How to Moisturize Low Porosity Hair

lowporositySource: Huffington Post

As much as we try to deny it, natural hair is a science. People throw around terms like PH, dew points, and porosity on the regular.  My hair has low porosity. [Yes, one of those scientific terms, again.] And understanding porosity was a major breakthrough in my hair regimen.
Read More About Porosity
What is low porosity hair? Low porosity is when your hair cuticle layer is tightly-bound and closed. For this reason, it is very difficult to get moisture into the hair.  But once it is moisturized properly, it holds moisture really well.  To test for porosity, place a shed hair into a glass of still water. If your hair has low porosity, it will float for a long time. If your porosity is high, it will sink pretty fast. The higher the porosity, the faster it will sink.  (Read How To Treat High Porosity) Keeping this in mind, think how this affects how you moisturize your hair.  If you have low porosity hair ( and water is the key to moisture), but your hair doesn’t absorb water quickly. Then imagine what that means for your hair regimen.

Hair Porosity


When your hair has low porosity, the key to moisturizing your hair is to help your hair absorb water.  With that in mind, here are some tips for moisturizing low porosity hair.

Condition with Heat

There is a lot of contradicting information on the web concerning deep conditioning. Some say that heat is not required. But if you have low porosity hair, heat is your best friend.  Heat helps to open up your hair shaft and absorb all of the “luscious goodness” in your  hair conditioner. Remember your cuticle layers are pretty closed, so they need some assistance.  So deep condition under a dryer or steamer. You can also use your own body heat by keeping the conditioner longer than the recommended 15-30 minutes.  (I personally, exercise with the conditioner cap on….since I condition my hair before washing.)

Steam Your Hair

If you hair feels dry between washes, refrain from simply layering on product. (It will simply lay on top of your hair and cause buildup.) Instead, try steaming your hair.  There are hand steamers like the Q-Redew Hand Held Steamer and traditional steamers like the popular Huetiful Hair Steamer.  Or you can opt for the the free option of steaming your hair in the shower –my personal favorite.  You can also try lightly spritzing your hair with water and baggying overnight. Once your hair cuticles are ready to receive the product, go ahead and add your favorite moisturizers.

Clarify Your Hair

Co-washing is very popular in the natural hair community. And although it removes surface dirt, your still need to shampoo your hair. You can determine how often — once a week, once a month — but a good ‘ol lather never hurt anyone.  When necessary, a clarifying wash may be on the menu.  I once went on an anti-shampoo rampage for about 6 weeks. By the end of the 6 weeks, my scalp itched horribly, and my hair was limp and dull from all of the buildup. (My hair was not absorbing any of the moisture; the products were just sitting on top of my hair.) I promptly clarified my hair with a Bentonite Clay, Apple Cider Vinegar, Aloe Vera Juice mixture and my hair’s shine and bounce was restored. Moral of the story. Shampoo or Clarify your hair.

Read 5 Other Reasons To Use a Clarifying Shampoo

Long story, short… the key to moisturizing low porosity hair is to use heat, avoid product buildup, and shampoo your hair.  Low porosity. Simplified.

How do you moisturize your low porosity hair?


29 thoughts on “How to Moisturize Low Porosity Hair

  1. Jennifer

    I have often wondered why my hair always felt like straw after I put moisturizer in it. I have been natural for almost 3yrs now and I’m still learning the ins and outs of how to take care of my hair. It’s been a process and I have yet to come up with a regimen that works for me. I have done the ACV to help with my dry scalp issue but, I would very much like to come up with something that will help my hair hold moisture and stay soft and manageable. I’ve been reading about the LOC method and will try that. Thanks for you helpful tips and I will be putting them to good use.

  2. Yvette


    Thank you so much for posting this article on low porosity hair. You mentioned a formula for clarifying hair (Bentonite Clay, Apple Cider Vinegar, and Aloe Vera Juice). Would you please indicate the amounts/proportions of each ingredient to use in this formula? Would greatly appreciate it!

    1. latoya724

      Hello Yvette,

      I don’t measure, but here is the trick. I first put the bentonite clay in a plastic container, then I add Apple Cider vinegar, then some aloe vera juice. I mix with a plastic tool (not metal). The key is to mix until it is a yogurt consistency. When you put it in your hair, leave it in for about 20 minutes but make sure to not let it harden. I’ll have to do full tutorial with pictures to better explain… but feel free to follow up with more questions.

  3. Clarice Starks

    yes natural hair is such a science…..which is school was not my favorite subject lol. Water seemed to basically roll of my hair or just sit on top and i have tried many conditioners. Now i know why my hair was so much softer when i poo’ed in the shower vs my sink trust me their is a difference!

