Hair Routines & Growth

Ingredients To Avoid For Low Porosity Hair (+Best Hair Care Tips)


ingredients to avoid for low porosity hair

If you’ve ever bought hair care products because everyone is raving about them, but your hair just doesn’t seem to act the same way as others?

Well if you have low-porosity hair, the reason may be the harsh ingredients in those styling products.

I’m here to shed some light on the key ingredients you should avoid if you have low porosity or protein-sensitive hair.

These tips are also super helpful for anyone with curly hair.

This guide will also be helpful if you have protein-sensitive or curly hair. Let’s get started!

Related Post: Tips On How To Grow Your Low Porosity Natural Hair Fast

Avoid Sulfates For Low-Porosity Hair

What Are Sulfates?

Sulfates are powerful cleansing agents in many shampoos.

They usually have “sulfate” in their names and function as harsh detergents. They strip away dirt, product build-up, and even your natural oils.

Known for their strong cleansing properties, while they effectively remove dirt and product buildup, they can be too harsh, especially for low-porosity hair.

Why Avoid Sulfates?

For kinky low porosity curls, sulfates are too drying.

Low porosity hair types naturally struggle with moisture retention, and sulfates make it worse. When I face product build-up, I opt for a clarifying shampoo with gentle cleansing agents.

Pro Tip: Always look for a sulfate-free shampoo. It cleans your hair without stripping it of essential oils. Here are my favorite clarifying shampoos that are not harsh on low-porosity hair.

You Might Also Love: How to Make DIY Homemade Leave-In Conditioner

Avoid Silicones For Low-Porosity Hair

Silicones can be a bit tricky. They’re found in rinse-out and leave-in conditioner and can give your hair a smooth, shiny finish. However, the wrong type can cause product buildup and block moisture absorption.

Why Use Silicones?

Silicones are common in rinse-out and leave-in conditioners. They provide slip, making your hair smooth and silky.

Types of Silicones

  • Non-Water Soluble Silicones: These can sit on your hair, causing it to become dry and brittle because they block moisture absorption.
  • Water-Soluble Silicones: These are generally better as they wash out more easily and don’t cause as much product buildup.

The Problem With Silicones

Not all silicones are water-soluble as I mentioned above.

Those that aren’t can cause product build-up. They sit on your hair, blocking moisture absorption and making your hair dry and brittle.

When Are Silicones Okay

If your hair has good moisture retention, you might get away with using silicones.

They can act as a sealant, locking in moisture. However, remember that you might need to clarify your hair more often to prevent product buildup.

If you’re wondering how often to clarify your hair if you have low-porosity curls, read this blog post.

Heads Up: I avoid silicones in almost all my products, except for some deep conditioners.

Related Post: Why Does My Hair Feel Waxy & Sticky After Washing?

Beware of Mineral Oils, Waxes, and Petroleum

These ingredients also sit on your hair and don’t penetrate the shaft. They’re often found in various hair products but aren’t ideal for low porosity hair.

Why These Ingredients Are Harmful

Mineral oils, waxes, and petroleum are notorious for sitting on your hair shaft without penetrating it. For low porosity hair, this is a nightmare.

You need products that allow moisture to seep in, not block it.

  • Blocked Moisture Absorption: These ingredients can make it harder for your hair to absorb moisture.
  • Heavy & Greasy: They can leave a greasy residue and cause buildup.

Better Alternatives

Use natural oils like argan oil, jojoba oil, or sweet almond oil. They seal the moisture without causing product build-up.

Avoid Alcohol For Low-Porosity Hair

It’s crucial to avoid drying alcohol in your low porosity hair products. These can strip your hair of moisture, leaving it dry and brittle.

Alcohols to Avoid

Some alcohols are drying and should be avoided. These are usually short-chain alcohols.

Short-chain alcohols like ethanol and alcohol denat are particularly drying. Be sure to check ingredient lists carefully!

On the flip side, long-chain or fatty alcohols are beneficial and often found in conditioners.

These alcohols can be harsh and drying, which is particularly problematic for low-porosity hair that already struggles with moisture retention:

  1. Ethanol (Ethyl Alcohol)
  2. Alcohol Denat (Denatured Alcohol)
  3. Isopropyl Alcohol
  4. Propanol
  5. SD Alcohol 40

Good Alcohols

Contrary to popular belief, not all alcohols are bad for your hair. Some can actually be quite moisturizing.

Look for long-chain fatty alcohols like cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol. These are often found in conditioners and help to moisturize and soften your hair.

These alcohols are beneficial for low-porosity hair as they provide moisture and aid in the conditioning process:

  1. Cetyl Alcohol
  2. Stearyl Alcohol
  3. Cetearyl Alcohol (a combination of cetyl and stearyl alcohols)
  4. Behenyl Alcohol
  5. Lauryl Alcohol
  6. Myristyl Alcohol

Protein Sensitivity and Low Porosity Hair

For protein-sensitive hair, it’s all about balance. You need to incorporate protein treatments, but not too much protein, and in the right forms.

Understanding Protein Sensitivity

The worst of the low porosity hair struggles is often protein-sensitivity. Using large protein molecules can sit on your hair, causing product build-up, and brittleness and giving you dry hair.

Types of Proteins

  • Small Proteins: Silk amino acids and hydrolyzed wheat protein are great as they can penetrate the hair shaft.
  • Large Proteins: These can sit on the hair surface and cause buildup, leading to dryness and brittleness.

