The Best Shampoo for Low Porosity Natural Hair

Jun 20, 2020

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Looking for the best shampoo and conditioner for low porosity natural hair? You’ve come to the right place 🙂

Although all natural hair needs shampoo in a proper natural hair routine, this is especially important for low porosity natural hair.

In other words: a clarifying shampoo for low porosity natural hair is a non-starter.

Why? Because low porosity natural hair is sensitive AF to product buildup. And if you have chronically dirty, built-up hair, say hello to dryness, breakage and unnecessary shedding.

Nobody got time for that.

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

What is 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.


In other words: if you don’t know your porosity, you won’t know how your hair will interact with your products.

Essentially, natural hair porosity is like the gateway to product absorption: if you’re low porosity, products don’t enter your hair because the cuticles are laid AF.

Why Is Natural Hair Porosity Important?

Knowing your natural hair porosity is important for two reasons, First and foremost, it will help you determine the most optical techniques in making your products work for you. 

But that’s not all porosity can do: it can also help inform your decisions on which ingredients you should look for, and which ones you should avoid.

For example, high porosity naturals generally love products with coconut oil. This is because coconut oil is great for penetrating into the hair strands, filling in all of the spaces in a high porosity hair fibre. 

On the other hand, low porosity natural hair doesn’t play well with coconut because low porosity cuticles are already flat – there are no spaces to fill!

Make sure you read up on your porosity above. For now, let’s dive deeper into low porosity natural hair.

What is Low Porosity Natural Hair?

Low porosity natural hair, as stated above, is when your hair cuticles are so flat, there are no spaces for water and products to enter into your strands.

This is a problem for many reasons.

Sebum, which is our hair’s natural moisturizer, cannot travel down the length of our hair strands to moisturize our hair. There is no straight path for the sebum to travel because of all the bends and kinks in our curls. 

So we need to manually add water and products to make up for that.

But if you’re low porosity… nothing’s getting in.

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!

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 your natural hair up for the above issues.

And scalp health is the birthplace of healthy natural hair growth, so we need to make sure we’re setting up our natural hair journey for success.

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 and Conditioner For Low Porosity Natural 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 properties in addition to the cleansing agents (in other words, not over-stripping)

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

The below shampoo and conditioner for low porosity natural hair are amazing because they meet the above criteria.

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 Natural 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 properties.

Not only that, but it contains highly moisturizing ingredients that will leave your hair feeling soft and supple, and that’s before conditioning! 

​This is our top recommendation for a clarifying shampoo for low porosity 4c natural hair.

It won’t overly strip your hair but it will ensure your scalp is clean, and your hair is primed for the next steps in your wash day routine.

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

Now, TGIN products are usually on the pricey side when compared to other natural hair products. But this shampoo is quite affordable, at around $14, and truly packs a punch! 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 will feel like butter 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

Looking for the best shampoo and conditioner for low porosity natural hair, together in a set? Look no further – Carol’s Daughter has got you covered (at an amazing price, I might add). This shampoo and conditioner for low porosity natural hair will 100% deliver in terms of clarifying low porosity natural hair Plus, its packed with amazing moisturizing and growth-boosting ingredients such as nettle, rosemary leaf extract, aloe vera, among others.​ This is the best deal when it comes to shampoo and conditioner for low porosity natural hair. We recommend!

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 9-14 days. 

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

Using the above shampoos will ensure that your low porosity natural hair is clean and build-up free. 

The Bottom Line

Low porosity natural hair can be an entire struggle. But to support your natural hair growth journey, you need to make it a habit to clarify 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!

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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 @ayanaaaden

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What's Your Curl Type?

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Learning your curl type is an important step in learning how to take care of your natural hair. It can help you understand what products will work best for you, how often to shampoo, how to style your natural hair, and other key information.

This quiz will give you the lowdown on exactly what your curl type is, so you'll never have to wonder again ♥

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