Humectant comparison study

I found a study comparing humectants. Those who conducted it caveated that it's not perfect but I thought it's nevertheless worth sharing.

The sampling size is 5 individuals and they didn't manage to control humidity between three different classes of humectants. What was proven, is that nothing can beat glycerin. What seriously surprised me are the results for sodium lactate, urea and sorbitol.
Having said that, I would pay money for such information if the study was conducted properly.


  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    It would be an interesting study. However, I think it would also be a bit misleading. If you are going to incorporate a humectant into a system, that will change the moisturization scores.  The formulation matters for what you ultimately want to know.
  • Pb610Pb610 Member
    I've been researching different humectants and this was helpful, particularly the difference between propylene glycol and propanediol. Also surprised how unimpressive hyaluronic acid is, I've been using it in place of glycerin but maybe I should give it another chance. I have noticed HA tends to dry out much more quickly in a basic water solution, which is sort of what I wanted but without constant rehydration it might not be doing much in the end.
  • DtdangDtdang Member
    which types of hyaluronic acid do you use? Medium, small or very small molecular?
  • I saw that study, probably on the same site you saw it.  I ran out of time...or I was gonna post part of that as a 'comedy piece'.

    Someone is selling 20% Algae and 80% glycerin, as a premium humectant....but it scores about 20% lower than just glycerin.  Made me giggle all day. 

  • jemolianjemolian Member
    edited June 16
    Good to see that potentially the basic combination of Glycerin with Betaine+Propanediol as a combo to detackify would work well enough within the group tested. 

    For the Hyaluronic Acids, people on reddit has been pushing that it doesn't work well in lower humidity based on their experience, so it's good to see some data on that. People are recommending to use a heavier moisturizer or occlusive over the HA, but BTW, i'd just assume that it's the moisturizer or occlusives doing the water retention work and HA would still pose a risk in dehydration. 
  • Pb610Pb610 Member
    Dtdang said:
    which types of hyaluronic acid do you use? Medium, small or very small molecular?
    1 million daltons, so a high molecular weight. A 1% solution in water is really slick and gooey, and dries into a thick, stiff plasticky film under a heat lamp, similar to Elmer's glue. Whereas glycerin doesn't dry out at all.

    HA seems best used sparingly as a sort of reservoir for the overall product, maybe 0.05% combined with 5% glycerin, something like that. Its just a crazy strong sponge that sucks up any water it touches, so probably not the best delivery method for hydration on its own.
  • DtdangDtdang Member
    @Pb610, thanks.
    for good hydration, try ectoin.

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