Saturday, May 27, 2017

Humidity-Resistant Hair Styling Products

Updated: April 2024.
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Raindrops on a Monarda

In the last decade or so, the creative folks who make cosmetics ingredients have developed ingredients that withstand high humidity better than some of the older ingredients for providing "hold." They are slowly working their way into products in a variety of brands.

These ingredients are polymers - film-forming, even hold-providing. The performance of the product as a whole is the sum of its parts - so you do want to look for these ingredients if you really need to keep your hair together in high humidity - but keep in mind that just because they're in a product doesn't mean the product will suit your hair or your hairstyle.

What is humidity-resistance? It means a product is less likely to lose it's hold or allow your hair to lose its shape in high humidity as your hair (and the products in your hair) absorb moisture from the air around them. This is tested in the lab by applying a product to locks of hair and placing them in a humidity and temperature-controlled chamber for a period of time - usually many hours. Sometimes the hair is left in its natural state to see how much it expands. Sometimes the hair is intentionally curled to see how well it retains the curl. Good humidity-resistance means the hair doesn't lose it's shape too much, despite very high humidity conditions. That should apply to straightened hair too.

The Ingredients:
  • Polyquaternium-68
  • Polyquaternium-69
  • Polyamide-1 (usually used with another ingredient for hold and humidity-resistance)
  • Polyquaternium-70
  • Polyquaternium-72
  • Polyquaternium-11
  • Polyquaternium-10
  • Polyquaternium-4 
  • Polyquaternium-28
  • PVA/VP Copolymer (particularly in addition to any of the others here, alone it tends to fail in very high humidity over time)
  • Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hydrolyzed Starch / Hydrolyzed Starches - "Modified" starches
  • Polyacrylate-2 Crosspolymer 
  • "Acrylates copolymer" ingredients (often found in hairsprays, but now also in gels and other styling products) such as:
    • VP/DMAPA Acrylates Copolymer
    • "Polyacrylate acid"
    • Polyacrylate-2 Crosspolymer
    • VP/Dimethylaminoethyl Methaceylate Copolymer (VP/DMAEMA) - this is also known as Polyquaternium-11
    • Methacrylic Acid/Sodium Acrylamidomethyl Propane Sulfonate Copolymer

Some Products Containing These Ingredients - as always, double-check the ingredient lists:

Spiking and severe hold
Creams for Styling - Curls or Blow Drying

Gels and Foams with some extra conditioning (conditioners, oils)

Gels with strong or firm hold
Leave-in Conditioners and Primers

  • Verb Ghost Prep (VP/DMAPA Acrylates Copolymer, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Hydrolyzed Quinoa protein)

Lighter products (foam, mousse, lighter gels, spray) for Curls or Blow-Dry


  1. This post is PERFECTION (per usual). Thank you so much! I hope you are having a fabulous weekend. :-)

  2. Thanks for this information.

  3. Why do some products containing some of the ingredients listed dry super hard, but other products that contain some of the same ingredients do not? Ex: Got2be Glued dries rock hard, but Deva Volumizing Foam does not? They both contain the same ingredients (quat 69 or the polymers that make up quat 69). Im looking for something that fights humidity that contains a bunch of polymers but holds better than something with only PVP (currently using LaLooks) and don't know what which of the above ingredients to look for that would put a product in the high range for humidity resistance but between the two for hold. Thanks!

    1. Hello McStacy,
      Good question! The reason some gels dry super-hard and others with similar hold-providing ingredients do not is because of the 1) concentration of the holding ingredient (how much is in there), 2) presence of other ingredients that provide hold, including thickeners, 3) inclusion of ingredients used for keeping the dried product flexible - whether humectants (like glycerin, propylene glycol) or emollients like oils or conditioning ingredients.
      >Got2Be Glued contains Polyquaternium-69 (like Deva Foam), but it also contains Steareth 20 Methacrylate Crosspolymer (for hold), and PVP (for hold). It has sorbitol and panthenol as humectants and PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil for flexibility.
      >Deva Volumizing Foam contains Polyquaternium-69 and Polyamide-1 for humidity-resistance and light hold. That's all. Plus conditioning ingredients and herbal extracts. So it doesn't have a lot of support.

