The Complete Guide: High Porosity 4C Hair

Updated: December 10, 2023

Contrary to popular belief, high porosity natural hair is not only the result of damage to 4c hair. Some people are born with high porosity natural hair! 

Not to worry! Having highly porous hair is certainly not a disadvantage or something that should hinder your natural hair growth. 

High porosity hair just means that your natural hair cuticle has more holes and gaps in the cuticle along the length of your hair.

In this article, we’re going to be talking in detail about how to care for high porosity hair, and how to minimize natural hair moisture-loss. 

8 tips for high porosity

What is High Porosity Natural Hair 

We explain what hair porosity hair is in this detailed article about natural hair porosity.

When your hair is high porosity, the cuticles in the outer layer of your hair are full of holes. As a result, the water, oils, and other products that get into the hair strand have an easier time escaping

High porosity hair can be caused by chemical damage or heat damage. If you’re like me, it can also simply be genetic. 

How to Tell You Have High Porosity 4c Natural Hair

Here are a few simple ways to tell whether your 4c natural hair is high porosity.

1. The glass test

This involves taking a few strands of hair and dropping them into a glass of water. After 2 or 3 minutes, if your hair floats towards the bottom of the glass, your hair is most likely high porosity. 

2. The slip and slide test

For this test, take a strand of hair, and place it between your index finger and your thumb. Then, slide your fingers up and down the strand. If the hair strand feels bumpy and rough because of the raised cuticles, then it is high porosity.

3. Drying time test

If your natural hair seems to dry almost as soon as you step out of the shower, then your hair just might be high porosity.

4. The product test

After moisturizing your hair either using the LCO or the LOC method you may notice that your natural hair products get quickly absorbed into your hair strands.

However, you may also notice that your hair gets dry again very shortly after. That’s because water gets easily get absorbed by high porosity strands, but also evaporates from the strands pretty easily as well. 

It is in experimenting that you learn what your hair loves!

How to Care for High Porosity 4C Natural Hair

Now that you’re more sure of your natural hair porosity, your next question is probably — great, how do I take care of high porosity natural hair?

1. Use gentle hair cleansers and shampoos

When cleansing your natural hair, use gentle cleansers more often than harsh cleansers. This is because your natural hair cuticles are already naturally more raised than average.

Stripping or clarifying shampoos are necessary once in a while if you notice that your hair has experienced too much product build-up.

However, if you use them too often, you can cause your cuticle to get even more raised. This will cause your hair to appear more frizzy and aggravate the moisture-loss you already experience with highly porous hair.

2. Make sure you opt for low pH products

When moisturizing your hair or deep conditioning, try to opt for low pH products.

This is because the lower the product is on the pH scale, the more acidic it is. And the more acidic the natural hair product is, the more it helps your hair cuticles to lay down flatter.

To do this you can do things like using aloe vera juice to moisturize your hair. Or following up your washday with an ACV rinse before deep conditioning.

3. Always seal your hair cuticle after washday

Similar to the point above, you should always follow your washday with a final cold water rinse OR an ACV rinse. Doing things like this work to help your natural hair cuticle lay down flatter.

Unlike our friends with low porosity natural hair who are always trying to open up their hair cuticle, we are trying to do the opposite.

4. Always seal the moisture in

Every time you moisturize your hair with water, you want to apply a layer of oil, and preferably butter to seal that in.

Doing this increases the chances that the moisture stays in for longer. Opt for thick oils like olive oil, coconut oil, and castor oil, as well as butters like shea butter and cocoa butter. 

5. Try waterless care between washdays

Some high porosity naturals like Natural Academia have even suggested oil-only lubrication in between wash days.

This is because the biggest problem with highly porous hair is how hard it is to retain moisture and keep the hair hydrated and flexible.

I know we’ve said over and over again that oil doesn’t moisturize natural hair, only water does.

However, if you have high porous hair and feel that water actually seems to dry your hair out, experiment with using only oils.

To do this, you would wash, deep condition, moisturize your hair, and seal it as usual. However, during the week when it is time to re-moisturize your hair, you would only apply a layer of oil.

I personally always like to spritz my high porosity 4c natural hair with aloe vera juice before I apply any oils to it. Meanwhile, other high porosity naturals don’t like to get their hair wet at all before washday.

We like to encourage you to experiment because we don’t believe in natural hair rules. It is in experimenting that you learn what your hair loves!

6. Always pre-poo before washing your hair

High porosity natural hair is more prone to hygral fatigue than other hair types. To reduce the chances of hair damage via hygral fatigue try to pre-poo your natural hair with coconut oil before washing it.

Coconut oil is a great penetrating oil that actually gets into the very open cuticles of your hair strands and prevents too much water from being absorbed.

