Humectants are conditioning and moisturizing natural ingredients to improve the look and feel of your skin. They attract water from the atmosphere or from the body and retain it, binding it to itself. In general, the more moisture a humectant will absorb, the better it is to use in formulations. We use three different humectants in Névoa, our Illuminating Serum:
Glycerin - The most common humectant in cosmetics, it is an odorless, clear liquid that can be derived from natural sources (the glycerin we use in our cosmetics is made from rapeseed oil).
Sodium Lactate - Is used both as a moisturiser and a humectant, and is part of the Natural Moisturizing Factor (NMF). The NMF is a mixture of different substances naturally found in the skin. It is essential for appropriate stratum corneum hydration, which is essential for healthy, good looking skin: it maintains plasticity of the skin, protecting it from damage, it allows enzymes to function in the process of desquamation and it contributes to the optimum skin's barrier function. The NMF is mainly composed of free amino-acids and inorganic salts.
Sodium PCA - This humectant is found naturally in human skin, being also part part of the NMF. It is a highly effective humectant and can bind water 1.5 times better than glycerin. As humectants go, it is one of the best performing ingredients, and acts also as a penetration enhancer, helping the other active ingredients of the cosmetic doing their job better!