A few years ago, I was surprised to learn that coconut oil doesn’t work for everyone. This was when I learned that different types of oils work for different types of hair porosity. Since my hair strands are not really porous, I quickly familiarized myself with some of the light oils for low porosity hair that I should have been using.
What are light oils?
Light hair oils are the oils that don’t weigh your hair down and are absorbed very easily.
Oils are essential because they help fortify, seal cuticles, reduce frizz and make your hair better and healthier.
It’s important to determine the nature of the hair that oils are used on if the oils are to work as expected.
Your hair type determines how effective – or detrimental – the oils you use on your hair can be.
Why does hair porosity matter?
One of the crucial things that we all need to know is our hair porosity.
Your hair can be of low, normal or high porosity. This means your hair can absorb (and retain) moisture slowly, regularly or fast.
Knowing this can help determine the kind of hair products we should be using, and how exactly to use them.
The easiest test to determine your hair porosity is to take a few clean strands of your hair and put them in a glass of water.
If the strands float and don’t sink after several minutes, then your hair is of low porosity.
If the strands sink almost immediately, you have a high porosity kind of hair.
Finally, if the strands are somewhere in between – not floating and not completely sinking – it means you have hair with normal porosity.
Having low porosity hair means that your mane doesn’t easily absorb liquids, compared to people with high or normal porosity hair.
This happens because the cuticles of your hair are very tight and don’t allow for easy absorption of moisture.
Because of this, you need to use light-weighted oils on your hair. Light oils work for low porosity hair (unlike heavy-weighted oils) because they are easy to absorb.
Why heavy oils won’t work on low porosity hair
Oils like coconut oil, olive oil, and castor oil are not recommended for low porosity hair.
As opposed to light oils, these heavy oils are not fully absorbed by the hair.
They are not recommended for low porosity hair because they sit on the hair.
Some people end up complaining about their hair getting really flaky after using coconut oil.
Extra virgin coconut oil is solid at room temperature. Because it just can’t penetrate through the cuticles, it sits on the scalp and solidifies. This might lead to the formation of a flaky substance.
When the oil is not absorbed by the hair, it is detrimental to hair growth. This is why using light oils is the best option if you have low porosity hair.
Light oils for low porosity hair
Sweet almond oil
There’s sweet almond oil and there’s a bitter almond oil too.
They’re derived from the almond tree which is referred to as the ‘king of nuts’ because of all the medicinal and cosmetic benefits that are derived from it.
Sweet almond oil is beneficial to low porosity hair because it has Vitamin A, Vitamin E, proteins, potassium and zinc.
Its chemical components include oleic acid, linoleic acid, stearic acid, and palmitic acid.
All these components help maintain the softness, suppleness, and radiance of your hair while also stimulating the growth of thicker, longer, and stronger hair.
The linoleic acid particularly helps to promote moisture retention in low porosity hair.
The stearic acid helps to condition the hair without giving it a heavy feel, which is exactly what your low porosity hair needs.
Sweet almond oil is excellent for the skin too, especially for anti-aging effects.
Recommended sweet almond oil brands
Grapeseed oil, like the name suggests, is derived from the pressed seeds of grapes.
This oil is probably one of the lightest oils that exist. It is excellent for oily scalps and thin hair because it helps to seal in moisture without weighing down the hair.
Grapeseed oil is used as a strengthener and can also be used as a heat protectant when using heat styling appliances such as flat irons and curling wands.
For people who are sensitive to odors, this oil is a great pick because it is odorless.
Because it contains Vitamin E, linoleic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic fatty acid, it is great for the skin.
It is easily absorbed by the skin.
Recommended grapeseed oil brands
This oil originates from Morocco and comes from the seed of the Argan tree.
Argan oil can be used for practically anything you need an oil to do for your hair.
It can be used as a deep conditioner, hair mask, styling product, scalp treatment, heat protectant and a whole lot more.
This is possible because of its high level of minerals, vitamins, and anti-oxidants.
It is very important in combating frizz (particularly during the warmer months) and moisturizing hair without weighing the hair down.
Argan oil is really popular for its neutralizing and UV-protector effects on hair because of its Vitamin E.
It is useful as a skin moisturizer, anti-aging product, lip moisturizer, as well as protection from stretch marks.
Although it is a useful kitchen oil too, it is not advisable to use the same oil you use on your hair in the kitchen. You should use the culinary argan oil instead.
Recommended argan oil brands
This is a largely scented oil that is pressed from pomegranate fruits.
In fact, only a little quantity is usually required to get its benefits because of its high concentration level.
One of the most outstanding benefits of pomegranate seed oil, when used on hair, is that it stimulates blood flow.
Because of its large concentration of punicic acid, vitamin C, linoleic acid, flavonoids, and oleic acid, it helps in the overall growth of your hair.
This oil prevents hair loss, reduces dandruff and is also said to help strengthen hair follicles (this is because pomegranate oil helps improves blood flow to the scalp as mentioned above).
It is a medium-penetrative oil that is light and absorbable for hair with low porosity.
Pomegranate oil has a lot of beauty and health benefits and is believed to originate from Asia.
It is very common to find this oil in moisturizers, shampoos, soaps and other cosmetic products.
