It’s no secret that one of the biggest keys to achieving healthy, beautiful hair is keeping your hair hydrated and moisturized. When hair is dry and dehydrated, it lacks the structural integrity needed to hold shape and create the kind of full, bodacious hairstyles we crave. Additionally, when hair is dry, it begins to lift its outer cuticle layer to absorb more moisture, leading to hair that feels rough and bumpy to the touch while looking dull and lifeless due to losing its natural sheen and shine.
While many of us automatically correlate moisturized hair with thick, oily products like a hair oil or a leave-in conditioner with heavy butters and waxes, one underrated class of hair hydrators is the humectants. While oils and butters work as emollients by sealing the cuticle layer to hold in moisture while filling in the bumps and cracks of the cuticle layer, humectants work by penetrating the hair shaft and drawing moisture into the hair strand and causing it to swell. One of the most popular ingredients in this category is glycerin, which is an extremely effective and cheap ingredient for attracting water and moisture into the hair and skin. However, glycerin can be quite sticky and have a negative skin feel, and many hair types react negatively to glycerin in humid climates. Thankfully, a trendy skincare ingredient used for attracting moisture is also quite effective when used in hair, all without the sticky feeling and negative reaction of glycerin. Say hello to hyaluronic acid!
What is Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic acid is known as a natural moisturizing factor (NMF), meaning it is a naturally moisturizing ingredient found within our skin. This sugar molecule is extremely important in maintaining the health and hydration of our skin, from ensuring water is attracted to the epidermis along with keeping it looking supple and smooth. The secret to hyaluronic acid is in how incredibly efficient it is at attracting water, with studies showing that this magic ingredient can absorb up to 1000 times its own weight in water! Much like a sponge, hyaluronic acid pulls a massive amount of moisture from the environment and draws it into your skin, causing it to swell and look supple.
Hyaluronic Acid and Your Hair
So we know how effective hyaluronic acid is for your skin, but what about your hair? Much like with your skin, hyaluronic acid, when applied to the hair, can pull water from the air and draw it into the hair strand, causing it to plump and swell. The result is hair that looks thicker and fuller, allowing for more body and volume. Additionally, hyaluronic acid typically has a high molecular weight, meaning that rather than penetrate the hair strand, the acid molecules coat the outer cuticle layer, allowing water to pass through while sealing the outside and keeping the cuticle smooth.
To use hyaluronic acid on your hair, you can use the same hyaluronic acid product that you use on your skin, applying it to damp hair after shampooing and working it from roots to tips. The result? Hydrated, moisturized hair that looks fuller and healthier!