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9 Best Shampoos For High Porosity Hair

by Gabbi
Woman With Curly Hair

Hair porosity is one of the least talked-about qualities of hair, but it may be the most important when it comes to determining the best hair care routine for you.

Hair porosity refers to how easily the surface of your hair absorbs moisture. If your hair cuticles are not tightly bound, there are a lot of “gaps” in the structure of each hair shaft, which allows moisture to get sucked up quickly. However, this also means your hair loses moisture very easily, too.

What we are describing is high-porosity hair. It sucks up products easily but never seems to stay hydrated. It often looks dry, frizzy, and loses shape quickly. If this sounds like your hair, you might have high-porosity hair.

High porosity hair usually happens as a result of damage – heat styling, processing, UV exposure, coloring, and other harmful activities. In some cases, high porosity can be genetic. But 9 times out of 10 it’s environmental. This is good news because it means you can treat it!

Improving your hair’s porosity condition begins with shampoo. 

So what is the best shampoo for high-porosity hair? There are lots of great shampoos on the market that specifically target high porosity hair and provide it with what it needs: hydration that lasts and repairing ingredients.

In this article, we will discuss what to look for in a shampoo to see the best results for high porosity hair and introduce you to our favorite ones available to purchase online today!

Shampoo For High Porosity Hair – Buyer’s Guide

If you want to find a shampoo that targets and treats all the main concerns that come with high porosity hair, look for the following:

1. Moisturizing Ingredients

One of the biggest problems with highly porous hair is that it doesn’t retain moisture very easily. Due to how porous it is, water comes in and out, as if through a plastic bottle that has a bunch of holes poked in it.

So when it comes to shampoo, you want something that contains hydrating and humectant ingredients, particularly those that also stay within the hair shaft. Some examples are aloe vera, slippery elm, marshmallow root, plant butter, hyaluronic acid, and hydrolyzed silk.

2. Strengthening And Repairing

Because high porosity is associated with damage and broken bonds in the hair cuticle, another thing to look for when searching for a good shampoo is strengthening and repairing ingredients.

What makes hair so porous is that the cuticle molecules are raised and have gaps between them. One way to “close” the cuticle and smooth it out is by using products that contain repairing proteins. Examples include: keratin, collagen, soy protein, wheat protein, and hydrolyzed silk.

3. Gentle Ingredients

If your hair is porous, the last thing you want to do is use a shampoo with harsh soaps in it, which can damage and raise the hair cuticle further. It’s important to use a shampoo that is gentle on the hair.

For example, using harsh foaming and deep cleansing agents may not be a good idea for you if you have high porosity hair. Avoid ingredients like sulfates, opting instead to use sulfate-free shampoos that contain sodium lauryl sulfoacetate and sodium cocoyl glycinate.

4. Additives 

Pay attention to the unnecessary additives some shampoos contain. Your goal with shampoo should be hydration and repair, everything else is not that important, especially if it can potentially harm your hair. This means you could consider a fragrance-free shampoo since fragrance can be drying.

Instead, you could look for natural shampoos that contain essential oils instead of synthetic fragrances which are less damaging to the hair and still smell nice.

Other additives can be helpful, for example, silicones can help close your hair cuticle and lock some moisture in your hair, so don’t discount shampoos containing silicones – they might actually be great for you.

9 Best Shampoos For High Porosity Hair

We put together a list of the best shampoos for porous hair. All shampoos on this list are sulfate-free because the last thing you want to do when you have porous hair is to strip it further and cause more damage!

Aside from that, we searched for shampoos that feature the most hydrating and strengthening ingredients – so that the hair can absorb the moisture it needs while repairing the cuticle over time to reduce the level of porosity and result in much healthier locks. 

We ranked these shampoos based on customer reviews and features, but keep in mind that since everyone’s hair is different, what works for others might work differently for you.

Some of these shampoos might work better for your situation even if they are not ranked at the top simply because your hair may have specific needs. 

