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Flash Drying

Posted by Adria Marshall on

The Loch Ness Monster. The Bermuda Triangle. Flash Drying. These great mysteries of the world have had us stumped for ages. While I'm no expert on the former two, I've done quite a bit of research on Flash Drying recently and would love to share what I've dug up! In September's blog post, we'll discuss what Flash Drying is, Why it happens and what you can do to prevent it from occurring. Let's roll!

What is Flash Drying?

Have you ever applied a product that literally caused water to gush from your hair? This, my friends, is flash drying. It usually occurs after you've washed and prepped your hair for styling. You've got all that wonderful moisture inside your locks and are ready to seal it in and top it off with your styler, but as you simultaneously apply it...instant waterfalls. This phenomenon is problematic for several reasons. First of all, it makes a complete mess of your bathroom. Secondly, your hair is left stringy,  rigid, brittle, with wet frizz and without those juicy clumps that you were going for. And lastly, your hair feels instantly dry, completely void of all moisture.

But, what causes it, though?

Well, this is the mystery. Some say that it's the humectants in some products like glycerin. Others say that Aloe Vera give them problems. Still others say that film-forming polymers and hard water are to blame. I found an interesting theory that made me dig up an earlier blog that I'd written on Humectants. It reminded me that glycerin and some other humectants (like glycols) can work one of two ways depending on the dew point. Basically, they readily absorb water molecules from any source. When the atmosphere contains more water molecules, glycerin absorbs them and transports them to the hair, increasing moisture. However, when used in considerable quantities in low humidity circumstances, or dry conditions when the hair’s moisture content surpasses that in the air, glycerin will flush the water out, causing the hair to become dry. I know, right?
But let's talk about Aloe Vera. This ingredient has so many yummy nutrients for our hair. However, it is possible that the "simultaneous impact of carbohydrate and protein molecules [in Aloe Vera]...can retain and draw moisture from the hair, resulting in an abrupt moisture loss."
And, finally, In the case of film-forming polymers like PVP, 

they impact the surface properties of hair, inhibiting water and other ingredients from penetrating further, hence causing dryness. A similar effect can be caused by hard water. Think build-up.


Ok, but how do we solve the problem?

I'm so glad you asked! Let's tackle each scenario one-by-one.


Glycerin: If a product has glycerin high in the ingredients list, I personally choose to avoid's just too fickle for me! But, if your Holy Grail comes with a large side of glycerin, don't toss it out just yet! It might work just fine for you in normal or even high dew points. And, if the dew points are low, try using a leave-in or another product underneath it without glycerin to counteract the effect. Both our Rice Pudding and Lemon Buttercream are good options.

Aloe Vera: A similar solution can be used if Aloe Vera gives you trouble. Try using a leave-in or another product underneath it sans Aloe to help. Again, consider our aloe-free Rice Pudding Leave-In and Moisturizer and Lemon Buttercream Styling Cream might work for you.

Film-forming polymers : Use a cleanser with an acidic pH (or chelating shampoo) to get rid of calcium and magnesium ions. to remove any residue that the polymer might leave behind.

Hard water: Consider purchasing a water softener or using distilled water to wash your hair (and body).

It's also suggested that maintaining a proper moisture-protein balance is important when preventing Flash Drying. Check out this blog post for more information on the topic.

And some helpful links that I referenced when writing this post:


I really hope that this blog helps to demystify Flash Drying a bit! What's your experience with Flash Drying? What culprits and solutions have you found?

Until next time!


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