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Thread: How do humectants work if hair *in reality* is just at the humidity level of the air?

  1. #11
    Obsessive Oilaholic ChloeDharma's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do humectants work if hair *in reality* is just at the humidity level of the

    I saw this video yesterday and also was curious as to how people here would react. What I don't understand from her argument about protein is how it sticking to the cuticle could result in the brittle breaking hair people often report as a sign of protein overload. I know after one time when I did a gelatin treatment my hair was initially lovely but in the following days and weeks the length became incredibly brittle and hard to the point it was snapping off towards the ends particularly. Another time i had honey build up on my ends that also felt incredibly hard but didn't cause actual breakage of the ends, just hardness.
    I'm not saying she's wrong per se, just curious.
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  2. #12
    Member ynne's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do humectants work if hair *in reality* is just at the humidity level of the

    I wonder about the claims about dry hair, mostly. In my limited experience, applied water directly helps with elasticity and bounciness in a way humidity from air doesn't, so I don't know what to make of it. I wish all her sources were freely available, but this one looks like it discusses that feeling when you touch the hair and it feels rough, and not the other benefits from hydration or balancing it:

    It appears that consumers essentially use the words “conditioning” and “moisturizing” interchangeably. In their minds, a rough, course hair feel (presumably the consequence of a degrading cuticle structure) is equated with dryness. It is likely that this belief arises due to an analogy with skin care, where a similar thought process persists. Therefore, this symptom is actually alleviated by lubrication rather than any true mitigation of moisture content. Conventional conditioner products (which are addressed in Chapter 3 of Practical Modern Hair Science) are extremely effective at masking poor feel properties and consequently, in consumer terms, the removal of this “dry” feel is described as “moisturization.”
    As for the rest, environmental humidity is a widely discussed topic when it comes to curly hair, so I'm glad she made that information available for people who wouldn't think to look into that.

  3. #13
    Member Jane99's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do humectants work if hair *in reality* is just at the humidity level of the

    Applying water to hair seems like it could make a microclimate of higher humidity around one’s head. The association I am thinking of is misting plants to increase humidity around the plants during periods of dry air humidity. Going from this, I would think that if one sprays their head with water/misting/hot humid shower air then one’s hair could be more moisturized due to creating a microclimate. I did not watch the video


  4. #14
    Member Finda's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do humectants work if hair *in reality* is just at the humidity level of the

    Quote Originally Posted by Siv View Post
    @Finda: As another non-native speaker I don't know exactly, but my impression is that moisturising products tend to mean: silicones, oils, other emmolients; while hydrating products: humectants. I hope someone else chimes in!
    I haven't known about this distinction but it seems in skin- and haircare it's pretty common. I found this blogentry by labmuffin. Wasn't she quoted in the video? She says in actuality there's no difference in the terminology and that scientists use the terms interchangeably. Instead it would be a better choice to use the concept of oil and water. Super interesting, I totally learned something new about the use of language.
    https://labmuffin.com/hydration-vs-m...he-difference/

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    Lacemaking longhair MusicalSpoons's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do humectants work if hair *in reality* is just at the humidity level of the

    Quote Originally Posted by Finda View Post
    I haven't known about this distinction but it seems in skin- and haircare it's pretty common. I found this blogentry by labmuffin. Wasn't she quoted in the video? She says in actuality there's no difference in the terminology and that scientists use the terms interchangeably. Instead it would be a better choice to use the concept of oil and water. Super interesting, I totally learned something new about the use of language.
    https://labmuffin.com/hydration-vs-m...he-difference/
    Woohoo!

    "Dry skin needs OIL, dehydrated skin needs WATER" This is what I learned when trying to troubleshoot scalp and skin, and what made things click and was the key to sorting out my problems. It is common to use 'dry' for both meanings, but if we make a distinction when we can it makes it simpler and easier for people to understand what we mean.

    And actually, that looks like a fabulous site - I shall have to investigate more! So much of skincare applies to scalp and haircare, so definitely a site relevant to our interests.
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    Member WavyWannabe's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do humectants work if hair *in reality* is just at the humidity level of the

    Quote Originally Posted by Finda View Post
    I haven't known about this distinction but it seems in skin- and haircare it's pretty common. I found this blogentry by labmuffin. Wasn't she quoted in the video? She says in actuality there's no difference in the terminology and that scientists use the terms interchangeably. Instead it would be a better choice to use the concept of oil and water. Super interesting, I totally learned something new about the use of language.
    https://labmuffin.com/hydration-vs-m...he-difference/
    Thanks for sharing! I like written blogs (as opposed to videos), and I love reading stuff about haircare that is more science-based than simply belief- or trend-based
    (Just to clarify, I'm not trying to disparage "traditional" knowledge about haircare or the people who use products and methods that don't necessarily make sense from a purely "science-based" standpoint - do whatever works for you!)
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  7. #17
    Member Finda's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do humectants work if hair *in reality* is just at the humidity level of the

    Quote Originally Posted by MusicalSpoons View Post
    Woohoo!

    "Dry skin needs OIL, dehydrated skin needs WATER" This is what I learned when trying to troubleshoot scalp and skin, and what made things click and was the key to sorting out my problems. It is common to use 'dry' for both meanings, but if we make a distinction when we can it makes it simpler and easier for people to understand what we mean.

