Choosing products for low porosity 4c hair should be an intentional process.
For 4c low porosity hair, having a solid arsenal of go-to products can be the difference between healthy hair and dry hair.
Generally speaking, the best hair products for 4c low porosity hair are:
- Clarifying, so the hair remains clean, but is gentle enough for 4c hair;
- Conditioning and mobile for gentle detangling of 4c coils;
- Formulated with delivery agent ingredients that assist with product penetration;
- Containing light-weight ingredients that do not coat the hair and block the hair from absorbing moisture
Let’s get into the best products for low porosity 4c hair.
What is Low Porosity Hair
Hair porosity is our hair’s ability to retain moisture.
In essence, it is the ability for our hair cuticles (which are much like the pores on our face) to open up and take in the water we are giving it.
There are, generally speaking, three types of hair porosity: low, medium, and high.
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.
As stated above, low porosity hair is when your cuticles are tight and flat.
The cuticles are so tightly shut that moisture and products have difficulty penetrating into through the cuticles and into the hair.
In other words, low porosity hair is dry AF with high product buildup potential.
What is 4c low porosity hair?
4c natural hair, the tightest of all the natural hair textures, has a s- pattern that is very tight and coily.
This pattern plays a large role in why 4c experiences issues with length retention because of dryness.
Remember: dryness = increasing breakage.
To have healthy, moisturized and growing low porosity 4c natural hair, it’s about working with your porosity and not against it.
And the products that you choose must align with your porosity type.
You don’t need a million products to achieve this. Having a few staple items that you use week to week consistently will get you better results than using a whole bunch of products that don’t work well together.
Best Products for Low Porosity 4c Hair
Shampoo is a non-negotiable for all hair types, but especially for low porosity 4c hair.
Low porosity hair struggles with buildup because the cuticles are flat and tight.
And buildup means that moisture cannot get through the layers of dirt.
Ultimately, this means perpetual dryness. So it’s that much more important to keep your hair clean.
For low porosity 4c hair, using a gentle shampoo that is highly moisturizing yet clarifying will give you the clean it needs for your products to truly work.
Redken All Soft Shampoo
Best for TYPE 3-4
This shampoo is a go-to for many licenced cosmetologists and stylists. It’s salon quality and highly moisturizing, yet it will clarify your hair thoroughly to give a silky press. Double cleanse your hair and scalp, smoothing your strands down as you go, for best results.
Camille Rose Sweet Ginger Cleansing Rinse
Best for TYPE 3 – 4
This shampoo is incredibly gentle and non-stripping, but contains enough surfactants to thoroughly cleanse your hair and remove buildup. Ginger root oil – the second ingredient in the formula – is antiseptic, boosting overall scalp health. A must have shampoo in any high porosity natural hair routine!
Mielle Pomegranate and Honey Shampoo
Best for type 4
This shampoo is one of the most moisturizing shampoos on the market. Key ingredients such as honey and panthenol reduce friction between hair strands, providing additional slip for detangling and does not overly strip the hair once rinsed. A must try for Type 4 naturals!
Conditioners are creamy, rich rinse-out products we apply to the hair after shampoo.
After we shampoo, our hair’s cuticles have been raised to remove the dirt and buildup. A good conditioner for natural hair that is well-formulated will smooth these cuticles right back down!
They contain cationic surfactants, film-forming humectants and fatty alcohols that also help prevent our hair from dehydration and dryness, especially after a shampoo.
For low porosity 4c hair, this step is critical to encourage malleability and flexibility.
Conditioners contain “wetting agents” that activate when wet, so always apply your conditioner on soaking wet hair in the shower.
The best time to detangle low porosity 4c hair is during this stage, using a natural hair-friendly brush that works with your coils, not against it.
Be sure your hair is also soaking wet with conditioner to reduce friction between your strands when you detangle. This will help keep breakage at bay!
Redken All Soft Conditioner
Best for TYPE 3-4
A little goes a long way with this salon-quality conditioner. It has a thick consistency that’s perfect to detangle dense, tangly curls and coils. It’s also pH balancing to help your cuticles lay flat. Natural hair professionals rave about this conditioner for good reason!
Aussie Moist Conditioner
Best for TYPE 3 – 4
A pocket-friendly, slippery conditioner that is perfect for tangle-prone coily hair. To save on conditioner, apply on wet hair in sections to fully mobilize the product. For Type 4 naturals, gently finger detangle, working from roots to tips. Rinse off with lukewarm water before deep conditioning.
Pattern Beauty Shower Brush
Best for TYPE 3-4
This shower brush was made for tightly textured coils. The bristles on this brush are sturdy to comb through even the thickest of heads, but is gentle enough to run through your coils like molasses. Use it during your conditioning stage with plenty of water for a smooth, stress-free detangle.
The best deep conditioners for 4c hair low porosity hair are slippery, contain moisturizing ingredients and do not include any film-creating ingredients that accelerate product buildup (think mineral oil or petroleum).
Look for honey, fatty alcohols, panthenol, and friction-reducing butters in your deep conditioners. The more moisturizing, the better!
TGIN Miracle Repairx Deep Conditioner
Best for TYPE 3-4
This mask is loaded with a healthy balance of conditioning ingredients that will soften your coils and keep dryness at bay. A great protein-free deep conditioner for boosting moisture in low porosity/protein-sensitive hair.
