Glycerin and the link with humidity explained
Glycerin, or glycerol, is a liquid element, and it is sticky and colourless. It is mainly used for the development of cosmetics and soap. Glycerin is extracted from vegetable or animal oil and is a so-called ‘humectant’. Humectants are ingredients that are able to retain and attract moisture to the skin and hair. Due to its strong effect, glycerin is considered the number 1 humectant! But what exactly does it do? Glycerin plays a role in the hydration of the hair – it retains water and thus prevents moisture loss. That way the hair is resistant to drying out.
If you look up glycerin online, you will get humidity or moisture for free. Why is that so? Glycerin is therefore a humectant, which are ingredients that can attract, absorb and retain moisture from the environment. Sounds like a godsend if you have dry curls that need hydration, right? Still, there is a fine line between whether or not to use glycerin products. In addition, you should get a bit of a feel for the weather: what is the humidity like today? Fortunately, there are also apps for this, such as Hygrometer.
Glycerin at high or low humidity
In short, if your hair is drier than the air, glycerin will help attract moisture from the environment and use it to hydrate the hair. Result: better curl formation, nicer shine and less fluff. The other way around, the kite also goes up: if the air is drier than your hair, the environment will extract moisture from your hair. Then it is better to avoid glycerin.
To make it difficult: if the air has a very high humidity level, it is better not to use products with glycerin. Why? Glycerin does its effect so well that the ingredient continues to attract and retain moisture from the environment. Your hair is stuffed so much and often with moisture that it swells and lifts the cuticles. Result: huge hair and huge fluffy hair!
Glycerin and porous hair
The porosity of your hair determines how well your hair can absorb and retain products. So there is clearly a link between glycerin and porous hair. If you have hair with a low porosity, which therefore absorbs less moisture and therefore takes longer to dry, your products with glycerin are definitely recommended. If you have highly porous hair, which quickly absorbs moisture but also releases it, you can better avoid glycerin.
Also read: This is how you discover the porosity of your hair
The benefits of glycerin
The benefits of glycerin at a glance:
- It prevents extreme dryness
- Can repair split ends
- Stimulates hair growth
- Prevents frizzy hair
- Can help with dandruff
- Can help with brushing by making the hair easier to handle
Products with glycerin
Some examples of hair products containing glycerin:
- Tabitha James Kraan 4 in 1 Leave in Golden Citrus
- Marlie Gel Coiffant Natural
- Shea Moisture Co-wash Conditioning Cleanser
Good for the vegans to know: glycerin is not always vegetable. It is extracted from vegetable or animal oil. Now you want to know for sure: how do you recognize vegan products? Then read our article: Vegan hair care for curls: you should know about it
Another option is to use 100% pure glycerin. It loves water and therefore wet hair, so apply it diluted on your wet curls after washing. Keep about 50% water and 50% glycerin. The water settles in your hair with the result: super hydrated curls! If the air is drier than your hair, it is recommended to dilute the natural Glycerin with a hair oil instead of water.
DIY recipes with glycerin
You can also get started with recipes with glycerin yourself. For example, make a moisturizing mask from 15 ml of vegetable glycerin, 15 ml of olive oil and 25 g of honey. Mix the ingredients into a cohesive mixture, apply it to damp hair and leave it on for about 20 minutes. Then rinse it with cold water.
Another option is a mask of 15 ml glycerin and 60 gr aloe vera gel. Mix these ingredients in a bowl and keep stirring until a firm but smooth mixture is formed. Apply this on wet hair, from the crown to the ends. Leave it on for about 20 minutes and then rinse it with warm water.
Products without glycerin
Examples of hair products that do not contain glycerin:
- Kinky Curly Curling Custard
- As I Am Coconut Co-wash
- Garnier, Loving Blends Mild Oat Conditioner
Do you use glycerin? Let us know on Instagram! We are also happy to help if you have any questions.