The Best Shampoo for Low Porosity Hair

Jun 20, 2020

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Having a proper clarifying shampoo for low porosity natural hair is a non-negotiable for low-po naturals.

Remember when all collectively cancelled shampoo from the natural hair community and we elected only to co-wash?

an image of Kenan Thompson saying "nasty", referring to shampoo for low porosity hair

While there are many benefits to co-washing natural hair in between wash days, this was a pretty silly trend in hindsight.

Why? Because natural hair gets dirty, just like other hair types.

And chronically dirty hair will lead to a wide array of issues such as breakage and scalp dermatitis. No ma’am!

Product buildup and dirt accumulation actually happens “faster” in low porosity natural hair than in high porosity hair. Shampoo is 100% critical to ensuring that low porosity hair is properly cleansed.

Not all shampoos are made the same though, so we’ll take a closer look on what you should look for in your shampoos as a low porosity natural to make sure your scalp is happy and clean.

Ready to get into the best shampoo for low porosity hair? Let’s go!

What is Low Natural Hair Porosity?

Natural hair porosity is one of the most important things you should know about your natural hair. While knowing your hair texture (Type 2-4) is also important, knowing your porosity will make (or break) your natural hair routine.


Natural Hair Porosity

Natural hair porosity is the ability of your hair to absorb water and/products. 

Low porosity natural hair has a low absorption rate, because the cuticles are stubbornly closed. It is difficult for this hair porosity to absorb moisture.

High porosity natural hair has a high absorption rate, because the cuticles are always open. It is difficult for this hair porosity to retain moisture.

Low porosity naturals have stubbornly flat cuticles. In a nutshell, since these cuticles are so tightly shut, both water and products have a difficult time entering into the hair shaft.

Natural hair porosity is like the gateway to product absorption. And since low-po hair has difficulty with absorption, products that you apply tend to sit atop the hair shaft.

Consequently, since all of the product aren’t absorbing into our hair, it stays on top of our hair, creating product buildup.

And if you didn’t know, product buildup is NOT our friend.

Sustained product buildup can result in breakage, shedding, follicle inflammation. And if we’re not careful, this can lead to permanent follicle damage and a decrease in hair growth!

a black man shampooing his hair_describing best shampoo for low porosity hair

This is why it’s so important to know the best shampoo for natural low porosity hair. If you aren’t clarifying properly using a clarifying shampoo for low porosity natural hair, you’re setting yourself up for the above issues.

And remember, our scalp is the birthplace of healthy natural hair growth.

Knowing the best shampoo and conditioner for low porosity natural hair ensures that you’re washing away all potential buildup regularly and you’re keeping your scalp clean and fresh for healthy new growth.

What To Look For In a Shampoo for Low Porosity Hair?

Contrary to popular belief, not all shampoos are made the same.

The best shampoo and conditioner for low porosity natural hair should meet the following conditions:

❤ Has to be deeply clarifying (shouldn’t contain sulfates but some naturals prefer them)

❤ Must have moisturizing ingredients to balance the drying cleansing agents (i.e. contains butters and oils for friction-reducing slip)

❤ Must have little to no protein (low porosity natural hair is prone to protein-overload)

These criteria may seem too niche, but there are some incredible shampoos for low porosity hair that clean your hair without drying your hair.

They’re not only considered some of the top clarifying shampoo for low porosity natural hair, but best of all, they’re super affordable and formulated with low porosity needs in mind! 

Here are the top 5 best shampoos for low porosity natural hair.

The Best Shampoos for Low Porosity Hair (2020)

Mielle Organics Babassu Conditioning Shampoo

Best for TYPE 4

This clarifying shampoo for low porosity natural hair is a GAME changer for low porosity naturals. It’s sulfate-free but lathers just like a regular, sulfate-containing shampoo, giving you that clean feeling without the over-stripping.

Cream of Nature Professional Argan Oil Moisture and Shine Shampoo

Best for all types

For a more affordable option, this shampoo does the trick. Also sulfate-free, this shampoo will not only clarify your natural hair but it won’t feel overly-stripping to the hair. Recommended for those looking to score a great shampoo on a budget!

TGIN Moisture-Rich Sulfate-Free Shampoo

Best for TYPE 3c – 4

Best suited for coilier textures, this shampoo will ensure no product is left behind. Best of all, most of the hydrating ingredients (such as amla oil extract and sugar cane), are right up front in the ingredient list, meaning your hair won’t feel stripped after using it.

Shea Moisture Bamboo Charcoal Deep Cleansing Shampoo

Best for all types

This is a great shampoo if you have low porosity natural hair, but also great if you have scalp issues such as flakiness, dryness/oiliness, or itchiness. It contains tea tree and willow bark extract, which will calm the scalp and assist with skin turnover, which is essential if dealing with any of the above scalp issues.

Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Moisture and Shine Shampoo

Best for TYPE 2 – 3b

If you’re looking for a shampoo and conditioner for low porosity natural hair, together in a set? Look no further. Its packed with amazing moisturizing and growth-boosting ingredients such as nettle, rosemary leaf extract, aloe vera, among others.​ This is a great deal when it comes to shampoo and conditioner for low porosity natural hair. 

How Often Should You Wash Low Porosity Natural Hair?

The question we often see amongst low porosity natural hair is: how often should you wash low porosity natural hair?

Our answer: it depends.

Low porosity naturals need to clarify their natural hair regularly – that’s a non-negotiable. But what constitutes as “regular” will depend on hair texture, density (how much hair you have), and lifestyles factors too (i.e. if you exercise frequently, have an oily scalp, etc).

As a general rule of thumb: Type 4 low porosity naturals naturals should shampoo their hair every week or biweekly. Type 4b and 4c may find that biweekly shampoo sessions (with a good co-wash in between) strikes the perfect balance.

Type 3 naturals and below should be shampooing at least weekly.

Remember: clean hair is healthy hair! There is nothing healthy about dirty hair. Using one of the above shampoo for low porosity hair will ensure that your low porosity natural hair is clean and build-up free. 

The Bottom Line

Low porosity natural hair can feel like an entire struggle. But to support your natural hair growth journey, you need to make it a habit of clarifying your low porosity natural hair.

There’s nothing worse than a dirty scalp, so make sure you’re using the above best shampoo and conditioner for low porosity natural hair.

The Curl Market is a natural hair blog catered to helping black naturals grow their curls into a long, luscious manes.

We use the latest evidence-based scientific research to provide you with the top tips on growing your curls, regardless of hair type.

We also provide lifestyle tips, both self care and mental care, to ensure you are optimizing your body’s natural hair growth cycle – because you can’t grow natural hair if you’re stressed out!

Come as you are.

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WRITTEN BY

Ayana Aden

Ayana is The Curl Market’s brand founder. When she’s not deep in natural hair research or creating content, she’s hanging on the couch with her husband and her cat, reading a book or scrolling through TikTok. Follow her on Instagram at @tothecurlmarket.

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