These are our top choices for the best shampoos that will hydrate and repair damaged and porous hair:

RankProductKey Features
1.Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance ShampooPatented bond-building ingredient repairs porous hair
2.Oribe Gold Lust Repair & Restore ShampooContains bio-restorative complex to repair hair
3.PHYTO Phytokératine Extrême Botanical Exceptional ShampooHydrating oils and keratin complex mimics natural keratin in hair
4.Living Proof Restore ShampooPatented restoring molecule fills gaps in porous hair
5.Moroccanoil Moisture Repair ShampooHydrating, great smell and shine
6.L’ANZA Keratin Healing Oil Lustrous ShampooBlend of very hydrating oils with keratin
7.SheaMoisture Strengthen and Restore ShampooNatural ingredients that are intensely hydrating and repairing
8.OUAI Fine ShampooMoisturizing and strengthening
9.Aveeno Blackberry Shampoo For Color-Treated HairColloidal oat protein hydrates and strengthens hair

1. Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo

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The Olaplex No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo is a great professional-level shampoo for high porosity hair.

It contains Olaplex’s patented bond-building ingredient: bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate, which repairs keratin bonds in the hair to smooth out and tighten the cuticle. This ingredient will literally make your hair less porous over time. 

In addition, this shampoo contains naturally hydrating ingredients such as olive oil and other rich plant extracts.

It is sulfate-free, so it won’t further damage the integrity of your hair shaft. And it contains some silicones which help seal your hair cuticle and keep all the moisture inside. 

Overall, this is one of the most powerful shampoos for high porosity hair that features unique ingredients specifically targeting the structure of your hair cuticle that you won’t find anywhere else. 

Many reviewers notice a difference after just one wash. They love that this shampoo makes their hair feel smooth and soft and have also noticed that it looks plumper and more hydrated. 

2. Oribe Gold Lust Repair & Restore Shampoo

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Aside from its luxurious bottle, this Oribe Gold Lust Repair and Restore shampoo packs powerful ingredients that are rejuvenating for high porosity hair.

It has great hydrating ingredients that penetrate the hair shaft and retain moisture within it. The shampoo features argan oil and Mediterranean cypress extract both of which are intensely hydrating. 

It has some great cuticle-repairing ingredients too, featuring a bio-restorative complex that contains biotin, plant collagen, amino acids, and niacinamide. 

The formula is gentle enough to use on highly porous hair, although it does contain some synthetic fragrances which we could go without. Thankfully, it doesn’t include any sulfates, parabens, or other harsh ingredients. 

Reviewers say it’s a godsend – this shampoo helps return their hair to a “silky virgin smoothness” that they haven’t experienced in years. We agree that this formula can undo a whole lot of damage.

If your high porosity is a result of many years of heat styling, coloring, and processing, this shampoo might be your holy grail.

3. PHYTO Phytokératine Extrême Botanical Exceptional Shampoo

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This french-made shampoo is perfect for high porosity hair because it delivers scientifically-backed hydration and keratin repair, simultaneously nourishing, hydrating, and repairing the hair shaft. 

It features powerful ingredients like baobab oil, sapote butter (which has twice as much omega-6 fatty acid as shea butter), and Paeonia flower extract for extra hydration. 

In addition to intense hydration, this shampoo also has strengthening ingredients including a unique keratin complex that mimics the natural keratin found in your hair to mend the damage by filling the gaps in the cortex of your strands. 

Most reviewers noted that their hair was more supple, smooth, and silky after using this product consistently. We recommend using the whole line which includes a conditioner and a hair mask – using them together seems to deliver the best results!

Like all the others on our favorites list, this shampoo is gentle and sulfate-free, so it won’t open up your cuticle or inflict any additional damage. 

4. Living Proof Restore Shampoo

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Living Proof Restore shampoo is known for its patented ingredient dubbed the “Healthy Hair Molecule” – Octafluoropentyl Methacrylate.

This molecule has binding properties that repair the structure of the hair cuticles, similar to the patented ingredient in Olaplex that repairs hair bonds.

Although it works slightly differently, its main purpose in shampoo is to fill out the gaps within the hair cuticles, essentially closing up the “pores” in highly-porous damaged hair.

In addition to this secret ingredient, the Living Proof Restore shampoo features a sulfate- and paraben-free formula that softens and moisturizes the hair without stripping it. 

Reviewers note that it does indeed make their hair feel softer and healthier with each use. However, some people noticed that the formula is a bit too gentle for oily hair and doesn’t leave their hair feeling totally squeaky-clean.

If your hair is on the oilier side, this might not be the best option for you. However, if your hair tends to be dry, the gentle cleansing of this shampoo might be exactly what you need.

5. Moroccanoil Moisture Repair Shampoo

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Moroccanoil products have been adored by professional hairstylists for more than a decade – all for good reasons!

