Ingredients To Avoid For Low Porosity Hair

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Hair porosity is defined as the hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. The porosity of your hair also determines how well your hair care products are absorbed and how well they will work.

Understanding your hair porosity will determine which hair care products will be most beneficial to your hair.

Learning the ingredients to avoid for those with low porosity hair as well as the ingredients that work well for those with low porosity hair will help make your hair look better and be healthier.

Unlike hair with normal porosity, managing low-porosity hair comes with its own unique set of challenges. It’s important to understand how to care for it properly. In this article, we’ll go over ingredients to avoid for low porosity hair, and discuss how to care for it.


Knowing Your Hair Cuticle

The hair cuticle is the protective layer on the outside of the hair fiber. It’s made up of overlapping layers of flat, hard cells that cover the hair structure from root to tip, like little scales.

These cells are symmetrically aligned in straight hair fibers and a bit more haphazard in curlier strands.

This is a scanning electron microscope image of a hair strand. You can see the scaley layers:

hair strand scanning electron microscope
Hair Strand (Source: Wikiepedia)

The cuticle cells of low porosity hair are tightly packed together and lie flat, leaving no gaps for moisture to enter, whereas high porosity hair cuticle cells are much more open.

What Shampoo Ingredients Are Good For Low Porosity Hair?

Hair Shampoo

If your hair takes a long time to wet and dry and your hair products tend to stay on the surface of your hair rather than being absorbed, you most likely have low porosity hair.

It’s important to use products that support your hair’s porosity and moisture retention levels.

This will make sure the products you use work like they are supposed to, to give you healthier, stronger, and shinier hair.

For those with low porosity hair, establishing a hair care routine that focuses on intensely conditioning and nourishing products will improve your hair’s hydration and ability to more effectively retain that moisture.

When looking for hair care products for low porosity hair, choose lightweight formulas that contain emollients that can easily penetrate the cuticle.

Honey, glycerin, aloe vera, flaxseed gel, and panthenol (Vitamin B5) are helpful. They prevent buildup and residue from weighing down your hair.

Amino acids and other hair-healthy proteins will help encourage water retention while repairing any damage.

When you are washing and conditioning your hair, use cool to warm water, not hot water. Warm water helps to raise the cuticles as well as allows water and your hair products to move more freely.

Best Shampoo for Low Porosity Hair

Here are a few excellent shampoos for low porosity hair.

Be Care Love SuperFoods Frizz Control Shampoo & Conditioner Duo, Papaya, 12 Fl Oz (Pack of 2)
  • PAPAYA BUTTER: Fatty-acid rich to smooth...
  • FLAX SEED PROTEIN: Supports elasticity...
  • SHAMPOO: Frizz Control Shampoo combats...
  • Conditioner: Frizz Control Conditioner...

Be Care Love SuperFoods Frizz Control Shampoo & Conditioner are enriched with a blend of deeply hydrating papaya and shea butters, while flaxseed protein and vitamin B5 tame frizz, flyaways, and static, repairing and strengthening damaged hair.

Briogeo Superfoods Banana + Coconut Nourishing Shampoo, Replenish Dull, Dry Hair and Supports Healthy Hair and Scalp, Vegan, Phalate & Paraben-Free, 12.5 oz
  • WHO IT’S FOR: Those with dull,...
  • WHAT IT IS: A hydrating, juice-inspired,...
  • WHAT IT DOES: Great for dry, parched...
  • HIGHLIGHTED INGREDIENTS: Banana contains...
  • SAFE FOR: Color treated, keratin...

Briogeo’s Be Gentle Be Kind Banana + Coconut Nourishing Superfood Shampoo is sulfate-free. It contains fatty acid and vitamin E-enriched coconut to infuse low porosity hair with moisture without stripping away natural oils. It’s a great hydrating shampoo for low porosity hair.

Packed with antioxidants from the banana and acai, this shampoo protects hair from damage.

Maui Moisture Lightweight Hydration + Hibiscus Water Shampoo for Daily Moisture, No Sulfates, 13 fl oz
  • REFRESH & NOURISH: Quench parched hair...
  • PURE COCONUT WATER: We start with a...
  • TRY MAUI MOISTURE if you've used...

Maui Moisture Lightweight Hydration + Hibiscus Water Shampoo is intensely hydrating. It gently cleanses without stripping your hair of essential oils.

The combination of aloe vera and coconut water helps to tackle split ends, leaving you with healthy, shiny, hydrated hair.

Ingredients To Avoid For Low Porosity Hair

Now that you know what kinds of products you should be using for low porosity hair and why, let’s take a look at some of the ingredients to avoid for those with low porosity hair.

Heavy Oils and Butters

If you’re dealing with low porosity hair, you will want to stay away from heavy oils and heavy butters. These products sit on top of the hair and are very difficult to absorb.

Not only will they not provide you the benefits you were looking for (because they can’t absorb), you’ll end up with dull, limp, and lifeless hair because of the buildup.

Shampoos with Sulfate

Sulfate is a harsh, deep cleaning and degreasing agent that is found in a lot of shampoo as well as cleaning products.

Sure, it’ll get your hair super clean, but also strip away all the natural oils.

If you have low porosity hair, you need all the oil and moisture you can get.

Look for sulfate-free shampoos.

What Can You Not Do With Low Porosity Hair?


If you are unfamiliar with the term, it just means replacing your shampoo with a cleansing conditioner, i.e. a 2-in1.

These multi-products are more likely to cause build-up.

Shampooing before using a conditioner helps to open up the cuticle for better absorption of the conditioner. Use a separate shampoo and conditioner rather than a combined product.

Using leave-in conditioners too often

Leave-in conditioners can build up over time, especially if you are using them too often. They are frequently formulated with proteins that strengthen the hair cuticle.

A protein overload may result in your hair becoming stiff.

Skipping a deep conditioning treatment

If you have low porosity hair, you should be doing a deep conditioning treatment at least once a month.

To get the most benefit from your conditioning treatment, apply to clean, damp hair and use mild heat to make the treatment more effective.

How Often To Wash Low Porosity Hair

Many of us are used to washing our hair daily or every few days, but those with low porosity hair don’t need to go through that much shampoo!

Start by washing your low porosity hair once per week and see how it reacts. You can even stretch it out to once every two weeks depending on the status of your hair.

Instead of following a schedule, learn to listen to your hair. When you notice build-up, scalp itch, excess oils, lackluster curls, etc., it’s time to grab the shampoo.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).