These Are the Common Humectants Found in Your Hair Products


2016-03-30 11:24:53

These Are the Common Humectants Found in Your Hair Products

Do you understand how humectants are affecting you?

Photo Courtesy of Simply Cyn

Spring is finally here! This means we can pack away our sweaters, bring out our spring clothes, and finish some spring-cleaning, which includes our hair products. We can pack away some of our heavier creams and winter butters for our lighter spring/summertime products. We should also look at the ingredients in our products to see if they contain humectants. 

What is a humectant?

Humectants attract water to the hair to keep the moisture content high. Humectants can be included in the ingredients of some hair products that we use. While using humectants, weather conditions definitely play a role on how it affects our curls.


If the humidity is low...

If you experience low humidity in your residence, this means that the air is colder and drier. Since the air is dry, there isn’t much water for the humectants in your hair products to absorb. Due to the lack of water, you will experience a minimum amount of frizz. However, can also remove water from your hair shaft. This can result in dryness and breakage. Tamara of Natural Hair Rules recommends using a sealant like shea butter when using humectants such as vegetable glycerin to help lock in your moisture and prevent dryness.

Products with humectants

If the humidity is high...

If you reside in an environment with high humidity, humectants can absorb too much moisture, which can cause frizz and lack of definition. According to Tonya McKay, a polymer scientist and cosmetic chemist, "when the dew point for your area is at 60°F or above, it might be a good idea to apply some product with anti-humectant properties."

Products with anti-humectants

The best solution to this issue is to understand the way dew point affects the way products work on your curls.

What is a dew point?

McKay shares “One way of thinking about dew point is that it is the temperature at which the number of gaseous water molecules being formed is equal to the number of liquid water molecules being formed (Evaporation rate = condensation rate). When the temperature reaches the dew point, the relative humidity is 100 percent. If the temperature decreases below the dew point, water must condense out of the air, and fog, dew, or clouds are formed.”

If you want to find out the humidity and dew points in your area day to day, NaturallyCurly has a tool called the Frizz Forecast, which can give you instant weather reports to help prevent frizz.

Are humectants in my products?

Not sure if humectants are in your hair products? Tonya McKay shares a list of humectants; check to see if any of these are listed in the ingredients:

Diols and triols

  • Propylene glycol 
  • 1,2,6 hexanetriol 
  • Butylene glycol
  • Dipropylene glycol
  • Hexylene glycol
  • Glycerin
  • Triethylene glycol
  • Erythritol
  • Capryl glycol
  • Phytantriol
  • Hexanediol or -triol beeswax

Humectants of biological origin

  • Panthenol
  • Sodium PCA
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Inositol 
  • Glycogen

Sugars and modified sugars

  • Sorbitol 
  • Polyglyceryl sorbitol 
  • Glucose 
  • Fructose 
  • Xylitol

Hydrolyzed proteins

  • Elastin
  • Collagen 
  • Silk Keratin


  • Isoceteth-x
  • Isolaureth-x
  • Laneth-x
  • Laureth-x
  • teareth-x 
  • PEG-x (polyethylene glycol)
  • Silicone copolyols



Ashley Glenn is a Baltimore lifestyle blogger and founder of Ashley Glenn Blog. She believes that every curly has beautiful curls, no matter the shape, size, or texture

THANK YOU!!! I've been racking my brain over humectants and anti-humectant ingredients and I was wishing for a definitive list. I'm printing this out and adding to my hair notebook.