Humectants have the all-important property of attracting water to the hair – essential for keeping our strands moisturized! They work a lot like magnets, literally attracting water molecules toward the hair and skin via a process called hydrogen bonding.
There’s a wealth of information (and misinformation) surrounding when, where, and how to properly moisturize and hydrate your hair. Original Moxie’s philosophy is that humectants should always be applied to damp or wet hair. Just as you’d apply moisturizer while your skin is still moist from the shower, it’s key to apply humectants to your hair when it’s already wet. When humectants are used in this way they bond with the water on the hair’s surface (or ‘cuticle’) and help it to penetrate into the cortex, where moisture is stored. To assist water in reaching the cortex, we recommend smoothing a humectant downwards along the hair shaft as it’s applied. This technique is known as ‘filling’ and is the first step in ‘Proactive Hydration’ – a hair care approach pioneered by Original Moxie. By filling the hair shaft with water when it’s wet, it achieves an optimal level of moisture during the setting and styling process. Because hair is already fully hydrated (and therefore less prone to humidity-induced frizz) Proactive Hydration reduces concerns over dew point and humidity.
Original Moxie’s humectant ‘par excellence’ is Oasis Moisture Gel, is an intensively hydrating treatment which contains five types of humectants: Glycerin, Sodium Lactate, Aloe Vera, Hydrolyzed Silk Protein, and Panthenol. Because it’s lightweight, oil-free, and sublimely slippery, it slides easily through all hair types and works as a primer for all subsequent styling products.
‘Sealing’–the second step in the Proactive Hydration process–further eliminates frizz and locks moisture inside the hair shaft. Sealing can be achieved with the use of mildly acidic agents, natural proteins, botanical oils and plant-derived waxes. This step works by laying down the scales of the hair cuticle and by forming a water-repellant film on the outside of the hair shaft. As with the filling process, sealants should be smoothed downwards along the hair shaft and applied when the hair is still wet. Which type of sealant will work best for you is largely a factor of your natural moisture level. Dry hair types should look for oils and waxes, such as those found in Twist Mist or Hair Bling. Normal to oily types should seek out protein-based sealants like Mane Tame, which has a low pH and a high percentage of natural proteins.
Want to boost your humectant power even more? Try some Original Moxie stylers such as Sweet Poof or Lux Locks, which add moisture and enhance curl via their powerful humectant properties.
Petroleum derivatives, like mineral oil and liquid paraffin, are another controversial topic in the world of hair care – particularly in natural hair communities! On the surface petroleum derivatives seem like a workable solution to fighting frizz and dryness. After all they’re occlusive, have the ability to enhance curl formation, and are wallet friendly. Unfortunately, there’s a darker side of petroleum derivatives. They’re easy to quickly ‘overdo’ because they’re often high in the ingredient list, difficult to remove from the hair, and offer no nourishing or restorative benefits. Apart from lacking nutritive properties, they create tacky buildup that attracts dirt and dust, dulling the hair as well as blocking nutrients from penetrating. Additionally, petroleum derived ingredients are a nonrenewable resource. Because we’re committed to using green, sustainable practices whenever possible that’s quite a large drawback.
The use of petroleum derivatives creates a cycle of dependency that encourages and exacerbates dryness. Because of their tendency to create build up, petroleum derivatives require more frequent washing which can lead to moisture-induced stress (aka hygral fatigue). This causes loss of protein, natural and artificial color fading, split ends, and breakage. In turn, this creates more frizz driving the need for more frizz fighting.
Essentially petroleum derivatives create a very temporary fix for frizz while offering none of the nourishing benefits that plant derived oils do. Correctly used silicones as well as botanically derived oils are a much better choice of occlusives as they not only create a barrier around the hair shaft but do so in a way that is easy to remove. The added plus of botanically derived oils are the many beneficial components they contain like antioxidants, vitamins, and fatty acids – all essential for maintaining healthy hair.
Although there are some small benefits to petroleum derived ingredients the drawbacks render those benefits negligible. If you’re interested in healthy, frizz free hair petroleum derivatives are not for you. Plant derived oils, and products that contain them, give you wonderful frizz fighting power while also feeding your hair with the good things it needs.
Looking for Original Moxie products with amazing moisturizing, sealing, frizz fighting power? Try Emollience or Twist Mist!
Looking for an Original Moxie routine that helps to banish the winter ‘blahs’? Try this:
1) Treat with Emollience Pre-treatment, which penetrates the cuticle to restore your hair’s lipid balance.
2) Cleanse with Get Fresh and Get Clean, sulfate-free shampoos which contain gentle surfactants which are effective at removing silicones but won’t strip hair of it’s natural oils.
3) Deep condition with Intense Quench, containing a rich blend of natural oils, butters and humecetants, and a small percentage of silicone.
4) Moisturize with Everyday Leave-in, another miracle product that features silicone in a supporting role.
5) Seal with Twist Mist or Hair Bling, both of which are 100% natural and silicone free.
Now that Winter is fully upon us many of us have begun changing our routines and hair care products to better preserve precious moisture. The dry winter air wreaks havoc on our hair by making it more difficult to retain moisture. Unfortunately, some commonly used ‘moisturizers’ and ‘sealers’ actually exacerbate dryness and frizz! Two of the main culprits are petroleum derivatives like mineral oil & liquid paraffins and the overuse of silicones. In this post we’ll focus on the ever controversial silicones. Next week we’ll tackle petroleum derivatives as well as the super helpful group of substances known as humectants!
Though they often get a bad rap, silicones can, in fact, be quite beneficial, providing they are used correctly. In limited quantities, silicones assist in smoothing the hair, preventing breakage, and preserving moisture. Because silicones are ‘occlusive,’ meaning that they form a barrier on the hair and skin, they also protect the hair from heat styling and retain needed moisture. However, silicone serums or products containing silicone as one of the first ingredients create the illusion of moisture without actually penetrating the hair (hint: beware of anything other than pure oil that is labelled as ‘Argan Oil’). Without a significant amount of natural oils and butters, silicone-based products actually create a cycle of dependency that leaves hair chronically dry and dulled by build up.
Our approach blends small amounts of silicone ingredients with natural oils, waxes and water-based ingredients – it is never used as a stand-alone serum or as a primary ingredient. By using products that contain silicones in a minor, supporting role rather than a starring role, silicone is able to provide its beneficial qualities without resulting in dryness or excess build up. The bottom line? Silicones can be extremely helpful in preserving moisture during the winter months, but must be used in moderation as part of a healthy hair regimen that includes penetrating oils and butters, hydration, gentle cleansing, and deep conditioning.