LippieHippie is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission. Learn more.

Low Porosity Hair: Characteristics, Care & Styling

aida turner

Published by Aida Turner

Welcome to the world of low porosity hair! This unique hair type, full of special properties, requires a strong understanding of its specific needs to keep it vibrant and well-nourished. I always stress to my salon clients the crucial importance of personalized care and attention when they have low porosity hair.

In this article, we’ll explore the intricacies of low porosity hair and delve into the essential care practices that will keep your tresses in top-notch condition. Let’s embark on this journey towards optimal hair health together.

What is Low Porosity Hair?

Hair porosity refers to your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture, which plays a crucial role in hair health. Low porosity hair has tightly closed cuticles, making it difficult for moisture to penetrate the hair shaft.

This unique hair structure can make it challenging to keep your hair moisturized, but it’s not all doom and gloom! With the right knowledge and care, you can unlock the secrets to healthy, vibrant low porosity hair.

woman with low porosity hair

Characteristics of Low Porosity Hair

Understanding the unique characteristics of low porosity hair is key to providing the proper care and maintenance it requires. Here are the main distinct traits that define this hair type:

  • Cuticle Structure. Low porosity hair features tightly packed, overlapping cuticles that make it difficult for moisture and nutrients to penetrate the hair shaft. This barrier-like structure contributes to the hair’s inability to absorb and retain moisture effectively.
  • Moisture Resistance Due to the compact cuticle structure, low porosity hair is resistant to moisture absorption. It takes longer for water or products to penetrate the hair shaft, resulting in hair that may feel dry or undernourished.
  • Product Buildup: Low porosity hair is prone to product buildup, as hair products tend to sit on the hair shaft rather than being absorbed. Over time, this buildup can lead to a dull appearance and make it even more challenging for moisture to penetrate the hair.
  • Difficulty with Chemical Treatments. The closed cuticle structure of low porosity hair makes it more resistant to chemical treatments, such as coloring or relaxing. The hair may take longer to process or require a higher developer to achieve desired results.
  • Slow Drying Time. Low porosity hair often takes longer to dry, as the moisture is not easily absorbed into the hair shaft. This slow drying time can be frustrating, but it’s essential to be patient and gentle when drying your hair to prevent damage.
  • Protein Sensitivity. Low porosity hair can be sensitive to protein treatments. While some protein can help strengthen the hair, excessive protein can lead to brittleness and breakage. Finding the right balance is crucial to maintaining healthy, strong tresses.
  • The main difference between medium and low porosity hair lies in the cuticle structure, which affects how easily moisture and nutrients can be absorbed and retained. Medium porosity hair has a more open cuticle structure, allowing for better absorption and moisture retention, while high porosity hair has widely spaced and raised cuticles.
  • Get to know the discrepancy between low vs high porosity hair!

By familiarizing yourself with these characteristics, you’ll be better equipped to care for your low porosity hair and help it thrive. Remember that every head of hair is unique, so it’s essential to listen to your hair’s needs and adjust your routine accordingly. Get to know the other hair types as well!

Identifying Low Porosity Hair

So, how do you know if you’re part of the low porosity crew? There are a few simple tests you can try at home:

  • Float Test: Take a strand of clean, dry hair and drop it into a glass of water. If it floats on the surface even after a few minutes, you likely have low porosity hair.
  • Slip ‘n’ Slide Test: Gently slide your fingers up a strand of hair from the tip to the root. If it feels smooth and there’s little to no resistance, you may have low porosity hair.
  • Spray Bottle Test: Lightly mist your hair with water. If the water beads up on your hair instead of being absorbed, you’re likely dealing with low porosity hair.

Discover the ins and outs of hair porosity tests and unlock the secret to your hair’s unique moisture needs!

Proper Care for Low Porosity Hair

Caring for low porosity hair with the right products and techniques leads the path to healthier, more manageable tresses. Let me show you the three main key aspects of low porosity hair care

low porosity hair routine

Product Selection

To effectively cleanse and hydrate low porosity hair without weighing it down, it’s essential to select the right products. 

  • Opt for a clarifying shampoo specifically designed to gently remove product buildup, dirt, and oils without stripping your hair of its much-needed natural moisture. This will ensure your hair remains clean and healthy.

» Check out the 5 Best Shampoos for Low Porosity Hair!

  • In addition to the clarifying shampoo, choose a lightweight conditioner that contains humectants, such as glycerin or honey. Humectants are key ingredients that help draw moisture from the air into your hair, providing hydration without causing heaviness. This will leave your low porosity hair soft, nourished, and more manageable.
  • For added moisture retention, incorporate water-based leave-in products and moisturizers into your hair care routine. These products are formulated to easily penetrate the hair shaft, locking in hydration and keeping your low porosity hair moisturized throughout the day. By using these targeted products, you’ll be well on your way to achieving healthy, well-nourished low porosity hair.

Heat Treatments and Clarifying

Heat treatments play a vital role in the care of low porosity hair, as they assist in opening the hair cuticles, which in turn allows for enhanced moisture absorption. 

