In recent years, the benefits of coconut oil have regularly been touted in the beauty industry. It is popularly used as a hair treatment and is often found in the ingredients of hair care products. But is coconut oil good for low porosity hair?
Written by Nicola Sloan
In short, coconut oil is not good for low porosity hair as it can cause build-up and leave hair dry, frizzy, and more prone to breakage.
What Is Low Porosity Hair?
Low porosity hair does not absorb moisture easily. This is because the cuticles of the hair are tightly overlapped, like shingles on a roof.
Whereas medium or high porosity hair, on the other hand, has gaps between the cuticles that let moisture in and out more easily.
Here are some telltale signs of low porosity hair:
- Hair takes ages to get soaked and water droplets roll off it initially in the shower.
- When hair finally is wet, it retains water like crazy. It can take ages to dry.
- Products don’t absorb. Can be prone to product build-up.
- Resistant to chemical processes. Hair is resistant to bleaching, dyes, and perming.
It’s important to note that there is nothing wrong with having low porosity hair. It is not a sign that your hair is unhealthy.
In fact, low porosity hair has many advantages: it tends to be smooth, shiny, retain moisture well and not be as prone to frizz as the other types are.
It just needs some tailored care to look its best.
Knowing your hair porosity is one of the most important things to understand on your way to having great-looking, healthy hair.
How To Determine Your Hair Porosity
If you want to find out what your hair porosity is, just observe it. Does it get wet easily? How fast does it dry? Does it absorb products easily?
There are also a couple of simple tests you can try to help you determine your hair’s porosity:
The Texture Test:
To perform the Texture Test, simply take a strand of your hair and feel along the strand with your fingers.
If it feels bumpy at all, this suggests raised cuticles, which means you may have medium or high porosity hair (the bumpier it feels, the higher the porosity).
If your fingers glide smoothly along the hair strand, this means you have low porosity hair.
The Strand Test:
Clean hair will give you the most accurate results for the Strand Test, so first shampoo and rinse your hair thoroughly to remove product buildup. Then dry your hair as usual.
Pluck a single strand of hair from your head and drop it into a glass of water. Observe the hair strand to see where it floats.
If the hair sinks to the bottom of the glass fairly quickly, this is a sign it is more porous. Therefore, it has high porosity.
If the hair floats near the middle of the glass it is likely medium porosity.
If the hair floats at the top of the glass for a while before sinking to the bottom, it’s likely it has low porosity.
Is Coconut Oil Good For Low Porosity Hair?
Coconut oil is hailed as a miracle moisturizer for skin and hair, and can be used for everything: as a facial oil, a lip balm, as a deep conditioner, a pre hair color treatment, and even as a teeth whitener.
The problem with coconut oil when it comes to low porosity hair is that it is a heavy oil, with large molecules.
While this would not be an issue for higher porosity hair, with low porosity hair, the hair cuticles are tightly packed, making it hard for these large molecules to pass through.
This means that coconut oil just tends to sit on the surface of low porosity hair, so offers little moisturizing benefit. In this case, for low porosity hair, shea butter would be better.
Pick lighter oils that are liquid at room temperature, as these will penetrate low porosity hair more easily. Heavier oils like coconut oil, olive oil and castor oil are not good for low porosity hair.
Forget Coconut Oil – What Oils Are Good For Low Porosity Hair?
When choosing oils for low porosity hair, lighter is key, as these will penetrate low porosity hair more easily.
Here is a list of the best oils you could try for low porosity hair:
Grapeseed oil is one of the lightest oils you can use which is why it is ideal for low porosity hair.
Grapeseed oil moisturizes and conditions adds strength and shine to the hair, and may even help with hair growth.
Jojoba Oil is extremely light. It is rich in vitamins and minerals that nourish hair, including vitamin C, B vitamins, vitamin E, copper and zinc.
Great for sealing ends and moisturizing hair and scalp, jojoba oil will help promote strong, silky, and shiny hair.
Argan oil is a light moisturizing oil, so is therefore ideal for low porosity hair. It is also great for taming flyaway, frizzy hair.
It is rich in fatty acids and vitamin E, which help prevent dryness, reduce frizz and boost shine.
Almonds have high levels of protein, omega 9 fatty acids and vitamin E. These properties help to improve the shine and strength of your hair and improve the condition of your scalp.
Sweet almond oil will also help protect your hair from dryness and split ends.
Apricot oil is easily absorbed and hardly leaves any residue. Perfect for low porosity hair!
This oil has high levels of vitamin E, vitamin K, and a number of powerful antioxidants. It is commonly used as a massage oil but also does wonders for your hair.
It moisturizes, can help to strengthen weak hair, and promote the health of hair follicles and scalp.
Other Ways To Care For Low Porosity Hair
Using the right oils is not the only way to care for low porosity hair. Here are some more great tips to apply if your hair is low porosity:
Clarify Your Hair
Due to the tight cuticles of this hair type, low porosity hair is prone to product build-up.
Using a clarifying shampoo like the Noughty Detox Dynamo Clarifying Shampoo on a regular basis will help to remove product buildup and keep your hair happy.
Deep Condition With Heat
To get moisture into low porosity hair, you’re going to need to open up those cuticles a bit.
You can do this by applying heat to the hair. Apply deep conditioner, covering the hair with a cap, and apply heat via a hairdryer or hooded dryer.
Ingredients such as glycerin and honey are natural humectants.
This means they gain moisture from the air and help to adhere it to your hair.
Try adding honey to your weekly hair mask for a simple way to reap the benefits of a humectant.
Avoid Heavy Styling Products
Probably goes without saying, but just as you should avoid heavy oils like coconut oil for low porosity hair, also avoid heavy styling products.
They will only weigh down the hair and cause build-up.
Use Water Based Conditioners
These will absorb into your hair much more effectively.
Conditioners containing aloe vera juice or gel like the Faith in Nature Natural Aloe Vera Conditioner are ideal.
Another thing you could try is watering down your regular conditioner before applying it to your hair, to help it penetrate more easily.
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