Using Glycerin Effectively During Winter


by Emily CottonTop

I have been reading blogs and listening on YouTube and the winter trend is always, put away the products with glycerin because they are a no-no during the cold dry weather. I must admit, I only recently started to listen to these rumors and, as always, I figured there must be another side to this story, because frankly I do not swap out.

What is glycerin?
Glycerin is basically a humectant that can be dissolved in water but not in oil. Its most important property is that it is highly hygroscopic, which means that it absorbs water from the air. For example, if I had a bottle of pure glycerin in my humid kitchen, if after awhile I decided to check the contents of the bottle, I would find that the liquid would be about 80% glycerin and 20% water.

Glycerin and hair
In humid weather, glycerin is wonderful because it basically sucks the moisture out of the air and funnels it into our strands. It’s a heaven sent ingredient for dry hair in humid weather. In not so humid weather, like a  dry, cold ‘winterey’ desert, the theory is that glycerin will instead use the moisture in the hair to sustain its properties, because there is none in the air for it to grab … who wants that?!

So what now?
Some naturals choose to swap out their glycerin-laden products for ones that have little or none! However, based on my research I do not think that is always necessary.

According to, if you have a product that has water as an ingredient along with glycerin, the water will often be enough to hydrate your hair as well as maintain the glycerin, so that it can remain the perfect humectant that it is.

Tips and Tricks
I got this tip from the Oyin website – basically, before you hop into your warm steamy shower, use whatever product that has the glycerin first … so that the heat, steam and moisture from your shower will be readily absorbed by the product, then seal it in with an oil.

To summarize, read the label … if water is in the product along with glycerin, more than likely you will be fine, there is enough water to keep everybody happy … no need to swap out and rearrange! Well not unless you are fussy like that … *wink*



Serendipitously enough Em, shortly after you sent me this post, I came across this article on that also referenced Oyin: Why It’s Okay to Use Glycerin in the Winter! My hair isn’t really a fan of glycerin. It makes it sticky and I find that I don’t need the extra moisture. But, this is great news for those who adore glycerin and feel that they have to put it away in the colder months even though their hair seems to suffer for it! The more you know;)!!

4 responses »

  1. I tried everything and came to the conclusion that my hair doesn’t like glycerin, period. If its the 6th ingredient in a product its OK, but for the most part I have to avoid it.


  2. Pingback: 3 Weeks and Counting « hairscapades

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