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How to Use Glycerine Effectively in Winter

Avatar • Jan 2, 2013

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By Jc of The Natural Haven Bloom

For some, hair will always have a love hate relationship with humectants such as glycerine especially when the air is drier as happens in winter. There is no doubt about it, it can be very tricky to get the best result from glycerine even with ideal humidity. However, there are tiny little tweaks that can turn that frustration into a good result. Here are my tips:

1. Choose steam over direct water

Glycerine is very small in size and very soluble in water. Wetting hair is not the best way to help bind water to glycerine, more often than not, you will end up with damp hair and some of the glycerine that you want to stay on the surface of the hair will be washed away. Glycerine is very effective in high humidity (i.e where a large amount of water is in the air). Steam is humid air and will act to help the glycerine attach to water without necessarily wetting the hair. You do not need a steamer to do this. You can simply shower with your hair uncovered and let that steam work. At the gym, some yoga sessions are done at higher temperature and humidity and many will also have a steam sauna which you could use as well.  Do note that if you are wearing a curly style or a set style (knot out/twist out), the combination of glycerine with steam is likely to cause frizz.

2. Cover your hair outside, Choose Compact Styles

In keeping with the principle of using humidity to keep glycerine bound to water, a simple step such as covering your hair with a hat, hood or scarf when going outside will make a remarkable difference to any humectant on hair. The hat acts as a barrier to the outside drier air.

Air conditioning in cars as well as many office buildings can also dry out the air. Keeping your hair in a compact style such as a bun (including putting twists/braids into a bun) will help to maintain humidity.

3. Use glycerine in a rinse out or deep conditioner instead of a leave in

If you are finding it difficult to use glycerine in a leave in conditioner, you can use it instead in a hair conditioner that you intend to rinse out. With frequent use , cowashing daily or every other day for example, your hair will maintain a high enough moisture level to allow the glycerine to work well.  In principle, glycerine as a humectant will work best in leave in product rather than a rinse out but it is always best to respect your hair first and make adjustments to suit.

Side note :  Don’t forget the oil

Although this article is about glycerine, it should be said that oil is an essential part in a moisturising routine. Once you have steamed up the glycerine in your leave in, do not forget to use a small amount of oil of your choice. This little layer will much like a hat or scarf, serve as a barrier to keep water on the surface of hair from evaporating.

Ladies, do you use glycerine in the winter time? What is your strategy?

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Beya
Beya
7 years ago

I’m definitely going to try glycerin.…. It’s something i’ve debated on using, but wasn’t sure. I also had to check on it’s availability since there are a lot of things that I would like to try that aren’t here! I have the hardest time maintaining moisture here. The constant sun and all the salt in the air makes my hair SO dry.….I think it would be great to at least try!

S. Amy L.
S. Amy L.
7 years ago

I haven’t used glycerine for my hair before. I have thought about it though and because it has the same consistency as castor oil I wondered if there is any benefit to using both?
I want to try it though. I find that it is readily available here in Zambia :)must remember to use an oil too. Thanks!

OHR
OHR
7 years ago

When I choose to use a glycerine product, I always seal with a light oil too. I’ve never had dried out hair in wintertime. There is a trick to using it.

Kayla
Kayla
7 years ago

I love aloe vera juice (another humectant if I’m not mistaken) in the summer but it really dried my hair out during this windy Maryland winter. Now I only use it when I DC once a week and as a braid spray (with oils mixed in) when I do protective styles and it works great.

anastasia
anastasia
7 years ago

This was so right on time! Thanks JC =D

Michelle@Radiant Brown Beauty

Thanks for sharing. I don’t have problems with moisture retention but my daughter does so I purchased some glycerin and didn’t know what to do with it ha ha

I put it in a water bottle…clearly not recommended. So, I will now apply it with her leave in. That appears to be the easiest way.

Ashley
Ashley
7 years ago

Glycerine is one of the best products. I have 4c hair and I put it in a spray bottle with water and oil and spritz my hair when I need moisture and I don’t feel like doing a conditioner wash. If you spritz your hair with this everyday you will notice a big difference in the moisture level of your hair.

Penelope
Penelope
7 years ago
Reply to  Ashley

I do this but instead of oil I use a water based conditioner (KinkyCurly Knot Today or Giovanni Direct Leave In) plus a few drops of an essential oil (lavender). It’s amazing and I’ve noticed a HUGE difference. My hair is basically always in box braids, so it’s an easy and effective way to moisturize and my hair is super soft when I take the braids out. (My hair is 4a/4b btw.)

Felicia
Felicia
7 years ago
Reply to  Ashley

I was hoping someone would post this routine. This is a great strategy for me in maintaining moisture, as my hair is so thick!

linda dulani
7 years ago
Reply to  Ashley

Hey l like the idea of the spray. Can you please give me the products and ingredients that you put in the spray. Oh and the quantities.
Thanks.

Yoshi
7 years ago

I actually just had an unintentional but great experience with glycerin in one of my hair products. On Thanksgiving weekend I twisted my hair on dry hair with the usual butter and cream mixture. Less than 2 weeks later almost all of my mini twists were unraveling (on a head with mostly 4a hair, an unusual occurrence.) After digging through my hair product arsenal I picked up Shea Moisture’s Coconut and Hibiscus Curling Souffle although I had a previously negative experience using the same product for a different purpose. I re-twisted my hair with this product (one of the few… Read more »

Kahara
Kahara
7 years ago

i’ve never used glycerine but i’m certainly going to try it due to me living in Texas!

Sunflowernbkly
7 years ago

Oyin Handmade makes leave in spritzer that contain glycerine. They work wonderful a few pumps then into the shower and my hair is moisturizer all day. I follow up with a Shea butter mix with jojoba oil and olive oil.

Curly Queen
7 years ago

I’m still confused about glycerin. Not sure how it affects my hair in a good or bad way. I do notice it can leave my hair a little sticky.

mlank64
mlank64
7 years ago

Gycerine is tricky, but I love it. I use it in the winter time and I live in a cold climate state. I have it in a spritz bottle with some grapeseed oil and water. I also use activator gel which has glycerine as its top ingredient. It is very moisturizing for me, but, I do know of some naturals who won’t touch it.

Yvonne
Yvonne
7 years ago

I like to set my hair in perm rods using styler gel. I like to use glycerin (no drip activator)straight after a wash… Does the glycerin prevent the curls setting? It certainly makes my hair soft and malleable. Is it counter productive when setting?

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Healthy Honey Be
6 years ago

I don’t like glycerin. It left my hair sticky, How much do I use because clearly I’m doing something wrong. I mean I see it in my hair products. I need a recipe if anybody can supply one.

Matha
6 years ago

Try NickysOrganichairgrow a great moisturizer for dry hair, you can even try the shampoo to go to Amazon or google NickysOrganichairgrow i been using these products for while so far the best for african American hair. Good luck:)

Tanya Marie
Tanya Marie
5 years ago

so funny that I found this page at this time. A big snow storm was coming a couple of weeks and Coconut oil was on my list. Trader Joe’s was completely out of it and they have the best priced organic in the area. But knew I could manage by using lotion on body so enough for hair. Found in cupboard at home, glyercin and decided to mix coconut oil and glycerin together. I wear sister braids so oil scalp and then sectioned to braid so I have very curly twists next day. After section was oiled I used a… Read more »

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