Everyone talks about your hair type: how having curly, coily, straight, wavy etc impacts how you should treat your hair, but this is not the only thing you should be looking at when it comes to your hair. We should all be looking at what level of porosity your hair has!

If you think you have low porosity hair, there are things you can do to treat it and bring out the best in it.

Let’s talk about the three types of hair porosity:

  • Low porosity hair: moisture has difficulty penetrating the hair and also may have difficulty escaping the hair too. If you find your hair takes a long time to dry, it could be low porosity. It may also be more resistant to colouring. You may also notice beads of water on top of the hair strands when as moisture cannot absorb through the cuticle.
  • Medium porosity hair: can accept and release moisture easily. It’s the easiest hair to manage, as products absorb well.
  • High porosity hair: the cuticle layer of the hair is open and has breakage. Hair dries quickly and is prone to frizz, feeling very dry.

Here are some signs that your hair is low porosity.

Little or no elasticity

Your hair doesn’t have a huge amount of elasticity and bounce when washing: you may find it breaks easily if you stretch the strands.

Products don’t sink in

Low porosity hair doesn’t absorb moisture very well. You may find your hair products just sit on top of your hair instead of sinking in. If you use a product like a hair oil, you’ll find that your ends look and feel oily and still feel that hours after application. You are also therefore prone to product build-up

Wash day takes a long time

Your hair takes a long time to get fully wet – and it can also take a long time to get dry.

It can feel dry

As your hair can’t really absorb moisture easily, your ends may feel dry and it can be prone to tangling. It deflects moisture and therefore could end up getting very dry, particularly on the ends.

hair porosity

How can I test if my hair is low porosity?

There’s a few ways to do this.

One of the easiest tricks to finding out your hair porosity is by taking a strand of hair that’s shed naturally.

Drop the hair into a glass of water.

  • If the hair floats, the hair is low porosity.
  • If the hair sinks slowly after floating, it is medium porosity.
  • If the hair sinks immediately, it is high porosity.

You can also take a spray bottle and spritz the water over dry hair. If the water beads up on top and doesn’t absorb, you have low porosity.

hair porosity glass

How to care for low porosity hair

Make sure to clarify

Product build-up can be a real problem with low porosity hair. Using a clarifying shampoo regularly can help minimise build up and help keep your scalp healthy.

Humectants could help

Humectants like Hyaluronic Acid, honey and glycerine can help pull moisture from the hair into your strands to help moisturise them more effectively.

Try deep conditioning with heat

Boost the absorption of your hair treatments by using heat. This could include washing your hair with warm water to help lift the cuticle and then when you’re using a deep conditioner, put on a shower cap or a heat cap for about 15-20 minutes to trap in heat.

Pre-poo your hair as this helps to protect your hair from harsh chemicals found in shampoos whilst increasing its ability to hold onto moisture. You might find avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil, mango butter or even aloe vera great for this, but it is a bit of trial and error.

You could also try steam

Another way that works in a similar way to heat, is using steam as this can help to open up the cuticle, allowing moisture to penetrate the strands core. Water molecules in a vapor form can penetrate the hair more easily. This can not only help to hydrate your hair, but can also help hydrating products to be more effective. You can use a face steamer or even just the steam from a steamy shower room to prep your hair.

Use lightweight, water based products

If your hair has trouble absorbing moisture, you may find that using lightweight products can help penetrate through those stubborn, tight cuticles.

Skip the protein treatments

We know how popular these are: they’re fabulous for high porosity hair, but may not be the best for low porosity hair. Low porosity hair is protein sensitive and can actually cause the hair to get tougher and harden, making it even more moisture repellent! It may make the hair more brittle and dull… no fun!

Here are some great products for low porosity hair…

Ouidad Take Shape Plumping and Defining Cream

Curlsmith Hydro Style Flexi-Jelly

Mielle Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Strengthening Oil


Amika soulfood nourishing mask

amika soulfood

Noughty Detox Dynamo Clarifying Shampoo

detox shampoo

Briogeo Banana + Coconut Nourishing Shampoo + Conditioner Duo