      If you're looking for something with more humidity-resistance than LA Looks, you are looking for super hold, max hold, mega hold, etc. One of the best things you can do it to read reviews of the product online - Ulta, Walgreens,, etc. First, pick a price range to narrow down the product list. There are good products here in all price ranges.
      Then look at the ingredient list. If you see more than 1 holding ingredient (like in the example of Got2Be Glued) - it probably has more hold. OR if that hold ingredient is in the first few ingredients listed.
      Examples for what you want might be Wet LineExtreme Professional gel, LA Looks Nutra Curl, Biosilk Rock Hard Gelee (be careful about the formula you pick, they've been changing formulas), Beyond the Zone Bada Bing. Good luck! -W

    2. Your explanations are genius. Cannot thank you enough!

  4. Thanks once again for another helpful and informative post. I was wondering if kinky curly come clean shampoo will remove all the non-water soluble ingredients and oils in the mentioned gels. I usually pre-poo with coconut oil and apple cider vinegar before shampooing. I have high porosity hair. Also, do you have a recommendation for a protein- free PH balance moisturizing deep conditioner?

    1. Hello Sue,
      Kinky Curly Come Clean should remove oils and silicones, etc. from these products. It may also help remove conditioner residue.
      If you go to the top of the blog and click the tab "Product List By Category," the first list on that page has moisturizing conditioners and those which are protein-free are labeled (but always check the label on the product before buying). Those can be made into deep conditioners simply by leaving them on for more time (from 5 to 30 minutes) and applying heat. Or by adding a little oil to encourage more softness and conditioning. Most of these product will need to be in an appropriate pH range for hair in order to be formulated to keep the preservatives active. Preservatives have a limited pH range in which they are most effective. ~W

  5. Hi Wendy, how much does the order of the humidity resistant ingredient in the ingredients list matter in terms of a products effectiveness? If the humidity resistant ingredients appear toward the end or in the middle, does that necessarily mean the product as a whole won't be as good at combating humidity?

    1. Hello Megan,
      It totally depends on the ingredient. Some of these ingredients are active when they are present in fairly small amounts and will be listed near the end of the ingredient list. Others need to be present in higher concentrations.

      If you were comparing the *same ingredient in 2 different products* and you had reason to suspect there was less in one than the other, you might choose the one in which it seems higher. But that can be difficult to predict by looking at an ingredient list because we don't know how much (what %) of everything else is in there. A good compromise is to read reviews and see what people are saying about a product. Especially reviews which were written during the season which you want the product for. For example, pay attention to the reviews written during summer when it's more humid. Or if a reviewer says they're from Southern Florida, St. Louis or Louisiana - they really know humidity.

  6. Love the explanations you provide!
    Thank you so very much for all the wonderful information. It's nice to understand how and why different hair can & will behave.
    I'm looking for a SUPER strong holding gel...preferably without glycerin...the humidity now is draining the moisture out of my hair...I use top quality conditioners and try to avoid sulfates and silicones.
    Thank you

  7. Hey Wendy,
    I was wondering if you might be able to give me some advice on preserving my curly hair overnight? I'll describe what I do: I use a satin pillow case and I 'pineapple' my hair, but it still gets very tangled, especially in the 'under' part of my hair. I have dense high porosity hair that is fine and tends to be very dry and tangly as it is, but especially when I sleep on it. I've started to do prewash oil treatments with coconut oil and it's been good on wash days and I use a protein-containing conditioner and sometimes I deep condition, but deep conditioning makes my hair frizzy if I overdo it. The thing I do know about my routine is that I'm lacking in any lubricating products as of right now, but I plan on buying the Devacurl Heaven In Hair product to help with this. I hope that's enough information to illustrate my circumstances. Do you think you know what the problem might be? Thanks for reading.

    1. Hello Rain Storm,
      Other people can answer this better than I. But from an analytical point of view, you might be sabotaging your results by pulling your hair up if it's getting tangled by forcing the fibers in a direction they don't normally lie most of the time (while you are awake).
      Another thought is that you might try providing your hair a second layer of defense against the pillowcase. Right now, it's the weight of your head against smooth pillowcase - there is still friction, just less. If you wore a silky scarf or cap over your pineapple (or one of those UV buffs), on top of the smooth satin pillowcase - there might be less friction for your hair because it can slide around more.

