Everything you Need to Know about Low Porosity Hair

Everything you Need to Know about Low Porosity Hair

Low porosity hair is one of the three main porosity types. As with other porosities, genetics play an influential role when determining how open and closed our hair cuticles can be. It is all about the hair’s ability to absorb and retain water. Understanding if we have low hair porosity is crucial to ensuring that we use the most effective products to give our curls the care they need.


Low porosity hair is characterised by a very tight cuticle structure. Hair cuticles are little scales that cover the external layer of the hair’s surface and control how much moisture can penetrate into the hair shaft. In the case of low porosity hair, they are tightly closed, which means the hair is not too dry and can maintain moisture quite easily. However, at the same time it is very hard to make the moisture penetrate through the cuticles when needed.

Some key characteristics of low porosity hair include:

  • Products sitting on top of the hair (resulting in build up)
  • Taking a long time for water to saturate the hair properly when washing
  • Taking a long time for the hair to dry.

Low Porosity Hair


Each hair porosity type has different characteristics that derive from the cuticle structure. Looking at whether these line up with how your own hair behaves can help you determine whether your hair is low porosity.

  • When you spray some water on a clean, product-free strand, the water forms little beads on the surface rather than penetrating into the hair
  • It takes a long time for the hair to get fully wet
  • It takes a long time for the hair to fully dry
  • Leave-in products tend to sit on the hair rather than penetrate, so it’s very easy to apply too much and cause build-up
  • The hair is easily weighed down and can struggle to achieve volume
  • The hair doesn’t take color very well


Since low porosity hair is prone to build-up and to being weighed down, it's important to follow specific techniques and tips in product application:

  • Clarify more often to ensure you get rid of product build-up.
  • Use lighter products
  • Try a simpler routine, using only one product rather than layering them
  • Use heat to make moisture penetrate better (for example, use a heated shower cap during the waiting time of your treatment, or diffuse your hair for a few minutes with your treatment on at the start of the treatment waiting time).
  • Use just a few protein-rich products to avoid protein overload, as this hair is healthy and doesn’t need a lot of repair


As this hair type suffers from build-up you should regularly use clarifying products, such as our Detox Kit, to remove this. To moisturise properly, use a lightweight but hydrating deep conditioner like our Hydro Creme Soothing Mask, which will penetrate into the strands without weighing them down.

Whilst oils are a great way to nourish hair, you should stick to products that contain lightweight oils that won’t sit on the hair strands and make it look greasy. Look for products that contain glycerin as it helps to retain moisture within the hair. Lightweight products are also a must as they won’t weigh the hair down. We recommend our Hydro Style Flexi-Jelly, a medium hold weightless styling gel that will define your curls without any build-up. Applying your styling products on soaking wet hair can help it be absorbed into the strands, so this is also recommended.

Since low porosity hair doesn't need a lot of protein to maintain good protein moisture balance, use only one of our Strength Recipes products at a time to make sure you are not overloading your hair.


Whilst low porosity hair has a tight cuticle that makes it difficult for moisture to penetrate, as well as leave, high and medium porosity have different characteristics. High porosity hair has far looser cuticles that easily let moisture in, but just as easily let it out. This makes it difficult for this type to retain hydration. Medium porosity hair, on the other hand, sits in between the two. The cuticles are looser than low porosity, but not as loose as high porosity. This means that moisture penetrates relatively easily, but isn’t lost too fast.

About Curlsmith

We specialise in creating gourmet haircare products for curly, coily, and wavy hair. Our curl loving range of products was created in partnership with trichologists and stylists, and includes leave in conditioners, clarifying shampoos. Natural ingredients and kitchen cupboard staples are at the very heart of our formulas and they are purposefully designed with curls in mind.