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What Is the Best Way to Dye Low Porosity Hair?
Everyone can agree that dyeing hair is fun - even a minor color change can be a game changer! While different types of hair react differently to dyes, being able to dye your hair without getting disappointing results shouldn't be a luxury, not even for those with low porosity hair. The structure of your hair does make it difficult for the dye to seep in, but there are ways you can overcome this to get the best possible results after your hair dyeing process.
First, though, let's try to understand more about hair porosity.
What is Hair Porosity?
Porosity is the hair's ability to absorb moisture/water. This depends on your hair's structure; you may have high, medium, or low levels of porosity according to the makeup of your hair.
Your hair is a protein filament that has three layers to it:
- The cuticle: The cuticle layer is the outermost layer of your hair and it is made of individual flattened cells that overlap.
- The cortex: This is the thickest layer of the hair shaft. It contains fibrous proteins and hair color pigments.
- The medulla: This is the innermost layer of the hair shaft.
There are three types of hair based on porosity – low porosity hair, medium porosity hair, and high porosity hair.
In Low Porosity hair, the individual cuticles are flattened, they overlap and are tightly jammed together. Because of this reason, it makes it harder for water, as well as hair products, to penetrate the hair, get absorbed and moisturize the hair shaft. As opposed to medium and high porosity hair, dyeing low porosity hair can be a challenging task.
In Medium Porosity hair, the outer cuticle opens up just enough to allow water and dyes to get in with ease.
In High Porosity hair, the individual cuticles are lifted and the cortex starts to weaken. High porosity hair appears to be frizzy, dry, and tangled. The keratin inside the hair shaft starts to break down, allowing more water in and more of the natural oils out. This type of hair is prone to split ends and breakage.
How To Know If You Have Low Porosity Hair (FAQs)
What are the Signs of Low Porosity Hair?
If you do have less porous hair, the following are the things you might face daily:
- Products tend to sit on your hair instead of getting absorbed;
- Drying and washing takes longer than usual;
- Either your hair is too oily or too dry;
- You always find dirt/build-up in your hair.
How To Test If You Have Low Porosity Hair?
You can easily test your hair's porosity level by doing some simple tests:
Stretch Test: Take some wet hair strands after shampooing, stretch them against a ruler and see what happens. If the hair stretches 30%-50%, then you have low porosity hair.
Float Test: Take a strand of dry, clean hair and put it in a glass of water. If it’s low porosity, it will float.
Texture Test: Take a few strands of hair and run your fingers up and down along their length. If you can do it smoothly, without feeling any roughness in the texture, you most likely have low porosity hair.
Dyeing Low Porosity Hair
While less porous hair is typically easier to manage, it does not hold onto color well. The dye will not penetrate the hair and will get washed off easily. So how does one go about tackling this? Let's see.
Priming your hair:
- Clarify: Because we use many products on our hair every day, it is necessary to clean them out before dying to ensure efficient coloring. Since low porosity hair does not absorb products well, it has more chances of products sitting on the surface. So, keep in mind to cleanse and clarify your hair a couple of days before applying the color. Hair cleansing is an essential step in priming your hair.
- Pre-Color-Treatment: To help repair the damage your low porosity hair might have taken, apply a pre-color treatment prior to the actual coloring process. This will prepare your strands for the intense process of dyeing your hair. It will also protect it from further damage.
- Moisturize: Deep condition your hair weekly to ensure your low porosity hair remains healthy and lustrous. Invest in high-quality hair oils, preferably with emollients and softening ingredients – shea butter, avocado, aloe, jojoba oil, etc. These will form a protective layer and trap water inside. Besides deep conditioning regularly, you can also (at least occasionally) use a leave-in conditioner.
You can also try a hot oil treatment – apply your choice of warmed up hair oil and cover your hair with plastic wrap for 15-20 minutes. This will help open the cuticles of your low porosity hair. However, stay away from protein treatments, as they are neither needed, nor recommended for low porosity hair.
You can get the best possible results from your dye by following the steps listed above. After these, you can go on to dyeing your hair yourself or at the salon (which would be the best option, since dyeing can be tricky and is best left to a professional). If you do plan to do it yourself, know that:
- You might have to bleach your hair first;
- After bleaching, all you have to do is apply the color and leave it on for the recommended time. Due to the nature of low porosity hair, the color should usually be left for longer than usual (unfortunately, though, this may cause more damage). My recommendation is to at least contact your hairstylist for tips on how long to leave the color on your less porous hair.
Post Dye Care
- Use A Color Preserving Shampoo: Go for sulfate-free shampoos suited for color-treated hair. These will make the color stay longer and prevent it from getting washed off easily.
- Avoid Hot Water: Wash your hair with cold or lukewarm water to minimize damage to your colored hair.
We know you can't wait to rock that new color, so try these tips and thank us later! Before we go, though:
Conclusion: While coloring hair is fun, the results highly depend on your type of hair. Hair with low porosity makes it harder for the dyes to get in, because of the nature of its structure – the cuticles are tightly packed. It often leads to the product sitting on the surface without seeping in. The best way to dye low porosity hair is to maintain a haircare routine aimed towards opening up the cuticles without much harm. Following the coloring process, using a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner, apply a leave-in conditioner, and refraining from using hot water can keep the color locked in for weeks.
Best Products for Low Porosity Hair
If you have low porosity hair, I can highly recommend you this nourishing and hydrating shampoo & conditioner pack for cleansing and deep conditioning:
WOW Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner contain the power of pure Moroccan argan oil, which will turn your hair soft and shiny without the grease. Use the combo to hydrate your low porosity hair and nourish them with vitamins, soothe the scalp and reduce the chances of breakage and split ends. Free from sulfates, parabens, and silicones, the Wow Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner give the best results when used together.
For cleansing and clarifying your hair prior to dyeing it, I recommend using the WOW Apple Cider Vinegar shampoo. It is infused with raw apple cider vinegar that helps clarify your hair and scalp, prepping it for your next color adventure.
Also, check out our collection of hair oils to add to your hair care routine and care for your low porosity hair just the way it deserves.