When shopping for the best hair products—from shampoos and conditioners to leave-ins and hair growth oils—it's best to know as much as possible about your hair type. In addition to obvious elements like hair texture, curl pattern, and level of thickness, it's also important to consider other, less visible qualities, such as hair porosity. And if you have high porosity hair, which absorbs water quickly but has trouble retaining moisture, then it's paramount that you shop for the right products so that your strands look as good as possible.
"High porosity hair appears frizzy, feels dry, is usually fragile and will break fairly easily," explains Alicia Bailey, who is a licensed master cosmetologist as well as the CEO and Global Hair Education Director of Iman Yvonne Beauty.
Because of how dry this hair type can look and feel, Bailey says that moisture is key when shopping for the best hair products for high porosity hair. Furthermore, it's important to avoid harsh ingredients that run the risk of causing more harm in the long-run to these fragile, thirsty strands.
Below, Bailey breaks down what to look for and avoid when shopping for the best high porosity hair products, and even recommends a few of her favorite options on the market.
What to Look For in High Porosity Hair Products
Anyone whose life has been changed by the right leave-in knows that when it comes to this hair type, hydration is key.
"People with high porosity hair should gravitate towards ingredients that help provide a moisture barrier or layer that aids in locking moisture in," agrees Bailey. "I like using the LOC method which involves using liquid or leave-in, oil, then cream." I, too, have used this method for my own high porosity hair and find that it makes all the difference.
What to Avoid
When it comes to haircare, knowing what to stay away from is almost as important as knowing what to look for.
"Avoid using anything with harsh ingredients," warns Bailey. "Products that could be drying to the hair should also be avoided."
More specifically, she recommends "avoiding products with high alcohol content." And when it comes to types of shampoos, she advises, "Do not use clarifying shampoos because they contain sulfates and may be too drying for the hair. Sulfate-free shampoos would be the best choice because they are gentle and provide moisture. They also help to preserve color. High-porosity hair will fade quickly even if it appears to absorb the color easily during the application."
Best Products for High Porosity Hair
- Best Shampoo for High Porosity Hair: Prose Custom Shampoo
- Best Conditioner for High Porosity Hair: Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector
- Best Leave-In for High Porosity Hair: SheaMoisture Ultra-Healing All-Over Hydration 100% Raw Shea Butter
- Best Styling Product for High Porosity Hair: Miss Jessie's Multicultural Curls
- Best Tool for High Porosity Hair: Jolie Skin Co. The Filtered Showerhead
The Best Shampoos for High Porosity Hair
Bailey says that she always recommends Olaplex’s products for those with high porosity hair, and swears by this shampoo in particular for damage repair. The popular formula is perfect for both heat-damaged and color-treated hair, and is also suitable for all hair types and levels of thickness. The formula promises to stave off split ends, tame flyaways and frizz, and mitigate dullness and dryness by utilizing a bond-repairing formula that smooths out frayed strands and damaged hair cuticles.
Pros: expert-approved; repairs damage; color-safe
Cons: some reviewers claimed it made hair drier
Customer Review: "My ends truly look better, my hair dries shiny with less frizz, and after suffering from hair loss, my hairline is coming in and my hair feels thicker." -Sephora
Malin + Goetz is one of my favorite skincare brands—its products never fail to hydrate my skin quickly and effectively, and they always smell delightful but not overwhelming. That’s why I’m not surprised that this sulfate-free shampoo, which is formulated with panthenol and marine algae extract, has gained popularity among customers with dry hair for its ability to rejuvenate dull, processed hair. Its formula also incorporates peppermint extract, which is known for its ability to fight scalp irritation.
Pros: editor-approved; conditioning; soothes scalp; nourishes dry hair; large container; gentle scent
Cons: none found
Customer Review: "I have fine hair, sensitive skin (Aveda makes my scalp itchy), oily scalp and processed hair. I love this shampoo. It makes my hair feel clean, does not irritate or induce eczema that I have at the base of my scalp, rinses clean and my hair is beautiful." -Nordstrom
This shampoo from Tracee Ellis Ross’ beloved haircare brand PATTERN Beauty is well known for its ability to repair the appearance of damaged, especially on curly and natural hair. Because it’s so hydrating, it also smooths out and prevents frizz—even on the most humid days. Best applied to thick hair, it contains natural ingredients like aloe vera leaf juice, honey, and coconut oil, enabling the formula to strike that perfect balance between banishing buildup and providing lasting nourishment.
Pros: made with natural hair in mind; made with natural ingredients; color-safe; hydrating
Cons: not as suitable for straight and/or thin hair
Customer Review: "This shampoo is absolutely amazing! I have a mixture of 2C-3B waves and curls and my hair felt incredibly soft, smooth, and even detangled after using this product. I highly recommend." -Sephora
Trying Prose was a huge game changer in my haircare journey. The brand’s website allows you to customize all of your haircare products, including your shampoo, so that you can target issues like dryness, frizz, damage, and other characteristics of high porosity hair. You’re also able to select your scent of choice and to account for needs like color-safe formula, allergies, and the like, so you can ensure that your selection is the perfect fit for you.
Pros: customizable; editor-approved; free of alcohol, sulfates, parabens, and phthalates; cruelty-free
Cons: none found
Best Conditioners for High Porosity Hair
Although the only way to eradicate split ends is to get your hair trimmed regularly, you can avoid them by keeping your strands as thoroughly hydrated as possible. This option from Olaplex, which Bailey recommends specifically, is perfect for during so. You can run it through your high porosity hair around one to three times per week, depending on your hair wash schedule, and letting it sit for a few minutes before finally washing it out.
