The brand Olaplex has earned an impressive reputation since its launch in 2014, and it’s easy to see why. The salon-grade brand offers a full range of strengthening products for all hair types, and the results are visible almost immediately.
That’s because Olaplex, as a bond builder, is far superior at repairing the hair than protein treatments.
So this begs the question …
Is Olaplex good for low porosity hair?
We’ve dug deep into the science, scoured natural hair communities + forums to get some answers, and here’s the complete lowdown …
What Is Hair Porosity?
The rate hair can absorb and retain moisture is referred to as its porosity. Both genes and hair care habits contribute to whether one has low or high porosity hair.
Most people have hair with normal porosity, so their hair dries normally and responds quite easily to products. But if you have low porosity hair, it won’t take in the nutrients and benefit from hair treatments so easily. And the result is often hair that is naturally a little dry, which tends to frizz up and tangle quite easily, making it challenging to style.
As you may already know, hair is made up of dead cells. These cells are arranged in a tri-layer pattern: 
- The outermost layer is the cuticle
- The thick, internal layer is called the cortex, which contains the hair color pigment
- The inner layer is called the medulla
For lower porosity hair, the cuticles are tightly squeezed together, making it difficult for water and other items to penetrate the hair shaft. In the case of high porosity hair, the cuticles are spread out, allowing it to absorb moisture with ease.
How to Test Hair Porosity?
You can do an easy test to determine whether your hair is high porosity or low.
Get a glass of water. Take a strand of your hair (no need to yank it from your scalp; just cutting off a piece will do) and place it in the glass. Now observe the hair strand for 2-4 minutes.
Is your hair sinking to the bottom quickly? Then you have high porosity hair.
If, on the other hand, the hair floats, that means your hair has low porosity, and water is not penetrating it as quickly.
There are other signs that your hair is low porosity. When you wet it, it will take time to saturate with water, and you will likely notice that it repeals water. The same principle applies to hair styling and care products.
Lightweight products are usually recommended for low porosity hair. And that’s why Olaplex, with its relatively thin consistency, tends to work so well.
Does Olaplex Work on Low Porosity Hair
Protein treatments are extremely popular these days for hair care, and that makes sense: protein is, after all, the main component of healthy hair. Protein is not only responsible for keeping breakage in check, but it also helps to enhance moisture retention.
However, it may take a long time for those with lower porosity hair to see results with protein treatments. And, as some of these treatments tend to leave a sticky film on the hair, the process may be counterproductive for low porosity hair.
This is especially true in treatments with very large protein molecules, such as those containing wheat and collagen.
And so what can you do?
Use Olaplex instead.
The key component in Olaplex is bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate , a patented ingredient. This element is more than just a protein source because it mimics the chemistry of the disulfide bonds which already exist in our hair.
And for this reason, Olaplex products can penetrate hair more easily than other treatments, enhancing the function of the native proteins present in natural hair.
The effects of the active ingredient in Olaplex have been scientifically proven; researchers have found that repairing the broken disulfide bonds significantly improves hair structure, be it natural hair or hair that has received a lot of treatment.
This not only reduces hair damage but leads to an enhanced ability for moisture retention.
Furthermore, unlike how a protein treatment would, this ingredient does not create a film around the hair. Rather, the formula is such that the hair only takes whatever it needs from the Olaplex formula, and the rest is washed away when you rinse the hair. And in this way, you’re also avoiding the dreaded product buildup.
Which Olaplex is Best for Low Porosity Hair?
Now, without further ado, let’s jump right into using Olaplex for low porosity natural hair. The whole system is made up of 9 products, of which some are suitable for at-home use, and others must be applied strictly at a professional salon.
So which Olaplex products should you use? Here’s a rundown.
Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector
The first two products in the Olaplex system are only intended for salon use, so do not try to use them at home. However, Olaplex No.3 can be used in the comfort of your own home, no matter your natural hair type. One bottle is good for 4 uses.
People with low porosity hair should use Olaplex 3 once every 2 weeks. The product should be applied to wet hair from the roots to ends to ensure that the product can penetrate the hair shaft successfully.
Afterward, the longer you can leave the product on, the better, but it should remain on your head for at least 10 minutes.
Do you have low porosity hair that has undergone one too many protein treatments? If you’re feeling the pain of that product buildup, the No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo from Olaplex is nothing short of a gift.
This is especially true for those with curly hair and even works wonders on virgin hair by protecting it from potential damage.
This clarifying shampoo repairs your hair use and protects it from negative external influences (like chemical and sun damage) easily by fixing your hair’s broken bonds. Each use makes your hair feel shinier, healthier, and easier to manage.
Olaplex No.5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner
The creamy and rich No.5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner from Olaplex proves to make hair healthier and stronger, even if the hair is of low porosity. The conditioner is highly moisturizing and protects damaged hair better than most deep conditioning treatments. Be prepared to say goodbye to your split ends and frizz, too!
