult a health specialist for a hair care regime.
- Your roots feel heavier and clumped because of buildup. It also affects health.
- Your hair lacks a natural bounce and appears to be flat.
- Water particles bead up on your hair.
- Shampoo and conditioner resistance. Needs heat to condition.
- Hair color resistance.
9 Dos and don’ts to follow
Now you know the common signs, pros, and cons of having low porosity hair. What to do now? And more importantly, what not to do? Let us have a look at certain established ways to care for our hair health.
A good hair day is a good day overall. Do not let your hair porosity prevent you from having one. Here are some tips for caring for your hair:
Moisturize and clarify your hair
Hydrating is crucial for your hair health. Moisture-resistant hair can get dried up and break off easily. It can be fatal if not properly cared for. Water-based moisturizers are easier to absorb than oil-based ones. The LOC method has proved to be the most effective method to moisturize low-porosity hair.
LOC stands for liquid, oil, and cream. First, apply a good liquid or a water-based moisturizer to your hair. Then apply oil to seal in the moisture. Afterward, use some cream to retain these hydrating products and close up your cuticles. Leave-in conditioners come with the benefit of having more time to be absorbed into the hair.
Clogging of the cuticles by debris and buildup affects the health and growth of your hair. To remove the buildup, use a clarifying shampoo. Clay masks and other home remedies are a great way to keep your scalp clean.
Humectants are hydrophilic substances. They have been seen to get along with low porous hair way better than protein-based ones. Hydrate the humectants before use. You can get an expert’s advice as to which humectants are best for your hair type.
Yes, you read it right, using heat is advised for low porous hair. Steaming can open up pores, making it easier for the water particles to get in. It also lowers surface tension by altering the state of water. Wearing a shower cap can help trap heat and create a humid environment, mimicking the greenhouse effect. Thermal heat caps are also available in the market today.
A hot oil treatment also works great to open cuticles.
Rinse with cold water
After wetting, shampooing, and conditioning, rinsing your hair with cold water shrinks up the pores. It will help retain the moisture for some time. However, skip this step if you need to get somewhere urgently and do not have enough time to dry.
Try using light-weight oils
While applying the LOC method, use lightweight oils. Some oils best for low porosity hair health are, coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, rosehip oil, argan oil, apricot oil, camellia seed oil, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, pomegranate oil, avocado oil, sweet almond oil, safflower oil, sesame seed oil, and baobab oil.
Consult a specialist
You can try all the home remedies and hacks you read online, but consulting a health specialist is always a good option. It helps in getting acquainted with your hair type. He can provide you with a customized hair care routine.
Now that we have talked about what to do, you should also know what to avoid.
Avoid too many products
When you keep adding on products, trying to get them in, it would only adds to the buildup. This could compromise your hair health. Avoid using too many products and let your cuticle breathe.
Avoid heavy products
Refrain from using heavy-weight shampoos and conditioners. Their thick consistency makes them impossible to penetrate. They would just sit on the scalp and make it dry, damaging your hair health. Avoid using silicones and low-pH hair care products. Also, protein overload can make your hair prone to damage healthy hair.
Do not use rice water
When you google, best hair hacks, using rice water always comes up. But while having low porosity hair, you need to be smart about which remedy to use and which not. Rice water, though very hydrating and a great way to increase your growth, contains a large part of the proteins, which are not very beneficial for low porous hair health.
Summing it all up
Loving your hair is a big part of self-love. Whether you have straight, curly, or wavy hair, you should love your hair and care for them. Learning the signs of low porosity hair has proved to be effective in managing, treating, and taking care of your hair better. Handling them is not as hard as you might perceive. With proper care and guidance, you can maintain your hair just as well as other hair types.
Sheen is a fashion artist with more interest in Hair Care and Styling with a grasp on all hairstyles. As the content manager for HairUndeniable.com, she manages and suggests new content ideas; and of course, she is the one who shares a lot of thoughts on the blog.