      If you're using strong-hold gels, those can be kind of friction-y overnight and require the addition of a product to provide some flexibility and lubrication for hair. A hydrating spray (water with conditioning ingredients) or a bit of leave-in conditioner might work. Some products are tangly in some people's hair and desperately need that additional measure of flexibility so the product doesn't become brittle and cause the hair to lose it's curl structure overnight.
      I hope that helps. -W

  8. Have you looking into the performance of these Living Proof products that have this patented polymer they use in high amounts in their products? Curious on your thoughts on the performance and their claims about it being better than silicones and such.

    1. Hello Patrick,
      Living Proof's "active ingredient," octafluoropentyl methacrylate is a polymer. The acrylates polymers tend to be resistant to failure in humidity, and they tend to form films - which is an advantage for providing humidity-resistance. In this case, the hair would have a product containing the polymer coating the hair strands to help resist the movement of water into the hair from humid air. In as much as it is included in shampoo and conditioner, one might assume the ingredient is also substantive (bonds to hair).
      Silicones can spread over hair and provide lubrication (one thing cosmetic and physical attribute which helps counter the effects of humidity on hair) and perhaps slow down movement of water into the hair through their occlusive nature, but because silicone by itself (like dimethicone) is not a polymer that is film-forming, it doesn't prevent hair from soaking up a lot of moisture from the air.
      Whether one considers that better or not depends on how the formula as a whole performs in one's hair.

    2. Thanks for your response, Wendy, that makes sense. Another question if you don't mind. With many of these products that have "hold" my issue with pretty much everything I have tried is that they contain too much water and take too long to dry. As the product is drying my hairstyle keeps moving. There are hairsprays that contain a greater proportion of alcohol in them to make them set faster, but the application and styling process working with hairspray over some sort of goop, or paste has downsides. For example, spraying and combing hairspray gives a very greasy look. Low water products usually contain wax, or kaolin, or something that doesn't "dry" and in humidity feels sticky. Do you know of any "hold" products that are formulated with less water, and/or very fast setting?

    3. You're pretty much stuck with waxes and pomades for low-water styling products. There are more new things called pastes, puttys, molding products that might suit better, but they're more likely to be greasy if you use a lot. If you've applied a gel or something water-based, you can always use a towel or some sort of cloth and squeeze out excess moisture to speed up drying. We've moved away from setting products which contain alcohol because people find that drying and customers want alcohol-free products.
      Products like Paul Mitchell Round Trip are designed to be fast-drying, but it doesn't provide lots of hold. It is starch-based.

    4. It's a shame there is an aversion to alcohol in products, because my experience says they work better. How about formulating products with cyclosiloxane rather than alcohol so you can still have the "alcohol-free" claim? I don't know what the speed of evaporation of that stuff is compared with water, however.

    5. That would not be quite the same, alcohol evaporates very quickly. Cyclopentasiloxane is slower to evaporate and used more to help other ingredients spread easily.

  9. Hello Wendy,
    Thank you so much for this valuable information!
    I live in a tropical climate with dew point above 60°F-70°F almost all year long... I thought I should avoid humectants as much as I can, but now I understand that it actually depends on the formula as a whole, right?

    Ouidad VitalCurl Tress Effects styling gel for example has glycerin as the main ingredient, but also PQ-11 and PQ-10 and it seems to work better than other products I've tried.

    BTW Ouidad Climate Control gel contains PQ-28 (not the latest formula) which isn't on the list. Should it be? For me it was less effective against high humidity...

    Thanks again for your time! :-)

    1. Hello Rotem,

      There is no "applies to all situations" rule about humectants in styling products. You're right - it depends on the formula as a whole, and also whatever else is in your hair. Polyquaternium-28 is not quite the same kind of ingredient - but the new formula Climate Control is rather different than the old formula.

  10. Hi Wendy,

    I think I commented earlier, but I'm not sure if I accidentally deleted it *facepalm.* If I did not, sorry for the redundancy! In the original comment I asked if mineral oil/petrolatum (since more waxy) prevents the conditioning agents and vegetable oils in other products from accessing the cuticle layer. Do you think layering with film forming/occlusive ingredients like mineral oil and silicones under other products is self-defeating? I know that it allows some water to permeate (but not a lot) through but maybe its undermining my re-moisturizing attempts (I can't tell just yet).

