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February 10, 2021 2 min read


What do you think of when you hear the word “humectant”? 

Water? Well, you are not too far off from the answer :)

Humectants are hydrating agents that can be added to products to retain moisture and preserve the items or products they have been added to. Humectants can be added to food, hair and skincare products as well as other items.

Some examples of common humectants are glycol, aloe vera, honey, sodium lactate, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin (which can be found in many hair shampoos and conditioners). As mentioned in a 2014 article byEssence titled, Know Your Ingredients: The Truth About Glycerin On Natural Hair”, we learn that glycerin is rich in humectants and it is glycerin that helps to attract and hold in moisture for the hair.

So then, what is it exactly that makes humectants so important to your everyday hair care? A great way to think about humectants are as ingredients that draw in water and retain said water. The more humectants in a product, the more moisture your hair will then be able to absorb and retain as well. It’s important then to look out for humectants when choosing what hair products to purchase in the future. 

Some benefits of using hair products with humectants are:


Promote retention of moisture 

Humectants can take in water from their surroundings and then use it to keep the hair moisturized. Let us say you owned a conditioner that contained humectants, the job of the humectants would be to attract water from the air, absorb it and retain it inside your hair for a longer period.

Makes hair softer 

If you are someone whose hair is usually dry, then using products that contain humectants can be a welcome addition to your hair care routine as they will introduce more water into your hair to make it softer.


Gives protection in dry or harsh weather 

Sometimes the weather can affect the hair and for those with natural hair, it is possible for the weather to make hair dry or damaged especially if one is not using any hair products. However, using hair conditioners or serums that have humectants in them can help protect dry or brittle hair by providing the much needed moisture.

Hydrates and rejuvenates the hair

Humectants such as hyaluronic acid help in hydrating the hair as well as regenerating damaged hair. It helps in nourishing the hair strands and bulbs and it soothes hair and scalp irritations.

Somethingto also take note of is that in some areas with high humidity, the hair can absorb too much water which will then make it bigger and undefined. So, it is better to use products that contain humectants in times when the weather is more temperate, dry, or in low temperatures. 

We hope that we’ve been helpful in shedding more light on humectants, their types and usefulness to our hair. Have you used any hair products that had humectants as part of their ingredients? Did you notice anything? Let us know in the comments!

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