hu·​mec·​tant hyü-ˈmek-tənt How to pronounce humectant (audio)
: a substance that promotes retention of moisture
humectant adjective

Examples of humectant in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Things to Consider Before Buying a Moisturizer for Oily Skin Types of Moisturizers There are three types of moisturizers: emollients, humectants, and occlusives. Madison Yauger, Peoplemag, 12 Sep. 2023 As a humectant, emollient, and preservative, propylene glycol holds moisture while preventing mold in certain medicines, cosmetics, and foods. Tolu Ajiboye, Verywell Health, 2 July 2023 This wash features a range of humectants and skin barrier protectants which offers a two-pronged moisturizing strategy. Isabella Ubaldi, Health, 15 June 2023 This product contains glycerin, a humectant that helps the skin retain moisture. Lindsay Modglin, Verywell Health, 11 Aug. 2023 This hydrating serum features an antioxidant-rich proprietary honey blend with natural humectant properties to draw in moisture and soothe the complexion, plus amino acids for its firming and radiance-enhancing benefits. Jessie Quinn, Peoplemag, 4 Aug. 2023 This sweet cocktail blends babassu oil, honey, a humectant that helps to retain moisture and shine, and pomegranate extract to strengthen the hair follicles and promote hair growth. Alexis Gaskin, ELLE, 12 June 2023 Aloe vera is there to soothe, reduce redness, and act as a natural humectant. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 4 Oct. 2022 Maintaining hydration with an ingredient like hyaluronic acid, a humectant that draws a ton of water to the surface of the skin, can be key for not only managing flare-ups, but keeping that barrier healthy in general. Kayla Blanton, SELF, 3 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'humectant.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

circa 1867, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of humectant was circa 1867

Dictionary Entries Near humectant

Cite this Entry

“Humectant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

Medical Definition


1 of 2 adjective
hu·​mec·​tant hyü-ˈmek-tənt How to pronounce humectant (audio)
: promoting the retention of moisture
humectant properties
humectant materials


2 of 2 noun
: a substance (as glycerol or sorbitol) that promotes retention of moisture

More from Merriam-Webster on humectant

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