    And my other question concerned applying oils like coconut or olive to wet hair as leave ins. Do you think that as water evaporates from the hair, these oils gain more access to the cortex or will they maintain equilibrium in the outermost cuticle layer of the hair? I don't see why not but I'm not sure.

    As always, thank you so much!

    1. Hello Coily Classic,
      Mineral oil and petrolatum might have that effect - it is occlusive - so it keeps water and water-soluble ingredients out. But if it's a product with, maybe 4% mineral oil or 1% mineral oil, then that is thoroughly dispersed throughout the product and not forming a totally occlusive layer - so some water-based "things" can still get through.

      Wow - great question about the coconut/olive oil applied to wet vs. dry hair. Some people have a distinct preference for oil applied to wet hair, some for oil on dry hair. I'm not sure I'll answer this satisfactorily. I'll type and think instead.
      - Oil on wet hair is applied to hair which is more flexible - because it's wet. Often hair retains more flexibility with wet-hair application. That tends to make my thin hair flat - works great for thick hair.
      - Coconut oil has polarity - so it is attracted to the proteins in hair regardless of wetness. Actually - the medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil have polarity, the rest acts like any other oil and is repelled by water.
      - Oil is repelled by water, so one would expect the oil to have more access to the cuticles and areas beneath them more as the hair dries. That's probably a "yes" to your question.
      - Oil slows water loss, keeping hair hydrated longer. So oil on wet hair might feel softer or more flexible longer.
      I hope that helps! -W

  11. Hi!

    I have coarse, porous, natural hair with kinking and tiny curls (4b/4c for easy reference) and I'm looking to find a way to create a nice rollerset (either flexirods or perm rods). The relative humidity in my region is fairly high in the mornings and evenings. Would following my moisturizing routine (LOC using products full of film-forming humectants and fatty alcohols) with Kenra Curl Glaze Mousse be enough to set the style on flexirods or perm rods? Or would I need something heavier? Typically my hair is difficult to make straight when it comes to roller sets/twistouts/etc, thanks to the kinking, but I was thinking of using both Kenra Curl Glaze Mousse and the Lottabody Setting Lotion together, for extra strength... would that be pointless? Or is there a better way to set abruptly kinking, dry hair, like using the Kenra Mousse followed by gel? Thank you in advance.

    1. Hello Selah,
      I think you could pick either the Kenra Mousse or Lottabody Setting Lotion (or one of the Lottabody foams if you're not sure how much to dilute the liquid concentrate). Using both together might give you some flakiness or residue.
      Both products use Polyquaternium-11 for "hold" and humidity resistance. Kenra mousse adds Polyimide-1, another ingredient for humidity-resistance. So the Kenra might have better humidity resistance.

      Other possibilities that you should be able to get "on the ground" and inexpensively are things like Tresemme Flawless curls (Polyquaternium-11, Polyquaternium-4, and PVA/VP Copolymer), the Wet Line Xtreme gel (acrylates copolymers are great for humidity-resistance).

      I think you probably could use a gel over a mousse - but you can definitely get sticky hair or product interactions - mix them in your hand and watch for reactions before putting new combinations in your hair.

      One tried-and-true remedy for high morning and evening humidity is to wear a scarf or otherwise cover your hair in the most humid hours when you are outside, especially if you're not out for a long time. If it's very dewy or foggy - even extremely humidity-resistant products will have a hard time.
      Good luck! -W

  12. hi,i`ve read that polyquats are hard to get out of hair.that some of them even wont out with strong sulfates.what are thoughts about it?

    1. Hello JC,
      I have a post about ingredients (and products) which remove polyquat residue from hair. You'll probably have to copy and paste this link:
      Good luck! -W

  13. Hi, Wendy! I hope all is well. After hopping merrily along using the same two products on my daughters hair for her wash n go, I've recently made a change: I have begun using an "ol reliable conditioner that I used to use a while ago, but stopped because it--GASP!-- contains a silicone (bis-aminopropyl dimethicone). I've made the switch because my 4 year old daughter has the attention span of a I need to speed up the detangling process and therefore need a conditioner with more "slip" and...enter Aussie Moist.

    My concern, though, is that I adequately remove this conditioner often enough so as to ensure moisture continues to get in.

