Ingredients to Avoid for Low Porosity Hair: Expert Advice and Alternatives

Discover the key ingredients to steer clear of when caring for low porosity hair. Learn how to maintain healthy, vibrant locks by avoiding harmful substances.


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Welcome to our comprehensive guide on low porosity hair care! If you’re a woman with low porosity hair, you know that finding the right products, ingredients, and techniques to keep your locks healthy and vibrant can be a challenge, especially when you have to leave humectants out of your routine. In this article, we will explore the essential ingredients you should avoid when caring for low porosity hair. Our goal is to provide you with detailed insights, practical tips, and hands-on experiences to help you achieve your hair goals. Let’s dive in!

low porosity hair of a female

Understanding Low Porosity Hair

Before we delve into the ingredients to avoid, let’s take a moment to understand what low porosity hair means. Low porosity hair refers to hair with tightly closed cuticles, which makes it difficult for moisture to penetrate the strands. As a result, low porosity hair can appear dull, lackluster, and prone to product buildup from certain ingredients. However, armed with the right knowledge, you can transform your hair and unlock its true potential.

How to Treat Low Porosity Hair?

Low porosity hair has tightly closed cuticles. Which makes it difficult for moisture to penetrate the hair shaft. This can make it harder for water to saturate hair when it’s washed with certain ingredients. Moreover, it can also make hair more difficult to process and style. Here are some tips on how to treat low porosity hair with smart ingredients:

  • Use gentle shampoos and conditioners: Look for products that are sulfate-free and lightweight. Sulfates can strip the hair of its natural oils, which can make low porosity hair even drier.
  • Use a clarifying shampoo once a month: A clarifying shampoo can help to remove buildup of product and oil from the hair shaft. This can help to improve the absorption of moisture.
  • Deep condition regularly: Deep conditioning helps to hydrate the hair shaft and improve its elasticity. Look for deep conditioners that contain humectants, such as glycerin or hyaluronic acid.
  • Use heat protectant when styling your hair: Heat can damage low porosity hair, so it is important to use a heat protectant when styling your hair.
  • Avoid heavy oils: Heavy oils can weigh down low porosity hair and make it look greasy. Instead, use lightweight oils, such as argan oil or jojoba oil.
  • Use a silk pillowcase: A silk pillowcase can help to reduce friction and breakage.
  • Be patient: It may take some time to find a hair care routine that works for your low porosity hair. Be patient and experiment with different products and techniques until you find what works best for you.

Here are some additional tips for treating low porosity hair with the right ingredients:

  • Steam your hair: Steam can help to open the cuticles and allow moisture to penetrate the hair shaft. You can steam your hair using a handheld steamer or a shower cap.
  • Use a leave-in conditioner: A leave-in conditioner can help to seal in moisture and protect your hair from damage. Look for a leave-in conditioner that is lightweight and does not contain silicones.
  • Wet your hair before styling: Wetting your hair before styling will help to prevent breakage. You can also use a heat protectant spray to protect your hair from heat damage.
  • Air dry your hair: Air drying your hair will help to prevent breakage and damage. If you must use a blow dryer, use a diffuser attachment to help distribute the heat evenly.

Ingredients to Avoid for Low Porosity Hair

coconut oil for hair

Heavy Oils and Butters

Heavy oils and butters are not recommended for low porosity hair. Because heavy oils, butters, and ingredients can weigh down the hair, make it look greasy and cause buildup. Low porosity hair has tightly closed cuticles. On the other hand, heavy oils and butters, key ingredients for hair care, are high in saturated fat. Which can make them difficult for low porosity hair to absorb and penetrate the hair shaft. Some examples of heavy oils and butters that should be avoided for low porosity hair include:

  • Coconut oil
  • Castor oil
  • Olive oil
  • Shea butter
  • Cocoa butter

For low porosity hair, trichologist recommend to use lightweight oils and butters that will not weigh down your hair. Some examples of lightweight oils and butters that are safe for low porosity hair include:

  • Argan oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Sweet almond oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Grapeseed oil


Sulfates are a type of surfactant that is often used in hair care products to cleanse the hair and scalp. However, sulfates can be harsh on hair, especially for people with low porosity hair.

