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Definition: Humectant

Two similar product names with two very different purposes, these pomades from the Aveda Brilliant line reminded me of the reasons to choose a humectant or an anti-humectant based on your hair type and even geographical location.

Humectants are non-oily ingredients that attract moisture from the atmosphere. They pull in and hold water to keep hair (or skin) moist and soft. While hydrating, they also slow down the evaporation of liquid thus can also be found in conditioners meant for dry or damaged hair. Humectants take many common forms from natural (e.g., honey and glycerin) to synthetic (e.g., propylene glycol and glyceryl triacetate) and are particularly effective in dry climates.

Now learn the relationship to anti-humectants when you


Much like humectants help moisturize in dry climates, anti-humectants are rather useful in humid environments. They add shine and definition while helping to tame hair since they naturally repel unwanted moisture from the hair while preventing frizziness and flyaways.

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