Learning Low Porosity Hair

Thanks to a couple of LHCFers, I realized two things:

1- I never wrote a post on my LP hair

2- Apparently, I know more about my LP than I thought

What is Porosity?

Porosity is the hair’s ability to absorb water, moisture and products.

So, What is Low Porosity Hair?

Low Porosity (Low Po or LP) Hair means that the cuticles are so tight that its hard to open them and therefore, its harder to get simple things such as moisture (including water) and other products in them. It is hard to get products to absorb in the hair, so often, products sit on top of hair and cause build-up. Low pH products are also a no-no because they close the cuticles even more. It is also advised to avoid protein as it is harder to remove protein once it penetrates and products loaded with heavy oils seal the cuticles, which are already hard to lift.

What Have I Learned?

Ive learned that LP hair is only as good as the regimen and styling you keep.

It is always recommended to avoid protein when one has LP hair, however, I have learned that protein is my best friend or frenemy depending on the hair style. When my hair is roller set, protein is its best friend, but air dried, protein becomes the frenemy and its use becomes severely limited to once every 4 weeks.  Because Im a roller setter, I have to replenish protein bi weekly because of the heat. Direct or indirect, its still some kind of heat and it will still put a beating on the hair. The only difference between direct and indirect is the way heat hits the hair and its damage over time.

  • Indirect heat has shown to be more effective of not damaging my hair over time while direct heat (flat ironing) has shown to tighten and seal my cuticles more than indirect heat.
  • Proteins that benefit my hair are Silk, Keratin (including their Amino Acids) and milk protein when used with silk protein.
  • Silk works best as a light protein treatment and as a heat protectant.
  • Keratin works well as a medium protein treatment and is the only protein that does not cause breakage or chip my hair. Many hair sites can scare you on the use of keratin protein, but it is the protein your hair is made of. Since using keratin, I rarely deal with overload or heaviness problems attributed to protein.
  • Milk protein is only good with silk protein in small amounts as I cannot use milk protein alone.
  • Collagen is exceptional when dealing with moisture overload.

When it comes to deep conditioning, regardless to whether I use protein or not, I have to use heat. No arguments please. When I use silk, I have to use a heating cap, but with my other DC’s, I just use either my heating cap or steamer. Steamers are better for my hair for adding more moisture, no doubt, while I find heating caps to provide more sustaining with moisture levels. Huh? Well steamers add moisture in which I notice the effects during the first few days, but heating caps keeps my hair leveled between wash days. I moisturize less with a heating cap between wash days while steamers cause me to have to moisturize daily after the first few days, then I have to replenish moisture possibly every day after until the next wash day.

When it comes to products, I have to be very careful.

  • Smoothing Shampoos are a big no-no.
  • Smoothing products in general are a no-no
  • Proteins in leave-in and moisturizers are a no-no
  • Aloe products are a big no-no
  • Water based moisturizers are a big oui-oui
  • Avocado oil and butter is a gift and a curse
  • Shea butter is very smoothing; a big no-no
  • Sulphate shampoos are a big oui-oui
  • Wheat Protein is a no-no
  • Fruit acids in clarifiers are a big oui-oui
  • Moisturizing shampoos are a gift and a curse
  • ACV Rinse is a no-no
  • Tea/Coffee rinse is a oui-oui

Clarifying is an important part of any regimen but it like the HG of LP hair. Its bad enough to have build-up but LP hair gets super build-up and with that comes breakage city if your not careful because nothing can penetrate.

Its easy to get moisture overload when your not careful. With LP hair, the focus is getting moisture in because its so hard. Like force feeding a child. I was that child actually. So because the focus is moisture, moisture, moisture, you kind of forget that you need to add some protein in that diet because protein is not recommend for LP hair. Ive found the best way to balance both is to just stick to a strict regimen.

When it comes to Oils:

Coconut oil is a no-no for me. It penetrates and leaves my hair hard.

Avocado oil, Apricot oil and Sweet Almond oil are the most moisturizing.

Sunflower oil is moisturizing.

Ceramide oils are best for sealing and holding in moisture over a longer period of time.

Wheat Germ Oil is HEAVY, but its the one oil I can use the really retains moisture and reduces weekly moisturizing re-ups and doesn’t effect dryness long term.