    So, my question to you is this: Can I get away with co-washing my daughter's hair weekly with Aussie Moist...and then clarifying, say, every 2nd or 3rd wash with Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle shampoo? And, by the way, the gel we still use is Wetline Xtreme...

    Here are the ingredients of Trader Joe's TTT Shampoo and Aussie Moist:
    Shampoo: Aqua (purified water) with *melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) leaf, *mentha piperita (peppermint), *eucalyptus globulus (eucalyptus) leaf, *rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf, *urtica dioica (nettle), *thymus vulgaris (thyme), betula alba (birch bark), anthemis nobilis (chamomile),
    salvia sclarea (clary sage), lavandula angustifolia (lavender), *tussilago fargara (coltsfoot), *achillea millefolium (yarrow), *malva sylvestris (mallow), *equisetum arvense (horsetail), *glycine soja (soybean) protein, sodium C12-14 olefin sulfonate, cocamidopropyl betaine, Tocopherol (vitamin E), citric acid, phenoxyethanol, sodium chloride, *citrus grandis (grapefruit) *organic

    Conditioner: Water, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Glutamic Acid, Fragrance, Bis-Aminopropyl Dimethicone, Benzyl Alcohol, EDTA, Citric Acid, Sodium Chloride, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Ecklonia Radiata Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone

    Thank you, as always, for your time and expertise!!

    1. Hi Courtney!
      Bis-amino dimethicone is one of those silicones that isn't exactly a silicone any more. It's a conditioning ingredient, and just like conditioning ingredients (like Behentrimonium chloride) are often made from canola oil, this one is made from a silicone oil. It is meant to bond where there are concentrated negative charges - like a chipped cuticle edge, but otherwise rinse off. That's where the not-so-old marketing strategy of saying conditioners are "self-adjusting" or only condition where they are needed comes from. Silicones not modified this way have to spread over the hair and hang on, like any oil.
      The take-home message is that it's not supposed to accumulate on top of itself, and it should be as wash-able as any other conditioner, especially with a formula like Trader Joe's Tea Tree shampoo.

      You'll know whether it's becoming a problem by how her hair behaves. If it becomes "wilt-y" or too soft and stretchy, static-y, then it may be over-softened. But if I recall correctly, that is easy to manage by diluting the conditioner or using a bit less wherever you can, and using a shampoo to remove conditioner residue. I used to use Aussie Moist for my "pool hair." Sometimes I'd over-do it and use too much, but that would wash out the next wash, for the most part.

      I'm glad Wetline Xtreme is still a hit! Stay warm and I hope you're enjoying the holiday season. -Wendy

    2. Okay...where do I start? I think I'm at the point now where it sounds disingenuous when I express my gratitude to you, when, like, in reality, I would bow before you if I were in your presence. THANK YOU so much, Wendy.

      In the coming weeks, I plan to record a YouTube video detailing Kennedy's regimen, and the main point of every video I record is not only to be honest and forthcoming...but also thoroughly explain WHY I use what I use...

      Would it be okay if I share your reply above -- giving you full credit, of course -- AND also link to your blog in the description box of my video?

    3. Hi Courtney,
      That's fine with me if you would like to share my response - especially if you think it makes sense to describe things that way.
      I think it's great to have YouTube for hair! Sharing your daughter's routine will be helpful for lots of other people - especially when you explain why you use things. I am genuinely grateful to everybody who shares hair videos on YouTube, it's so much easier to learn how to handle hair when you have access to a huge community of creative people.
      I saw your Yoga video with your daughter on Facebook and it is so cute! She really is your mini me. :)
      Best wishes - Wendy

    4. Thank you so very much!!! For your insight AND kind words. <3 I'll take some time over the holiday to gather my thoughts/products and I will most definitely let you know when my video has been uploaded.

      Happy Holidays to you and your family!

  14. Hi, Wendy!

    I hope this note finds your well. I wanted to let you know that I *just*--as in a few minutes ago--uploaded a review of my four favorite gels to Youtube, and in it, I mention your glorious glycerin post (and I also link to it in the video's description box). Here's the direct link to the video:

    And here it is linked from my blog:

    I still plan to share your Bis-amino dimethicone reply (above) regarding Aussie Moist when I record my video on Kennedy's hair regimen. (Hopefully I'll be able to get that done when the kids are on winter break in a few weeks...)

    Thank you, again, for your expertise!! Please let me know that this message has reached you!


