hu·​mec·​tant | \ hyü-ˈmek-tənt How to pronounce humectant (audio) \

Definition of humectant

: a substance that promotes retention of moisture

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Other Words from humectant

humectant adjective

Examples of humectant in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Hyaluronic acid is a water-binding humectant that's found naturally in our skin and can hold up to 1000 times its own weight in water (kind of like a sponge). Sydney Poe,, "How to hydrate skin," 4 Apr. 2021 Next, another layer of water or hydrating mist for the humectant and moisture attracting qualities. Roxanne Adamiyatt, Town & Country, "The Lip Balm Layering Secret That Saved My Lips This Winter," 21 Mar. 2021 This comforting feeling comes from glycerine, which is a humectant that draws water into your skin, and glycolipids, which replenish moisture loss and repair your skin barrier. Bella Cacciatore, Glamour, "This Gentle Replenishing Serum Completely Transformed My Retinol-Burned Skin," 9 Mar. 2021 When looking for lotions and creams to slather on, a combination of humectant, emollient, and occlusive ingredients make for the most effective moisturizers. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "A Guide to Managing Keratosis Pilaris This Season," 28 Nov. 2020 SkinCeuticals’s moisturizer contains a whopping 5% niacinamide and 15% pure glycerin, a humectant with water-binding properties. Lauren Caruso, CNN Underscored, "The best face moisturizers, according to dermatologists," 28 Oct. 2020 PHAs, after all, are known to be gentler than other acids, and also have humectant properties. Karina Hoshikawa,, "Glow Recipe’s New Watermelon Toner Helped Clear My Skin After One Week," 21 Apr. 2020 That means coconut oil would, in theory, work best when layered on top of a humectant that will actually draw moisture into your skin’s surface, Dr. Lio explains. Korin Miller, SELF, "Does Coconut Oil Actually Work Any Magic on Eczema?," 19 July 2018 This one contains things like glycerin (a classic humectant) and argan oil that help my skin feel hydrated without any greasiness. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "This SPF 30 Moisturizer Turned Me Into a Mineral Sunscreen Fan," 23 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'humectant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of humectant

circa 1867, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for humectant

Latin humectant-, humectans, present participle of humectare to moisten, from humectus moist, from humēre to be moist — more at humor entry 1

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Time Traveler for humectant

Time Traveler

The first known use of humectant was circa 1867

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Statistics for humectant

Last Updated

8 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Humectant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for humectant


hu·​mec·​tant | \ hyü-ˈmek-tənt How to pronounce humectant (audio) \

Medical Definition of humectant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: promoting the retention of moisture humectant properties humectant materials



Medical Definition of humectant (Entry 2 of 2)

: a substance (as glycerol or sorbitol) that promotes retention of moisture

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