Conditioners are probably my favorite part of hair wash day. Yes, shampooing is satisfying when it gets all the sweat and gunk out of your scalp, but nothing beats the rewarding slip and slide of smooth hair during and after conditioning.
But if you have low porosity (and probably dry) hair, picking out a conditioner isn’t a walk in the park. You have to choose the right ingredients that will penetrate deep into your hair shaft and nourish it well. This is when you have to look for the best conditioner for low porosity hair.
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What are the benefits of using conditioners?
Regular rinse-out conditioner is one of the two most basic products for washing your hair, the other obviously being shampoo.
Conditioning is the part of wash day that softens your hair after making sure your scalp and roots are squeaky clean.
You could say it complements shampoo, which can potentially be too clarifying and strip your hair of its natural oils and moisture.
These ingredients also leave the hair looking healthy and shiny.
One of the most significant benefits of conditioners is easy detangling.
Many hair care enthusiasts have a mainstay comb in their shower, which they use to detangle knots in the hair once they have conditioner on.
The product provides a slip and smoothness to the hair that makes it super easy to glide bristles (and even fingers!) through.
Conditioners replenish the hair with the moisture it’s probably craving, but without the effort and lengthy prep time that weekly deep conditioning entails.
What are the characteristics of low porosity hair?
Low porosity hair is exactly what the name suggests – hair that is not so porous or doesn’t have “holes”.
Its most defining characteristic is that the cuticles in the hair shaft overlap, which means there isn’t any space for moisture to be absorbed.
Because of this, low porosity hair can often be pretty dry.
Since it has trouble absorbing and releasing moisture, low porosity hair takes forever to air-dry after a shower.
Another quirk is that products tend to just sit on top of it instead of being fully absorbed.
For example, intensely thick oils will probably sit on low porosity hair hours after they’re applied.
The strand test
There are a bunch of ways you can tell if you have low porosity hair.
One is by doing the hair strand test.
Take a strand of hair and drop it in a glass of water.
Do this right after shampooing your hair so that it’s in its purest form, with no product build-up.
If the strand just floats without sinking, you have low porosity hair that’s super closed up.
The spray test
Another way to tell your hair porosity is by doing a spray test.
Start with freshly-washed hair again.
Take a lock of hair and spray some water onto it.
If the water beads up and it takes a long while for the hair to be completely drenched in water, you probably have low porosity hair.
If you have this hair type, it’s important to look for products that can deeply penetrate tightly-closed cuticles to nourish the hair from within the shaft.
It’s usually light oils that do this, like argan, grapeseed, and sweet almond oils, or fractionated coconut oil.
Best conditioner for low porosity hair
Here are a couple of deeply nourishing and penetrative everyday conditioners.
They’re capable of giving low porosity hair much-needed moisture and luster regularly.
Ouidad Curl Immersion Low-Lather Coconut Cleansing Conditioner
Dry, low porosity hair will rejoice when you use this Ouidad cleansing conditioner because its star ingredient is coconut, which is known to deeply penetrate the hair cuticle and nourish it from the inside out.
It’s also infused with avocado oil and grapeseed oil.
These oils lock in moisture, so your hair can stay soft and smooth all day.
Because it’s ultra-hydrating, it adds definition to the hair, especially those with voluminous curls and kinks.
If you’re a curly girl following a no-shampoo routine, then this is terrific for you too!
This conditioner can be used as a co-wash (conditioner washing), and even has refreshing extracts from rosemary and sage to refresh the hair.
It has a sulfate-free and low-foaming formula, so you don’t have to worry about irritating your scalp.
- Made with rich coconut, which is penetrative and moisturizing
- Rosemary and sage refresh the hair
- Avocado and grapeseed oils lock in hydration
- Sulfate-free and low-foaming, so it’s super gentle
- Can be used as a co-wash for those avoiding shampoo
- Strengthens and defines kinky curls
- Doesn’t work for all hair types as a co-wash product
TGIN Triple Moisture Replenishing Conditioner
Product sitting on top of low porosity hair? Not on TGIN’s watch.
