Humectants and Humidity: A Bad Combo

In humid summer weather humectants can end up making your hair feel saturated and sticky if you overly apply. Afro textured hair without a doubt is subject to the seasonal changes more so than any hair type. Which means the products that you use on your hair will react differently depending on the environmental conditions. Here is my experience using humectants in the summer and advice for how it should be applied:

SEE ALSO: 10 Natural Hair Products That Beat Humidity

My Experience

Normally, if  I’ve done a good job moisturizing my hair I can go a day or two without putting anything on my hair. However, after recently using a product I love that contains humectants it has been about 5 days. And I don’t foresee the need to moisturize my hair anytime soon.

After applying the product my hair took ages to completely dry, I would say at least 2 days.  However, being that I am usually dealing with dry hair, waking up to hair that isn’t lacking in the department is quite refreshing.

I actually got one of the best twist outs from this experience!

Best Twist Out Ever Pic

Why you should apply lightly

The next time I use a humectant in the summer, I will go way lighter than my first application. I definitely applied way too much as it does have a bit of a greasy sticky feel to it. Susan Walker calls this “cotton candy hair” in her article Humectants, Weather and Hair Care:

“With high humidity conditions such as warm or hot summer air, there can often be A LOT of moisture in the air. Some moisture is good; a lot of moisture – not so much. If your textured hair is dry, damaged and overly porous it can absorb a lot of water from the air. This can lead to swelling of the hair shaft, lifting of the cuticle, tangling and frizz. Combine this situation with a product that is high in humectants (especially glycerin) and you have a situation where a lot of water is attracted to the surface of the hair. This can lead to hair that always feels wet, takes forever to dry and is a sticky, tangled mess”

In weather with lower humidity the opposite holds true, using humectants in this instance can potentially result in dry hair.

Guidelines for applying

Dew points can be used to gauge if you will use an humectant at all or how much you will use. “What you need to know is that the dew point is associated with relative humidity. The higher the dew point, the more moisture there is in the air” says Walker.

If you enjoy using products with humectants my advice would be to go for it, but apply lightly in humid weather. This will help you to avoid hair that is overly saturated and you will have the benefit of lush moisturized tresses.


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