As we mentioned before, lightweight products are recommended for low porosity hair. If you’ve had a tough time finding a serum that does the job of hydrating and protecting your hair properly, the Olaplex No.6 Bond Smoother might be the answer to all your questions.
It not only enhances shine and moisture but keeps frizz to a minimum!
Applying hair oil is an important step in hydrating the hair. The water-soluble No.7 Bonding Oil from Olaplex does the trick easily. The incredibly lightweight formula is suitable for use on both wet and dry hair, and the longer you leave it on, the more effectively it will reseal the bonds in your hair.
Plus, not only does it dramatically reduce frizziness and flyaways, but it also protects the hair from heat damage up to 450 degrees.
How to Use Olaplex for Low Porosity Hair
The Olaplex Routine
- Step 1: Section your hair into 3 or 4 parts, depending on the thickness.
- Step 2: Dampen each section of hair individually.
- Step 3: Apply Olaplex No.3 all the way from the roots of your damp hair to their ends. Leave it on for as long as you like (10 mins minimum), but do not detangle your hair.
- Step 4: Wash out the treatment.
- Step 5: Shampoo your hair using Olaplex No.4. Depending on the thickness of your hair, it might be advisable to shampoo twice.
- Step 6: Next, apply the Olaplex No.5 conditioner. Apply the conditioner in sections for full penetration. We recommend using your fingers or a wide tooth comb to detangle your hair as you carry out this deep conditioning process.
- Step 7: Wash the conditioner out.
- Step 8 (optional): You might want to follow up with a leave-in conditioner before styling.
Taking Care of Low-Porosity Hair: A General Guide
The Olaplex system is undoubtedly a modern miracle for hair of all types. However, it is an intensive treatment and is suitable mainly for those who have highly damaged hair. Not to mention, it’s expensive too.
So before you invest in Olaplex, consider how to keep your low porosity hair healthy on its own.
Firstly, it’s important to limit the exposure of your hair to sulfates and alcohol, which can dry out the hair.
The opposite is also true: you should not subject your hair to heavy creams, butters, or oils. Rather than hydrating the hair, they may actually build up on the hair shaft and make it even more difficult for moisture to penetrate. Use something lighter, like argan oil.
And finally, when applying protein or bonding treatments, it’s also recommended to use steam or warm water (you might want to use something like a heated turban or hooded dryer). This helps soften the hair cuticle, thereby making it easier for products to permeate the hair’s cortex.
How to Do The Baggy Method for Low Porosity Hair
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Olaplex Protein or Moisture?
Some olaplex solutions may include tiny amounts of protein, but they are not considered protein treatments. Olaplex is a hair bond builder that works on a cellular level to rebuild the hair from within. The hair has millions of disulfide connections, and olaplex aids in their preservation and repair.
Hair treated with olaplex has shown to have better resistance and strength, as well as improved elasticity, shine, and manageability. Damage and breakage can be prevented in this manner. In addition, olaplex may benefit the hair follicles by giving essential nutrients for healthy hair growth.
Does Olaplex Fix Hair Porosity?
Yes, Olaplex can help to fix hair porosity problems, especially for people with highly porous hair. This is because Olaplex actually works to rebuild the hair from the inside out. By doing this, it helps to fill in any gaps or holes in the hair shaft, which can essentially ‘fix’ hair porosity.
This is a major ace in the pocket for high-porosity hair because it really helps to calm down the cuticle, providing the hair with some real repair instead of placing a Band-Aid on it. Christin Brown
Celebrity Hairstylist - The Strategist
Is Olaplex 8 Good for Low Porosity Hair?
Olaplex is an excellent treatment for low porosity hair. It helps to fill in the pores of the hair shaft, which makes it a better choice than protein-heavy treatments, which can actually make the problem worse by creating a build-up on the hair shaft. Olaplex also helps to rebuild damaged hair cells, which makes it a great choice for over-processed or color-treated hair.
Is Olaplex Shampoo and Conditioner Good for Low Porosity Hair?
Olaplex is good for low porosity hair. Low porosity hair often has difficulty retaining moisture in the cortex and cuticle, which can lead to a dry, straw-like texture. The shampoo and conditioner both contain humectants that will help to attract and bind moisture to the hair shaft, which will help to improve the overall hydration of the hair.
Is Olaplex Good for Low Porosity Hair?
The answer is a resounding yes. Olaplex No.3 is one of our most groundbreaking hair products, and this also applies to natural hair of any hair type.
The results are bound to surprise you, especially if your hair has undergone significant damage. From color damage to breakage, the Olaplex treatment works wonders in every way that counts.
References & Citations
- The structure and anatomy of the hair – Phillip Kingsley
- Olaplex – Scientific name: bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate.
Kayla is a self-proclaimed skincare and haircare junkie who loves testing out new products and writing about her experiences. Her bathroom shelves are always overflowing with beauty products. You name it - it's there.