The 14 Best Products for Low Porosity Hair

Hydration, here we come.

Alicia Aylie wears a black V-neck / pink silk ruffled long sleeves blazer jacket, a gold chain necklace, on May 19, 2022 in Cannes, France.
(Image credit: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)

When shopping for your favorite shampoos and conditioners, leave-ins, and other haircare products, you have to consider a number of factors: hair type, hair thickness, curl pattern, and, of course hair porosity. But unlike thickness or curl level, hair porosity is invisible to the naked eye, and can therefore be difficult to understand or shop for. However, being aware of your hair's porosity level makes a huge difference in the products you shop for and how you use them. Low porosity hair, for instance, "has an outer layer that has a tight cuticle," according to Alicia Bailey, a licensed master cosmetologist and the CEO and Global Hair Education Director of Iman Yvonne Beauty. Thus, this hair type has a difficult time absorbing moisture—so it's important to use products that penetrate hair follicles without causing buildup that blocks growth.

"It is best to use lightweight products on the hair," agrees Bailey, who warns against overloading low porosity hair with too much protein or with thick, creamy butters that sit on the hair shaft.

But with so many hair products on the market that make such similar promises, how can one determine which products have the right consistency for use on low porosity hair? I had Bailey to break down everything there is to know about shopping for this hair type, from what to look for, to what to avoid, to which products she swears by.

What to Look For

"People with low-porosity hair should gravitate towards ingredients that are lightweight," Bailey tells us. "Water-based products that can easily penetrate the hair are great choices."

And when it comes to hair oils? "If the product has oil in it," she says, "look for lightweight oils like jojoba, babassu, black seed oil, argan or aloe vera. These oils all have a good comedogenic rating, which means they won’t clog the pores of the skin. Therefore, they are very lightweight for the hair and scalp." Options like olive oil and castor oil, on the other hand, may be too heavy for low porosity hair.

What to Avoid

There are also a number of ingredients that Bailey says low porosity hair owners should stay away from. 

"People with low porosity hair should avoid products that are high in protein," she says, explaining, "sometimes people with low porosity tend to be protein sensitive."

Because low porosity hair needs an environment that facilitates moisture absorption, she also advises, "Avoid heavy butters and creams which could just sit on top of the hair shaft and cause buildup. Additionally, avoiding silicones is wise because they create a barrier and sit on top of the hair making it difficult for the hair to absorb moisture."

The Best Products for Low Porosity Hair

The Best Shampoos for Low Porosity Hair

The Best Conditioners for Low Porosity Hair

The Best Styling Products for Low Porosity Hair

The Best Tools for Low Porosity Hair

Meet the Expert

Alicia Bailey
Alicia Bailey

Alicia Bailey is a licensed master cosmetologist and the CEO and Global Hair Education Director at Iman Yvonne Beauty with over 30 years of experience. She is also an author, life coach, and public speaker, and has owned salons such as Flawless Sessions Hair Salon in Georgia and Flawless Unisex Hair Salon in Hampton, Virginia. She has also worked as an educator for McBride Research Laboratories since 1999, and has worked with a number of women's magazines to promulgate education about black haircare. 

Gabrielle Ulubay
Beauty Writer

Gabrielle Ulubay is a Beauty Writer at Marie Claire. She has also written about sexual wellness, fashion, culture, and politics both at Marie Claire and for publications like The New York Times, Bustle, and HuffPost Personal. She has worked extensively in the e-commerce and sales spaces since 2020, including two years at Drizly, where she developed an expertise in finding the best, highest quality goods and experiences money can buy. As a film school graduate, she loves all things media and can be found making art when she's not busy writing.