8 Essential Oils for Healthy Low Porosity Hair

Last updated on August 22nd, 2023 at 03:03 pm

When it comes to using essential oils in your hair, it’s important to note that there’s a difference between essential oils and carrier oils (also referred to as natural oils). Every article I’ve read thus far incorrectly identifies regular naturals oils as essentials oils. In this article, you’ll understand the difference between the two and you’ll find a list of some recommended essential oils for low porosity hair. Plus, you’ll find some helpful tips on how to use them.

essential oils for low porosity hair

The reason it’s important to understand the distinction between essential oils and carrier oils or other natural oils is potency. An essential oil on its own is very potent and requires to be blended with a carrier oil or natural oil in order to use it in your hair (and skin).

Below you’ll find the recommended essential oils for low porosity hair broken into 3 categories:

Because this is a comprehensive article with lots of detail, you may want to skip around to find the information that you are looking for. Therefore, you can either click the links above that will take you directly to the section for the types of essential oils you want to use.

Alternatively, you can also use the table of contents below to find the essential oils that you would like to incorporate into your hair care routine.

About Low Porosity Hair

about low porosity hair

Before we get into the best essentials for use in low porosity hair (also referred to as low-po hair), it’s important to first know what low-po hair actually is.

Those with a hair porosity that’s considered low, the hair cuticles are very tight (unlike those with high porosity hair). Hair that’s low porosity lays smoothly and the cuticle layer is tightly secured along the hair strand.

Due to the tightness of the cuticle layer, it can be difficult to get moisture into the hair shaft. However, that also means it’s difficult for moisture to escape the hair. So, really there are pros and cons to having low porosity hair.

Once you get moisture into the hair strands, that moisture is retained for a much longer period of time than someone who has high porosity hair. Also, those with low porosity hair typically have very healthy hair while those with high porosity strands tend to have damaged hair. While this isn’t always the case, it’s quite common for someone to have high porosity hair due to chemical or mechanical damage.

Chemical damage can occur when coloring or bleaching hair, relaxing hair and perming hair. Mechanical damage occurs from over manipulation, heat styling too often (ex: flat ironing). All of these types of damages can occur to someone with low porosity, making the hair more porous.

Usually, those with low porosity hair don’t have damaged hair. This is another reason why this porosity hair type is actually pretty good with retaining moisture. The problem is it also repels water.

So, if you have low porosity hair you can truly stand to benefit from adding essential oils to your hair regimen.

Characteristics of Low Porosity Hair in a Nutshell

Low porosity hair can be summarized with these characteristics:

  • Repels moisture
  • It takes a quite a bit of time for hair to get thoroughly wet, even down to the hair follicles. Hair can actually feel dry while wet until water has fully penetrated the hair shaft
  • Prone to product build-up
  • It takes a long time for hair to air dry
  • The ends of the hair tend to dry out more quickly than the rest of the hair

Why Use Essential Oils in Low Porosity Hair?

essential oils for low porosity hair

Because low porosity hair is not very porous, not only is it resistant to being moisturized. it can be resistant to receiving hair treatments into the hair strand.

When you combine an essential oil with a carrier oil (especially a lightweight carrier oil), the essential oil promotes better penetration and absorption of that natural oil in the hair. It can help to “carry” the benefits of the oil into the hair. Add in hair steaming after applying your oils and you’ll be cooking (no pun intended!)

This is just one way that it’s beneficial to use essential oils in low porosity hair.

Another benefit of using essential oils in low porosity hair is certain essential oils help to balance moisture in the hair strand. This is something that is good for low porosity hair, since it tends to repel moisture.

Also, essential oils stimulate the circulation of blood flow in the scalp. This then, allows for oxygen and other beneficial nutrients to be carried into the hair follicles through the roots of the scalp.

The effect of using the right oils on the scalp can even be tied to the prevention of hair loss.

Best Ways to Use Essential Oils in Low Porosity Hair

way to use essential oils

When it comes to using essential oils in a hair type that is not very porous, for best results you want to combine the essential oil with a light weight carrier oil. Avoid using heavy oils because they will have no impact on the penetration of the cuticle for someone with low porosity hair.

