The other day we shared a proper hair care routine for high porosity hair and since we are never in the business of leaving anyone out of the TNT convo we had to do a post on  a proper hair care routine for low porosity hair as well. What makes high porosity and low porosity hair different from one another is the speed in which moisture enters the hair shaft and how long it remains/stays within the hair shaft. Since these types of hair are the two opposite extremes the hair care routine must differ in order to have a successful progressive natural hair journey.

Low porosity struggles to take in moisture because the hair cuticle lays so close together/tightly shut. This means it takes a bit more work to properly moisturize your hair. There are steps you can take to make taking care of your low porosity hair not only bearable but also successful.

Proper Hair Care Routine For Low Porosity Hair

1. Steam your hair: If you are battling low porosity hair your best friend is going to be indirect heat. You are going to want to steam your hair 1-2xs a week for 10-15 minutes to help open up cuticle of your hair. I find it is best to choose to steam your hair the days you are choosing to cowash or remoisturize your hair so that the process of remoisturizing is easier.

2. Clarify with Bentonite Clay: Shampoo (even the sulfate free kind) can strip/dry your hair and make it harder to moisturize. Your cortex is already laid down compactly shut, so you want to focus on gentle ways of cleansing. Using a bentonite clay mixed with carrier oils as well as ACV would leave a clean refreshed feeling without being stripped. You also want to rinse this mixture out of your hair with warm water to help keep the cuticles open as you proceed with your wash day regimen.

3. Stay away from too much protein: Low porosity hair usually is protein sensitive and does not require too much protein in your hair care routine. This can be tricky as many products do contain protein without necessarily being a protein based treatment. Go for moisture based/ moisture replenishing/balancing products instead of protein products that will have your hair feeling very dry and straw like. This will also lead to damage and breakage.

4. Water Based/ Humectant/ Emolient products: You want to focus on using products that list their first ingredient as water. If the first ingredient isn’t water chances are it is not the best moisturizer for you to be using. Besides that you also want to focus on products that contain humectants like aloe vera gel/juice and emollients like honey. What you should avoid using are products labeled as butters/puddings because they will be too thick and lay on top of the hair instead of being absorbed into your strands.

5. Lighter Oils: Because low porosity hair struggles to allow moisture in, it will also struggle to allow oils to penetrate the shaft. In most cases the oil will sit on top of the strands and weigh it down causing your hair to feel heavy, lifeless ,and look greasy. This will also clog your scalp which will affect the growth and health of your hair. Instead of using the holy grail oils that naturalistas rave about such as coconut oil, avocado oil, and olive oil you’ll want to focus on lighter oils like grapeseed, almond oil, and babassu oil instead. Here is a larger list of oils you may have great luck in using for your low porosity hair. 

6. Deep condition with heat: Deep conditioning is truly a must for low porosity hair. It is a crucial way of getting moisture to penetrate the shaft of the hair. However just as I stated with the first step adding indirect heat will help open the cortex and make it easier for moisture to enter. Even if you can not sit under a dryer, you can steam your hair while deep conditioning, use your hand held blow dryer, or count on a little body heat. Also warming up your deep conditioner will help the process as well. When you are done you can rinse with cool water to seal in the moisture that your hair has taken in.

What are some steps you have taken to help you battle your low porosity hair? Share with us in the comments below!

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Hey there! I’m Melissa, co-founder of Trials n Tresses, natural hair and beauty lover, binge tv watcher and lover of life. When I am not creating content for TNT, I’m busy teaching the future of society.

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39 Responses to Proper Hair Care Routine For Low Porosity Hair

    • I love Mielle Organics Babassu Protein Balancing Deep conditioner, TGIN Honey Miracle Mask is also a fave! Hope this helps

  1. This was really good and helpful tips, so many beauticians act like they specialize in natural and healthy hair, when half of them won’t put you under the dryer with a moisturizer or deep conditioner. I get better results doing my own hair and getting good advise from you and other people on you tube.

    • Awww thanks love! I’m def not knowledgeable in all aspects of hair but I do my research and share what works best for me. Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Best of luck to you on your natural hair journey!

      • Double Ditto to this comment!!!! At 53 and a PLETHORA of stylist who I trusted and paid well to know what they were doing, I no longer just hand over my hair. Do you have suggestions for coloring fine, low porosity natural hair as well? Not crazy about the gray.

  2. I have been natural all my life, but in my case natural has not always meant healthy. I decided to cut off half of my hair two days ago and I’m trying to get my hair healthy. I found out I have low porosity hair, I’m going to be incorporating these tips into my hair regimen from now on thank you.

  3. I noticed that glycerin is a good moisturizer for my hair. I think my problem is the cleansing the scalp part. I have a very dry scalp so what do you think could help me with it?

  4. once I seal my hair with cool water, how do I get my leave in into the cortex of my hair if its already closed?

  5. I have tried so many oils and so many deep conditioners and none of them ever really work… or at least they do at first for the very first time then the look quickly fades. Does using heat make a huge difference in terms of deep conditioning? I’m really hoping it does, going to try this 🙂

    Thanks <3

  6. Well said, especially regarding the oils. As it unfortunately took me years to realize the “holy grail” of oils were a no no for my hair. Almond and jojoba work well for me or a little pure argan. I’ve been wanting to try aloe vera. Butters and puddings are also not friendly to my hair. Im still working on finding the right balance of protein because I am relaxed, I do still need some, but most of the time I’m more moisture focused. You’re info helped reinforce what my hair’s been trying to tell me.