  • You can achieve this by incorporating regular deep conditioning sessions into your hair care routine. 
  • Utilize tools such as heated caps, hooded dryers, or hair steamers to maximize the effectiveness of your deep conditioning treatments. Keep in mind that moderation is key; excessive heat exposure can damage your hair over time, so ensure you strike a balance between treatments.
  • Clarifying your hair is another essential aspect of maintaining low porosity hair, as it helps remove product buildup and keeps your scalp in optimal condition. Regularly use a clarifying shampoo or consider incorporating a natural alternative, like an apple cider vinegar rinse, into your routine. 

These methods will effectively cleanse your hair and scalp, preventing any residue from accumulating and ensuring your hair remains healthy and free of excess buildup.

Balance and Consistency

Achieving the ideal balance and consistency in your hair care routine is crucial for low porosity hair because this hair type has unique characteristics that require special attention

  • Protein treatments, which strengthen hair strands, should be approached with caution, as too much protein can lead to brittleness and breakage. Start by introducing protein treatments gradually, paying close attention to your hair’s response. This will help you determine the optimal frequency of treatments to maintain the strength and integrity of your hair without overloading it with protein.
  • A consistent hair care routine is vital for low porosity hair, as it can take longer to show improvements. Dedication and patience are necessary to observe positive changes in your hair’s health and appearance. Keep a close eye on your hair’s progress and be prepared to make adjustments to your routine when necessary. 
  • This may involve tweaking product selections, treatment frequencies, or styling techniques to better suit your hair’s unique needs. By committing to a tailored and consistent hair care routine, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying healthier, more vibrant locks.

Styling Tips for Low Porosity Hair

When it comes to styling low porosity hair, there are three main aspects you should always keep in mind:

styling low porosity hair with liquid, cream or oil

Moisture Retention and Layering Techniques

One of the most crucial aspects of styling low porosity hair is ensuring that it retains moisture. To achieve this, you can incorporate pre-poo treatments before washing, which helps protect your hair from losing its natural oils and moisture during the shampooing process. 

Learn how to moisturize low porosity hair!

Additionally, use the LCO (Liquid, Cream, Oil) or LOC (Liquid, Oil, Cream) method when applying your hair products. 

By layering products in this specific order, you can lock in moisture more effectively and maintain well-hydrated tresses.

» Check out the Best Oils for Low Porosity Hair!

Gentle Detangling and Mindful Heat-styling

Being cautious when detangling your low porosity hair is a must. Use a wide-tooth comb or your fingers to gently detangle your hair when it’s damp and saturated with conditioner. This minimizes breakage and makes the process more manageable. 

When it comes to heat-styling, always use a heat protectant and opt for the lowest heat setting possible. 

Limit the frequency of heat styling to prevent damage and maintain your hair’s moisture balance.

Protective Measures and Smart Accessory Choices

Low porosity hair benefits from protective styling, such as braids, twists, or updos, which shield your hair from environmental factors and minimize manipulation. These styles help retain moisture and prevent breakage. 

Additionally, choose hair accessories made from satin or silk, like pillowcases, scarves, and hair ties. These materials minimize friction and protect your hair from damage while you sleep or during daily activities.

By keeping these three key takeaways in mind, you’ll be well-equipped to manage and style your low porosity hair. Just remember to stay consistent with your hair care routine, and don’t hesitate to experiment with different products or techniques until you find the ones that work best for you. Regular trims are also important to maintain the overall health and appearance of your hair, as they help eliminate split ends and promote growth.

Troubleshooting Common Low Porosity Hair Issues

If you’re struggling with common low porosity hair challenges, such as dryness, frizz, or difficulty retaining moisture, try these solutions:

  • Apply products to damp hair to help lock in moisture
  • Use humectants, like glycerin or honey, in your hair care routine to draw moisture into your hair
  • Experiment with protein treatments to strengthen your hair, but be cautious not to overdo it as low porosity hair can be sensitive to protein overload
  • Incorporate regular deep conditioning sessions with heat to help open the cuticles and maximize moisture absorption
  • Be patient and consistent with your hair care routine, as low porosity hair may take longer to show results


And there you have it – your ultimate guide to mastering low porosity hair! By understanding the unique characteristics of this hair type and implementing the suggested care techniques, you’re well on your way to unlocking the secrets of healthy, lustrous locks. So, embrace your low porosity hair and embark on a journey filled with self-love and stunning tresses. After all, your hair is your crowning glory, and it deserves the royal treatment!

aida turner

Author of this article: Aida Turner

Founder & Hair Care Consultant

Aida is a cosmetologist and hair care consultant with over 7 years of experience in the beauty industry. Aida has worked with various top salons and smaller hair care brands, offering her product development, formulation, and testing expertise.

Her extensive knowledge of hair care ingredients and their effects on hair health enables her to provide thorough, well-researched, and unbiased reviews on a wide range of shampoos and hair care products. In her spare time, Aida enjoys experimenting with new hair care routines, blogging about her experiences, and helping others achieve their hair goals.