Read our article on hygral fatigue to find out why this is so damaging to your hair.

7. Do protein treatments regularly

We’ve spoken over and over again about the benefits of protein treatments for natural hair. Well, they are even more beneficial if your natural hair is high porosity.

This is because protein molecules help fill the holes and gaps in the cuticle. Once these gaps are filled, you can preserve the moisture as well as the integrity of your natural hair for longer.

Unlike our friends with low porosity hair, your hair goal can’t just be moisture moisture moisture! We need protein to be able to keep the hair from falling apart.

To help visualize this, you can imagine your hair strand as a pair of stockings/tights.

When the hair is high porosity, the holes in the fabric are very large so when you put moisture in it can just fall right out. However, protein treatments help to strengthen this fabric. The stronger fabric will be able to hold more moisture and nutrients inside it without everything just seeping out.

Use protein and strengthening treatments like henna, rice water, fenugreek, and products containing hydrolyzed soy or silk proteins!

8. Appreciate the benefits of high porosity 4c hair!

In all our tips above about caring for high porosity 4c hair, we say that the cuticle is naturally open and we want to do our best to get it to lay flat.

This in no way implies that having high porosity hair is a disadvantage. It’s great because it’s easy to moisturize and nourish. Any product you put on high porosity natural hair gets absorbed well and does its job adequately.

The key basis of what we’re talking about balance! And the more we keep our natural hair in balance, the healthier it is! 

Best Products for High Porosity 4C Natural Hair (All-Natural)!

Here is our Hibiscus Roots-approved list of the best products to use in your high porosity hair regimen – yes, even for 4C hair! We’ve done the research and picked mostly all-natural ingredients. There are 3 products in each category, and there’s a product you can choose whether you’re coconut-sensitive or fruit-sensitive!

Best All-Natural Shampoos for High Porosity 4C Hair

Here are the 3 best shampoos for high porosity hair:

1. Camille Rose Sweet Ginger Cleansing Rinse

camille sweet ginger

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Infused Ginger Root Oil, Disodium Cocoamphotdipropionate,  Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate (Sulfate Free Cleanser), Cocamidopropyl Betaine ( Coconut Cleanser)…

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…Citric Acid, Aniseed Oil, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Phenoxyethanol ( Preservative), Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate ( Coconut Cleanser), Polyquaternium – 10, Decyl/lauryl Glucoside ( Sugar Based Cleanser), Glycol Distearate ( Vegetable Derived), Guar Chloride, Essential Scent and Love!

2. Rhassoul Clay Wash

Rhassoul Clay: How it Can Transform your 4C Hair Today!

Best Deep Conditioners for High Porosity Natural Hair

Here are the 3 best deep conditioners for high porosity 4c natural hair:

1. Shea Moistuire Manuka Honey and Mafura Oil Deep Conditioner

manuka honey and mafura oil

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Cetyl Alcohol, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*…

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…Glycerin (Vegetable), Stearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Panthenol, Trichilia Emetica (Mafura) Seed Oil, Honey, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Fragrance (Essential Oil Blend), Adansonia Digitata (Baobab) Seed Oil, Cetrimonium Chloride, Persea Gratissma (Avocado) Oil, Ficus (Fig) Extract, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter *, Tocopherol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Butylene Glycol Butter *

2. Mielle Babassu Oil & Mint Deep Conditioner

mielle organics brand

Ingredients: Water/aqua/eau, behentrimonium methosulfate, cetearyl alcohol, cetylesters, *Orbignya oleifera (babassu) seed oil…

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…Pyrus malus (apple) fruit extract, glycerin, sodium PCA, sodium lactate, arginine, aspartic acid, PCA, glycine, alanine, serine, valine, proline, threonine, isoleucine, histidine, phenylalanine, *Euterpe oleracea (acai) pulp oil, Pentaclethra macroloba (pracaxi) seed oil, *Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, *Helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, *Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender) oil, *Pelargonium graveolens (Geranium) flower oil, Salvia officinalis (Sage) oil, Mentha piperita (peppermint) oil, Citrus paradise (Grapefruit) peel oil, Litsea cubeba fruit oil, Mentha Viridis (spearmint) leaf oil, isoamyl laurate, dehydroacetic acid, benzyl alcohol

Best Strengthening/Protein Treatments for High Porosity Natural Hair

1. Henna Treatments

The Curly Girl’s Guide to Henna for Hair Growth!

2. Rice Water Treatments

How to Use Rice Water for 4C Hair Growth!

3. Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3

olaplex for high porosity hair

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate, Propylene Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentri­monium Methosulfate…

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… Cetyl Alcohol, Phenoxye­thanol, Glycerin, Hydroxyethyl Ethylcel­lulose, Stearami­dopropyl Dimethylamine, Quaternium-91, Sodium Benzoate, Cetrimonium Methosulfate, Cetrimonium Chloride, Fragrance (Parfum), Polyquat­ernium-37, Tetrasodium EDTA, Butylphenyl Methylpr­opional, Etidronic Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Phytantriol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Panthenol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate

4. Curl Smith Bond Curl Rehab Salve

curl smith rehab salve

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Cetearyl Alcohol, Salvia Hispanica (Chia) Seed Extract, Creatine, Polyquaternium-10…

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… Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Lentinus Edodes (Shiitake) Extract*, Opuntia Tuna (Prickly Pear) Fruit Extract, Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Seed Extract*, Psidium Guajava (Guava) Fruit Extract, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Ribes Nigrum (Blackcurrant) Fruit Extract, Brassica Oleracea Acephala (Kale) Leaf Extract, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Polyquaternium-37, Hydroxypropylgluconamide, Hydroxypropylammonium Gluconate, Disodium EDTA, Potassium Sorbate, Tartaric Acid, Citric Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Glycerin, Behentrimonium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Benzyl Alcohol, Geraniol, Fragrance (Parfum), Linalool, Limonene.

Best Leave-In Conditioners for High Porosity 4C Hair

1. Shea Moisture JBCO Strengthen & Restore Leave In

shea moisture leave in

Ingredients: Water, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride…

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… Fragrance (Essential Oil Blend), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Panthenol, Dicaprylyl Ether, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Glycerin (Vegetable), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Adansonia Digitata Seed Oil, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Mauritia Flexuosa Fruit Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Yeast Extract, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Niacin, Trifolium Pratense (Clover) Flower Extract, Vinegar, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Butylene Glycol.

2. TGIN Butter Cream Daily Moisturizer

tgin moisturizer for dry hair

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Cetearyl Alcohol, Coconut Oil…

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… Amodimethicone, Brassicamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Oleo Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Theobroma Cacoa (Cocoa) Seed Buter, Prunus Amygdalys (Sweet Almond) Oil, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Peg 4 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Ceteareth-20, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), Aspatric Acid, Fragrance, Cyclopentasiloxane, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Dmdm Hydantoin, Benzophenone-3, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Tetrasodium Edta, Simethicone, Bht.

3. Camille Rose Natural Curl Love Moisture Milk

curl milk low porosity hair regimen

Ingredients: Deionized Water, Behentrimonium Methosulfate and Cetearyl Alcohol, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Oryza Sativa (Rice Bran) Oil…

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… Aloe Barbadenis Leaf, Ricinus Communis (Castor Seed) Oil, Ternifolia (Macademia Nut) Seed Oil, Sorbitol, Camellia (Green Tea) Sinensis Leaf, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Milk, Rosa Canina (Rose Hip) Seed Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth 20, Slippery Elm (Ulmus Fulva) bark, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbic Acid, Scent and Love.

Best Oils for High Porosity Natural Hair

Here are the best all-natural oils for high porosity natural hair:

  1. Henna Oil
  2. Castor Oil
  3. Amla Oil
  4. Fenugreek Oil

Best Styling Cremes for High Porosity 4c Hair

1. Camille Rose Aloe Whipped Butter Gel

camille rose aloe vera

Ingredients: Aloe barbadensis(aloe vera gel), deionized water, macadamia integrifolia (macadamia) seed oil, persea(avocado) gratissima seed oil, simmondsia (jojoba) chinensis seed oil…

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… prunus (sweet almond) dulcis oil, ricinus (castor) communis seed oil, behenetrimonium methosulfate and cetearyl alcohol(BTMS), camellia (green tea) sinensis, ulmus (slippery elm) eulva, ascorbic (vitamin C) acid, tocopherol (vitamin e), d-panthenol, phenoxyethanol/caprylyl glycol(optiphen), sorbic acid, scent and LOVE!

2. Melanin Haircare Twist Elongating Style Cream

low porosity 4c regimen

Ingredients: Water (Aqua, Eau), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Glyceryl Stearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ceteareth-20…

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… Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Caprylate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Behentrimonium Methosulfate (Non-Sulfate Derived From Rapeseed Oil), Citric Acid, Glycerin, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Garcinia Indica Seed Butter, Theobroma Grandiflorum Seed Butter, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel (Argan) Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil,Tocopheryl Acetate, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract.

3. DIY Whipped Shea Butter

How to Make Whipped Shea Butter for Natural Hair (by Hand!)

featured image: source

Read Next: 4 Elements to Keep in Balance for Long Natural Hair!

The Complete Guide: High Porosity 4C HairThe Complete Guide: High Porosity 4C Hair

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