Opt for smaller proteins like silk amino acids or hydrolyzed wheat protein. These penetrate better and don’t cause as much build-up.

Note: Coconut oil acts like a protein treatment and may not work for everyone. My hair gets super stiff and brittle with it.

Protein Frequency

Monitor your hair’s response to protein treatments and adjust accordingly to avoid protein overload.

Related Post: Does Low Porosity Hair Need Protein?

Heavy Butters and Oils: Use Sparingly

ingredients to avoid for low porosity hair

Heavy butters (like shea butter and mango butter) and oils can cause product buildup and block moisture from penetrating your hair.

Light vs. Heavy Butters

  • Heavy Butters & Oils: These can be too much for low porosity hair and lead to a white residue.
  • Light Butters & Oils: Opt for medium or light butters and oils, and use them sparingly. Focus them on the ends of your hair where necessary.

Why Avoid Them?

Heavy butters and oils can lead to residue and product build-up. This makes it difficult for moisture to penetrate your hair.

When to Use Them

If you have long hair, focus heavier products on the ends. They are less likely to have as low porosity as the rest of your hair.

Related Post: Why Jojoba Oil Is The Best Hair Oil For Low Porosity Hair!

Avoid Acidic Products

Ingredients like apple cider vinegar and aloe vera have lower pH levels and can help close your hair curicle. However, this may not always be beneficial for low-porosity hair.

The Role of pH

Acidic products like apple cider vinegar and aloe vera juice lower your hair’s pH, closing the hair’s cuticle layer. This makes it harder for low-porosity hair to absorb moisture.

When to Use Them

  • Formulated Products: These ingredients can work well when mixed with other products that have a higher pH level. Avoid using them in their pure form.

How to Use Them

Mix these ingredients with others that have a higher pH to balance out the acidity. Avoid using them in their pure form.

Should You Be Using Flaxseed

ingredients to avoid for low porosity hair

Flaxseed gel is another ingredient that can be hit or miss for low-porosity hair.

It is one of the film-forming humectants, which can seal the hair cuticle and help with moisture retention, but also stop moisture absorption.

Potential Issues With Flaxseed

  • Protein Content: It contains protein, which can harden hair.
  • Product Buildup: Some people experience white flakes or residue after using flaxseed gel.
  • Stops Moisture Absorption: It can seal the hair cuticle and help with moisture retention, but also stop moisture absorption

Flaxseed gel hasn’t worked for my low porosity hair. It leaves a white cast and causes my hair to become hard.

Despite my mixed results, it’s worth trying for yourself. Everyone’s hair reacts differently.

Related Post: Natural Humectants Every Curly Girl Needs For Dry Hair

Henna For Low Porosity Hair

Henna isn’t exactly a protein, but it can strengthen your hair in a similar way that a protein treatment would.

How to Use Henna

  • Mixed with Conditioner: Some people find that mixing henna with conditioner makes it more tolerable for low porosity strands.
  • Pure Form: Using henna in its pure form can be too much protein for low hair porosity.

Plant Extracts

Some plant extracts like algae and soy can act like proteins and offer strengthening benefits.

Experiences with Plant Extracts

I’ve used hair care products with these extracts without any issues, but some people have experienced protein overload. More research is needed to understand their effects fully.

Tips for Using Low Porosity Hair Products

  • Be Cautious with Combinations: Avoid combining too many heavy products.
  • Focus on Ends: Apply heavier products to the ends of your hair, especially if it’s longer.
  • Opt for Lightweight Products: Lighter products are generally better for low porosity hair.

Understanding the right ingredients for low porosity hair is crucial for maintaining its health and moisture.

Avoiding harsh sulfates, non-soluble silicones, mineral oils, and drying alcohols can make a world of difference.

Hair Care Tips For Low-Porosity hair

Low porosity hair has tightly closed hair cuticles, making it challenging for moisture to enter the hair shaft.

This can hinder moisture absorption during washing and make styling more difficult. Here are some tips for low porosity hair care:

  • Use gentle, sulfate-free shampoos and lightweight conditioners to avoid stripping natural oils and prevent dryness.
  • Incorporate a clarifying shampoo monthly to eliminate product buildup and enhance moisture absorption.
  • Regularly deep condition with products containing non-film-forming humectants like glycerin or hyaluronic acid to hydrate and increase elasticity, make sure to use a shower cap to get the full effect.
  • Apply a heat protectant before styling to shield low-porosity hair from heat damage and keep your healthy hair.
  • Opt for lightweight formulas and light oils such as argan oil or jojoba oil to prevent weighing down the hair.
  • Use a lightweight leave-in conditioner to seal in moisture and protect against damage.
  • Sleep on a silk pillowcase to minimize friction and hair breakage.
  • Be patient and experiment with different low-porosity hair products and hair care routines to find the best hair care routine for your low-porosity hair.
  • Steam your hair to open the cuticles for better moisture absorption or use a heat cap.
  • Wet your hair before styling to prevent breakage (wet hair is easier to manage) and apply a heat protectant spray for thermal protection.
  • Air dry your hair to avoid hair breakage, or use a diffuser when blow-drying to distribute heat evenly.

Remember, every head of hair is unique, so finding what works best for the health of your hair might require some experimentation.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you found this guide helpful!

Until next time, stay fabulous!

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avoid these ingredients for healthy curls especially if you have low-porosity hair
curly hair ingredients to avoid if you have low-porosity hair
avoid these ingredients for healthy curls especially if you have low-porosity hair

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