To keep things very simple yet effective, the best ways to use essential oils in low porosity hair, is as follows:

  • Mixed into a hot oil treatment
  • Added to a deep conditioner that’s being used with a plastic cap and heat source (example: heating cap or dome shaped hair dryer)
  • For a scalp massage oil blend

There are also hair products on the market that contain essential oils for low porosity hair. Common essential oils that you’ll find in hair products include tea tree oil and peppermint oil.

Choosing a Carrier Oil

low porosity carrier oils

As mentioned, you will need to mix your essential oils with a carrier oil. There are a number of carrier oils to choose from and based on your hair type, the best oils for your hair will not weigh it down when applied to the hair shaft.

You may want to use a heavier carrier oil if your hair is thick but if you also have low porosity hair, using one of the more lightweight oils may prove more beneficial.

The carrier oils are categorized as follows:

Lightweight oils

As mentioned earlier, it’s best to use a light weight oil on low porosity hair. This is even more important if you have fine low-po hair.

For those with fine hair, you’ll want to use carrier oils that are as light as possible. They will more easily absorb into the hair. Some light oils to use on both fine and thicker hair include but are not limited to:

  • Argan Oil
  • Apricot Oil
  • Babassu Oil
  • Baobab Oil
  • Camellia Oil
  • Grapeseed Oil
  • Jojoba Oil
  • Sweet Almond Oil

Heavier Oils to Avoid (Good for High Porosity Hair Though)

There are certain oils to look out for if you have low porosity hair. Someone with high porosity hair AND strands that are bit more hefty in weight (when singled out, are more visible like the appearance of thread), can use these. If you have low porosity hair, this isn’t your list.

  • Avocado Oil (Some people with fine hair may be able to use this oil as well. It is moderately lightweight but if you have less density, you may want to stick with the lighter weight oils)
  • Castor Oil
  • Apricot Castor Oil
  • Jamaican Black Castor Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Rosehip Oil
  • Shea Butter*
  • Mango Butter*
  • Cocoa Butter*

*These hair butters can be emulsified into an oil and used as carrier oils. However, it’s still best to opt for lighter weight oils when you have low porosity hair.

Vitamin E as a Carrier Oil

In addition to the lightweight carrier oils, you can use vitamin E as a carrier oil as well. There’s a catch to using vitamin E though.

While a small amount of vitamin E is typically used to preserve DIY products, it also makes for a top notch carrier oil. You’ll often find it mixed into hair products that contain essential oils. So, you can certainly use it as a carrier oil as well.

Just be aware that vitamin E is a very thick and heavy emollient oil. So, not only is it not great for penetrating low porosity hair on it’s own, it can weigh your hair down.

It can also clog your pores. So, you certainly don’t want to just pour out a bunch of vitamin E and then just add a few drops of essential oil to it. That won’t benefit low-po hair very much at all.

Best way to use Vitamin E

The best way to use vitamin E as a carrier oil is to combine it with a thinner carrier oil. Then, add in your drops of essential oils.

For example, 3 ounces of Camellia oil mixed with a 1/2 teaspoon of vitamin E and your essential oils will penetrate your hair much better. You only need a small amount of vitamin E for your mixtures.

Vitamin E is a really beneficial oil to use in your hair for more reasons than just being a carrier oil. 

It’s an antioxidant that can protect you from free radical damage. Free radical damages occurs when your body undergoes oxidative stress. This damage occurs when you are exposed to certain chemicals, pollutants in the air, getting x-rays, and even smoking. However, your body also undergoes normal oxidative stress that causes free radical damage simply by living.

This is why it’s good to consume antioxidants on a regular basis, internally and topically. Vitamin E is a powerful one.

It also helps to stabilize essential fatty acids like linoleic acid. You’ll find linoleic acid in certain other carrier oils like Grapeseed oil and olive oil. So, adding in some vitamin E helps to slow down the deterioration of the oil.

