Do your strands get super dry right after washing and styling your hair? This might be a symptom of having low porosity hair. And while all hair types can experience some level of low porosity, it’s usually more common within the curly community. Thankfully, there are many ways to care for low porosity hair that will finally bring moisture back to your strands.
13 Products for Low Porosity Hair to Nourish Your Dry Strands
First, What Does It Mean to Have Low Porosity Hair?
To understand low porosity, you need to understand porosity in general. Porosity refers to your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. The level of porosity can determine how much water and other products are able to penetrate your hair and scalp. As Dr. Karen Kagha, a board-certified dermatologist based in California previously explained to us: “The hair cuticle plays a role in the porosity of the hair because it acts as a protective barrier to the hair shaft,” before adding that “the cuticle can be damaged by heat, over-manipulation or chemicals, thus altering the hair’s porosity.”
When it comes to low porosity hair, water and other substances have a harder time penetrating your hair. Your cuticles are tighter, so products tend to sit on top of your hair, which can lead to dryness, breakage and tangles. Note: If you need help figuring out your own hair porosity, the water test is your best bet.
To do this, simply grab a glass of water, gather a few strands and drop them into the water. Watch how your hair reacts to a little H2O. If it floats to the surface, you have low porosity hair; if it sinks, you have high porosity hair. And if it stays in the middle of the glass, you more than likely have medium to normal porosity.
What Are Some Ways to Care for Low Porosity Hair?
Don’ fret, folks. If you have low porosity hair, there are some tried-and-true solutions to bringing back moisture.
- Search for water-based products. It starts with using products that cleanse, strengthen and nourish your dry locks. Whether it’s a clarifying shampoo or a hydrating hair mask, look for fatty acids (like avocado) and humectants (like honey) in your haircare products. These nourishing ingredients help penetrate your cuticles and allow moisture to enter your hair. They’ll also add softness and shine, as well as improve elasticity.
- Avoid protein-based products. On the flip side, stay away from heavy formulas like heavy butters and oils (i.e, shea butter, coconut and castor oil), which can weigh down your locks and cause product build up. If you need to add a hair oil to the mix, look for lightweight formulas with ingredients like argan oil, vitamin E oil and grapeseed oil instead.
- Try deep conditioning. Invest in a hair mask and add some heat to your wash routine. After applying a mask, use a deep conditioning cap or try hair steaming. The latter method is known to lift the cuticle and make it easier to seal in moisture.
Now that you’re all caught up, here are 13 products for low porosity hair to shop now.
The Best Products for Low Porosity Hair At a Glance
- Best Scalp Scrub: Briogeo Scalp Revival Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo
- Best Shampoo and Conditioner Duo: SheaMoisture Low Porosity Shampoo and Conditioner Set
- Best Oil: Augustinus Bader Hair Oil
- Best Shampoo: PATTERN Cleansing Shampoo
- Best Conditioner: Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Conditioner
- Best Hair Mask: Bomba Curls Dominican Forbidden Hair Mask
- Best Leave-In Conditioner: Camille Rose Curl Love Moisture Milk
- Best Bonding Cream: Olaplex No. 6 Bond Smoother Reparative Styling Creme
- Best Hair Serum: BondiBoost Rapid Repair Serum
- Best Daily Moisturizer: TGIN Butter Cream Daily Moisturizer
- Best Collection: Sienna Naturals Issa Rae’s Wash Day Ritual Set
- Best Hair Tool: The Q-Redew Hair Steamer
- Best Heating Cap: Glow by Day Deep Conditioning Heat Cap
Best Scalp Scrub
1. Briogeo Scalp Revival Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo
- Why We Love It: Black-owned, natural ingredients, safe for color-treated hair
With over 1,500 5-star reviews, this scrub shampoo aims to exfoliate, cleanse and soothe your scalp. Naturalistas praise this product for its ability to clear up any product build up (courtesty of binochotan charcoal), while also moisturizing and soothing dry locks, thanks to the blend of coconut oil, tea tree oil and panthenol in the formula.
One reviewer adds, "This product is a game changer. My dandruff and itchy/flaky scalp is gone. I love that you only have to use it when needed, so I can see how it might last a while. Also a little bit goes a long way. It lathered very nicely. I have told so many people about this product since I have been using it. I don’t know how but it made my hair very smooth. One of my favorite things is that the ingredients are clean, so no silicones which is important to me because I have curly hair. So if you have dandruff or itchy/flaky scalp look no further!"
Best Shampoo and Conditioner Duo
2. SheaMoisture Low Porosity Shampoo and Conditioner Set
- Why We Love It: Sulfate-free, great for all hair types, tea tree scent
Looking to spruce up your shampoo and conditioner combo? SheaMoisture has you covered. This set is specifically designed for low porosity hair featuring nourishing ingredients like baobab and tea tree oil. The brand claims to soften strands, cleanse the scalp and overall improve the appearance of dry, brittle hair. You’ll also find shea butter, which helps to bring back moisture and reduce frizz after each wash.