Tricks of the Trade

Some things I learned that made my life easier:

  • Applying leave-in’s and oils on damp hair work far better that on wet or dry hair.
  • Overnight DC’s are nice, but can provide too much moisture. Its a great alternative when you don’t have the time, energy or money to invest in heat appliances, but I avoid them when necessary.
  • Always use heat with a DC. Heat is about lifting them cuticles.
  • Baggying is good, but if it isn’t done on the entire head, I found it causes breakage.
  • The LCO method worked better than LOC method.
  • GHE required more protein usage because it does leave you with wet hair. LP hair take FOREVER to dry, to when you wake up with wet hair, that wet hair for however many hours it takes to dry.
  • T-shirt drying works best along with a diffuser (for me, about 2 feet away) to reduce drying time and not affect moisture.
  • Always track LP hair seasonally. If you live somewhere that has all 4 seasons like me, or there are differences in humidity, dew points, and climate (if not much temp change), always be mindful to that. My hair behaves and is easier to manage during extreme seasons like Winter and Summer. During these seasons, I can use the the same products for each season with the difference being I have to use more steam in the Winter while I can use less in the Summer. In the transitioning seasons, with changing humidity and dew points, I have to be mindful of steaming as it sometimes adds too much moisture and with using the heating cap, my hair can get limp fast.
  • Avocado Oil and Avocado Butter I find to be smoothing, so while I love them, I have to be careful when I use them. I try to stay away from these ingredients after a relaxer and too far into a stretch in DC’s. As a leave-in or moisturizer, I find them pretty beneficial. I speculate the while the oil penetrates, the butter smoothes and that might be the issue.
  • Rinses work good for me with they don’t have protein and I mix them with protein. I try not to bother too much with them because they don’t penetrate.
  • Tea/coffee rinses I find allow better penetration for DC’s. I really notice a difference when I don’t use them

I hope this helps someone. Its finally out my brain, so I can help someone after I drove myself crazy. Ha-Ha

Low Porosity hair is definitely a gift and a curse. A gift because its not hard to maintain once you know it. A curse because its hard to maintain when you don’t know, hard to maintain up until the time you do, and has multiple personalities even after you do figure it out!.

One Day, It Will Happen

Tasia S.

40 thoughts on “Learning Low Porosity Hair

    • Thanks HHD!
      I didn’t have much of a choice. In the beginning I suffered much breakage from not knowing so I wanted to learn and not have to keep making the same mistakes

      • Thank u Thank u for this blog! I have a few questions. Can u explain coffee rinsing process. Cant find it on the YT. also what is ‘GHE’ mean when u say it required more protein usage? Can u give examples of ceramide oils u have found work for your hair? And where do u purchase your avocado butter? Thnx again

      • Sure.
        For coffee rinsing, I just brew some coffee with teas of my choice, though you do not have to use teas too, and this helps to clean the hair bit and for me aids in strength and added moisture. Last, it helps me for my scalp since it is really dry. Coffee rinse aid in less hair fall, so overall, it does have benefits for the hair. I do not have it on YT I don’t think.
        I found GHE to aid in the steam affect of dry hair. My hair would be moisturized due to the steam but I noticed that my hair would be more moisturized than normal. I liked it but I could only do it for a few days a week as doing it too much caused me to use more protein between treatments. I really do not care to play with my moisture levels too much.
        Ceramides oils that work best for my hair are Safflower, Sunflower, Rice Bran Oil and Hemp Seed Oil. Wheat Germ Oil is good, but you have to dilute it a lot because it is so thick.
        I purchase the avocado butter from eBay from a seller names Kessil1000 I believe. Dr. Adorable too. They have decent prices, but I do not buy the shea or cocoa butters from them.

  1. Great article! I apply my Porosity Control every week and I find that has worked out for me, but for others I’ve read they use only with a chemical service.
    Thanks for the explanation about the differences you have seen using diff products and oils, I’ll pay attention to the ones I use now 🙂

    • Hey Dany,
      Nice to see your comment. PC works well for me as slip on top of DC’s and after a service. Otherwise my hair just becomes stiff. I’ve noticed a pattern with oils too and some sites advise against certain oils too.

