Ingredient Spotlight: Humectants Help to Moisturize Your Hair

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Happy December Folks!! This is the last month of the year and I feel like I've learned so much about my hair & hair in general than I ever expected. It is so important to understand your hair, what it's telling you at any given moment and how to attend to it's needs.

With that being said, this month I'm going to focus primarily on "Knowing Your Ingredients". I feel like there is power in knowing what is in your shampoo's, conditioners, moisturizers etc. Normally, products targeted towards Women of Color (in the ethnic isles at various stores) tend to have ingredients that aren't beneficial for our hair. With the right knowledge and research, a head full of damaged hair can transform into a head full of gorgeous tresses!! Let's Begin :-)

What is the importance of a Humectant?

A humectant is used in hair care products to promote mositure retension. Humectants attract water from the atmosphere (hygroscopic) and binds itself to the hair shaft. Humectants are great for thick, coarse, kinky, curly dry damaged hair simply because it has a strong moisture binding capacity. Here are a list of some Humectants:

1. Glycerin
2. Honey
3. Propylene Glycol
4. Butylene Glycol
5. Sorbitol
6. Sugar Cane
7. Panthenol
8. Maltitol
9. Acetamide MEA
10. Hydrolyzed Wheat Startch
11. Sodium PCA

All of these ingredients help the hair absorb and retain moisture preventing dry (dry = breakage), frizzy, and poofy hair. Humectants help to rejuvenate, hydrate and make the hair more pilable. Look out for these ingredients in your products (esp. in conditioners & moisturizers) or when you get your next product junkie fix.

*12.9.08 Update* Quick list of some products containing humectants:

1. Silk Elements MegaSilk Moisturizing Treament
2. Neutrogena Triple Moisture Silk Touch Leave-in Cream
3. Wave Nouveau Moisturizing Finishing Lotion
4. S-Curl Activator Spray
5. Care Free Curl Gold Instant Activator
6. Cantu Shea butter Leave-in
7. Africa's Best Kids Organic Shea Butter Detangling Moisturizing Hair Lotion (be careful there are proteins in this)

P.S. Oh yeah, this is my 100th POST!! finally...I'm so happy :-)


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  1. great info! i need to look into my products!

  2. Thanx Sunshyne..those are great to know! What's really confusing to me is when a product has protein in it...I hope you will post that info also. Congrats on your 100th post!!

  3. Congrats on your 100th post! Can you name some prodcuts that have these ingredients in them ?

  4. Hey girl, Good info. I follow your blog and would like for you to add my blog to your page.


  5. Thanks very much for this info. Now I can do my best to balance my moisture with my protein. Keep up the good work. You have no idea how you have helped me.

  6. Congrats! And I look forward to your 200th post!

  7. yay! go you. and thank you for all the advice. the leave-ins you recommended are working lie a charm. go wave nouveau!

  8. Congrats on hitting 100! Great info. I'm a info-junkie. Now, if I could only remember all this stuff when I'm going up and down the isle at the BSS??!! My fave humectant is pure makes my 4a/b hair almost too soft.

  9. You ladies are awesome!! Sylv, I'll do a post on protein, no problem ;-) and Shan I'll do a list of products that contain humectants in them.

  10. Thanks for this great info.Congrats on the 100 post...looking forward to the next 100!*Continued Blessings to you*

  11. I love reading all your stuff; I can never get enough! This was one of the first places I came across at the beginning of my hair journey (Nov. 2009).
    Wouldn't it be true than that a person would only reap the benefits of humectants if they are living in an area with moderate to high humidity? Would you mind clarifying this if you get a chance?


    PS If I posed this question before, I apologize for the repeat. I frequent so so many sites, forums and blogs these days!