Their triple moisture conditioner is made with shea butter and argan oil, both of which are well-known for their ability to penetrate deep into low porosity hair and moisturize it well.
This conditioner also contains green tea extracts that promote good hair health overall and strengthen the cuticle.
It also has sweet almond oil, which smoothes down and tames frizzy flyaways and coarse, kinky hair.
Even with all these powerhouse ingredients for repair and moisture, the product still feels lightweight and won’t weigh down your hair.
What it doesn’t contain is parabens, sulfates, lanolin, and other potentially harsh ingredients.
- Contains shea butter and argan oil for deep nourishment
- Penetrates the tightly closed hair shaft to moisturize it
- Green tea extracts strengthen the hair
- Lightweight enough for everyday use
- Smoothes down even coarse and kinky hair
- Doesn’t contain parabens, sulfates, and lanolin
- Contains dimethicone, which can build up on hair
Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Conditioner
If you like exploring more obscure and exotic ingredients and ancient beauty secrets for your hair, this conditioner by Carol’s Daughter is perfect for you.
Monoi oil is an ancient Tahitian blend of gardenia extracts and coconut oil to make the hair flawlessly strong and smooth.
It also provides intense moisture that nourishes the hair, making it shiny, bouncy, and full of life.
This conditioner makes the hair healthy and resilient with bamboo water and pro-vitamin B5.
It even claims to decrease hair breakage by up to 92% in just one use!
It’s also formulated with curly hair in mind, whether for 2A wavy hair or 4C coils.
This conditioner has no parabens, petroleum, mineral oils, or dyes that can damage hair.
- Monoi oil softens and nourishes the hair
- Bamboo water strengthens and hydrates the hair
- Contains pro-vitamin B5 that fortifies the cuticle
- Prevents hair breakage after one use
- No parabens, petroleum, mineral oils, or dyes
- Suitable for wavy to very coily hair types
- Challenging to get product out of the bottle because the hole is too small
Curl Junkie Beauticurls Strengthening Hair Conditioner
If your low porosity hair seems bouncy and healthy as it is, it may just need some light moisture daily.
Steer clear of moisture overload with this strengthening hair conditioner by Curl Junkie.
This is a lightweight, coconut-scented conditioner that detangles frizz easily, to make sure your hair is tamed and easy to manage during styling.
It brings bounce and definition back to your curls without weighing them down, so you can flaunt them without fear of moisture overload.
The ingredients of this product are simple yet effective.
Panthenol lightly hydrates the hair, while olive and jojoba oils moisturize and seal all of it in.
Meanwhile, keratin amino acids strengthen and repair the hair, promoting outstanding hair health.
- Detangles frizz easily to make hair easier to style
- Olive and jojoba oils moisturize hair well
- Hydrates the hair lightly with panthenol
- Has good slip
- Keratin amino acids repair and strengthen the hair
- Brings definition and bounce to curls
- Comes in a pleasant coconut scent
- It doesn’t weigh down the hair
- Lightweight enough for everyday use
- Not nourishing enough for some thick hair types
Oyin Handmade Honey Hemp Conditioner
Looking for a conditioner that detangles like a dream and nourishes like nobody’s business?
This conditioner by Oyin has humectants, emollients, and proteins to do all of that and more!
It’s a rich and luxurious conditioner that really understands the science of moisturizing hair.
It has humectants like aloe vera and honey, which draw in hydration from the air and into the hair shaft.
Meanwhile, emollients like hemp seed oil seal in that moisture in the hair and adds softness.
A bonus is silk proteins that make the hair soft and smooth, but also fortify each strand to prevent the breakage of brittle hair.
There’s a sleek feel to this conditioner’s slip, and detangling is made ridiculously easy.
Finger combing has never been this effortless!
