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Glycerin Free Hair Products For Humidity

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Glycerin is a common ingredient in many hair products, but for some people, it can wreak havoc on their curls. Because of this, people may opt for glycerin free hair products to help combat the high humidity.

If you’ve read my post on humidity, dew point, and weather styling then you understand why you’re having frizz and struggling with hold. But in case you didn’t read that post, although I strongly encourage you do, I’ll give you a quick little recap.

Glycerin, along with other humectants, is usually what’s causing problems in humid weather. So this is a great time to use styling products that don’t have a high concentration of glycerin or other humectants. It is also great to use anti-humidity ingredients and emollients.

Keep reading to find out my top picks for glycerin free products to style your curls in high humidity.

Why Choose Glycerin Free Products for Curly Hair

When it comes to managing your curly hair, you might be surprised to learn that glycerin free products can be a game-changer for some. Glycerin, a common ingredient in many hair products, is a humectant that attracts and retains moisture. While this can be beneficial for some hair types, it may not suit everyone, especially those living in certain environments or dealing with specific hair concerns.

For those of you living in high humidity or low humidity regions, you may find that glycerin can do more harm than good. In high humidity conditions or on days with high dew points, glycerin can cause your hair to absorb too much moisture from the air, leading to frizz and loss of definition. On the other hand, during the winter months or in dry environments, glycerin might struggle to find enough moisture to retain, leaving your curls parched and prone to breakage.

glycerin free products for curly hair

Understanding Humectants and Their Role in Hair Products

Humectants are substances that play a significant role in hair care products. They work by attracting and retaining moisture from the environment, providing much-needed hydration to your hair. When used correctly, humectants can improve your hair’s softness, elasticity, and overall appearance.

A common humectant found in hair products is glycerin. It can effectively absorb moisture from the air and deliver it to your hair shaft, helping it swell and maintain its shape. However, the effectiveness of glycerin depends on the surrounding humidity and dew points. In areas with high humidity, glycerin might cause your hair to become frizzy and unmanageable. On the other hand, when used in low humidity environments, it can make your hair feel dry and brittle.

To ensure that your hair gets the moisture it needs without the unwanted side effects, it’s essential to understand how humidity and dew points affect the performance of humectants. In simple terms, humidity measures the amount of moisture in the air, while dew points indicate the temperature at which the air reaches saturation and produces condensation.

Here’s a quick breakdown of how different levels of humidity and dew points interact with humectants:

  • Low humidity and low dew points: In this scenario, humectants like glycerin might draw moisture out of your hair instead of adding it, leading to dryness.
  • High humidity and low dew points: If the humidity is high, but the dew points are low, humectants can effectively lock in moisture without causing frizz.
  • High humidity and high dew points: This is when humectants might make your hair frizzy and unmanageable due to excess moisture absorption.

Knowing your area’s humidity levels and dew points can help you make informed decisions about the best hair products to use. If you find that glycerin isn’t working for you, consider trying glycerin-free hair products designed for curly hair. These alternatives may provide the desired moisture without causing frizz or dryness, allowing you to enjoy beautiful, well-hydrated curls.

holding up EVOLVh glycerin free products for curly hair

What is glycerin?

Glycerin is a sugar alcohol and is one of the most popular types of humectants.

It’s so good at encouraging curl and adding moisture, and usually isn’t a problem. But in humid conditions, it might be best to avoid styling products with glycerin and other humectants.

Do you need to totally avoid glycerin?

No. Although some people do better off without glycerin altogether, that’s because it’s an ingredient that isn’t compatible with their hair, whether it’s in shampoo or gel, and regardless of the season or weather conditions. For most people, that isn’t the case and won’t need to have a completely glycerin free routine.

My recommendation is that you focus on the first 5 ingredients in the products you don’t rinse off your hair. So don’t worry about glycerin in your cleanser or conditioner. But do pay attention to it in your leave-in conditioner and styling products. You want products that have lower concentrations of glycerin and other humectants, which means they’ll appear near the bottom half of the ingredients list.

holding up a glycerin free hair product for my curly hair

Glycerin Free Hair Products For Curls

*Because I focus on clean beauty, this list only contains glycerin free hair products that are considered more natural and clean.

Glycerin Free Gels

Glycerin free gels provide strong hold while locking in moisture for soft and bouncy curls. They can be especially helpful in high humidity, as they generally contain humidity-resistant ingredients. I strongly recommend a gel if you want to maintain your style in high humidity.

Curlsmith Hydro Style Flexi Jelly

This lightweight hard hold gel is great for humidity and doesn’t build up. It’s another favorite of mine for the heat and humidity.

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09/21/2023 05:51 am GMT

Giovanni LA Hold Gel

The Giovanni LA Hold gel is very popular because it’s affordable, hard hold, and works really well. In addition to being glycerin free, it contains a few humidity-resistant ingredients and is lightweight when watered down.

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09/21/2023 03:31 pm GMT

Jessicurl Spiralacious Gel

Jessicurl Spiralicious is another popular gel to use in high humidity because it’s hard hold and contains humidity-resistant ingredients.