Low porosity hair has tightly closed cuticles, which makes it difficult for moisture to penetrate the hair shaft. Sulfates can strip away the natural oils that protect the hair, making it dry, brittle, and prone to breakage.

For low porosity hair, it is best to avoid shampoos and conditioners that contain sulfates. You can look for hair products that are sulfate-free and labeled as “gentle” or “moisturizing”. Here are some of the sulfates that you should avoid if you have low porosity hair:

There are many sulfate-free hair care products available on the market. You can find hair products at most drugstores and beauty retailers. When choosing a sulfate-free hair care product, look for one that is also moisturizing and gentle.

Here are some of the benefits of using sulfate-free hair care products for low porosity hair:

  • They will help to prevent your hair from becoming dry and brittle.
  • They will help to seal in moisture, keeping your hair hydrated.
  • They will help to protect your hair from damage.
  • They will be gentle on your scalp.

  • Alcohol: Alcohol-based hair products, such as hairsprays and gels, can be drying for low porosity hair. They evaporate quickly, leaving your strands even more dehydrated. Seek out alcohol-free alternatives or choose natural styling methods that minimize exposure to harsh chemicals. This will help maintain the moisture levels in your hair.
  • Protein Overload: While protein is essential for hair health, using excessive protein-rich products can lead to stiffness and breakage in low porosity hair. Find a balance by incorporating protein treatments sparingly or opting for products with a balanced protein-to-moisture ratio. This will help strengthen your hair without causing it to become brittle.
  • Silicones: Silicones can create a barrier on low porosity hair, preventing moisture from penetrating the strands effectively. Avoid products that contain ingredients like dimethicone or cyclomethicone. Instead, choose water-based or lightweight alternatives that allow your hair to breathe and retain moisture naturally.


Can I use any type of oil on low porosity hair?

While oils can be beneficial for low porosity hair, it’s important to choose lighter alternatives like argan oil or jojoba oil. Heavy oils such as coconut oil or olive oil can weigh down your hair and lead to buildup, making them less suitable for low porosity hair.

Are all sulfates harmful for low porosity hair?

Not all sulfates are created equal. Some sulfates, like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), can be harsh on hair and strip away natural oils, causing dryness. However, there are milder sulfates available, such as sodium lauryl sulfoacetate (SLSA) or ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS), which are gentler on low porosity hair. Look for sulfate-free or sulfate-alternative shampoos to maintain the health of your hair.

Is it necessary to avoid all alcohol-based products for low porosity hair?

It’s not necessary to avoid all alcohol-based products, but it’s important to be mindful of the type and concentration of alcohol used. Some alcohols, like fatty alcohols (e.g., cetyl alcohol or stearyl alcohol), can actually provide moisture and nourishment to low porosity hair. However, it’s best to steer clear of drying alcohols such as ethanol or isopropyl alcohol, which can lead to further dehydration.

How often should I use protein treatments on my low porosity hair?

Low porosity hair can benefit from protein treatments to strengthen the strands. However, excessive protein usage can lead to stiffness and breakage. It’s recommended to use protein treatments sparingly, approximately once every 4-6 weeks, or as needed based on your hair’s individual response. Regularly monitor your hair’s condition to determine the ideal frequency for your specific needs.

Can I use any hair products containing silicones on low porosity hair?

It’s generally advisable to avoid silicones in hair products for low porosity hair. Silicones can create a barrier on the hair shaft, inhibiting moisture from penetrating effectively. Look for water-based or lightweight hair alternatives that are free from silicones. If you do choose to use silicone-based products occasionally, it’s important to clarify your hair regularly to prevent buildup.


Caring for low porosity hair requires understanding the ingredients that can either hinder or enhance its health. By avoiding heavy oils and butters, sulfates, alcohol, excessive protein, and silicones, you can ensure that your hair receives the care it needs to thrive. Remember, each person’s hair is unique, so experimentation may be necessary to find the products and routines that work best for you.

In your journey to healthy, vibrant hair, always prioritize ingredients that promote hydration, protect against damage, and maintain the natural balance of your locks. Be patient, consistent, and open to trying new approaches. With the right knowledge and a tailored hair care routine, you’ll be well on your way to achieving the luscious, manageable hair you desire.


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