  7. Okay so for a complete novice who has no idea what they are doing these tips are great. For all of the tips though would you be so kind as to list some products for each one? I went almost batty trying to choose products, it would be a great help sigh

  8. Hi, I did the big chop in August and I’m still learning my hair. I’ve been using As I am products, just realized or found out that I have low porosity. Before reading more about LP, I swear that my hair was loving the products. I also deep condition every other week with coconut oil protein pack, is this too much protein should I reduce to once a month. Any advice is welcomed

    • Sheamoisture has a line for low porosity. I’m about to try them out. I used the As I Am products too until I realized they were not really helping. I only use the clarying shampoo now. Big chopped a week ago.

  9. For Kimberly Tarver, you should NOT use protein that often if you have low porosity hair. Trust, I have done that and suffered severe breakage, it was horrible and took a year +of pure protective styles to correct the damage. You really don’t need a protein in your hair or if you do use one, once to twice a year is sufficient. I haven’t used one for over three years, since I have been in my current location and I am truly happy and my hair is growing like crazy. I use TGIN honey hair mask about every two weeks but once a month or so I used E’tae honey conditioner (used before you wash your hair) and my hair loves them both. Also, I use Naturalicious clay 5-in-1 hair product and it is AWESOME!!! I mean the curls and definition are incredible.

    Stay away from the protein if you are low porosity and embrace the clay, honey, light oils. I will also state that steaming my hair is fundamental. Some people have reactions to clay, very few, so you might want to find one in a trial pack before you buy it.

  10. would you be able to suggest other suggestions for shampoo options for co-wash or conditioners. ive been looking for new products that are best for low porosity hair but the only links that come up are from 2014 and I know so many new products have come out. any suggestions?

  11. Hello!
    This is a great article! Thank you so much.
    I am struggling with keeping my hair defined for more than a couple of hours or clumping them together. For info, I have 3c low porosity hair with coarse/dense hair. I have found that using Eco gel does a good job at clumping my hair together but it leaves white flakes.
    What do you suggest to avoid any white flakes and keeping my hair clumped together?
    Thank you so much.

    Gaëlle

  12. I’ve been battling with low porosity hair I would really like all the help I can get and the list of so products I can get to help me??

  13. What deep conditioners do you recommend for 4b low-po hair? I’ve been having a hard time finding a decent one.

  14. Hi,
    My hair is low porous, can’t deal with protein and coconut oil and I’ve been searching for a deep conditionner for so long that I’ve finally given up… Do you have any suggestion (products or and home made DC I could realise) ?

    • I was also at my wit’s end but Shea Moisture Manuka honey will did me well. Add a little honey and olive oil to it, indirectly warm it (put what you will use only in a small plastic bowl and heat it over another bowl of hot water), then deep condition.

  15. I’v being natural now for about 6 months and I’ve been reading up on how to care for my hair first off my hair is short and I think that my hair is low porosity I really don’t know how to maintain my hair I just been following the steps on YouTube so I’m going out and just bored all sorts products for natural hair I really don’t know which one works for me my hair is so to speak heart to grow right now I’m wearing my hair and a low-cut it can be planted faded on the sides pretty much I’ve just been sponging my hair keep it washing condition and go I would like to learn more can you please help me thanks I

  16. Does hair porosity only pertain to black peoples hair or is it an issue for all hair types? I’ve only every seen it mentioned on sites for that specific hair type.

  17. I applied banana and egg mask with caster oil to my black natural African hair for overnight ,and my hair is breaking heavily.Please what can I do to stop the breakage.

  18. Hi,after almost 4 years of being natural I just found out that the cause of my hair being brittle is protein overload. I stopped using coconut oil for this reason but still had dry and brittle hair. Now I know that protein comes in many different names and I know not to buy them. I always thought that heavier oils and butters were what my type of hair needed, because lighter oils do nothing for my 4a-b hair. I keep seeing that heavy oils aren’t good for low porosity hair. Does this go for hot oil treatments and oils used to do the LCO/LOC method? If, I use heavier products do I need to clarify 2 times a week versus 1 or is this a trial and error thing? My hair is very long and i’m aiming for waist length but if I can’t get this under control now it will be very difficult for me to maintain.

  19. OMGooosh! Thank you so much, no wonder my hair feels like straw, stressing then with thick olive and coconut oils! This article has been really helpful

  20. Hi Melissa. I’m not sure what has happened to my hair over the past year? Now I am at the point of total breakage in the top of my head with a
    plug of hair totally missing!

    I never heard of hair porosity until this happened and I have been on You tube and other sites for about a month now trying to find ways to stop the breakage and get it growing again. I discovered I have low porosity hair. I spent $60 or more dollars on a bag full of oils with general knowledge of them and it was a mess.

    I am thinking I need to see a dermatologist but nothing is really wrong with my skin expect the dryness that is increased with the winter.
    I went out today and purchased Grapeseed oil from Walmart and I have raw honey and Shea Butter protein free shampoo and conditioner, a headed dryer cap and a satin bonnet. My perfect shaped full fro and fluff is now approximately 4-6 inches of hair with a plug missing.
    I am grateful its not a bald spot but it broke off down to the scalp.

    I have Apple Cider Vinegar and baking soda but was really nervous about using either because of all the back and forth surrounding its varied effects!

    I’m not even sure where to start but I know I need some immediate prayer and guidance. If you can give me any direction, it would be sooooooo appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Sabrina

    • Oh my this sounds extremely difficult. I think you should see a dermatologist just to rule out that it may be anything medical causing the issue. I would also go to a professional stylist for their opinion to help get you on to a regimen that works best for you.