Rocking your natural curls and keeping them healthy is often easier said than done. See, the curly pattern of your hair makes it harder for the natural sebum in your scalp to travel down, coat the hair strands properly and reduce moisture loss. So, you get stuck playing tug of war with dry hair all the time.
But fear not curl friends, the good news is that you can replenish the hair with the moisture it needs by using natural humectants. Are you stuck with dry, brittle curls? In this article, we'll be revealing the best natural humectants to help you kick dryness to the curb.
What Are Humectants?
Humectants are a group of ingredients used to generally add moisture to the hair. They attract water molecules from the environment into the hair. Once that water is diffused into the hair, it can fill in the gaps along the hair shaft which your natural sebum cannot easily get to because of the structure of your curls. This results in softer, supple hair that is bouncy and has a much better curl definition. Humectants also make the hair more elastic so that when you tug on it or apply any mechanical stress while styling or detangling, it can recoil and bounce back easily, reducing any chance of breakage.
Humectants are categorised into two based on how they are derived. On one hand, you have synthetic humectants, which are made as a product or by product of other ingredients in the lab. Then you have natural humectants which are derived from natural sources like plants. Since natural humectants are much more easily accessible and offer additional benefits besides moisture, they are the best choice for hydrating your curls.How Do I Use Natural Humectants In My Hair Routine?
Humectants can be included at different stages of your hair regimen. Curly hair needs all the moisture it can get so feel free to use them as much as you can. On wash days you can use humectants in your pre-poo or conditioning step. Choosing a moisture-rich duo like our Moisture Rich Conditioner and Deep Conditioning Hair Mask is a great way to do that. They both offer the humectant properties of manuka honey along with nourishing avocado oil to keep your curls hydrated, soft and healthy.
When styling your hair, include humectants in your leave-in conditioners and stylers. Grab our humectant-rich Rose Water and Flax Seed oil Curling Mousse if you want flawlessly, defined twist-outs that stay soft and moisturised all through the week. Going for a super hydrated and defined wash ‘n’ go with a long-lasting hold? Our Curl Elongating Gel with rosewater, flaxseed oil and glycerin should definitely be your go-to gel.
If your curls get dry quickly, then it also helps if you layer humectants with some oils or hair butters to help seal in the water and reduce moisture loss.
The Natural Humectants
When most people think of humectants, glycerin is probably the first ingredient that comes to mind and for good reason. It is a wonderful natural humectant that is derived from plant oils. Glycerin hydrates and softens the hair, and it is especially beneficial for thick curly hair, so if you're trying to combat dryness it is a great choice.
Since it is colourless and odourless, glycerin is usually very easy to combine with other haircare ingredients. You will find it included in many moisturisers, conditioners, and styling products like our Coconut & Jamaican Black Castor Oil Curling Crème. It keeps your curls super hydrated, defined, and enhanced to perfection.
You can also use glycerin in hair spray to refresh your curls throughout the week. Simply combine some water and one tablespoon of vegetable glycerin in your spray bottle and shake well before using.
We all love the sweet taste of honey in our food and drinks, but it also does wonders for the hair. It is a great natural humectant that contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antimicrobial ingredients.
Honey leaves your hair thoroughly moisturised and in doing so, it helps you prevent breakage. It also helps to condition and soften the strands so they can be manageable and easier to style. Since it contains some antimicrobial properties, including honey in your haircare regimen can also prevent inflammation and irritation of the scalp.
You can benefit from all this healthy hair goodness by simply adding a few teaspoons of honey to your conditioning treatments on washdays or moisturising your tresses with our Manuka Honey & Avocado Leave-in Conditioner to keep your curls defined, smooth and super hydrated.
Panthenol is a haircare ingredient you've probably come across several times but never been quite sure how it benefits your hair given its unusual name. Well guess what? It is a natural humectant! Panthenol is a pro vitamin derived from Vitamin B5, which is present in many plants and living organisms, so it is very easy to come by naturally.
Like most humectants panthenol attracts moisture into the hair but it also leaves a glossy coat that seals off the cuticle and prevents rapid loss of moisture from the strands. In addition to its humectant properties, panthenol also acts as an emollient, this means it helps to condition and smoothen the strands leaving you the flawlessly shiny, frizz-free results you can get with panthenol based styling products like our Curling Mousse. Panthenol also does wonders for the scalp when it comes to inflammation. It reduces redness, itching, and improves overall scalp health.
Flaxseeds are another super moisturising miracle humectants a ton of benefits. They attract moisture to the hair as one would expect from a natural humectant, but it does something a little extra. Flaxseed is a film form humectant which means it creates a light film on the hair to slows the rate at which moisture evaporates from the strands, leaving your curls hydrated for longer. It is also packed full of hair-strengthening nutrients like protein, omega-3 fats and antioxidants. You can use enjoy the amazing benefits of flaxseed with our Flaxseed Oil & Rosewater Curl Elongating Gel. Simply work it into your strands to clump and define your curls and you're guaranteed long lasting hydration to go with it.
Creating A Balanced Hair Care Routine When Using Humectants
Now, we've already established that humectants are great. But sometimes they can be a little naïve and do their job a little too well. What do we mean by that? Well, think of humectants as little magnets pulling moisture from wherever they feel there is a whole lot of it. Typically, that would be the environment but in dry or low-humidity weather conditions, humectants can draw moisture out of your hair in a bid to compensate for the dryness in the air, leaving you with dry curls that are exposed to damage.
Additionally, in very high-humidity environments, humectants can pull too much moisture from the environment into your hair, causing the hair to swell. In this case, your hair will become frizzy. This issue is especially common with high-porosity hair, but it can affect other hair types as well.
This is why it is important to establish a balance when using humectants. If the weather is dry and low humidity, you can reduce the amount of humectants you use or cut back completely if you notice your hair is extremely dry. Meanwhile, if you notice that the high humidity in your location is making your hair overloaded with moisture and leaving it feeling sticky, then you may need to incorporate a protein treatment. It will strengthen the hair strands and balance the ratio of moisture to protein within your strands.
After water, humectants are the next best moisturisers for curly hair and since they go even further to help you reduce moisture loss and pull in a little extra when you need it, they are simply a must-have. Incorporating the easily accessible natural varieties into your hair care routine is guaranteed to leave your curls happy, hydrated and healthy.