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How Do You Moisturise Low Porosity Hair?

by Leah Wanjiku

Jan 2022

The natural hair journey teaches you new things every day.

Hair porosity is one topic that you can’t skip because it describes how your hair reacts to everything you spray on it, from water to conditioner and moisturiser.

When you have low porosity hair, you spend most hair care time pumping moisture into the strands.

If you do it the correct way, you have healthy-looking tresses. When you overdo it, using the wrong products, you end up with buildup and dry hair.

Before we get into the whole moisturising process, let’s define:

How to Know Your Hair Porosity

Let’s help anyone who hasn’t done the porosity test yet. In doing this, you’ll be scrutinising your hair’s ability to retain water and hair oils. That’s all!

When you know how your hair behaves in water, you get better control over the moisturisation process. Two tests can define your hair porosity.

Try:

A Float Test

Pluck a few strands and place them in lukewarm water. Use room temperature water because hot water will open the cuticle for water absorption, and the strand will sink. For low porosity hair, the strands float.

To confirm the results, try:

A Spray Test

Spray your hair and look out for water beads. If they form, you’re dealing with low porosity.

You see, a hair shaft has three layers. There’s the one we see, the cuticle. Inside the cuticle is the cortex, and within it is the medulla – the innermost layer. The cuticle is soft as the cells overlap to form a smooth surface from the root to the tip. 

For low porosity hair, the cuticles overlap tightly, leaving no space for water to seep into the strand. Further, when water penetrates this surface, it takes longer for the strand to dry as there’s no escape route.

You’re not to blame for this little situation. Its genetics.

It begs the question:

Should You Moisturise Low Porosity Hair?

Moisturising low porosity hair

Yes, you should. It’s not only about moisturising it but giving it haircare suited to the unique hair structure. If you skip all the steps and rush to moisturise hair that’s already resistant to water, you’ll increase its dryness.

So, to take care of it:

  • Pre-poo your hair with oils like jojoba, argan, avocado and grapeseed. It’ll also reduce tangles and breakage.
  • Wear a steam cap over pre-shampoo oils. It’ll generate steam and open the cuticles to absorb the nourishing oils so that when you shampoo your hair the following day, it won’t lose moisture.
  • Wash with a clarifying shampoo to remove product buildup on the surface and prepare the hair shafts to absorb the moisturiser.
  • Apply a hair lotion/moisturiser to soften it. Look for light oils as low porosity hair absorbs them faster, and they don’t add weight to the hair shafts. We’ll discuss a simple moisturising method below.

So:

How Often Should You Moisturise Low Porosity Hair?

Moisturise it as often as your hair needs moisturising agents, more so whenever you shampoo it. If it feels dry and brittle during the week, a leave-in conditioner can help it last to your next wash day.

Use the Liquid, Cream, Oil (LCO) method. Start with water or a leave-in conditioner that’s water-based as the first ingredient to hydrate your hair. Next, apply a lightweight curling cream or gel, then use an oil last to seal all of that goodness in your hair. Plus, oil gives your hair natural shine and makes it easy to style.

What Products Are Good for Low Porosity Hair?

Look for products packed with humectants so they can draw water molecules to your hair to keep it moistened longer, so you don’t have to reapply and burden your hair.

Top humectants include aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, glycerin and honey.

You’ll also need emollients to trap moisture in the strand and create a barrier against moisture loss. We’re talking about lightweight ones like argan and grapeseed oil or heavy ones like shea butter, jojoba, and avocado oils.

Our best selling drops for low porosity hair


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Are there ingredients to avoid?

Yes, as with any hair product, the devil is in the detail.

Look out for:

Petrolatum

It’s like covering your hair with permanent cling film as it won’t come off without harsh cleansing ingredients like sulfates. A layer of petrolatum blocks nutrients from reaching the hair shaft.

Bad Alcohols

They strip off moisture, yet your hair is already suffering from low porosity. It’s the case when your moisturiser has isopropyl alcohol.

Some moisturising products to check out…

Miele Organics Avocado Moisturizing Hair Milk

It’s an affordable cream moisturiser infused with the humectants and emollients mentioned earlier, such as glycerin, shea butter, aloe vera, jojoba oil, and avocado oil. You can use it on any hair type with low porosity. It’s lightweight, penetrates the cuticle, and you can use it daily if necessary.


£11.99

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tgin Butter Cream

Consider this solution for its hydrating shea butter formulation. It also contains vitamin E for growth; consequently, you may gain length eventually.

Our top selling drops from TGIN


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Qhemet Biologics Burdock Butter Cream

Qhemet Biologics Burdock Butter Cream
This cream takes care of dry, brittle hair. That’s one of the issues you’ll face with low porosity hair. It’s packed with olive oil, burdock root and nettle leaf to give you soft and naturally shiny curls. It doesn’t have mineral oil or silicones.

But, its price is a bit too high compared to other offers in the market.

Some queens with low porosity hair make haircare look so easy. They’re inspiring.

Check Rosie’s feed to see her remarkable journey since she transitioned to natural hair in 2017 and had her big chop in 2018. She has enviable edges, healthy curly tresses almost at waist length, gorgeous eyebrows… I mean, she’s everything!

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Rosie | Natural Hair Blogger (@rosie_curlycrown)

Tenisha’s wash and go routine is also as enticing. She’ll show you how to create stunning looks with curly hair. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Tenisha | Natural Hair | Curly (@pie.face8)

 Lastly:

Final Thoughts

There’s so much unlearning needed in natural hair, and we’re ready for it. Yes? 

For instance, curl pattern, or lack of it, is not the only difference between hair types. When you test your hair’s porosity, you discover a whole new world of hair care. Fortunately, you did that already, and you know yours has low porosity. 

Since it won’t take in nourishing agents as fast as high porosity hair, you have to use strategies like pre-poo oils, wearing a steam cap to open the cuticle and regular deep-conditioning treatments. Let us know how that goes.