Pros: volumizing; clean; color-safe; prevents damage; expert-approved
Cons: contains some alcohol
Customer Review: "I love Olaplex No. 3. One of my MUST-HAVE hair products. I absolutely swear by it. My hairdresser recommended it and we always do it after bleaching my hair platinum blonde. It brings my natural curls back!" -Sephora
I use this conditioner for my high porosity hair, and it works wonders in reducing frizz and making my hair feel soft and smooth. Infused with hair-strengthening keratin, it also contains saw palmetto, coconut oil, and marula oil, which go a long way nourishing hair from the inside out so that it detangles more easily and breaks less frequently. And unlike other thick conditioners that leave buildup on the hair and scalp, this option supports scalp health (and therefore hair growth) with ingredients like peppermint oil and Vitamin B5.
Pros: editor-approved; supports healthy hair growth; supports scalp health; softening; contains natural ingredients
Cons: strong scent
Customer Review: "I was also experiencing heavy, dull, brittle hair and it always needed a lot of oil and stuff to give it a shine to "make" it look healthy. My scalp was at times very itchy and would even burn... The first time I used Hair La Vie shampoo followed by the conditioner, I noticed such a relief on my scalp. The burning sensation was gone, and stayed gone! Also, my scalp is no longer itchy. I can easily go a week or longer without washing my hair. My hair is at its happiest and best looking when I wash it only once a week. My hair does not look oily and does not even feel heavy at all after washing. Even when wet, it is super easy to comb! And it still feels very soft and clean when it is almost due to be washed. The smell is great! Very energizing." -Hair La Vie
This is a protein treatment rather than a traditional conditioner, but it goes a long way in treating and reducing breakage as well as in reinforcing the strength of strands made weak from color treating and/or heat. Every six weeks, simply apply the treatment evenly throughout strands, let sit (applying heat will make the treatment even more effective), and then rinse out after only two minutes. The result is stronger, less frizzy hair that will have your friends thinking you got a luxury salon treatment.
Pros: strengthening; long-lasting; repairs and prevents damage; visible, quick results
Cons: some users say the process is messy
Customer Review: "Saved my hair! I had stringy, gummy hair from a salon mishandling and over-bleaching my hair. I did a ton of research and stumbled upon this, and I'm so happy I did. I can actually run a comb through my hair now." -Walmart
While it’s necessary to invest in a high-quality hair conditioner for your average wash days, incorporating a hair mask into your routine once to twice a week (depending on your individual needs) goes a long way in improving the look and feel of your hair. In particular, this mask from Amika uses vitamin-rich jojoba oil as well as sea buckthorn, which is rife with fatty acid omega-7. Both enhance shine and soften hair no matter the hair type, thickness level, or curl pattern.
Pros: works on all hair types; contains natural ingredients; clean; vegan
Cons: strong scent
Customer Review: "I love this product! It brings my frizzy hair back to life when it’s dehydrated, and it works great for my curls. I mix it with a conditioner for curls and leave it in while I do the rest of my shower. You get lots in the container and it lasts a long time!!" -Sephora
Best Leave-Ins for High Porosity Hair
This leave-in from Briogeo is wildly popular, and with good reason. Its milky consistency strikes the perfect balance between thick and thin, conditioning hair without resulting in buildup. Its plant-based formula is based in rosehip oil, argan oil, and coconut, too, so you can rest assured that it’s thoroughly moisturizing your hair and keeping it free of frizz throughout the day. For best results, apply it to damp, clean hair, and comb to distribute evenly. It’s also great to use as a quick moisturizer and de-frizzer on a non-wash day when you’re in a pinch.
Pros: clean; gluten-free; frizz-fighting; shine-enhancing; cruelty-free
Cons: strong scent
Customer Review: "Really good stuff. I have high porosity hair so anything that's rich and helps with frizz is my best friend. This is really good for a leave-in. Helps with frizz and keeping my hair soft and bouncy for days after wash day." -Sephora
If your high porosity hair is as curly as mine, you may find yourself dealing with stubborn knots and tangles—especially if you’ve forgotten to sleep with your silk or satin bonnet. This product uses smoothing coconut oil to detangle knots and tangles whether hair is wet or dry. It simultaneously tames frizz and allows for easier styling, and its amino acids strengthen the hair cuticle so you experience less breakage during and after combing. Plus, it’s lightweight enough to be paired with other conditioning and styling products.
Pros: free of sulfates, parabens, and gluten; detangling; lightweight; minimizes breakage; vegan
Cons: contains silicones
Customer Review: "Absolutely love this detangling spray. My hairdresser recommended it to me and it’s absolutely amazing! I have thick and wavy hair and this tames down the frizz." -Dermstore
There’s a reason this Mielle hair and scalp oil has gone viral time and time again: It really is that good. I personally use it after I’ve washed my hair all over the top of my scalp, which is where all people naturally experience sparser hair growth compared to the back of the head. To distribute, I make multiple parts spaced an inch apart, from ear to ear, distributing the oil along each part line as I go. The formula fosters hair growth, decreases shedding, smells brilliant, and conditions hair beautifully.
Pros: editor-approved; award-winning; supports hair growth; cruelty-free; free of sulfates and parabens
Cons: dropper leaks a bit
Customer Review: "This hair oil fixes my split ends and makes my hair smooth and shiny. Great for detangling hair and preventing frizz." -Target