It’s no secret that our hair is always at the mercy of the current weather/climate. Whether you’re in constant humidity in Florida, or constant dryness in Las Vegas, it can be hard to achieve the perfect curls, waves, or straight locks. This post was inspired by one of our customers who, bless her heart, has all four seasons. From hot and humid summers to cold and dry winters, her hair certainly experiences it all. In this post, we’ll cover how to manage your hair during every season.
What are Humectants?
Humectants are a type of ingredient that can help moisturize your hair, creating soft and supple hair. They work to evenly disperse moisture from the scalp down the entire hair strand because they help propel your natural oils (sebum). This is why using humectants in your conditioner can help add shine to the hair shaft.
Humectants are hygroscopic (water attracting). This means that humectants draw water from whatever source is available. This is not a problem when the dew points are moderate but when the air is excessively humid or dry, your hair will likely react with the changing climate. Products with strong occlusive properties are a must when using humectants in your stylers.
What products need humectants?
We recommend that you use humectants in your conditioner, especially if you have low elasticity or high porosity hair. Matrix Biolage Conditioning Balm is a great example of a product with humectants. Notice the high concentration of propylene glycol, a commonly used humectant. (Added benefit: It is not heavy and does not build-up easily on the hair making it a great choice for fine hair.)
If you choose to avoid humectants in your styling products, you can instead lock in moisture using a film-forming humectant. Film-forming humectants are awesome for low-porosity hair but can work on all hair types. They create a film on the hair that is very light and work to slow water loss and soften hair. And voila! Your frizzy locks are maintained. Film-forming humectants are also ideal because they are water soluble and thus will not build-up on the hair. Some of our favorite film-forming humectants are found in Giovanni LA Natural Styling Gel – Strong Hold. It has a high concentration of hydroxyethylcellulose, a film forming humectant, and has plant extracts.
One more added plus, film-forming humectants work great in a wide range of climates. So for our friends in the desert and dense humidity, this can work for you!
Residual product build-up remaining after washing. Using water soluble occlusives, like film-forming humectant may help prevent residual buildup.
Very little residual product build-up remaining after washing. This is a great added benefit for using water soluble ingredients in your stylers like film-forming humectants.
You may want to avoid humectants high up in the ingredient lists of your styling products to prevent this level of buildup.
- Propylene Glycol
- Flaxseed gel (linseed)
- Seaweed extract
- Irish moss extract
- Okra gel
- Xanthum gum
- Marshmallow root
- Glycine betaine
- Slippery elm
- Panthenol (sometimes classified as a humectant, but its properties are not as strong as glycerin)
Our virtual product aisle may help as you select new products or better understand those you are currently using.
Byung In Ro, and Thomas L. Dawson. “The Role of Sebaceous Gland Activity and Scalp Microfloral Metabolism in the Etiology of Seborrheic Dermatitis and Dandruff.” Journal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings, vol. 10, no. 3, Dec. 2005, pp. 194–197. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/j.1087-0024.2005.10104.x.
Asnaashari, Solmaz, and Yousef Javadzadeh. “Herbal Medicines For Treatment of Androgenic Alopecia.” Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, vol. 26, no. 4, July 2020, pp. 27–35. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=cmedm&AN=31221945&site=eds-live.
Pelikh, Olga, et al. “Hair Follicle Targeting with Curcumin Nanocrystals: Influence of the Formulation Properties on the Penetration Efficacy.” Journal of Controlled Release, vol. 329, Jan. 2021, pp. 598–613. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1016/j.jconrel.2020.09.053.