  4. Xenia Rose

    I just think it interesting that after 30 mins, my hair still did not sink in the water. This explains so much to me. It always takes forever to get my hair wet when I am washing it and it never seems to hold moisture, it just cakes on top of my hair and I have yucky buildup in no time. Thanks!

  5. annoymous

    I have begun using the daily oiling method using by the people of Kerala region of India as a pre-poo method. If I am going to pull it back in a pony tail, I apply conditioner to the oiled hair and rinse it out. Towel dry and apply a small amount of oil to the hair. If I am going to wear my hair straight, I apply a clarify shampoo to the oiled hair, work the shampoo in well, then following with a moisturizing shampoo, apply a deep conditioner coat with a plastic bag. Sometimes I use the heat cap and sometimes I wrap a towel around the bag. Then rinse with cool water, then apply a regular conditioner, rinse and towel dry. I detangle with a wide tooth comb, then comb all the hair to the front, brush the hair gently and wrap a towel to dry about 80%. Then I comb or brush the hair to the back and allow to dry complete. Sometimes I put a bit of setting lotion in my hair and smooth it through my hair, then flat iron.

    I find low ph products made my curls really tight and shrinkage is double.

  6. Ezraela-Bat Israel

    Ok so what if your hair strand is tested in hot water and still didn’t sink?..would it be safe to say heat does not work or maybe it’s something more than just heat? Because i tested my strand in hot water and it stayed afloat.

  7. Karin

    So, I tested a strand. It sat on top of the water about an hour. But when I poked at it so it would get under, it sank like a stone! Where does it leave me? Low- high porosity? /Superconfused

    1. Alessandra

      I know this is an old post, but… Wash your hair with clarifying shampoo and try again with ultra naked, dry hair. Sometimes products, oils and conditioners can give you a wonky result. Chances are, your hair is high-medium porosity, but coated with some mild-heavy product buildup; probably something oil or silicone based.

      If you’ve been using ANY products with silicone in the past few months (yes, months), you will never get a true test result until you’ve entirely stripped off that layer. Sometimes silicone can persist for 6-8 weeks, even after a natural hair care regimen has been started. It’s tough stuff. Also, be wary of silicone derivatives. They have names that can trick you into thinking they’re not silicone, but they are.

      Keep in mind that if your conditioner or gel, or whatever, has silicone in it, only products designed to wash out silicone (usually any shampoo from a product line that uses silicone) will wash it out. That stuff is used specifically to make you continue to have to use their product line. The detergents and surfacants (industrial strength, might I add) needed to strip silicone make hair dry, brittle and lifeless, so you need the silicone to smooth it out again; thus, the cycle repeats.

  8. mlank64

    I have very low porosity hair and clarifying my hair is something I had to learn the hard way. I follow the MHM as someone earlier commented it is tedious but has been the best method for my lo po hair. If you are familiiar witth this method it does include ACV rinse/ and or baking soda conditioner rinse as its first step and a bentonite mud wash as its 3rd step. Despite all this, my hair still managed to form some build up on my strands and I found myself dealing with dry, dull, and rough hair that showed very little curl. I had assumed that the clarifying steps with the baking soda and bentonite clay was enough to get all the gel and oil out of my hair. Unfortunetely, that was not the case for me. I actually had to use a shampoo on my hair to get all the build up off my strands. Once I did that, I was able to attain moisturized hair for days. I say this only to emphasize the fact that alot of issues that pertain to dryness or dull looking hair that doesn’t seem to get moisturized may be due to not clarifying or washing off build-up effectively. If this part of your regimen is not done properly, all other steps that follow will be in vain. Your deep conditioning will not be effective. Nor will your leave-in and style product. I would go as far as to say that if you do not properly cleanse your hair and remove any occluded products from from hair strands….you are setting yourself up for dry, brittle, and rough hair with very little curl. It is imperative to remove the previous products from your strands in order for your hair to benefit from any moisturizing products you plan to use after you cleanse. Just thought I share and save someone the problems I’ve experienced. It would seem simple enough, but, the most common complaint in being natural is dryness. Since co-washing is held to biblical proportion when it comes to being natural…it’s not surprising that most naturals complain of dryness because they avoid shampoos in lieu of conditioners. I’m all for co-washing, but, that hair has to be cleansed well for it to benefit from any moisturizing products that follow. So, incorporate it in whatever regimen you follow…take note of how well your hair receives moisture after you shampoo.

  9. Pingback: Do’s and Dont’s of Moisturizing Low Porous Hair – fxnfxpersonalcare

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