My friend Elsie has been asked a lot about what she thinks is the best shampoo for high porosity hair. So she reached out to me because I’ve had high porosity hair for more than half my life.
For people, having healthy, damage-free hair is always the goal. But because hair is part of my identity, I still love to play around with heat styling every now and then or getting highlights to elevate my look when it’s getting boring.
I love how I can spice up my hair at home or in the salon, but it often results in dry, damaged hair because of how highly porous my hair becomes.
And though I try to repair it, I don’t always get it right.
While this usually works, sometimes all you need is a good shampoo to pamper and restore your hair’s health.
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What are the signs of high porosity hair?
Hair porosity affects how much moisture it can absorb.
If your hair is very porous and has gaps throughout the cuticles, it’s considered high porosity.
Rapid moisture absorption.. and loss
Think of high porosity like a sponge.
It has many holes throughout, so it soaks up water fast.
But because of the number of pores, water is easily released with one little squeeze.
In the same way, high porosity hair sucks up moisture when it can, but just as quickly releases it too, leaving the hair parched and dehydrated.
You can have high porosity hair if it runs in your family, but more often than not, the cause is hair damage from chemical treatments and excessive heat styling.
They cause your cuticles to lift, leaving gaps in between – and the results are never pretty.
High porosity hair is immensely dry both in appearance and how it feels when you touch it.
If you have high porosity, you have to keep reapplying moisturizers such as water or leave-in conditioner several times a day.
As mentioned above, overly porous hair tends to lose moisture as fast as it absorbs it.
As a result, this makes the hair dry out really quickly.
Easily susceptible to breakage
Because high porosity hair has trouble retaining moisture, it becomes dry and you’re left with stiff, brittle hair prone to breakage and snapping.
This kind of hair lacks elasticity and breaks easily each time you try to manipulate it.
Dull looking hair
High porosity hair loses its natural shine, leading to dull tresses that can’t hold a curl pattern.
Hair that lacks moisture tends to look rather dull.
I’m sure you know what I’m talking about – dry hair (that can break anytime) is really dull-looking.
If you have porous hair, you may end up with frizzy, tangly hair you don’t feel confident with.
If you touch overly porous hair, it can feel quite bumpy.
This is because the hair cuticles are raised.
How to fix high porosity hair
The upside is that high porosity hair absorbs products fast, so you can repair your hair if you use the right ones.
Because of the spaces in between high porosity hair’s cuticles, you’ll need to find a way to fortify the hair shaft and fill in the gaps so it can hold moisture better.
Proteins will be your best friend for this.
Proteins can temporarily seal your hair shaft to help your hair hold moisture properly.
It pretty much restructures your cuticle by coating the strand and filling in the gaps so it can be “whole” again.
And because high porosity hair is often dry, you need deeply nourishing ingredients.
Coconut oil and shea butter are terrific because they have penetrative properties to moisturize the hair intensely and are heavy enough to lock in all that goodness.
Best shampoo for high porosity hair
When looking for the best shampoo for high porosity hair, look for ingredients with strengthening and nourishing properties.
The cleanser should be able to fortify your mane.
Here are the best ones to help renew and revitalize highly porous hair:
Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo
It’s impossible to discuss high porosity hair without mentioning the Olapex line of products.
High porosity hair craves formulations that can help with repair and healing.
This Olaplex shampoo helps to repair hair damaged by color, bleach, and heat.
It also comes in handy when dealing with frizzy hair and split ends.
The shampoo re-links broken bonds and makes the hair much easier to manage.
It’s a unique formulation that not only repairs the affected strands of the hair, but also helps bonds remain intact.
When you use it often, you’ll see changes in your hair’s strength.
The shampoo is safe to use even on color-treated hair.
For the best results, follow this shampoo with the Olaplex No. 5 Maintenance Conditioner.
- Strengthens the hair by repairing broken bonds
- It leaves the hair looking shiny
- Safe for color-treated hair
- Reduces hair breakage
- Ideal for all hair types
- Gets rid of frizz and flyaways
- Deals with split ends
- A little goes a long way
- Has a light scent
- Can leave the hair feeling greasy if a lot of product is used
Phyto Phytoelixir Intense Nutrition Shampoo
Phyto believes in harnessing the power of botanical ingredients to transform your hair from damaged to silky smooth and strong.
This vegan shampoo provides the nourishment and nutrition your high porosity hair needs to be quenched of thirst.