    1. Hi Courtney!
      Great video. Lots of descriptive info. That is the biggest tub of Ecostyler I have ever seen! Wow. Best wishes - Wendy

  15. Hi Wendy, hope you are well. Thanks for all the hard work you put into this blog, it has been so useful for me. I have a question about dew points & humidity. Nothing I read seems to be relevant to what we experience in London UK winters: low dews, high humidity. Cold & damp! -1 to 2C dews and 85-95% humidity on fine days. What is more important: dew point or humidity? Everything I read says look at the dews, but that seems to assume it’s dry in low dews. Trial & error would suggest that for my low po, fine hair, it’s the humidity that matters: can’t use glycerin, the combo of Curl Keeper + KCCC seems to work. But still frizzy by end of day. Nonetheless am interested in the theory! I’d love to understand a more science based view. Thanks in advance, Elisa

    1. Hello Elisa,
      In the exact scenario you describe, the relative humidity (85-95%) is more important. You have your dewpoint, which is on the lower side at -1°C (30°F). But the important thing here is that high relative humidity. Relative humidity relates to the dewpoint. It answers the question, "Is this air saturated with water or not?" In the case of 85-95% relative humidity, it's pretty heavily saturated with water. Which means more water in the air to un-do your hairstyle.
      Whenever the air is that heavily saturated with water, it's probably either raining or foggy. And you know those are very important for hair.
      Low porosity hair does soak up moisture in humid weather. And the products you mentioned really love to soak up water from the air - that is part of their undoing. :( I actually have a blog post near completion about this very subject (low porosity hair and humidity). When I find the time, I'll finish it. Best wishes - Wendy

  16. Hi Wendy. First of all I would like to start with showing my appreciation for all the work you put in this blog and all the useful information I got from it. Your blog has been a live changer for me and my hair!!!! I started going CG friendly about 2 years ago, but nothing seemed to work for me. I started becoming a product junkie, without even knowing what the ingrediënts meant and without knowing what my hair needed. I did my hair more wrong than good and my hair kept breaking of and would never seem to be strong and bouncy. It has has only been since a few months that I started growing stronger and healthy hair because I have come to understand what my hair needed, and this all thanks to your blog!!!!
    This aside, I have a question about a hair product that many curly hair gurus seem to appreciate because of it's good hold and frizz control. This is the Curl Keeper original. I got a sample of it, but I have some doubts about the ingrediënts. I was wondering if you have some more information about it. Following are the ingrediënts: Aqua/Water/Eau, VP/VA Copolymer, Propylene glycol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Glycerin, DMDM Hydantoin, Oleth-20, Parfum, Polyquaternium-10, Amylcinnamyl Alcohol, Limonene, Linalool
    I've looked up the DMDM Hydantoin because I've never heard of it, I found on the internet that it's a antimicrobial formaldehyde releaser preservative. I'm not an expert, but this kind of worries me... Could you tell me more about it, is it safe? What can you tell me about the other ingrediënts like Amylcinnamyl Alcohol and oleth-20?

    Thanks in advance!! Sara

    1. Hi Sara, I'm glad the blog is helpful to you! DMDM Hydantoin is a preservative and as such, it is an absolute necessity in a hair product that is sold to consumers. Without preservatives, we could get life-threatening infections (or at least unpleasant ones) from the products we use. Talk about a massive liability, and seriously scary.
      Formaldehyde releasers are commonly used because they are effective against a wide range of bacteria, and also against molds. That covers a lot of territory, also known as "broad-spectrum." And shelf-lives are long because the preservative (formaldehyde) is released slowly into the product. Formaldehyde is known to cause cancer, especially for people who work in places where it is used (carpet, furniture, plywood). It does not necessarily cause cancer at the levels used in cosmetics, but we are still questioning things like - what about over a lifetime? What about its presence in the water supply?
      New, formaldehyde-free "preservative systems" are being developed as different preservatives are phased out - but those have their problems too - one of which is they are not as broad-spectrum as things like DMDM Hydantoin, so you need a more complex approach to preservation. The unfortunate problem with preservatives is that things which inhibit the growth of microbes usually aren't good for us too. We need them, but they can have a "bad" side. Amylcinnamyl Alcohol - that's a fragrance ingredient. Oleth-20 is an emulsifier to help the formula stay mixed and prevent separation, but it's also an ingredient that helps fragrance ingredients dissolve and stay dissolved. Best wishes - Wendy

  17. Hi Wendy,
    What paraben ans formaldehyde-free preservatives do you recommend? Also, is there a way to make a besswax hair paste more pliable or "creamier"?

