If you have particularly dry, parched hair, “humectant” is a magic word.
Humectants like aloe and honey are holy grail products for many high porosity ladies because of their hydrating properties and the extra shine they give the hair.
But when you live in a humid environment, these much-loved, cult-favorite humectants go from your hair’s best friend to its downfall in a snap.
Humectants and humidity don’t mix, and when you’re not smart with how you use your favorite glycerin or flaxseed products, you could end up with poofy hair.
Luckily, anti-humectants are around to save the day.
I’ll be going into detail about anti-humectants for high porosity hair.
What are anti-humectants?
To get a good grasp of anti-humectants, we need first to understand what humectants are.
We hear it a lot when we talk about hydration, from hyaluronic acid in skincare to aloe vera for the hair.
Other popular hair humectants include glycerin, sorbitol, honey, and flaxseed.
Humectants are excellent hydrators because they absorb moisture from the air and into the hair.
This is well and good for dehydrated locks, but if you live in a humid environment with lots of moisture in the air, the humectants’ absorption can quickly spiral out of control.
Too much moisture will force your hair cuticles to expand and swell, making your curls look poofy, frizzy, and devoid of any definition.
Anti-humectants are the complete opposite of that.
They’re moisturizers as well, but they seal in hydration and block excess water from being absorbed into the hair.
Because it closes up your hair shaft, it eliminates frizz, keeping the hair sleek and put together.
Some of the most popular anti-humectants come in the form of rich, nourishing oils, such as shea butter, beeswax, and coconut oil.
These fight frizz in hot, humid weather, and more importantly, they block moisture from escaping your porous hair.
What is high porosity hair?
High porosity hair means that your cuticles have spaces in between them, leaving your hair shaft full of gaps.
These gaps act like pores in a sponge – they allow easy entry of moisture and oils into the hair, but just as quickly releases them too, making it very hard for highly porous hair to retain moisture.
This kind of porosity in hair is more often than not a side effect of abusing your hair with frequent chemical processes like relaxers, bleach, and dyes.
Styling with hot tools regularly can also affect your hair porosity and lift your cuticles, making it more challenging for them to stay moisturized.
Simply put, high porosity hair needs a lot of moisture.
That’s why humectants are a godsend for porous hair.
But if you use and abuse humectants without understanding when you should switch things up to an anti-humectant instead, you’re just setting yourself up for failure.
At what point do you use anti-humectants on high porosity hair?
You should use an anti-humectant to keep your hair moisturized if you’re going to a humid area, or a place high in water vapor in the air.
You always have to anticipate how your highly porous hair will react to different weather.
Look out for cities with high dew points – that means it’s extra humid there.
You can use your trusty weather app on your phone to see what the dew points are in various areas.
If the dew point is anywhere from 35-50°F, it’s safe to use humectants.
But if the dew point is anywhere below that or goes up to around 60°F, you should be using anti-humectants because it’s either extremely dry (your hair will have nothing to absorb) or very humid (you risk over-moisturizing the hair).
A good rule of thumb to follow is to use anti-humectants in hot, sweaty weather and humectants for cool and dry places.
If you use anti-humectants in super cool and dry weather, you could leave your hair brittle and straw-like.
Use your anti-humectants at the end of your hair care routine.
Because it’s a sealant, it should be the last thing you massage into your hair so that all your hydrating, conditioning products stay locked in your tresses.
What types of anti-humectants are there?
Even if we don’t know it, many familiar everyday ingredients in our hair products are anti-humectants.
Anti-humectants for high porosity hair range from natural, organic oils and butters to science-based compounds and copolymers.
Let’s start with the ingredients that are au naturel.
Many of our favorite rich, thick, deeply nourishing hair oils are anti-humectants because they make great sealants.
These include coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, and shea butter.
High porosity hair generally loves these oils because of the moisturization, shine, and curl definition they provide; but they’re ten times more powerful and useful when they’re pit against humidity.
These oils are fantastic at fighting humidity because they produce a protective coating around the hair shaft, prohibiting any excess moisture from coming into the cuticle to make it expand and look poofy.
You can use these oils and butters in their pure form when finishing up your hair care routine before heading outside in the summertime.
But if you haven’t quite mastered the art of using oils on your hair, you can just watch out for those ingredients in finishing serums, moisturizing creams, and gels.
Apart from these organic oils, there are also a bunch of anti-humectants that come in other forms.
These include polymers like silicones and esters, or more unique natural occlusives like beeswax or triglycerides from plants.
I know what you’re thinking.
Silicones are bad for the hair! Right?
Well, not exactly.
Silicones, like most polymers in hair products, actually do a great job sealing in moisture in the hair by creating a protective layer around the hair strand.
It also keeps your hair from frizzing up, especially when it’s hot and humid.
The issue with these non-oil forms of anti-humectants is that they may be too thick and weigh your hair down.
They could also build up on your scalp and hair, giving you a tough time washing them out unless you use a heavy-duty clarifying shampoo.
If you follow the Curly Girl Method and have vowed never to use silicones, don’t sweat it.
You can always opt for more natural anti-humectant ingredients, like olive and coconut oils or even beeswax.
Commercial anti-humectants for high porosity hair
If you’re uncomfortable using pure, rich oils on your hair, you can opt for thoughtfully designed hair care products that contain anti-humectants instead.