It’s a gentle foaming shampoo that cleans the hair without stripping it with any harsh ingredients.
In fact, it’s rich in oils and botanicals that intensively hydrate the hair.
It has narcissus flower wax, macadamia oil, and coconut oil to nourish your dehydrated locks and bring them back to life.
This shampoo also replenishes your hair with the essential lipids it may have lost due to over-styling and excessive treatments.
It leaves the hair so supple and soft to the touch, improving elasticity while it’s at it.
In the end, you get a radiant shine from restored, rehydrated, and rejuvenated hair.
- A gentle foaming shampoo that doesn’t strip hair
- Nourishes with narcissus flower and macadamia oil
- Coconut oil also moisturizes deeply
- Replenishes the hair with its essential lipids
- Leaves the hair soft and supple
- Improves elasticity of the hair with its moisturizing ingredients
- Gives the hair a radiant, healthy shine
- The oils can leave the hair feeling greasy and weighed down
Malin + Goetz Gentle Hydrating Shampoo
It’s tricky when you have high porosity hair and an oily scalp.
On the one hand, you have to wash your hair more often.
And on the other, you have to be careful not to dry your hair out with harsh shampoos.
Sounds like you?
This gentle, hydrating shampoo by Malin + Goetz is the answer to your problems.
This shampoo has natural surfactants derived from coconut to clean your hair thoroughly but will never strip your scalp and hair of its natural oils, even if you wash it often.
It’s also infused with nutritious amino acids, panthenol, and plant extracts that stimulate and strengthen the hair.
These also help soften and condition the hair for easy detangling and manageability.
- Gentle on the hair and never strips it of oils
- Has coconut-derived surfactants that clean the hair
- Protects frequently washed hair from dehydration
- Amino acids, panthenol, and plant extracts strengthen the hair
- Softens and detangles the hair for easy manageability
- Free of sulfates, silicones, parabens, phthalates, and mineral oils
- It doesn’t lather fast
Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Invigorating Shampoo
When there’s a lot of tension on your scalp from chemical treatments and styling, you need to dial down on harsh shampoos and look for something a little more soothing, like this one by Giovanni.
This shampoo is made with tea tree oil, which has antibacterial properties that are great for gentle cleansing.
It also gives a tingly cooling sensation for added relaxation in the shower.
Tea tree is also known to alleviate symptoms of dandruff and improve circulation.
The formula is infused with gorgeous botanical oils from rosemary, sage, peppermint, chamomile, and more to clarify the hair, giving it a deep cleanse.
This combo gives your hair a natural shine and a fresh herbal scent that is sure to wake you up.
- Made with tea tree oil to soothe and stimulate the scalp
- Infused with organic oils and botanicals to clarify the hair
- Has a tingly cooling sensation in the shower
- Soothes itchiness and gets rid of flaky dandruff
- Has a fresh herbal scent
- Promotes better circulation
- Vegan formula safe for color-treated hair
- May strip the hair of moisture if you don’t follow up with a conditioner
Carol’s Daughter Coco Creme Curl Quenching Shampoo
For most high porosity curly girls, coconut oil is a dream come true.
It has deep penetrative properties that nourish the hair from the inside out, which is exactly what you want if your hair strands can’t absorb much moisture.
This shampoo designed for curly girls is infused with a powerhouse combo of coconut oil and coconut milk for maximum moisture with a glossy shine.
This rich, creamy formula softens the hair as it cleanses gently, so it’s perfect for extremely parched curls.
If you love light, sweet smells, you’re in for a treat.
The coconut fragrance in this is irresistible, and it’s not strong enough to cause headaches for those sensitive to smells.
- Made with coconut oil and milk for deep hydration
- Softens the hair sufficiently as it cleans
- Restores shine so your hair can look glossy again
- Has a rich, creamy texture to moisturize from the get-go
- Perfect for dehydrated curly hair
- Doesn’t contain any sulfates and parabens
- The fragrance is sweet but light
- Might make your hair stiff if you are sensitive to coconut oil
SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Shampoo
SheaMoisture is a go-to for incredible nourishing hair products, especially for coarse, textured hair that is naturally more lifted than straight or wavy hair.
High porosity hair will love the rich, moisturizing ingredients of this shampoo.
Plus, it has protein for extra strengthening too!
Shea butter and Jamaican black castor oil nourish the hair deeply while ACV cleans it thoroughly while adding a natural shine to it.
