Humectants for Hair: Best Products against Dry and Brittle Hair

Humectant for Hair: What Is It, and How Does It Work?

Hair, just like skin, needs proper care – cleansing, moisturizing and nourishing. So do not ignore any of these steps in hair care. And if everything is clear with cleansing and everyone resorts to it, then with nutrition and hair humectants, things are much worse – many women simply ignore these stages that are important for hair, and some do not even know what humectants mean. So how can you moisturize your curls and give them more vitality and shine? What is a humectant and how does it work? We will tell all this in our article.

Humectant Definition – What Is It?


Ingredients in moisturizers that attract water are called humectants. These are ingredients that help to improve the condition of the hair, make it smoother, and relieve dry hair. Natural humectants are what you need to use for the beauty and health of your hair. Now we know the humectant meaning, and it’s time to figure out how it works.

How Do Humectants Work?

Humectant hair products moisturize hair and eliminate dryness and breakage. Deep hydration is a necessary preventive measure to combat this problem. Humectants are ingredients that will help restore life to your hair and prevent sectioning.

humectants for hair definition

Humectants and Hair Adsorption/Absorption 

Absorption and adsorption are two varieties of the sorption process. The main difference between absorption and adsorption is that absorption is a process in which a liquid is dissolved by either a solid or a liquid. In contrast, adsorption is the process in which ions, molecules, or atoms of a substance such as a gas, solid, or liquid adhere to the surface of the adsorbent.

The absorbent or adsorbent is selected depending on which component is to be removed.

In humectants for hair, adsorption can occur due to hydrogen bonds. This is a very important phenomenon that is based on the polarity of certain atoms.

Humectants for Normal Hair

aloe vera humectant

This type of hair is usually called healthy, it is very shiny and smooth, easy to detangle. The cuticle is very dense and airtight, it is reluctant to open when exposed to water and other solutions. It is generally accepted that normal hair requires almost no maintenance. However, this is not entirely true. For normal hair, you do not need to use too concentrated and moisturizing products in order not to get the weighting effect. We advise you to pay attention to humectant products, which contain the following components:

  1. Aloe Vera
  2. Natural Glycerin
  3. Hyaluronic acid
  4. Alpha hydroxy acid

Products with these moisturizing ingredients will help improve the condition of your hair and prevent dryness. Using quality products, you will be able to see the result that will amaze you.

Humectant for Low Porosity Hair

curly girl

Low porous hair requires special care. We all want curvy strands, but have you noticed that your hair doesn’t absorb moisture as well as it should? This probably means that your hair has low porosity. Porosity is associated with the hair cuticle and describes the hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture.

What components should be used?

  1. Medium-sized proteins such as hydrolyzed silk or keratin,
  2. Medium molecular weight oils such as sweet almond oil or plum seed oil,
  3. Humidifiers used in moderation,
  4. Silicones in hair serum (if you have wavy hair, remember that silicones can weaken their frizz).

What components should not be used?

  1. Coconut oil – can make hair unnecessarily frizzy,
  2. High glycerin content (not in all cases).

Humectants for Natural Hair

coconut oil humectant

If you live in a fairly humid environment, these moisturizers can hold a lot of water, which will lead to frizzy hair if you have it naturally.

But in the wintertime, moisturizers can dry out your hair by absorbing too much moisture.

If this is your case, you can use humectant moisturizers for hair with an occlusive agent to create an oil barrier. By using a humectant hair moisturizer in cold weather, you can be sure that your hair is protected from dryness.

Types of Humectants

hair humectants

There are two types of humectants: natural and synthetic.

Hair products with synthetic humectants are quite popular as synthetic humectants are more commonly used in hair care products. They cost less and last longer. Unfortunately, synthetic moisturizers can damage hair as they bring water to the surface. This leads to serious hair problems.

In order not to harm your hair, pay attention to the composition before buying a product. It should not contain the following components:

  1. Sodium lactate
  2. Butylene glycol
  3. Sorbitol
  4. Urea
  5. Synthetic glycerin
  6. Dicyanamide
  7. Sodium PCA

 Natural humectants for hair are what can help your hair not to harm them. Unlike synthetic ones, natural ones retain moisture in the hair and cope with problems such as brittle and dry hair.

List of natural humectants:

  1. Algae
  2. Alpha hydroxy acid
  3. Hyaluronic acid
  4. Aloe vera
  5. Natural glycerin

It is these substances that will improve the condition of the hair.

Humectants vs Emollients and Occlusives

Moisturizers are widely found in all types of hair cosmetics, both in the most aggressive, such as perms or hair dyes and in caring and healing, such as creams or masks. Depending on the type of cosmetics, skin, or hair type, they should act slightly differently. As a result of research, many substances with similar properties were discovered or obtained by chemical means and they were conditionally divided into 3 groups according to the mechanisms of moisturizing effect on the hair.

Moisturizing your hair is one of the main steps in hair care that cannot be ignored. Therefore, you should pay special attention to what kind of care products you use, and most importantly, what is included in their composition. Below are some humectants you should consider for healthy and beautiful hair.

The list of the most common humectants:

1. Sodium hyaluronate

2. Opuntia tuna fruit extract-extract of prickly pear

3. Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice

4. Algae extract

5. Tocopheryl acetate

6. Natural moisturizing factor

7. Collagen marine

8. Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract

9. Betaine

Now let’s talk about emollients. They lubricate and form a film and can also soften, smooth, and strengthen the hair cuticle. These ingredients help prevent water loss from skin and hair. Emollients typically include oils, lipids, fatty acids, and esters. And emulsifiers are ingredient stabilizers. They stir the ingredients and keep the oil and water from mixing. Conditioners may contain the following fatty acids or emollients:

  • Linoleic acid
  • Cetyl alcohol
  • Stearyl alcohol
  • Cetearyl alcohol
  • Pantothenic acid
  • Palmitic acid

Occlusive agents can also be emollients, as they can also form a hydrophobic or water-repellent barrier that can prevent water loss from the scalp and hair. Here are some of the ingredients that keep moisture in:

  • Isopropyl palmitate (may irritate the skin or cause acne breakouts)
  • Vaseline
  • Squalene
  • Waxes (jojoba, beeswax)
  • Butter (shea, cocoa, avocado)
  • Triglycerides
  • Oils (vegetable/seed / vegetable oils and mineral oil)
  • Dimethicone and silicones
  • Ceramides
  • Cholesterol
bathing humectant

Humectants in Hair Products

To improve the quality of your hair, and not harm it, it is worth buying quality hair care products. Avoid cheap shampoos, conditioners, and lotions that promise healthy, hydrated hair. These are the products that can harm your hair. Take a closer look at quality professional care products. Natural moisturizers are most commonly used in these products. If you do not trust the company, then take a look at the composition, it should contain the following moisturizers:

1. Aloe vera

2. Hyaluronic acid

3. Natural glycerin

4. Algae

5. Alpha hydroxy acid

Hair must be moisturized to retain moisture and vitality in it, as well as restore it to its lost health and attractive appearance because after a hot summer or frosty winter, they often become dehydrated and look completely lifeless. Under normal conditions, hair contains about 10% water, but winter and summer do drastically change this indicator, not for the better. Accordingly, the moisture deficit must be constantly replenished!

Now, knowing all the benefits of using hair moisturizers, it would be wrong to still refuse them. This is exactly the product that will help your hair stay smooth, hydrated, and vibrant. Do not neglect hair moisturizers, because if you care about the health of your hair, then this is exactly the product that must be in your cosmetic bag.

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