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These attract moisture from the air and surrounding environment, draw it into the skin and hold it there until it is required. They slowly release this moisture when the skin needs it, providing much needed hydration for dry and dehydrated skin. They also form a barrier on the skin, preventing further moisture loss.

Humectants are used in skin care and hair care products to boost moisture and increase moisture retention making them ideal for dry and mature skins. Glycerin is one of the most commonly used humectants in skin care.