It was one of the first professional brands to bring the benefits of argan oil to the mainstream and it was a game-changer for people with dry hair.

Their Moisture Repair Shampoo features argan oil (of course) as well as keratin protein, which effectively softens, hydrates, and repairs the structure of the hair.

The keratin replenishes lost proteins, helping your hair become less porous and returning strength and elasticity to it. It’s also sulfate, phosphate, and paraben-free. 

Like all Morrocanoil products, it smells amazing – rich and invigorating, like a luxurious spa. Most reviewers love it for the way it makes their hair feel, particularly how shiny their locks become. If your biggest concern with your high-porosity hair is that it looks lackluster and dull, don’t skip this shampoo!

6. L’ANZA Keratin Healing Oil Lustrous Shampoo

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Another great shampoo for high porosity hair is the L’ANZA Keratin Healing Oil shampoo. This product features hydrating and strengthening ingredients – all of which are a must for porous hair.

The hydrating ingredients include Abyssinian flower oil, acai fruit oil, babassu kernel oil, coffee seed oil. These powerful oils make up the “healing oil” part of the shampoo as they deeply condition and moisturize your locks.

In addition to providing long-lasting hydration, this shampoo also helps repair the protein bonds in the hair with a boost of keratin. This shampoo is sulfate-free and will protect your hair from further damage. 

Reviewers love how well this shampoo performs. Many also admire that many of the ingredients are organic and/or wildcrafted. While it’s not the cheapest shampoo, many who use it agree that the cost is very much worth it!

7. SheaMoisture Strengthen and Restore Shampoo

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If your hair feels really dry and you’re someone who loves natural shampoos, this SheaMoisture Strength and Restore Shampoo is a cult favorite among people with high porosity hair.

It is super gentle on the hair thanks to it’s sulfate-free formula and a slew of natural additives. It also contains a great deal of hydrating ingredients like shea butter and aloe vera – perfect for hair that loses moisture easily!

In addition, it contains a lot of strengthening ingredients like keratin, hydrolyzed rice protein, and hydrolyzed vegetable protein. It even features castor and clove oil, both of which are believed to stimulate healthy growth. 

The formula is scented with an essential oil blend, so you don’t have to worry about any synthetic fragrances drying out your locks. The overall vibe of this shampoo is natural, soothing, and hydrating.

Customers rave about its almost-miraculous ability to cleanse the hair without stripping it of any moisture. They say it controls their oil production very well while allowing their hair to retain a lot of moisture and softness.

8. OUAI Fine Shampoo

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Although intended for fine hair, we’ve found that this OUAI Fine Shampoo works really well on high porosity hair, which is not surprising – a lot of fine hair suffers from the same symptoms as high-porosity hair and is more often than not very porous.

This shampoo provides gentle cleansing without sulfates or parabens. The formula hydrates and softens the hair using chia seed oil and cannabis seed extract.

It strengthens and reinforces the structure of the hair using biotin and hydrolyzed silk protein. 

Although it’s not a completely “clean” formula – the shampoo contains fragrances – most reviewers love how it makes their hair feel, and how well it has visibly improved their hair’s health. 

We’d like to give some bonus points to this shampoo for its scent – OUAI calls it “Mercer Street” and it smells like a walk through Paris in the Spring – with notes of rose, lemon, jasmine, and white musk. What’s not to love?

9. Aveeno Blackberry Shampoo For Color-Treated Hair

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For those who have porous and color-treated hair, this Aveeno shampoo is a great choice because it is gentle enough to protect your hair color while softening, hydrating, and strengthening your tresses.

The first ingredient in this shampoo’s formula is collodial oatmeal extract, which is a wonderful hair and scalp treatment made out of your favorite breakfast food.

Colloidal oatmeal extract is extremely hydrating and soothing. Not only does it make your hair silkier and softer, it also helps address any issues you might have with your scalp. 

This shampoo also replenishes some of the missing protein that highly-porous hair struggles with. It contains hydrolyzed quinoa protein and blackberry extract that strengthens and fortifies the hair. It’s free of sulfates, dyes & parabens, good for all hair types & ideal for color treated hair.

We can’t complain about the smell either. It smells like berries and herbs. Reviewers note that this formula works particularly well on wavy and curly hair that tends to feel dry and firzzy, so if that sounds like you – give this shampoo a try.

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