Humectants or hygroscopic substances or hydrophilic substances attract and retain moisture from the air. They are often used in hair products to keep hair moisturised.
Glycerine is a particularly strong humectant; when the weather is very dry such that there isn't enough water in the general environment, glycerin can compensate for this by actually taking much needed moisture out of your hair and therefore drying it out!
I have failed to find any reference suggesting that other humectants dry hair out if the hair is the only source of moisture. That said, if it is very dry outside in winter or summer I would use humectants much more sparingly!
Overall, I am going to deduce that this feature of drying hair out may be unique to glycerine because if you left a jar of honey open, it would not become dilute where as a key characteristic of glycerine is that if left in an open unsealed jar or container it would continue too attract water molecules until it contained 20% water!
That said, note that different types of hair respond differently to the application of humectants. Read the following chain on longhaircommunity.com for other opinons:
10/6/2015 06:45:55 am
So the summertime is the best weather conditions to use them?
13/6/2015 11:53:02 am
When there is a good amount of moisture in the air. In humid climate that is a YES. Winter in cold climates NO. Summer months in Cali NO, winter/"rainy season" in Cali YES.
I'm so interested in this topic because my hair is extremely dry seems like no matter what I do. However it is no longer winter, instead summer is quickly approaching and I do have some glycerin is it ok to use it during the hit summer months? And if so can someone explain what's the best way to apply it to my hair because it is beyond dry!!!
10/6/2015 10:09:43 pm
My hair is very sensitive to humectants. You have to know what the dew point is before you use them. Check out Curly Nikki's website, she explains this really well.
10/6/2015 10:24:14 am
This is good to know! I relocated to L.A. from D.C.in January and have continued to use my water/glycerin spritz. My hair thrives in humid weather for obvious reasons and I don't have to do much of anything for it to be healthy. However, the weather here in Cali is much drier and super dry in the summers. I have definitely noticed a perpetual dryness in in my hair that I wasn't experiencing before.
10/6/2015 10:14:21 pm
For me it's all humectants and not just the winter. Mine dries out if the dew point is less than 36 and it gets puffy, shrinks and tangles if the dew point is 60 or more. I live in Michigan and the dew point is rarely in a good range for me.
12/6/2015 12:39:15 pm
Glycerin has never worked for my hair. Matter of fact, if your hair is highly porous most of these products will not work. Another reason why doing a porosity test is important.
12/6/2015 02:52:34 pm
Accidentally unsubscribed from this post. If anyone as recommendations for spritz to retain moisture in dry climate, please reply to my previous post. Thanks again.
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