Glycerin: Fall and Winter Hair Care

Every year I get the same questions at the same time. I did  not realize that I had not made a post on my thoughts about the question of whether glycerin can take moisture away from your hair when used in winter.

There is no scientific work that I can quote because no one as yet has directly studied that. However, glycerin is a humectant and as far as those go, glycerin is a very good one. This means it draws water to itself and is more stable with water present than without it.

If you did science in high school you may recall that in chemistry, the more stable a substance is, the less likely it is to change unless you inject in a large amount of energy. Therefore, glycerin bound to water is not easily going to give its water.

Therefore my conclusion is that glycerin is fine to use all year round. I do think that glycerin does have many stages depending on how much or little is on hair (it can feel good, sort of dry, sticky or mushy). It is definitely not the easiest product to use because results are variable so you may hate it one day and then love it the next.

I really highly recommend what I refer to as the Oyin method. Oyin makes a lot of products with glycerin and gave this helpful suggestion - try steaming your hair. This does not mean buy a streamer but rather do not cover your hair while you take your shower or bath and allow the steam to bind to the glycerin or glycerin product.

For more tips see this older post on how to get the most from glycerin -  Troubleshooting with glycerin

Do you have issues with glycerin in the winter and have you tried the Oyin method?


  1. Fabulous post! I know there is a lot of debate about using glycerin during the colder months but I use it all year round.

  2. Ive used curl activator gels with glycerin and my hair is soft, fluffy and supple with it during the warm months, however when I used it in the winter it left white balls in my hair and it was very very dry. I found this to be odd, because my hair does very well in the winter without this product.

    1. I remember when I fist decided to comb out my locs so that I could enjoy my natural hair(twist outs, flat twist,afro,etc). I had read how much glycerine was a great moisturizer For natural hair, so I tried it. When I finally got done ripping my locs out( cause that's what happened to this day my hair is so uneven). It was long(still uneven) I grab up my glycerine mix and the more I used it the faster my hair fell out. Mind you I still use glycerine I even love it but its totally different during winter months. My guess is because the air during winter is so dry and cold that you pretty much invite those harsh outside element right into your hair and it ends up having a reverse effect then it does in the summer time,when it's humid. Just saying that's what happened to me so I say no to glycerine When it cold out.

  3. Wow!
    Great Post!!!
    I started to use Glycerin in the colder moths last year and loved the results. Thanks for the tip on steaming. I will definitely try that.

  4. Hi Jc!

    I use glycerin all year around. I mix glycerin with water in a spray bottle and mist my hair with the solution because glycerin alone makes my hair sticky. I use curl activators with glycerin too. (SW)

  5. Thanks for the comments. Jennelly have you tried steaming your hair? I do think that curl activator gels often contain other ingredients such as oils which can change how it behaves at low or high temperature.

  6. Its so funny because I get the opposite of most but it could be the California temperature.I get kind of crunchy hair during the summer with glycerin but during the winter my hair stays wet.

  7. Hey JC,

    I don't want to confuse what you are asking, but are you asking if I steamed with the curl activator gel? or just steaming in general?

    I recently started steaming.

  8. Jenelly I was asking if you ever tried applying the curl activator and then having a shower to steam it up as per the oyin method to 'activate' the glycerin.

    mmkay - it depends on humidity and temperature. does California have a 'proper' winter - snow etc?

  9. I live in Northern California where (for the most part) it's pretty arid year round. The ONLY time glycerin is ever nice to my hair is when it rains (or if I rinse it out). No matter how much or how little I use, my results are the exact same; dry, wirey (and sometimes) sticky hair. And yes, I have tried the steaming thing and my hair felt great... Until I walked outside.

  10. I use glycerin all-year round (creamy leave-in conditioner & water/aloe vera gel/glycerin spritz) with good results in both NJ (home) and PA (college).

    With that said, I do always wear a shower cap with a satin bonnet/scarf under it while in the shower (unless I'm washing my hair). This sondradicts with the 'Oyin Method'...

  11. *sigh of contentment* this is why I LOVE your blog.

  12. Fall???? FALL???????????! It's autumn, JC! Come on! Be proud of being a Brit!

  13. Actually Jo I love mixing it up. I think it is a global world, we need to get used to it. I don't think a British person would be confused by fall just as much as Americans reading this blog would not be confused by colour.

    Side note - I love Britain, I live here but I am Kenyan :)

  14. I have been using glycerin all year round when I lived in bitter cold ohio and now here in Seattle. My hair loves glycerin and I can immediately tell when I am not using enough. I use it in my products that I make and purchase. Without glycerin, I don't think I could reach the moisturiziation level my hair needs with the other humectants such as panthenol


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