Camille Rose Algae Renew Deep Conditioner
Best for TYPE 3-4
A cult favourite deep conditioner, this treatment contains essential plant-based oils and butters loved by all naturals: manuka honey, mango butter and aloe vera, and also includes moisturizing ingredients such as hemp seed oil and blue-green algae. And it smells like mint chocolate chip!
Once you’ve clarified and conditioned your coils, it’s time to lock in all that luscious moisture.
Using water-based stylers is critical for low porosity 4c coils.
Water is nature’s true moisturizer, so ensure that your products are water-based, contain film-forming humectants, and are light-weight.
On damp, sectioned hair, section off your hair and apply a light amount of a lightweight leave-in conditioner. Keep applying water to make sure the leave-in is fully mobile and melts into the hair.
Follow this up with a styler of choice: gel for wash and go, and mousse for twist-outs/braid-outs. Again, keep adding water to each section to work the product into your hair.
TGIN Miracle Repairx Protective Leave-in Conditioner
Best for TYPE 3-4, low porosity
This light-weight formula is perfect for low porosity naturals looking for moisture without the product buildup. It adds definition while replenishing moisture to curls and coils, resulting in soft, supple and defined hair.
In many cases, the quality of your tools will impact how well styled your hair remains.
An issue with low porosity hair is that products sit atop the hair and doesn’t do its job.
Setting your styles with heat will help with this!
Using a hooded dryer or blow dryer (with diffuser attachment) will guarantee that the moisture is locked in and properly dried until your next wash day.
Using ambient heat when drying the hair, verses allowing it to air dry, will set your styles better and reduce breakage in the long-run.
Red By Kiss 1875 Watt Ceramic Professional Hood Dryer
Best for all naturals
Turn your home into a salon with this affordable bonnet hair dryer. You can either sit under the dryer while deep conditioning with a plastic cap, or allow your hair to dry after styling. Small enough to conserve space but powerful enough to get the job done.
Tips For Healthy Low Porosity 4c Hair
Minimal protein treatments
Our hair is made out of a protein called keratin, a heavily-bonded protein that keeps our curls bouncy and elastic.
Protein treatments not only work to keep our moisture-protein balance aligned, but they also fill in cracks and holes in the surface of our cuticle layer.
In other words: protein can decrease our porosity levels.
Remember: the cuticles of low porosity hair tends to lay flat. Too much protein will further lower our porosities and make product penetration even harder, so it should be used sparingly in low porosity hair to avoid protein overload.
Do a protein treatment monthly using a light to medium mask with small sized proteins such as amino acids and peptides, which are small enough to enter the cuticle and fortify your cortex and not cause any adverse impacts.
Olaplex No 3 Hair Perfector
Best for all naturals
Olaplex’s Hair Perfector No 3 Repairing Treatment has a patented agent that is chemically similar to the disulfide protein bonds in our hair. Using it monthly prior to your wash day as a pre-poo will replace broken bonds in your cuticles caused by sun damage, dyes/bleach, heat tools and manipulation.
How To Style Low Porosity 4c Hair
Twist outs for natural hair are amazing low manipulative styles for low porosity 4c hair that not only protective, but is super cute and stylish.
They should be considered low manipulative, flexible styles. These styles are super gentle on Type 4 low porosity coils and can assist with product absorption, since we are letting our hair sit in a style.
Just be sure to keep your parts neat and dry your hair with your dryer!
Doing a wash and go for Type 4 natural hair is also super possible as well. Contrary to popular belief, 4c coils can be properly managed in a wash and go.
Studies have concluded that some oils, such as coconut oil, have a high penetration ability, allowing it to fill in gaps and cracks in the cuticle layer.
This can reduce our porosity and decrease product penetrability and may be useful for high porosity naturals with “open” cuticles.
However, this is not a good thing for us low-po naturals! This can actually increase dryness in the long run.
In addition, although oils are jam-packed with various vitamins and fatty acids, oils contain no water.
And as we already concluded, low porosity hair needs a moisture-rich routine. Plus, they can be hard to wash out, causing buildup.
Prioritize water over oils when styling your natural hair. If you want to continue using oils, use them for a hot oil treatment before shampooing to ensure you’re still prioritizing clean, moisturized hair.
Use heat when deep conditioning
Remember: the cuticles of low porosity hair are very tight. If you find that your deep conditioners just sit on your hair rather than penetrating, heat or steam can loosen and lift the cuticle temporarily, allowing the deep conditioner to truly penetrate.
As steamers can be quite expensive, use a hot head steamer (they harness the heat capacity of flaxseeds) to lift your cuticles. You could also apply your deep conditioner in the shower and let the steam from the shower work its magic. Whatever works for you and your wallet!
Thermal Hot Head
Best for TYPE 4
This is a must have tool for natural hair, especially for low porosity naturals. Deep conditioning as a low porosity natural is virtually pointless if you’re not opening up your cuticles to let the product in. And this product will do just that! A much more effective deep conditioning strategy than the baggy method, and best of all: it’s much more affordable than a $100 steamer. You can’t beat that price point!
Be light-handed with products
As products tend to sit atop low porosity hair, use a light-hand when applying your products.
Apply products on damp hair to help your products mobilize, and if you need more, don’t be heavy handed!
Final Thoughts on the Best Products for Low Porosity 4c Hair
The bottom line is this: the best products for low porosity 4c hair are clarifying, moisturizing, conditioning and water-based to encourage ample moisture in notoriously dry low porosity coils.
By investing in a gentle and clarifying shampoo, rich conditioners and detanglers, water-based stylers and ambient heat tools, you’ll experience healthy low porosity coils in no time.