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09/21/2023 03:46 pm GMT

Biosilk Rock Hard Gelee

This medium to hard hold gel is also pretty popular and has several humidity-resistant ingredients.

BioSilk Rock Hard Gel
$9.28 ($1.55 / Fl Oz)
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09/21/2023 06:36 am GMT

Kinky Curly Curling Custard

KCCC is an easy to find hard hold gel. It is glycerin free but doesn’t contain humidity-resistant ingredients.

Kinky Curly Curl Custard Gel
$22.00 ($2.75 / Ounce)
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09/21/2023 06:47 am GMT

Curls Blueberry Bliss Curl Control Jelly

Although the Blueberry Bliss Control Jelly is glycerin free, it does contain other humectants so keep that in mind if you want humidity protection.

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09/21/2023 06:52 am GMT

Love Ur Curls Irish Sea Moss Gel

If you prefer softer curls and need moisture, this is a great gel that won’t leave you with that crunchy feeling.

LUS Brands Irish Sea Moss Gel
$24.00 ($3.00 / Ounce)

Use code HOLISTICENCHILADA10 to save at LUSbrands.com

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09/21/2023 07:06 am GMT

Glycerin Free Mousses & Foams

For a slightly different styling option, consider a glycerin free mousses. These define and enhance your natural curl pattern and offer a more lightweight hold and natural look.

Brazilian Curly Cocktail Curl Mousse

This is a good styling product to use in high humidity because of the humidity-resistant ingredients.

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09/21/2023 07:22 am GMT

Not Your Mother’s Curl Talk Activating Mousse

This is a hard hold mousse that works really well in high humidity and makes a great single styler.

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09/21/2023 12:36 pm GMT

TreLuxe Soothe & Restore Curl Defining Mousse

This mousse offers a great balance of definition, hold, and volume and it works well in humidity.

TreLuxe Curl Defining Mousse
$23.00

I love this ligthweight mousse for defintion, volume, and hold.

Use code holisticenchilada15 to save from TreLuxe's website.

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Verb Curl Foaming Gel

For a more moisturizing option, go with this mousse. It offers a medium hold, lots of definition, and softness.

VERB Curl Foaming Gel
$20.00 ($2.99 / Fl Oz)
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09/21/2023 06:21 am GMT

Glycerin Free Leave-in Conditioners & Creams

A lightweight leave-in conditioner can help you retain moisture and combat frizz without making your curls feel heavy or greasy. These conditioners are typically packed with natural ingredients to nourish your hair and promote healthy curls.

Jessicurl Confident Coils Styling Solution

This styling cream is great for humidity, full of humidity-resistant ingredients. It provides some hold as well.

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09/21/2023 07:36 am GMT

EVOLVh Super Curl Defining Cream

This curl cream is lightweight and provides a light hold. It also contains protein which is great to help fight humidity.

Top Pick
EVOLVh SuperCurl Defining Cream
$34.00

A defining cream for all wavy and curly hair that adds lightweight moisture and light hold. Works well on its own but style lasts longer when paired with DreamGel.


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EVOLVh Total Control Styling Creme

This lightweight styling cream provides medium hold and texture, making it a great choice for finer or lower density types that need volume.

Top Pick
EVOLVh TotalControl Styling Crème
$34.00 ($4.00 / Fl Oz)

I struggle with creams but this is a styling cream that doesn't offer much moisture. It provides light to medium hold, light texture, and volume. I can use this as a single styler and skip gel.

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09/21/2023 05:12 am GMT

Curlsmith Featherlight Protein Cream

This lightweight cream has protein to help your hair hold its structure in humidity. It also has some hold and humidity-resistant ingredients.

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09/21/2023 02:41 pm GMT

Giovanni Direct Weightless Leave-in

This leave-in is very lightweight but softens the hair well making a great base for your styling products.

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09/21/2023 11:21 am GMT

Kinky Curly Knot Today

KCKC is another popular leave-in that provides great slip and is light enough for most curls.

Top Pick
Kinky-Curly Knot Today Leave In Conditioner
$15.22 ($1.90 / Ounce)

KCKT is a cult favorite because of its great slip for detangling and softening, while not being heavy.

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09/21/2023 04:31 pm GMT

Not Your Mother’s Curl Talk Defining Cream

For a cream that defines and adds some hold, this is a great option.

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09/21/2023 07:46 am GMT

TreLuxe ReFlex Styling Serum

This is a leave-in product that is actually a lightweight serum, making it the perfect option for those who need lightweight, lower moisture products but want extra definition and shine.

TRELUXE Reflex Curl Styling Serum
$19.50

I love this ligthweight serum for extra defintion, shine, and softness.

Use code holisticenchilada15 to save from TreLuxe's website.

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Other Humectants To Look Out For

Remember that glycerin is one of many humectants. Some other popular ones include:

  • honey
  • agave nectar
  • propylene glycols
  • algae extract
  • butylene glycol
  • panthenol
  • sodium PCA

So again, look at the first 5 ingredients and see if there are any humectants. If you see one or more of these, I’d set that product aside until the humidity goes back down, or layer a hard hold anti-humectant product over it.

