Humectants: What are they?

glycerin molecular structure

If you read beauty blogs, especially those posts that focus on cosmetic ingredients, you probably have already come across the word humectant. I’ve mentioned it on this blog too and even talked about some of the ingredients in this family. So I thought it was time to briefly explain what humectants are and what they do. Read on:

What are humectants and what do they do?

Widely used in moisturizing products, from face creams to conditioners, humectants are a group of substances called hygroscopic. What does that mean? Simply put, these ingredients have the ability to attract water from the environment and bind it to the upper layers of the skin (and hair too). This way, the moisture content in your skin is increased, providing several benefits: skin is soft, smooth and moisturized, flakiness is reduced and the appearance of dry and damaged skin is overall improved. There are several ingredients that belong to this category but the most famous are Glycerin and Urea.

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