Humectants - The Good, The Bad and The Curly

Humectants for Hair

In its simplest definition, Humectants are a group of ingredients that are used in many hair and cosmetic products to attract moisture from the Environment.

Humectants are hydrophilic (attracted to water molecules) and will draw moisture from anywhere or anything and bring it straight to your curls.

To understand better how they work in hair products, let's first briefly understand the structure of the hair. 

 Hair Structure 

  • Cuticle… This is the outermost surface, layers of dead cells that overlap like fish scales. This is your hairs most important and protective layer. The layers move against each other, so your hair can bend and move without breaking. 
  • Cortex… The thickest layer of your hair that gives strength to the follicle, it gives the hair its strength, colour, and texture. 
  • Medulla… This is the soft innermost layer of your hair's follicle, not all hair types have this. 


Hair Structure

Strong Healthy Hair has tighter packed, smooth layered cuticle.

Weak, dry or damaged hair typically has raised cuticle cells that sometimes become spaced apart. This leaves the vulnerable core of the hair exposed.

Raised cuticles rubbing together can cause tangling because of the friction created.

When the cuticle is raised, worn, or damaged it can make the hair frizzy and dull, feel brittle and break.

Now think of humectants as Moisture magnets, they attract moisture from the atmosphere to itself.

Imagine the cuticles of hair being like doors, held open by the ever so polite Humectants that allow our hair to be drenched in that  "oh so needed!" moisture. 

This may sound like the dream, but there is a little catch - Humectants are so well trained in their purpose they’re a little naïve.

CurlyEllie Detangling Spray

When the environment around you is dry, for example, the heating is on or on hot dry summer days, humectants can begin to draw moisture from the hair itself and release it into the dry atmosphere

Where your hair felt silky and moisturised for a while, you may notice that it is becoming drier and rougher as the moisture is sucked out of your hair and given to the dry atmosphere.

It’s important to remember the humidity in your living spaces can have a detrimental effect on the dryness of your hair too. 

Being naturally more porous most curly hair can accept water easily.  However, due to the uneven cuticle layers, it can also easily lose the moisture in equal measure. 

  • The outer layer of curly hair tends to be more porous.  As, a curly hair strand bends and curls areas of the cuticle layer can become slightly raised
  • Curly hair is more prone to cuticle damage because of its natural structure and lack of internal moisture. 


Aloe Vera for Hair

Therefore, some curly haired folks are cautious of using products that contain Humectants. 

There is no need to fear, luckily there is a solution - an effective moisturising system that reflects your atmosphere and adapts.

This leads us to - "What is an effective moisturising system  ? ". This is simple.


An effective moisturising system will always have 4 main types of ingredients, namely;                             . 

  1. Water 
  2. Humectants 
  3. Emollients 
  4. Sealants or Occlusives  
Curly Hair Styling Products

By combining our Detangling spray  with the  Leave-In Conditioner or Styling Serum, you are effectively making sure you derive the full benefit of the Detangling Spray with none of the side effects due to hot, humid or dry environments.


What Kind of Humectants should I look out for in the CurlyEllie Collection ?

Our products have been carefully custom crafted and include natural occlusive ingredients such as GlycerinAloe Vera, Caprylic Capric Triglycerides and Provitamin B5, which form a protective non greasy layer on the surface of the hair.  

  • Glycerin is a natural humectant attracting and drawing in moisture from the natural environment whist creating a thin film along the hair strand. 
  • Aloe Vera is a natural humectant -  it gorges water and stores it in its leaves. The Aloe Juice, used in all our products penetrates the hair and binds water to the hair. 
  • Pro vitamin B5 Panthenol prevents moisture loss and smooths the cuticle of each strand. It further conditions the scalp, whilst preventing moisture loss. 
  • Caprylic Capric Triglycerides, often confused with fractioned coconut oil,  offers dry silky feel. It efficiently delivers active ingredients whilst creating a protective barrier on the hair's surface, sealing your hair and preventing your hair from drying out. 

This helps to keep all the good stuff in and the bad stuff out. 


CurlyEllie Hair Conditioners

 In conclusion Humectants when used correctly are fabulous for ALL hair types.

They are great for keeping your hair moisturised for days before remoisturising is required. 

Our carefully selected ingredients will help you hold more moisture in the hair without having to add more oil. 

Combining the Detangling Spray with the Leave In Conditioner or Serum, you will protect your curls and give you all the benefits of humectants and none of the side effects due to hot, dry or humid environments.





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