The shampoo removes all product build-up without stripping the hair of its natural oils.
It also contains rice and vegetable proteins to help fortify your locks, resulting in less breakage and hair fall.
It even promotes healthy hair growth so you can have strong and thick tresses.
So if you’re looking for the perfect balance of protein and moisture in your shampoo, this is something you’re bound to love.
- Shea butter and castor oil nourish the hair deeply
- Infused with peppermint oil for a cooling effect
- Removes product build-up in the hair without stripping it
- Has rice and vegetable proteins to strengthen hair
- Promotes hair growth that is strong and long
- Reduces hair breakage and shedding
- Apple cider vinegar gives it extra shine
- Can leave an oily residue on the hair
LivSo Moisturizing Shampoo
Dandruff is an annoying side effect of dehydrated high porosity hair, and it can be a hassle to deal with.
Your best bet to manage your scalp is by opting for a soothing, moisturizing shampoo like this one from LivSo.
While lemongrass extracts clean and refresh the hair, the rest of the ingredients reduce itching and inflammation caused by dandruff.
Glycolic acid even helps exfoliate dead skin off the scalp to get rid of flakiness.
It also has coconut oil and shea butter to moisturize the hair, leaving it soft and touchable.
Xylitol feeds the hair some protein too, transforming brittle strands into healthy and repaired tresses.
The overall result is hair that is lively, bouncy, and manageable.
- Reduces itching from dandruff
- Glycolic acid exfoliates the scalp to get rid of flakiness
- Refreshing lemongrass cleanses the hair
- Coconut oil and shea butter nourish dry hair
- Moisturizes the hair to make it more manageable
- Makes brittle hair feel strong again with xylitol
- Can leave the hair feeling a little greasy
Uncle Funky’s Daughter Squeaky Clarifying Cleanser
Here’s another option for a cooling and soothing shampoo that can eliminate dandruff and all its irritating symptoms.
Except for this time, this shampoo by Uncle Funky’s Daughter promotes long and strong hair growth too!
As its name suggests, this shampoo gives a deep and squeaky clean wash to your hair, so it’s excellent when you feel you have a lot of build-up.
Tea tree and menthol clarify the hair and soothe your dandruff-ridden scalp.
These invigorating, minty oils can also stimulate the hair follicles and foster an environment that promotes healthy hair growth.
There are also sea kelp and willow bark extracts to strengthen and fortify brittle hair, making it resilient again.
These ingredients make this shampoo the perfect go-to for protein-sensitive hair that needs some repair and reconstruction.
- Gives a deep cleanse when you need to get rid of build-up
- Tea tree and menthol refreshes and cleans your hair
- Eliminates dandruff and the itchiness that comes with it
- Minty oils promote healthy hair growth
- Sea kelp and willow bark strengthen brittle hair
- Perfect for protein-sensitive hair that needs repair
- Has a strong smell that may not be to everyone’s liking
Living Proof Restore Shampoo
Caring for high porosity hair means repairing the damage, but it also means protecting it from the elements to keep it damage-free afterward.
This shampoo by Living proof does both.
The Restore Shampoo reverses dryness and hair damage by strengthening the hair as it cleanses gently.
Instead of using harsh sulfates, this shampoo has amino acid-derived surfactants that wash your hair properly without stripping it of its natural oils.
It’s also formulated with Living proof’s patented Healthy Hair Molecule, which protects your hair from environmental stressors and repels dirt and oil, keeping hair fresh for longer.
Conditioning agents also help give it some shine back.
- Reverses dryness and damage in the hair cuticle
- Strengthens the hair to make it more resilient
- Formulated with the Healthy Hair Molecule
- Repels dirt and oil to keep hair fresh
- Mild amino acids clean the hair gently
- Has conditioning agents to make the hair shiny
- Contains no silicones, sulfates, and parabens
- It doesn’t have any key moisturizing ingredients
When it comes to high porosity hair, it’s all about balancing the things it needs – elasticity and hydration from moisture, and strength and repair from protein to seal in all the nourishment.
You can get these revitalizing ingredients in your everyday shampoo, so you don’t have to limit yourself to the traditional deep conditioners and intensive treatments to restore your high porosity hair.
If you’ve been looking for the best shampoo for high porosity hair, this review can give you a few options to consider.
Just pick one that’s simultaneously moisturizing and fortifying, and you’re well on your way to glossy, bouncy hair that’s full of life again.