    1. Hello Me Mo, I will always lean towards a broad-spectrum preservative for safety's sake to cover more bacteria and fungi. The easier ones to use are: Euxyl K 703 with Phenoxyethanol, Benzoic Acid, and Dehydroacetic Acid. "Germall plus": Diazolidinyl Urea (and) Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate. "Optiphen Plus": Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbic Acid. In order to use non broad-spectrum preservatives, one has to combine multiple preservatives and stabilizers.
      A beeswax hair paste probably needs to have other plasticizers in it that are more flexible. If you're using oils - probably more like 2 parts beeswax to 3 parts other oils. Shea butter or another butter would be helpful as part of the "oil" for a not-too-greasy feel. I also think you might add a little starch (corn, arrowroot) to help with the texture of the product. Best wishes - Wendy

  18. I have been using Biotera gel and it seems to perform perfect for the high humidity weather and my hair turns out perfect for days without having to do anything to it but on wash days I notice a film coating kind of oily in my hair wish I dont like however non of the others do so good for my hair. I will post the ingredients below just in case you can give me an idea of what is the film coating agent and what could be a replacement for it.

    Water/Aqua/Eau, Polyquaternium-4, Bambusa Vulgaris Extract, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter Extract, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Fruit Extract, Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Lecithin, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract, PPG-5-Ceteth-20, Cetrimonium Chloride, Glycerin, Citric Acid, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Propylene Glycol, Tetrasodium EDTA, PEG-4 Laurate, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, DMDM Hydantoin, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Coumarin, Limonene, Linalool, Fragrance/Parfum.

    1. My guess is the Polyquaternium-4, the Shea butter or the Coconut oil. Not very helpful, right! Because this product gives good results, you might be able to use a clarifying shampoo with C14-16 Olefin sulfonate (Ion Hard Water Shampoo, Kinky Curly Come Clean) to remove residue.

  19. I can't believe how incredibly knowledgeable you are about all the stuff. I mean every single person that had a random question, you took the time to answer it. And not just BS. I have a question for you that is very off the wall. But honestly after taking bits from here chemical names etc and researching them thinking I'm going down the right paths, and then reading about how one of the main ones up there is extremely hydrophilic it just completely threw me off and I thought I might as well ask you then keep going down the wrong path because I don't know what I'm doing. Actually I won't even bother you and burden you with the why I've already written too much. What I need to know, if you would be so kind, is what is one or more of the more powerful chemicals that works too lock out humidity and or moisture, AKA: water vapor, basically. And then I would like to find that in the cheapest available spray already existing aerosol spray can with that as a main ingredient and not much else. Unless I can just buy the chemical straight up relatively affordably and then I could make the spray myself. It's actually to put as a coating over or onto a fiberglass HEPA filter that is inundated with breath moisture which is a combination of liquid water which I have that part handled very well in the other part that passes through my hydrophobic mesh is the water vapor inspect of breath which of course absorbs into the HEPA filter very easily and readily and turns it into a brick pretty quickly. I know hair is not the same thing. But it's worth trying, experimenting with. And I would say it's got to be pretty darn close. It doesn't need to be perfect. Just if it worked a little bit would be plenty. Any help you can provide would be amazing and so appreciated.

  20. Thanks for the incredibly helpful post. Just wondering what ingredients would you avoid in high humidity?

    1. Hello Cmily - Some people avoid Glycerin in high humidity. Sorbitol, honey might also be a problem. But if your hair does best in humidity - then that's also the time of year when those work best for you. Ingredients in strong-hold products, like PVP tend to lose their hold in high humidity (especially if there isn't also PVA/VP Copolymer or some other hold-providing ingredient). That can result in frizz - plus hair can become a little tacky or tangly as the film breaks up. I don't so much have a list of things to avoid as a list of "things to be aware of." One of the problems with styling products is that humidity can undermine their hold! That's the purpose of this post - to let folks know that some ingredients withstand humidity better so you can check the products you already have, or use this to look for different ones. Best wishes! -W