When you start diving into the world of naturally curly hair, you begin to realize the complexity about all the ingredients that you put into your hair.
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One popular ingredient that always comes up in the natural hair conversation is glycerin--what's its deal?  There are so many differing opinions and a lot of conflicting research can leave your head spinning. The simple truth about glycerin is that it does not do the same thing for everyone’s hair. Let’s go through the pros and cons of using glycerin products on your curls.

What is glycerin?

Glycerin is a thick, clear liquid that is either naturally derived from plants like coconut or palm oils. It can be synthetically made from petrochemicals--the use of synthetic glycerin is currently under scrutiny on its safety. Glycerin is a water-soluble conditioning alcohol that is extremely hydrophilic, meaning that it attracts water to itself.

The good

  • Since it is water soluble, glycerin is safe to use when following the Curly Girl Method.

  • Because glycerin is hydrophilic, it attracts moisture into your hair--and retain it.

  • Glycerin mixes easily with other ingredients, so it is safe and easy to add into your routine.

  • Glycerin helps prevent breakage for those who still brush their textured hair.

The bad

  • Vegan naturals should double check that the product only contains vegetable oil-derived glycerin to ensure its purity.

  • Glycerin is extremely dependent on humidity--too much might cause over-moisturized hair and low humidity levels can cause frizz.

  • Using it alone in its pure form can cause the strands to dry out, so diluting the ingredient down with other ingredients is recommended.

  • Because it seep into the cuticle, glycerin may cause issues repelling semi-permanent hair dye.

The takeaway

Glycerin is an ingredient that is useful for most naturally curlies across the spectrum. However, knowing when to use it is important. Humidity should be between 20 to 60%. For those using a semi-permanent hair color, it may be best to stay away from glycerin, as this well prevent over-processing as well. If you have permanent hair color, keep glycerin away the day after your appointment.

If you choose that glycerin is a product, add it into your hair roundup and see what it does for your curls. Make your own spray or leave-in, or find a store-bought product that contain glycerin as a top ingredient.

Have you used glycerin on your curls?

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Some curlies don't like glycerin--here are product suggestions for them.