Do Humectants Cause the Frizzies?

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If you have frizzy hair, then you have probably researched online for tips on how to prevent frizz, especially in humid weather. One solution that is talked about a lot online among wavy, curly and kinky haired girls is the avoidance of products that contain humectants during certain times of the year. 

What are humectants? They are key ingredients used in personal care products to hydrate the hair or skin. Humectants work by attracting and binding moisture from either the water that exists in the product or the surrounding environment.

Understanding that humecants attract moisture, there is a belief that in humid (summer) weather a styling product containing any type of humectant may draw too much moisture to the hair, exascerbating frizziness. In contrast, it is also believed that humectants can have the opposite effect in dry (winter) weather—that they will draw moisture out of the hair because the air lacks sufficient moisture to draw from, causing dryness​. 


While not a widely accepted notion, there are still many that closely follow this concept when selecting what products to use and when to use them. If you battle summertime frizz and/or dryness in winter, start reading labels and test this theory yourself! To help you do that, below is a list of humectants widely used by hair care manufacturers. 

Common Humectants 
Glycerin
Propylene Glycol 
Hexylene Glycol 
Butylene Glycol
Caprylyl Glycol
Sorbitol
Panthenol
Sodium Pyrollidone Carboxylic Acid (Sodium PCA) 

Of these, glycerin is by far the most commonly used in products, and the most talked about as being the biggest culprit in creating these seasonal issues. ​

If you decide to monitor how humectants affect your hair, also be sure to check out the healthy hair product recommendations in our new app, HAIR. In the app, we detail whether or not a product contains glycerin.
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