6 Tips for Moisturizing Naturally Curly Low Porosity Hair

Posted by Sophia Murphy on



Getting to know my low porosity hair

Having been natural for years now, I’m finally getting a better understanding of my hair – what’s good for it and what isn’t. I have low porosity, coarse, high density hair. If hair typing is your thing, I’d say my hair is easily in the 4b/4c range. My hair is protein sensitive and does not, I repeat, does not like everyone’s “holy grail”, coconut oil. Oh, did I mention that I’ve been going grey since I was about 19 years old, so I’ve got white strands and a few white patches throughout my hair.

Out of all of those challenges, low porosity was the hardest for me to deal with, especially as a newbie. In the beginning, I wondered; why is the conditioner sitting on my hair, why is it taking hours and hours for my hair to dry, why doesn’t it feel soft, why is it so brittle? What am I doing wrong? Low porosity hair needs a lot of love and understanding. But once you figure it out, you realize that this hair type actually has a lot to offer. Read on for tips on how to moisturize low porosity hair. 

Tips for moisturizing low porosity hair

To me, low porosity hair is probably the most challenging of the three porosity types (normal and high, being the other two). In low porosity hair, the cuticle layer of the hair shaft is very tightly closed making it difficult for water and conditioning agents to penetrate the hair shaft. But on the flip side, once that moisture is in, it’s in. But you have to know how to get it in and keep it in. Healthy low porosity hair is strong, elastic, and shiny and you only need to remoisturize a couple of times a week. Here are some tips for moisturizing low porosity hair that have worked for me.

  1. Use a prepoo treatment. You can use an oil, a mix of oils, a conditioner containing oils, or a butter. A prepoo treatment is very beneficial for low porosity hair because it can add softness, slip, and weight (which helps with frizz). Penetrating oils like coconut, sunflower, olive, avocado, or grapeseed are good choices. Some recommend applying this treatment hours before washing your hair. But if you don’t have that kind of time (and many of us don’t) you can use a thermal heat cap or steamer for ½ hr and let it work its magic. After the treatment, wash thoroughly.
  2. Always deep condition. Deep conditioning works best if you leave it on for a minimum of ½ hr but you can leave it on for as long as you like. For low porosity hair, I’ve found that deep conditioning works best with heat. Heat sources such as a steamer, a hooded dryer or a thermal heat cap work equally well. If you don’t have any of these items, simply cover your hair with a plastic cap, put a hat on top of that and let your body heat do the work.
  3. If you want to refresh your style during the week, make sure to spritz your hair with water before you apply your moisturizer.  I know we’re taught to just slather products straight from the bottle onto our hair, but it’s true what they say “water is the best moisturizer”. I divide my hair into workable sections, spritz it with water then work in my moisturizer. When I'm done I usually place my hair in two strand twists to dry.
  4. Seal in moisture with an oil. Low porosity hair usually responds better to the L(liquid/leave-in), C(cream), O(oil) method rather than the famous LOC method. Always use your liquid/leave-in first, and your oil last. After my leave-in, I apply a light weight moisturizer before I apply my favourite oil mixture. Some may even want to forgo the cream and apply oil right after the leave in.
  5. Try bagging or using the GHE (green house effect) method on your hair (either at night or when you’ve got a few hours and nowhere to go). I’ve tried both of these methods, and I think they’re both great for bringing back moisture to very dry strands and encouraging growth. These are good options for a mid-week “pick-me-up” for your hair. Warning: Your hair will be damp after these sessions. So, what I like to do then is place my hair in a high puff and rock those natural curls.
  6. Make satin your best friend. Whether you sleep with a satin cap or use a satin pillowcase, satin does not rob your hair of moisture the way cotton does. So ditch the cotton pillowcase and let your head slip and slide on satiny heaven. And for extra good measure, especially during these cold winter months, find yourself a satin lined hat. Now that is protection!

What are your tips for moisturizing low porosity hair?


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  • Thank you. I’ve been natural for years and have a good handle on my hair type. But my poor little girl! I have the hardest time with her hair. She’s 10. I typically keep it braided. But during COVID’s SIP, I can’t get to her braid stylist and we have been strugglin’. I describe her hair like cotton. All the products just sit on top of it. I know she has 4b/4c, thick, dense hair, like mine. But now I believe she has low porosity hair. I haven’t found the best method to maintain it, so I’m constantly buying new and different products, hoping to get it right. That describes why some “hair weekends” we get a good result and other “hair weekends”, we don’t. Yes, the whole process takes a weekend. I’m going to try these methods. And I am getting her a satin pillowcase this weekend! She has a satin cap, but who knows where it ends up by the morning. A pillowcase is much better for her age and wild sleep!
    Thank you for this article.

    Stephanie on
  • Thank you I thought I was going crazy. I wasn’t I just wasnt educated about what type of hair I had and the right steps to effectively take care of it. This article was very helpful.

    Deborah on
  • So helpful. Definitely needed this, have been natural my entire life. My parents didn’t use gels and all those build up products and my hair loved it. Since I’m doing it, it haven’t pass shoulder length. I needed this. Thank you

    Patchinique Wilson on
  • I have always use alot of products on my hair, because I have low porosity hair. No wonder they aren’t working like I wanted. Thanks for sharing, this article is simply for me.

    Ayadi Christiana on
  • Hey, this was very helpful for me..i have 4c thick but very coarse hair….please advice how i can make it soft or manageable cause i get headaches. Thankyou so much

    Ceendie on

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