Low porosity 4C hair is unique and requires specific care. It’s a hair type that doesn’t let moisture in with ease. This can make it tricky to maintain.
With the right knowledge and practices, it can thrive.
In this article, we delve into the key aspects of caring for it. We explore ways to boost moisture retention and protect hair health. It’s about helping your unique hair texture shine.
What Is Low Porosity 4C Hair?
Low porosity 4C hair is a type of natural hair with tightly coiled curls. Its hair strand structure doesn’t absorb moisture with ease.
In low-porosity hair, the hair cuticle, which is the outermost layer of your hair strand, has packed hair cuticles. This makes it hard for water and other treatments to penetrate your hair shaft.
Understanding your hair porosity helps you select the right products and routines specific to your 4C hair.
Hair Porosity Explained
Hair porosity refers to your hair’s ability to absorb and keep moisture in. The structure of your hair’s outer layer called the cuticle, is what determines it.
Picture your cuticle as scales on a fish:
- In low-porosity hair, these scales lay flat and packed together. This can result in dryness and difficulties absorbing products.
- High porosity hair absorbs moisture with ease but struggles to keep it due to gaps in the hair cuticle.
- Medium porosity hair has a balanced absorption and retention of moisture. Its cuticle layer raised a bit, allowing the right amount of moisture in and out.
|Low Porosity Hair
|Medium Porosity Hair
|High Porosity Hair
|Bound together and lay flat
|Raised or even chipped cuticles
|Resistant to moisture
|Balanced moisture absorption and retention
|Absorbs and loses moisture fast
|Requires more attention to ensure adequate moisture
|Requires less maintenance
|Requires frequent moisture replenishing
|Proneness to Buildup
|Prone to product buildup
|Not prone to buildup
|Absorbs moisture with ease but loses it just as fast
|Common Hair Condition
|Can appear healthy but tends to belackluster due to closed cuticles
|Tends to be shiny and healthy, holds styles well
|Often appears dry and frizzy, prone to breakage
13 Characteristics of Low Porosity 4C Hair
If you have 4C hair, you might struggle with defining its porosity type. Here are 13 low-porosity hair characteristics that help you recognize it:
- Hard to wet or takes a while to saturate with water fully
- Products tend to build up on hair rather than absorb
- Takes longer to dry
- Difficulty absorbing hair oils and treatments
- Looks healthy but doesn’t have much elasticity or volume
- Resistant to chemical treatments such as hair dye and perms
- Doesn’t easily allow for heat styling
- Hair often looks shiny
- Water or product tends to bead up on the hair surface
- Tends to be protein-sensitive
- Can be prone to buildup leading to a dry, flaky scalp
- Low moisture retention, leading to potential breakage
- Strands often feel smooth, and the hair cuticles are tightly bound
1. Hard to Wet or Takes a While to Saturate with Water Fully
Low porosity 4c hair can be difficult to wet. It often takes a while for the water to saturate your hair fully.
This is because the bound hair cuticles don’t allow water to penetrate the hair shaft with ease.
2. Products Tend to Build Up on Hair Rather Than Absorb
Since low-porosity hair has trouble absorbing products, they tend to build up on the surface of your strands.
To decrease buildup, use lighter products or those designed for low-porosity hair.
3. Takes Longer to Dry
Your hair might take longer to dry because of the hair shaft’s inability to absorb water with ease. Plan your hair care routine and be patient as your hair dries.
4. Difficulty Absorbing Hair Oils and Treatments
The bound cuticles make it challenging for hair oils and treatments to penetrate your low-porosity hair.
Be mindful of the products you use and consider applying heat to help absorption.
5. Looks Healthy but Doesn’t Have Much Elasticity or Volume
Low porosity 4c hair may appear shiny and healthy, but it might not have much elasticity or volume.
Ensure that you’re moisturizing your hair to improve its elasticity and reduce breakage.