  2. While I’m still learning the nuances of my hair, it tends to fluctuate between all different types of porosity (if that makes sense). Right now, it’s in a LP state apparently. The biggest indicator has been my hair has been taking a day or two to air dry for the past few months, along with a few other tell-tale signs (coconut oil problems, protein issues). It has been a journey trying to learn my hair all over again!
    Thanks so much for this information!

    • When I started my journey, my hair was HP because of all the damage but over time, as my hair grew in, it went back to its LP state. Chances are it was LP to begin with we just never knew! Keep up the good work!

  3. Pingback: What’s The Big Deal About Protein | Smooth Cuticles

    • Hi Toni,

      I avoid smoothing products because I have low porosity hair so smoothing products makes my hair stiff. Nothing will penetrate. If its not a serum or heat protectant, I try to avoid them.

      I use the gold n’ hot. It’s ok but I’m in the market for better.

  4. I’m just starting my hair journey and I’m trying to learn all of the hair terminology and I see a lot of ppl say there hair becomes “mushy” I’ve never thought of hair being mushy so I’m trying to understand what characteristics too look for to determine when my hair would be considered “mushy” can someone please explain? Thanks!

    • Hey Tarra,

      Mushy is associated with moisture overload most times. It means the hair has increase moisture and stretches alot. That’s how my hair was when I got intense crown breakage because my hair would stretch ALOT and only protein recovered it.

      If you hair is mushy, try a medium to hard protein treatment.

      • Thanks! I never used to moisturize or DC with heat before until now. I notice that when I test shed strands some stretch a lot, some just a little, and some snap right away so i have a hard time determining exactly what state my hair is in. I do use Paul Mitchell hair repair treatment for 3-5 minutes after each wash (every 5-7 days) and follow it with a DC moisturizing treatment. What level protein trtmnt would you consider PMHRT?

      • Hey Tarra,

        There are one of two solutions. I have combination strands, so my thicker strands always snap; they can’t stand any pressure. I think that’s normal. My medium strands either stretch a little or alot. Depending on the majority of strands, I wash based on what most of my strands are doing. If most of them are stretching, I use protein. If most of them are snapping, I use moisture. I wouldn’t use a repair treatment every wash day though. Every other week maybe. I’m going to look into this for you and email you.

    • I just do regular clarify/protein treatments to keep my hair balanced. I also just try to use products and oils that would maintain a healthy balance and not cause too much build-up.

  5. I keep this page in my favourites and come back to it now and again to solve a problem. This time the tea rinse point hit home. EXACTLY! I get better conditioning after a tea rinse. I’m three months into my hair journey and going on ten weeks post on my first successful relaxer stretch. The last two weeks it’s been a struggle to get moisture in my strands. I’ll have to resort to baggying, but I can only do it for a few hours a day to avoid mushy hair. Thanks for your great blog.

    • Your welcome.

      I’m glad it’s helping you out. You can also email me with any questions. I also try to retouch on these subjects after a while just to update knowledge or experience, so definitely keep checking back. Thanks for the feedback.

  6. OMG!!! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!! I started my HHJ in December 2013. But my lo-po hair is laughing at me like ROTFL!!! Because I keep oiling and sealing etc and my hair is like. WTH? Also I am currently trying to transition to texlaxed hair. Any tips about how I should do that??

    • The best way is to just start processing less and determine the texture you want for your hair. Some people like to still have straight hair, but not bone straight. I still prefer to have waves. Once you determine the texture you want, it gets easier to determine what you want to do from there.

  7. I’ve been natural for about 6 months now. I’m using Treseme and Kera Care with some jojoba oil and castor oil in the mix. I don’t really have much of a regime I just keep my hair mini braid outs and under a wig cap for the week. I was once a week and DC once a week with Treseme. My hair grows slowly and I think its low porosity but I’m not sure, not sure what texture I am either…lol. All the terminology baffles me and you seem to know what you’re talking about so any suggestions?

      • Is co-wash definitely better than shampoo? (I was raised on shampoo). I’ve been using my products for about a month now and really my hair isn’t doing anything different from when it was super damaged…only difference is that it’s curly so do I need a change? What can I change to? Because there are soooooo many things lol.
        Plus this whole porosity thing…my hair is multi textured (soft in the back hard in the front, dry on top and oily on the sides) What can I do to have one texture or at least manage all of it without getting “mushy hair” (whatever that is…it doesn’t sound nice)


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