"For forty years my hair felt like a riddle I couldn't crack: Not exactly thick, not exactly curly, so much of it but zero ability to hold a style, takes forever to dry...the list goes on. I started reading about low porosity hair, tried these products, and cannot believe the difference. Finally, conditioner that doesn't just make my hair slimy!," says one reviewer.
They continued with, "Ironically, my hair feels coarse after I use this product, but once I dry it, it's softer than ever before, without being greasy. The conditioner actually works best for me when I pair it with other brands, so I only use the shampoo occasionally. Definitely worth a shot!"
- Why We Love It: lightweight, non-greasy, reduces frizz, features the brand's legendary Trigger Factor Complex
When it comes to products for low porosity hair, remember that ingredients like argan oil, vitamin E oil and castor seed oil are good signs that the product will do the trick to lock in moisture and reduce frizz. Well, this Augustinus Bader must-have boasts a dream formula featuring all of the above, along with other nourishing botanicals like pomegranate, sunflower seed and baobab oils.
Not to mention, it's powered by the brand's patented Trigger Factor Complex, which aims to target all kinds of hair concerns, from split ends to shedding to dehydration. Thinking it sounds too good to be true? Prepare to be won over by one happy buyer: "I have tried many hair products, and the Augustinus Bader Hair Oil is a keeper. It imparts a lovely shine without weighing the hair down and works great on my silver hair."
Another reviewer adds that the 30-milliliter bottle should last you a long time because a few drops are all it takes to reawaken dry strands, so you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.
4. PATTERN Cleansing Shampoo
- Why We Love It: Black-owned, sustainable packing, cruelty-free
This cleansing shampoo will improve your wash day and many fans of PATTERN attest to that. "It's hands down my favorite shampoo. It prepares my hair to absorb hydrating shampoos and conditioners making them more effective. Each time that I use this product, I hesitate to add anything else to my hair afterward; that's how hydrating this shampoo feels. My low porosity coils are finally nurtured by a shampoo," says one fan.
It promises to remove product build up and revive your scalp. Crafted with matcha green tea, panthenol and aloe vera, it also helps strengthen strands and bring moisture back. According to the brand, this shampoo caters to curly, coily and tighter textures, as it offers a deep cleanse without stripping natural oils and encourages cuticles to open up for maximum moisture.
5. Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Conditioner
- Why We Love It: Oil-based, sulfate-free, natural ingredients
Conditioner is key for low porosity hair, and this Carol’s Daughter pick hits the spot. Reviewers can’t stop raving about the gentle formula that replenishes and repairs brittle strands: "With my natural hair and scarring alopecia, I've struggled to find a shampoo that would reduce breakage, moisturize, detangle and not irritate my scalp while maintaining my natural curls," explains one customer.
They add, "Well, I hit the jackpot. This monoi sulfate-free shampoo does just that. I was amazed. I would highly recommend this shampoo for anyone who has natural hair, thin hair or breakage issues."
Ingredients like monoi oil and bamboo water add and seal in moisture. The conditioner also has panthenol (aka pro-vitamin B5), which is known to reduce breakage and revive damaged locks.
Best Hair Mask
6. Bomba Curls Dominican Forbidden Hair Mask
- Why We Love It: Black/Latinx-owned, natural ingredients, safe for color-treated hair
It’s time to add this moisturizing hair mask to your routine. Featuring cinnamon, pistachio oil and cupuacu butter, this formula offers a deep condition and a boost of hydration to limp locks. The formula also aims to improve shine, restore elasticity and encourage healthy hair growth. The brand recommends leaving it on for 20 minutes (along with an optional heat element) for best results.
"I neglected my hair for a month and deep conditioned with this mask and after my curls were THRIVING!! I now use this mask every two weeks and I have definitely noticed a difference in my hair. My curls are juicer, softer, and it's growing," says one customer.
Best Leave-In Conditioner
7. Camille Rose Curl Love Moisture Milk
- Why We Love It: Black-owned, great styler, apply wet or dry
If moisture is in the name, we expect it to deliver a punch of hydration—and more than 2,000 5-star reviews prove that’s the case. "My hair seems to love this. I bought it because I couldn’t find a leave-in conditioner that my hair liked and someone on YouTube suggested using a milk," explains one buyer. "This keeps my hair moisturized for the entire week, and also makes my hair feel soft as opposed to hard when I go to wash it on wash day. It smells of banana pudding and cake batter which are two favorites of mine."
It’s formulated with rice milk, which has vitamins (aka A, D and B12) to nourish dry strands. You’ll also find macadamia seed oil that locks in moisture and helps reduce breakage. Plus, buyers can’t get enough of the hair milk’s easy slip, which makes the detangling process a whole lot easier.