6. Resistant to Chemical Treatments Such as Hair Dye and Perms
Chemical treatments like dyes and perms can be difficult to perform on low-porosity hair. They are not absorbed with ease.
You might need to use special products or seek professional help to achieve the desired results.
7. Doesn’t Allow for Heat Styling with Ease
Low porosity hair can be more challenging to heat style. It doesn’t absorb heat fast.
Be cautious when using tools like flat irons and curling wands, and always use a heat protectant to prevent damage.
8. Hair Often Looks Shiny
The bound cuticles on low-porosity hair can create a shiny appearance.
This can be a positive aspect, but be aware that it might also signify product buildup on the hair’s surface.
9. Water or Product Tends to Bead Up on the Hair Surface
Instead of entering the shaft, water and products can bead up on low-porosity hair.
Massage the product into your strands to help spread it evenly.
10. Tends to Be Protein-Sensitive
Your low-porosity hair may be sensitive to protein. Use protein-free products or protein treatments infrequently to avoid overloading your hair.
11. Can Be Prone to Buildup Leading to a Dry, Flaky Scalp
Since low-porosity hair tends to have product buildup, it sometimes results in a dry, flaky scalp. Cleanse your scalp to maintain its health and remove excess product.
12. Low Moisture Retention, Leading to Potential Breakage
The difficulty in absorbing moisture leads to low moisture retention in low-porosity hair. Keep your strands hydrated to prevent potential breakage.
13. Strands Often Feel Smooth
One of the defining characteristics of low-porosity hair is that the strands often feel smooth to the touch. This characteristic contributes to the other traits listed above.
How To Test for Low Porosity Hair
Here are the main ways to test for low-porosity hair:
- Hair porosity test
- Slip and slide test
- Float test
- Strand test
- Drying time test
Hair Porosity Test
The hair porosity test is a simple method to determine your hair porosity.
Fill a glass with water and place a strand of your clean, dry hair into it.
Observe if the hair floats, sinks, or stays in the middle. If your hair continues to float after several minutes, you likely have low porosity hair.
Slip and Slide Test
To perform the slip-and-slide test, take a strand of hair and slide your thumb and index finger from the tip to the root.
If it feels smooth and doesn’t catch or feel bumpy, your hair is likely low porosity.
You’ll need a glass of water and a strand of your clean, dry hair. Place the hair in the water and wait for about 4 minutes.
If your hair is still floating near the surface, it’s a sign of low porosity hair.
For the strand test, take a single strand of hair and stretch it between your fingers.
If it doesn’t stretch and breaks with ease, you may have low porosity hair. This can show that your hair is not absorbing moisture well.
Drying Time Test
After washing and towel-drying your hair, time how long it takes to dry completely. If it takes several hours or longer for your hair to dry, it’s a sign of low porosity hair.
17 Easy Ways To Care for Low Porosity 4C Hair
Here is how you can care for 4C low-porosity hair:
- Use clarifying shampoo
- Deep condition regularly
- Use heat during deep conditioning
- Use lighter oils
- Avoid heavy butters
- Apply products on damp, not soaking wet hair
- Use the LCO (Liquid, Cream, Oil) method
- Steam your hair
- Use products with humectants
- Avoid protein-heavy products
- Regular trims
- Be patient when detangling
- Drink plenty of water
- Eat a balanced diet
- Use a satin pillowcase or head wrap
- Avoid heat styling tools: They can cause damage and dry out your hair.
- Regular protective styling
1. Use Clarifying Shampoo
Wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo to remove product buildup and open the hair cuticles. This allows moisture and nutrients to penetrate the hair strands with ease.
2. Deep Condition Regularly
Deep condition your hair every 1-2 weeks to keep it moisturized and strong.
Look for deep conditioners containing natural oils, honey, and glycerin for greatest hydration.
3. Use Heat During Deep Conditioning
Apply heat during deep conditioning sessions to help the conditioner penetrate the hair shaft.
You can use a hair steamer, heat cap, or even a warm towel to add heat.