Download my free Humidity Styling Guide below to help you choose the right products and style correctly in the humidity. In this guide I list all humectants, emollients, and humidity resistant ingredients; recommended products with links; and include a text version of this blog post so you always have the info available to you wherever you are.

Conclusion

When it comes to maintaining your curly hair, glycerin free products (or simply low humectant products) may be a game-changer, especially in humid conditions. Too much moisture absorbed from the air can cause your curls to swell and frizz, making your hair harder to manage. By choosing glycerin free hair products, you can prevent this issue and better enjoy your curls in any weather.

Remember to pay attention to the labels and ingredients list when shopping for hair products. Ditching glycerin is not the only step you can take to keep your curls looking fabulous. Other humectants, like honey and propylene glycol, can also impact how your hair reacts to humidity. Be mindful of these ingredients when selecting products for your specific hair needs.

In conclusion, adapting your hair care routine to include glycerin free products can help you better manage and maintain your curly hair, regardless of the weather. Combine this with other humidity-proofing tips and tricks to fully embrace your curls and their natural beauty.

Sources:

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Glycerin free styling products to humidity-proof curly hair

If you want help with embracing your naturally wavy or curly hair, you can join my FREE email course and download my FREE pdf guide, THE QUICK START GUIDE TO MASTERING YOUR CURLS, full of everything you need to know to get started and bring out your beautiful waves and curls.

curly girl method pdf guide download

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31 Comments

  1. Hi, you say mango butter is both humectant and anti humectant. I checked ingredient list of a few recommended glycerin free products from your list and found that they contain glycerin.

    1. Oops, mango butter is an anti-humectant so that’s a typo. Which products did you find have glycerin? I just checked through them again and I don’t see any.

      1. Briogeo leave-in lists glycerin as ingredient #5… I only clicked through and looked at two products so not sure about others. Very informative post though, thanks for sharing! I live in Houston, TX where it’s ALWAYS humid, so this is an important topic for me!

        1. Yes, I actually have the conditioner linked here not their leave in for that reason 🙂 I’m glad this post was helpful. I struggled with this for so long myself since I live in Florida.

          1. Omg I’m in FL n I’m still struggling w/ frizz. My Low porosity hair is not happy. I’m looking for a curl cream. No protein, no humectants. Grrrr

          2. Hi love this article! But the Briogeo conditioner curl charisma does have glycerin as their #5th ingredient.

          3. Thanks Helen. I just checked and see that too. It definitely didn’t have it before, but companies do reformulate all the time.

        2. Also the Uncle Funky’s Daughter Curly Magic is listed as a glycerin free products but glycerin is literally the second ingredient.

  2. Hi Delilah,
    Two glycerin questions – how do you know / what happens when glycerin is incompatible with your hair? And is vegetable glycerin different than glycerin in the affect on hair (it’s in most of the Shea Moisture products, which I see you kept on this list)? Trying to solve a major hair breakage mystery, thank you!!

    1. ALl glycerin will have the same results on the hair. You’ll notice it’s an issue if you use products with it and you get lots of frizz when you go outside, or if as soon as you apply the product your hair feels different, it turns dry and loses the seaweed feeling. Make sure you’re clarifying with olephin sulfonate to remove product buildup, which often causes breakage.

  3. I find the humectant issue extremely frustrating, due to a lack of available information. It’s easy to quit using a product with, say, glycerin, because we all know it’s a humectant. But I’m still having serious issues with my hair, and most of my products contain botanical ingredients/extracts. Turns out, many of those are humectants as well! And I often can’t find information on the particular ingredient, so sometimes it’s impossible to know for sure. IsitCG doesn’t recognize most of the extracts, so I find myself looking up each ingredient and still can’t always find out what they do.

    1. Yes, it definitely can be tricky navigating all these ingredients. Just takes some experimenting to find what works for you where you live.

  4. Thanks for the list!! My hair is super long right now, and Chicago is 90% humidity every darn day! My go to is LA Looks Wet Look, it works so great in the Winter/Fall (has glycerin). It’s only $4 bucks a bottle. But its not holding because of the humidity. I’ll be experimenting with your techniques and products. Thanks so much!!

  5. Hi, reading the ingredients on Giovanni foam and seems glycerine free – can you please confirm? Also, any other glycerine free foams you recommend?ty.

  6. Hi Delilah, you said that TWIST Weather Up Gel is glycerine free but actually is in the list of ingredients in the 11th position.

  7. So it’s okay to use glycerin and other humectants in your shampoo, deep conditioner and rinse out conditioner because those are all rinsed out? I’ll have to try to see if it makes a difference because I was avoiding glycerin and honey in all my products lol. No wonder my hair is dry and brittle.

  8. I love EvolVh products! I use them for my short chin length Bob. I live in Colorado and surprisingly we have been having humid days! I have oily roots, fine low density white with a little silver streaks. My hair has been changing from wavy to almost straight! My stylist said it does happen as the color changed from blonde to white it got finer and less curl. I actually have the best luck with Aussie max hold mousse as my styler. I wait until almost dry and use my electric curl brush to smooth under and curl at the bottom towards my chin. Looks cheeky on my 78 year old self!

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