Here are some of the best hair products that contain anti-humectants that fend off the effects of humidity:
Aveda Brilliant Anti-Humectant Pomade
This Aveda pomade is excellent for hair perfectionists who love seeing their meticulously styled hair go a long way, even in hot and humid weather.
This pomade contains anti-humectants like castor oil and rice brail oil that seals the hair, repelling moisture from entering the hair shaft.
They keep the hair tame because it doesn’t get an excessive amount of hydration, so you won’t see any frizz or flyaways.
The formula has a satiny texture that is easy to work into the hair during styling.
It also gives the hair a natural, satin luminosity for a polished look.
It’s great because even if it’s an oil-rich pomade, it never leaves the hair looking or feeling greasy or oily.
- Castor and rice bran oils repel moisture from your hair
- Tames hair, preventing frizz and distracting flyaways
- Has a satiny texture that is easy to massage into the hair
- Gives hair a natural shine for a polished look
- It’s difficult to wash out of the hair with regular shampoo
Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel
Taking a trip to an area with less than favorable weather?
Don’t let the climate stop you from rocking sleek curls.
Take back control of your locks with Ouidad’s gel designed specifically for heat and humidity.
This gel is designed using anti-frizz nanotechnology that uses silk-derived proteins to seal the hair shaft, prohibiting it from drinking up too much moisture from the air.
Because this technology locks out humidity, you don’t have to battle it out with frizzy, poofy hair.
The gel offers flexible hold, so your curls stay defined without the crunch.
Instead, your ringlets and waves can still be touchable and silky soft.
- Locks out humidity so that you don’t have to deal with frizz
- Silk proteins seal the hair shaft while making it more resilient
- Flexible hold so your hair is still soft and touchable
- Defines your curls without leaving them stiff or crunchy
- Provides UV and heat damage protection under the sun
- Doesn’t provide enough hold for kinky, coily hair
John Frieda Frizz Ease Extra Strength Serum
Thick, coarse, coily hair can be very challenging to care for when you’re battling frizz.
One of my favorite ways to care for super curly hair is by moisturizing it with this heavy-duty John Frieda serum.
This serum is formulated with a unique blend of silicones that create a barrier on your hair so that no extra moisture is absorbed from the air to make it swell and look poofier.
It also contains silk proteins and algae extracts to strengthen the hair and add a bit more healthy hydration.
The product lends a hand in giving your curls some definition.
It’s a great way to give your hair some shine and keep full-bodied coils in check so that frizz and dullness don’t stand in your way of looking good and feeling great.
- Silicones, silk proteins, and algae extract keep hair moisturized
- Perfect for keeping thick, coarse hair in check
- Leaves your curls looking glossy and silky smooth
- Eliminates frizz
- Is quite heavy and can weigh down the hair
Aveda Smooth Infusion Style-Prep Smoother
High porosity hair needs both moisture and strengthening.
Luckily, this Aveda prep smoother provides both, all while fighting off humidity for up to 12 hours after application to keep your hair sleek, smooth, and frizz-free.
This smoother is perfect as a prep product before you go in to style your hair.
It contains aloe, maize, and guar bean to give your parched hair the hydration it needs.
These three also work to make your hair silky smooth to the touch, creating a good base before you style it.
It contains hydrolyzed wheat proteins that can fortify your hair and help repair it.
The protein also gives added heat protection before you style your locks with hot tools.
The formula is 92% naturally-derived and doesn’t contain harsh ingredients like parabens, mineral oils, petrolatum, and formaldehyde.
- Contains aloe, maize, and guar bean to hydrate the hair
- Fights off humidity for up to 12 hours
- Makes the hair a lot softer and more manageable for styling
- Wheat proteins protect the hair from heat damage
- Doesn’t contain parabens, mineral oils, and petrolatum
- Can leave behind some crunchiness in your locks
Got2b Rise N Shine Glistening Full Blow Dry Cream
No beach trip is complete without sexy, voluminous waves that make you look like a star.
So before blowing out your locks to get that big hair you love, make sure you prep properly with this blow dry cream from Got2b.
This cream contains castor oil and a great combination of various copolymers that fight humidity.
It’s tricky getting voluminous hair as it is, and humidity can ruin it in a second, which is why these anti-humectants are terrific for you.
It lifts your locks to give your hair more body and fullness without you having to worry about heaviness and poofiness.
This cream also provides heat protection, which is why it’s awesome as a pre-heat styling product.
It also protects your hair from static – another devil that causes frizz and poofiness.
- Castor oil and a combo of copolymers fight humidity
- Gives your hair incredible volume and luminosity
- Practically weightless and doesn’t leave your head feeling greasy
- Protects your hair from heat and static
- The scent can be too strong for some users
I hope this was a useful read about anti-humectants for high porosity hair.
From personal experience, I know that thick, bodied hair doesn’t do well at all in humid weather, and having highly porous strands is just the cherry on top to make it an absolute disaster.
You want to keep your hair hydrated and moisturized, but not to the point of overdoing it.
Anti-humectants are just what you need to find the sweet spot between flat, dry hair and poofy, frizzy hair from an overdose of humectants.
So next time you’re going on a tropical getaway or when you notice your hair getting a bit bigger than usual during the summer months, try out one of these anti-humectants.
I guarantee they’ll be a lifesaver for your gorgeous curls.