4. Use Lighter Oils
Choose lighter oils for low-porosity hair:
- Jojoba oil
Your hair can absorb them with ease without leaving a heavy residue.
5. Avoid Heavy Butters
Heavy butters might weigh down your hair and hinder moisture absorption. Opt for lighter alternatives like whipped butters or water-based creams.
6. Apply Products on Damp, Not Soaking Wet Hair
Applying products on damp hair allows for better absorption into the hair shaft.
Soaking wet hair tends to dilute the products and make them less effective.
7. Use LOC Method
Incorporate the LOC (Liquid, Oil, Cream) method into your hair care regimen to lock in moisture and maintain hydration.
8. Steam Your Hair
Hair steaming helps to open up the hair cuticles, improving the absorption of moisture and nutrients.
You can steam your hair with a hair steamer or by using a warm towel during deep conditioning.
9. Use Products with Humectants
Humectants can attract and keep moisture. These include:
- Aloe vera
Look for hair products containing these ingredients.
10. Avoid Protein-heavy Products
Low porosity hair often doesn’t need frequent protein treatments. Instead, stick to moisturizing products.
Use protein treatments rarely to prevent protein overload.
11. Regular Trims
Trim your hair on a regular basis to get rid of split ends and promote healthy hair growth.
12. Be Patient When Detangling
Detangle your hair using a wide-tooth comb and a leave-in conditioner to cut breakage.
13. Drink Plenty of Water
Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day to support hair health.
14. Eat a Balanced Diet
A diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins helps to nourish your hair from the inside out.
15. Use a Satin Pillowcase or Head Wrap
Sleep on a satin pillowcase or wear a satin head wrap at night to reduce friction and prevent moisture loss.
16. Avoid Heat Styling Tools
Limit the use of heat-styling tools like flat irons and curling wands to avoid damage. When you need to use heat, apply a heat protectant first.
17. Regular Protective Styling
Incorporate protective hairstyles into your hair care routine to reduce breakage. These include:
Address Length Retention and Hair Growth
There are two aspects to focus on when growing your low-porosity 4C hair:
- Hair texture and retention
- Healthy hair growth practices
Hair Texture and Retention
Low porosity 4C hair has a unique texture that can make it challenging to keep length.
This hair type tends to be dry and prone to breakage, making it difficult to achieve your hair length goals.
With proper care and a well-planned natural hair regimen, you can promote healthy hair growth and length retention for your 4C hair.
To keep length in your 4C hair, it’s crucial to keep your strands hydrated. Follow these tips:
- Apply your leave-in conditioner in the shower
- Choose hair products with care, focusing on those designed for low-porosity hair
- Experiment with different oil viscosities (thickness) to find the one that works best for your hair
Healthy Hair Growth Practices
Here are some practices you can follow to promote healthy hair:
- Wash your hair every week or two to remove product build-up and residue that can weigh down your hair and cause breakage
- Use heat during a deep conditioning treatment to open up the cuticle layer
- Deep condition overnight to give your hair extra time to absorb the moisture and nutrients
- Opt for protective hairstyles, such as high puffs, twists, or braids
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Low Porosity Hair Become High Porosity?
Yes, low-porosity hair can become high-porosity over time. This is due to factors like heat damage, chemical processes, or over-manipulation. High-porosity hair has open cuticles. This allow moisture to enter and leave the hair with ease.
Is coconut oil beneficial for low-porosity hair?
Coconut oil can be beneficial for low-porosity hair, but it’s not suitable for everyone. Since low-porosity hair has packed cuticles, it’s difficult for heavier oils like coconut oil to penetrate the hair shaft. If your hair responds well to coconut oil, you can use it sparingly to seal in moisture. T
Why should I avoid heavy butters for low-porosity hair?
Heavy butters like shea butter and cocoa butter can cause build-up on low-porosity hair. This makes it harder for your hair to keep moisture. Since low-porosity hair already struggles with moisture, heavy butters can exacerbate the issue.