Best Bonding Cream
8. Olaplex No. 6 Bond Smoother Reparative Styling Creme
- Why We Love It: Fan favorite, hydrating ingredients, good for frizz
This styling product aims to repair and nourish your strands through Olaplex’s proprietary bond building technology, which claims to strengthen and protect your hair against daily stressors (i.e, sun, pollution, etc.) and chemical treatments. The key ingredient—bis-aminopropyl diglycol diamleate—works to repair broken bonds, so you can have replenished, frizz-free hair.
"I live in Tampico, Mexico, which is the second most humid place on earth! I struggle a lot with frizz and dryness due to humidity, but this product (along with no. 7) has worked wonders while also strengthening my hair. Also, the new pump helps with portion control and to use all the product. I recommend it a lot for curly girlies!," adds one fan.
Best Hair Serum
9. BondiBoost Rapid Repair Serum
- Why We Love It: Good for color care, vegan, clean ingredients
Whether you’re using it after a wash or implementing it as a daily styling product, this hair serum offers the support your low porosity locks need. Customers say it helps repair ends, reduces frizz and seals in moisture. "I really liked the end result as the frizz and dryness levels really decreased for a couple days. I used this serum on the ends of my hair where I have chemically treated hair (bleached it 3 times) and it seems like it fused my split ends temporarily," explains one reviewer.
The formula includes macadamia and coconut oil to nourish and condition strands, as well as chamomile extract that further strengthens split ends and damaged areas.
Best Daily Moisturizer
10. TGIN Butter Cream Daily Moisturizer
- Why We Love It: Black-owned, great for twist outs, creamy texture
This daily moisturizer adds hydration back to dry areas like no other. Need more convincing? Look to the 4,000 5-star reviews on Amazon that say this cream is worth a shot. Fans praise its nourishing blend of cocoa and shea butter for locking in moisture, improving shine and reducing frizz. You’ll also find vitamin E oil, which encourages healthy hair growth and balances oil production on the scalp, according to Healthline.
"After the butter cream melted into my curls, I immediately saw a difference! My hair is short on the sides and I noticed that the cream was thick enough to "slick" down the edges and baby curls, but it wasn't heavy. My hair had a glow to it, like it was restored to a healthy shine instead of a dead, dry look. I showered without a cap, to let the steam settle in and to get my hair slightly damp. That is exactly what my hair needed to get my curls bouncing again! After dampening my hair, the stickiness I felt before faded and my curls softened. I am super excited about this product," share one buyer.
11. Sienna Naturals Issa Rae’s Wash Day Ritual Set
- Why We Love It: Celebrity brand, Black-owned, full set
When the beauty aisles are just too overwhelming, this set provides peace of mind. Sienna Naturals share Issa Rae’s (yes, the Issa) go-to wash day products, so you can live up that Hollywood lifestyle. The tightly curated collection includes a moisture-rich shampoo that cleanses and removes build-up without stripping or drying out your hair. There’s also a leave-in conditioner and a hair oil that soothe the scalp and nourish your strands. And let’s not forget the hair mask, which aims to strengthen strands, minimize breakage and better hydrate low porosity hair using aloe leaf juice, glycerin and baobab oil.
"Best investment ever. The whole line makes my hair soft and manageable. My hair has been starving for added moisture but this brand has given it the right balance. I even purchased the rest of the line," adds one fan.
Best Hair Tool
12. The Q-Redew Hair Steamer
- Why We Love It: 120 volts, multi-purpose technology, works across all hair types
Here’s your sign to get into the hair steaming game. This handheld tool claims to bring your natural curls back to life. Using the prongs on the handheld device, it’s designed to penetrate the cuticle and lock in moisture, while maintaining shine and softness. Aside from using it during your deep conditioning time, the hair steamer is a great tool after a wash. According the brand, it can dry, detangle and stretch natural hair to make it easier to create any hairstyle.
"I have thick, curly type 4 hair. It does help soften hair. My conditioner no longer sits on top of my hair. This helps it to soak completely into my hair. Both my daughter's hair and I are softer and more manageable. The reservoir for water is small but, the performance of the steamer is way worth it," adds one reviewer.
Best Heating Cap
13. Glow by Day Deep Conditioning Heat Cap
- Why We Love It: Editor-approved, Black-owned, cordless
If hair steaming isn’t your jam, a deep conditioning cap can do the trick, too. This heat cap delivers on lifting your cuticles and locking in some much-needed moisture to your natural hair. It’s crafted with microfiber cotton for a comfortable fit, as well as flaxseed-lined interior for heat retention. Place the cap in the microwave for one minute before placing it directly onto your head. According to the brand, it spreads heat evenly throughout your mane for up to 30 minutes.
Still not convinced? One of our fellow PureWow editors tested the heating cap and found that it really improved the condition of her 4C coils: "Because of this cap, my hair can easily reap the benefits of my deep conditioning treatments while I multitask. Plus, I don’t have to worry about fidgeting in a chair under intense heat every other month. For that, my curls and I are beyond grateful."
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