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Are oils moisturizing?

When looking for new products on the internet or watching a product review, you can often hear “This ingredient is very moisturizing. That oil penetrates the hair and provides moisture.” But what does that really mean? And can an oil actually be hydrating?

 

1. Etymology

The answer to the questions above is in the word “hydrating” itself. The word is derived from the Greek hýdôr (ὕδωρ) meaning “water”. Technically, oils and all other fatty ingredients cannot hydrate or moisturize, in the sense that they cannot introduce the hair or skin to new molecules of water.

 

2. Moisturization in cosmetology

However, in cosmetology, moisturization can be understood as not the introduction of new moisture but the maintaining of the moisture already present in the hair and the skin over a period of time. That is why petrolatum is considered to be highly moisturizing. It does not technically provide any additional moisture, but it creates a barrier that is strong enough to keep the humidity level of the skin stable for a long period.

 

3. The feeling of moisturized hair

What people usually mean when they talk about moisturized hair is the feeling of hair that is supple and soft, and quite easy to detangle and style. It is in direct opposition to hair that is hard and “crunchie”. Moisturized hair is hair that does not feel like straw and that is simply healthy.

 

This is why we prefer to say that our Desert Serum prolongs hydration. It is strengthening and helps keep the hair moisturized but it does not provide additional moisture. As opposed to our Intense Honey Butter which is both nourishing and moisturizing.

 

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