- Detangles hair easily for smooth combing
- Honey and aloe vera hydrate and add shine to hair
- Hemp seed oil nourishes hair and locks in moisture
- Contains silk to repair and fortify hair
- Provides rich and luxurious slip and moisture
- Excellent fit for curly and coily hair
- It has protein, so it may cause protein overload if used too often
Giovanni 50:50 Balanced Hydrating-Calming Conditioner
This Giovanni conditioner aims to find a balance between deep nourishment and soothing, and calming damaged hair cuticles.
If you have overprocessed or stressed-out hair, this is perfect for you.
It’s made with a unique blend of gorgeous oils – which includes sunflower oil – that moisturizes the hair intensely for that silky smoothness you crave.
The conditioner also has botanical extracts like lavender, chamomile, birch, mallow, thyme, and more.
These soothe and calm damaged hair, and help to restore it with vitamins and antioxidants too.
This conditioner is especially suitable for those with colored hair.
It works to lock in the pigment in your hair so you can flaunt your vibrant, vivacious, and bold color for longer while hydrating the hair adequately.
- Leaves hair soft and shiny
- Has a unique blend of organic oils that nourishes intensively
- Botanical extracts tame frizz for easy hair management
- Calms and restores over-processed hair
- Safe for color-treated hair and vegans
- It doesn’t weigh your hair down
- Locks in color and shine if you have dyed hair
- Doesn’t contain any parabens or sulfates
- It’s not very good for detangling some hair types
Living Proof Restore Conditioner
One fuss-free yet very nourishing conditioner for daily use is Living Proof’s Restore conditioner.
This is a rich conditioner that can give your dry hair softness and shine every day.
The conditioner is made with Living Proof’s patented “Healthy Hair” molecule.
This molecule strengthens the hair and protects it from any future damage or breakage.
It also has a unique amino acid-based surfactant, which cleanses the hair gently.
Because it’s so creamy and moisturizing, it’s terrific for detangling hair in the shower.
It makes the hair soft and more manageable – it can be styled easily.
The formula is also great at preventing dirt and oil from latching onto the hair.
This helps your hair feel fresh and clean for a long time after wash day.
- Nourishes dry and damaged hair
- Rejuvenates the hair with softness and shine
- Uses a patented molecule for healthier hair
- Amino acid surfactant cleanses hair
- Strengthens hair to protect it from future damage
- Repels dirt and oil to keep hair fresh and clean
- It’s not hypoallergenic
SheaMoisture Protein Free Conditioner for Curly Hair Baobab and Tea Tree Oils
More often than not, low porosity hair is protein-sensitive.
Using protein-rich products can lead to stiff, straw-like hair.
Luckily, SheaMoisture carries what may be your new go-to protein-free conditioner.
This conditioner contains tea tree oil and Baobab oil, which is made from an African superfruit rich in vitamins and antioxidants to strengthen your hair.
Spearmint and clary sage stimulate the scalp and roots, while shea butter moisturizes deeply and locks in the hydration from all the oils.
All the natural ingredients used to formulate this product are certified organic, so you know you’re getting the good stuff straight from Mother Nature.
- Made with fast-absorbing Baobab and tea tree oils
- Spearmint and clary sage stimulate and refresh the scalp
- Shea butter nourishes deeply for softer hair
- Natural ingredients are certified organic
- Has no protein, so it’s perfect for low porosity hair
- Doesn’t build up on the hair
- The minty scent can be pretty strong if you have a sensitive nose
Conditioning is easy and low-maintenance, but does wonders for the hair.
I’ll even go out on a limb here and say that it’s my non-negotiable part of wash day – the step I never skip so I don’t get stuck with frizzy, hard-to-manage hair.
If you have low porosity hair that regularly needs extra penetrative moisture, make sure you find a conditioner your hair will drink up, so it can be effortlessly lustrous and silky smooth.
I hope that if you’ve been looking for the best conditioner for low porosity hair, this review will help you to pick a product that will work well for you.