Humectants are ingredients in hair products that help retain moisture in the hair and skin. When used in hair products, they create volume by attracting the moisture out of the air and expand the hair shaft. Examples of humectants include glycerin, honey, agave nectar, fructose, and panthenol; they can make the hair soft and bouncy, retain curls better, and less likely to break. They typically work best in humid weather conditions but if too much water is absorbed into the hair, it can cause the hair shaft to swell and cause frizz.
However, using humectants in less humid weather (particularly fall and winter) isn’t such a good idea for your hair in the winter. During this time, a lot of naturals choose to do protective styles and use heavier products so the hair stays moisturized because water is drawn from the hair causing dryness, damage, and breakage so make sure during the dryer months you’re more attentive to your hair’s needs. When it comes to your hair staying moisturized during the fall and winter, use products that don’t attract water out of the air. If you do decide to use humectants in the winter, it’s recommended that products listing them lower in the ingredients should be used so the thicker oils and butters will definitely save your hair from becoming a dry, frizzy mess.
In the fall and winter, the alternative is a product that doesn’t contain humectants and they are available at any store and also online.
Some products include:
1. Camille Rose Naturals Curlaide Moisture Butter
2. Carol’s Daughter Healthy Hair Butter
3. DevaCurl MirrorCurls
4. Jane Carter Solution Nourish & Shine
These products will still nourish the hair, keep it moisturized and leave it frizz free. During this time I like to switch my hair regimen up just a little to accommodate the weather since moisture levels have noticeably changed. Of course living in Florida it’s not that humid in the colder months but when the temperature does drop, I try to use more thicker oils and products because my hair does has a tendency to get dry and frizzy if I use lighter ones when it’s cold out.
What are your thoughts on humectants? Are they just as helpful in the winter as they are in the summer?
[By Alexandria Jones]