It is also useful for dealing with premature aging, muscle aches and inflammation, and weight loss.
Recommended pomegranate oil brands
Baobab oil is one of the oils that have their roots in Africa and because of this, it remains one of the most used oils in the continent. It is gotten from the seeds of the Adansonia tree.
It contains a lot of vitamins such as Vitamin A, C, D, E and F which are of great benefit to dry and brittle hair.
Baobab oil also has a soothing effect on an itchy and dry scalp.
Its oleic acid and saturated fats help improve hair softness and moisture penetration which makes it a perfect choice for low porosity hair.
It is also good if you want some extra gloss and shine to your hair. Baobab oil not only gives elasticity to your hair, but it also does the same to your skin too.
Recommended baobab oil brands
Apricot kernel oil
At this point, we can all agree that all good hair oils contain some necessary acids like oleic acid, to be able to work effectively for low porosity hair.
That is why apricot oil remains one of the best oils to use for hair with low porosity.
This oil is derived from apricot kernels that originated from Asia.
It is easily absorbed into the hair and hardly leaves any residue. The oil is also rich in other nutrients that help the hair retain its suppleness and softness.
Its lubrication is so gentle and it gets to every part of the hair.
The apricot kernel oil also includes therapeutic and culinary benefits.
It is probably more popular as a common massage cream ingredient, but the benefits it gives to the hair, especially low porosity hair, cannot be overlooked.
Recommended apricot kernel oil brands
Safflower seed oil
Safflower seed oil originates from Safflower (or Saffron flower) which was originally used as a dye plant.
It later went on to become an essential substance for builders, painters, and constructors.
With time, however, a lot of other benefits of this oil were discovered, one of which is how much it helps and improves hair growth.
This is primarily because it is light in its consistency and isn’t greasy, which is perfect for low porosity hair.
Safflower seed oil helps to reduce hair loss and is great in locking in moisture, largely as a result of the linoleic acid it contains.
In cases where it is used alongside other products, it acts as an effective emulsifier.
Just like pomegranate oil, safflower oil is also said to enhance blood flow to the scalp.
Recommended safflower seed oil brands
Sunflower seed oil
Sunflower is a popular plant, and so is the oil that comes from it. The oil is recognized because it helps hydrate hair, as well as fixing split ends.
It is an extremely light oil that easily penetrates through hair with low porosity because it doesn’t sit on it.
Sunflower oil conditions the hair to promote hair strength and luster. It is particularly great for hair that is beginning to thin, break or even go bald in some areas (because of the linoleic acid content).
This oil can help you to grow long, thick, strong and healthy hair.
Its high level of vitamins and other nutrients helps to fight bacteria that cause dry scalps. It, therefore, helps in improving the general health of your scalp.
Recommended sunflower seed oil brands
This oil originates from the seeds of the Jojoba plant that is mostly found in the North American continent.
Apart from the fact that it’s easily absorbable, one reason this oil is a favorite for a lot of hair oil users is that it is very similar to the natural oils found in the hair.
This makes it super safe to use with little or no side effects. It contains Vitamin E, erucic acid, gadoleic acid, and oleic acid. These have anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial properties.
For people with low porosity hair, jojoba oil is an excellent option.
It perfectly seals moisture in the hair and makes your hair shiny. It blends easily with other oils to give amazing results.
Jojoba oil stands as one of the most dependable oils for all hair types. Its magic isn’t restricted to hair alone, as it works perfectly for the skin especially in sunscreen products.
Recommended jojoba oil brands
Fractionated coconut oil
We have discussed above why virgin coconut oil cannot be recommended for people with low porosity hair.
However, there’s a kind of coconut oil that may not be entirely bad for this type of hair, after all.
That is the fractionated coconut oil. The fatty acids are removed from the virgin coconut oil through a process of hydrolysis and steam distillation.
This results in fractionated coconut oil which is an odorless and colorless oil that is liquid at room temperature because fatty acids have been removed.
This oil is usually more expensive than the regular coconut oil but is more beneficial to your low porosity hair.
This is not to say that virgin coconut oil is entirely bad, but for the best interest of your hair and its growth, fractionated coconut oil is best.
It helps reduce frizz and gives you all the benefits that you would normally get from using virgin coconut oil.
Only this time, your low porosity hair can absorb it well and it doesn’t sit on the surface of your hair.
Fractionated coconut can be used together with essential oils as a carrier oil since it’s very soluble.
Recommended fractionated coconut oil brands
Understanding the nature and texture of your hair is important in knowing the kinds of products to use.
Knowing the porosity of your hair will help you in knowing how to go about the general maintenance of your hair for the best results.
There are various ways you can ensure the optimal health of your low porosity hair. These include deep conditioning with heat, using light styling products, using honey as a humectant and applying light oils as we’ve discussed above.
Usually, people with normal to high hair porosity have the liberty of using pretty much any type of hair oil they desire.
However, the same cannot be said about people with low porosity hair. The kinds of oil you use on your hair have to be those that your tight cuticles can absorb.
Luckily, the above light oils for low porosity hair will work great for you. Use them appropriately and you’ll see a difference in your mane.