Humectants are ingredients in hair products that help retain moisture in the hair and skin. When used in hair products, they attract moisture from the air and expand the hair shaft. Examples of humectants include glycerin, honey, agave nectar, fructose, and panthenol; they can make the hair soft and bouncy, retain curls better, and prevent breakage. They typically work best in humid weather conditions but if too much water is absorbed into the hair, it can cause the hair shaft to swell and cause frizz.
Using humectants in less humid weather (particularly fall and winter) isn’t such a good idea for your hair. During this time, a lot of naturals choose to do protective styles and use heavier products so the hair stays moisturized because water is drawn out of the hair. This causes dryness, damage, and breakage so make sure you’re more attentive to your hair during cold weather. When it comes to your hair staying moisturized, use products that don’t attract water out of the air. If you do use humectants in the winter, use products that list them lower in the ingredients list so thicker oils and butters can save your hair from becoming a dry, frizzy mess.
In the fall and winter, the alternative is an anti-humectant product. They are available at any store and online. Some products include:
Photo courtesy of Shea Moisture
Photo courtesy of Target
Photo courtesy of As I Am
Photo courtesy of Ulta
These products will still nourish the hair, keep it moisturized and leave it frizz free. During this time I like to switch my hair regimen up just a little to accommodate the weather since moisture levels have noticeably changed. Of course living in Florida it’s not that humid in the colder months but when the temperature does drop, I try to use more thicker oils and products because my hair does has a tendency to get dry and frizzy if I use lighter ones when it’s cold out.