    And actually, that looks like a fabulous site - I shall have to investigate more! So much of skincare applies to scalp and haircare, so definitely a site relevant to our interests.
    Quote Originally Posted by WavyWannabe View Post
    Thanks for sharing! I like written blogs (as opposed to videos), and I love reading stuff about haircare that is more science-based than simply belief- or trend-based
    (Just to clarify, I'm not trying to disparage "traditional" knowledge about haircare or the people who use products and methods that don't necessarily make sense from a purely "science-based" standpoint - do whatever works for you!)
    I also think her blog is super interesting. Unless it's about hairstyles or applying make up, I also prefer the written word over a youtube video, becuase I can gauge a lot sooner whether the included information pertains to my question. Also, I can more easily skip the chitchat which often takes up a lot of videos (make up tutorials especially). That being said, I have been watching Dr Dray recently, who was recommended on the tresemme thread. There was this one video, a review of a body lotion, in which she explains beforhand what it takes to moisturize/hydrate skin. And it comes across very well, that it's always a two-step procedure. First you attract moisture to the skin with a humectant and then you seal it with an occlusive. And that's how I would imagine moisturizing/hydrating hair works as well? Though I am definitely not an expert.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cG5Oul1oD5Q (The part I was talking about starts at 1:21)

  8. #18
    Friend of the Semicolon florenonite's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do humectants work if hair *in reality* is just at the humidity level of the

    Quote Originally Posted by Finda View Post
    As a non native english speaker: Is there a difference between to moisturize and to hydrate? Because I always thought they were synonyms.

    I thought the part about the protein interesting. I have been using a conditioner again lately who is high in protein and silicone and I was worried about overload. So far I haven't noticed any unwanted side effects, even though I've been using it twice a week for several weeks (as a last step). When I tried to find information online I also wasn't able to find much. On the Science-y Hair Blog I read the protein can "fill in gaps created by broken cuticles" whereas on lower porosity hair it only coates the surface: https://science-yhairblog.blogspot.c...formation.html
    I asked a hairdresser once about using too much protein and she said they recommended products with a high amount of protein to clients with damaged hair, and that there is no such thing as too much protein (question pertained to shampoo/conditioner/mask, not other protein products).
    So I don't know, but yes, there's definitely not enough evidence based information out there.
    This has been somewhat addressed upthread, but to clarify, they ARE synonyms in general, in that they both just mean you're providing water to something. In haircare and skincare, though, moisturising has taken on a different meaning just to confuse everyone
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  9. #19
    LHC FairyGodMum lapushka's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do humectants work if hair *in reality* is just at the humidity level of the

    Skinwise, I am dry, and always need a sealant or heavy stuff, never water, water *always* dehydrates me, and that has to do with something neat called "transepidermal water loss". I think that's what people mean when they say "dehydrated", that there is that going on in the skin. Makes much more sense to me!

    Hairwise, to me, I don't get specific like that. Never have. I just slap on whatever it is that I get out of my stash, whatever conditioner, whatever mask, and call it a day. I don't analyze things when I don't have to (due to a sensitivity or allergy or something like it). And I like it just fine that way.

    It's nice that someone out of this community is making their own sets of discoveries, but honestly? I really can't be bothered. Is that awful of me?
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  10. #20
    Lacemaking longhair MusicalSpoons's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do humectants work if hair *in reality* is just at the humidity level of the

    Quote Originally Posted by lapushka View Post
    Skinwise, I am dry, and always need a sealant or heavy stuff, never water, water *always* dehydrates me, and that has to do with something neat called "transepidermal water loss". I think that's what people mean when they say "dehydrated", that there is that going on in the skin. Makes much more sense to me!

    Hairwise, to me, I don't get specific like that. Never have. I just slap on whatever it is that I get out of my stash, whatever conditioner, whatever mask, and call it a day. I don't analyze things when I don't have to (due to a sensitivity or allergy or something like it). And I like it just fine that way.

    It's nice that someone out of this community is making their own sets of discoveries, but honestly? I really can't be bothered. Is that awful of me?
    I mean, same, but I can't just slap on moisturiser over dried-out skin. That never worked for me. Having learned that it needs hydration in order to seal some moisture in revolutionised my skincare. I used to wait until I was completely dry after a shower to 'moisturise' and wondered why it never actually helped. Now I know I need to put lotion or cream on before it dehydrates again (so, quickly), and with my hands I put lotion on as soon as I've dried my hands on the towel almost every time I wash them. Otherwise if I wait too long, the skin has dried out and the lotion/cream is a temporary measure but the skin underneath doesn't actually feel any better from it. Also why putting lip balm on chapped lips never helped - they need to be hydrated then put the heavy sealant on top to keep that hydration in, otherwise they never properly hydrate and always feel absolutely awful.

    For skin, I know creams and lotions do have water as the first ingredient but something heavy enough to do the job for me doesn't contain enough water to hydrate the skin in the first place. So rather than needing to use light and more hydrating product then put heavier on top, I just apply a heavier product straight away while still hydrated from washing (body, hands, face, all the same principles).
    Length goal well and truly met, now just seeing how it grows ...
    Picky scalp but easygoing hair, thank goodness

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