Also, I just want to add that aloe, humectants, and even silicones are "safe." They serve different purposes and every head has to decide for itself what it needs given the weather, genetic tendencies, and other products it's exposed to. A curly living in the desert would not likely choose to use humectants. A person in love with hot rollers might actually be a big fan of silicones. See what I'm saying? Nothing is good or bad -- it's just a question of what works for your particular head.
Jillipoo - you're awesome. I totally agree with you! Knowledge is power... and all that rot.

I'm going to copy here what Koukla72 wrote in that other thread:

I think part of the problem is the various uses of the word humectant itself. It's often used in different ways, to mean anything from "moisturizing", to "attracting water" which to me are contradictory, one implying that it gives moisture and the other that it takes moisture up.

I can't find them right now (I'll try to track them down when I have more time), but a couple of the study results I've read about aloe refer to its polysaccharide content as preventing moisture loss. There are different types of polysaccharides and they are not the same things as disaccharides (like honey or agave nectar are comprised of) since they of course have a different structure and may not attract water molecules in the same way that disaccharides do.

As complex polymers, with a different structure that the disaccharides or glucoses that comprise them, I think they would be more like film-formers. I've seen the polysaccharides in aloe referred to as mucilaginous polysaccharides which seems significant to me. So since aloe juice/gel is itself 99.5% water, I've taken that to mean that rather than attract water to itself like a true humectant would do, it forms a film once dried. Since we're putting it onto hair which is naturally porous to a certain extent, my understanding is that the hair absorbs the aloe's water content and consequently that moisture is bound inside by the film that is formed as the aloe dries. Not that the aloe itself attracts moisture from other sources.

Of course, I could be totally wrong. I do wish our Curl Chemist would join in...

Hair is best when wabi-sabi.
2b/2c at this length, more 3a when shorter
M/C ii

Mod CG: Sept 08
Using: Suave co-wash, GVP Conditioning Balm, Lustrasilk OOC, MGA, BRHG
Humectants: @ dew point 40+
My blog for dry climate curlies and growing out a pixie: Colorado Curly

Last edited by ReddishRocks; 12-15-2008 at 09:03 PM.