Here’s a fascinating article from News Medical on the composition of fatty acids in oils, listing them from high to low amounts linoleic acid: Oils Rich in Linoleic Acid

Top Essential Oils for Natural Hair

top essential oils for natural hair

Now that you know all about why it’s beneficial to use essential oils in low porosity natural hair, as well as the carrier oils you should use (or not use) when you have low porosity hair, let’s take a look at the three types of essential oils you can use to improve your hair. When used regularly and with consistency, you should expect to see results.

THICKENING ESSENTIAL OILS

Starting with the essential oils that are reported to improve the thickness of hair, below you’ll find a list of essential oils that help with thickening hair. 

To be transparent, it’s important to note that the thickness of one’s hair is genetic. You can add a little more “weight” to thinner strands but it won’t be a dramatic change.

You’re not going to wake up after 6 months of daily essential oil use to find that your once fine strands are now thick as thread. Nope, that’s not happening. What could happen is you’ll notice that if you have fine hair (relaxed or natural), your strands are able to endure a little more handling.

Cedarwood Oil

Cliganic Organic Cedarwood ...Shop on Amazon

Cedarwood oil helps with thicker hair growth by balancing your sebaceous glands. It’s also anti-fungal, giving it the ability to address issues that affect hair loss. Cedarwood has been found to be a helpful agent against alopecia.

Rosemary Essential Oil

Cliganic Organic Rosemary E...Shop on Amazon

Rosemary oil is a very potent oil that is likely one of the best “low-porosity hair oils” around. Obviously, it’s not only for low-po hair but it works very well in hair that isn’t very porous.

Thyme Essential Oil

Cliganic Organic Rosemary E...Shop on Amazon

Thyme oil shows some promise with helping to grow in thicker hair. Like, Cedarwood essential oil, its been found to combat alopecia. So, it’s really great for stopping hair loss but also stimulating the growth of healthier, thicker hair.

HAIR STRENGTHENING ESSENTIAL OILS

If you have hair that’s weak and breaking, first you want to use strengthening hair treatments to try and curtail the breakage. This includes protein treatments, herbal hair masks and essential oils.

I haven’t discovered a lot of essential oils that strengthen hair. Most of them stimulate hair growth, reduce the appearance of frizzy hair, or add shine.

There is however, a couple of them.

Geranium Oil

Cliganic Organic Geranium E...Shop on Amazon

Geranium essential oil is a strengthening oil that has many other benefits including being able to ease stress. Since stress can cause hair loss, geranium’s calming properties also make it a good oil for preventing hair loss.

Sage Oil

Healing Solutions 10ml Oils...Shop on Amazon

Not to be confused with Clary Sage, Sage essential oil has similar properties to Rosemary essential oil. Sage is very clarifying while Clary Sage is more soothing.

Due to Sage oil’s ability to increase metabolism in the scalp at the cellular level, it helps hair to grow in thicker.

ESSENTIAL OILS THAT PROMOTE HAIR GROWTH

If stimulating hair growth is something you are looking to achieve with essential oils, below are a few to try.

Everyone experiences different results and sometimes you’ll need to experiment. Try them individually for a specific period of time (3 months at least). Then, try combining them. All, with carrier oils, of course.

Clary Sage Oil

Gya Labs Clary Sage Essenti...Shop on Amazon

Not as popular as the other essential oils, Clary Sage oil has shown an ability to strengthen hair, helping to prevent breakage. It’s a cousin to Sage oil. While the two are quite different, they are both proponents of healthy hair.

Lavender Oil

Cliganic USDA Organic Laven...Shop on Amazon

Lavender essential oil has properties that make it antimicrobial and antibacterial. Being able to combat microbes and bacteria helps with scalp heath. Improve your scalp, improve your hair growth.

Peppermint Oil

Cliganic Organic Peppermint...Shop on Amazon

Peppermint essential oil is famous for stimulating hair growth. It’s minty cool feeling when coming into contact with your scalp begins to stimulate your sebaceous glands and hair follicles.

When your sebaceous glands are stimulated, sebum production is produced. Sebum is necessary for healthy hair growth, as it is a natural prevention of dry hair.

When your follicles are stimulated, blood circulation in the scalp is improved.

BONUS: Rosemary for the Win!

A triple threat, rosemary essential oil is something that hits at all the points:

>>>>>>>>>> Thickening, Strengthening, and Stimulating.

So, you definitely want to have this essential oil in your stash!

While these aren’t the only essential oils to have an effect on low porosity hair, you don’t need them all. You only need to find 1 or 2 that work for you.

FAQs About Essential Oils, Low Porosity Hair & Thicker Hair

In your search for essential oils for low porosity hair, you may have discovered others asking some related questions. Below are the some of the most frequently asked questions that people have about using essential oils in hair, low porosity hair in general and for advice to get thicker hair.

Along, with the questions are my opinions. Some of my responses are based on experience. Some are based on fact based evidence and some are my common sense replies.

1. What oils are not good for low porosity hair?

Most will agree that the answer to this question is any oil that is very heavy in weight.  Because low porosity hair has a very tight cuticle, you’ll need a lightweight oil with the ability to penetrate the cuticle layer.

Heavier oils like castor oil just don’t have the ability to do so and will sit on the hair shaft. This is why castor oil is most widely used for scalp massages to stimulate hair growth. I also like to use it on the ends of my hair. Because it’s such a thick oil, it helps to keep your ends smooth and frizz free longer.

2. What is the best essential oil mixture for hair growth and thickness?

You need to be informed but also realistic. Choosing a lightweight carrier oil like Jojoba or Sweet Almond Oil and blending it with one of the known hair growth AND thickening essential oils can prove beneficial.

For example: 4 ounces of a carrier oil + 5 drops of geranium oil + 10 drops of rosemary oil (a rule of thumb is to apply approximately 5 drops of essential oil to one ounce of carrier oil, more or less depending on the potency of the oil)

However, here’s where realism comes into play. You can increase hair growth but thickness can only slightly increase. Both have an influence from genetics. You can however, achieve some improvement. Results will however, vary.

3. How can I thicken my hair naturally fast?

You can’t but “fast” is subjective. If by fast you mean 1-3 months, it’s unrealistic and highly unlikely unless there is an act of God.

Hair thickness and overall health is something that you can improve upon over time… a long time. You have to be consistent with giving your body what it needs nutritionally (including hydration) and what ever hair thickening method you choose.

Here are some articles with advice to help you:

How to Thicken and Grow Black Hair

Ways to Thicken Fine hair Naturally

What I’m Doing That’s Making My Fine Hair Thicker

4. Does tea tree oil thicken hair?

There is no proof that tea tree oil thickens hair. However, it has been found to play an aid in growing hair by clearing out the hair follicles and stimulating them.

Tea tree oil can also help to balance out and improve the health of the scalp. When you have a healthier scalp, your hair can grow in healthier. That doesn’t mean it will grow in thicker.

5. What is the secret to thick hair?

There is no secret. Thick hair is genetic. You have a certain number of hair follicles on your head. Some people have much more than others. This influences density.

More hair follicles = more hairs growing on the head = more density

However, while you can have more hair follicles if the circumference of the individual strands are small, hair can appear to be thin.

The thickness of an individual strand doesn’t determine thickness. Density does.

You can achieve slightly thicker hair by adding “weight” to your individual strands. There are some practical things you can do like:

– Doing henna treatments

– Adding essential oils to your hair care products (deep conditioner, leave-in conditioner etc.)

– Doing scalp massages with hair thickening essential oils

Where to Next?

Now that you know the top essential oils for low porosity hair (plus carrier oils that work with them), you’ll likely want some easy DIY essential oil recipes . Yep, click that link or visit: www.finenaturalhairandfaith.com/essential-oils-recipes-hair-growth

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Michelle Smith

Michelle is a Christian natural hair enthusiast. She's been natural for 20+ years and shares natural hair care tips and easy hairstyles for those with low density or thin fine natural hair. It's her joy to inspire you to live by faith in God while caring for your "crown."

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