What Is a Natural Humectant, and What Are the Benefits for You?

What Is a Natural Humectant, and What Are the Benefits for You?

The word "humectant" comes from the Latin word "humectare", meaning to moisten. And that is exactly what a humectant does. Humectants pull moisture from whatever they encounter. They can pull moisture from the air around them. When used in skincare, humectants can pull moisture from the lower levels of the skin. That moisture is brought to the skin's surface to moisturize the skin.

Humectants bind water molecules to them in what is called a hygroscopic effect. This basically means (and all you need to remember) that a humectant pulls moisture to itself.

Simply put, humectants attract water.

So when you use humectants on your skin, the humectant supports moisturizing (as long as you don't use too much of it). There are both natural and synthetic humectants available. Goat Milk Stuff uses only natural humectants to draw moisture to your skin. These natural ingredients enhance your skin's ability to hydrate itself.

Washing hands with Lavender Goat Milk Soap
"I was referred to your company Goat Milk Stuff by my mother that speaks very highly of the quality of your goat milk soap. Today, I used your Lavender goat milk soap. I LOVE IT!!!! I have very sensitive skin. I am allergic to a lot of detergents, soaps, moisturizers and lotions. In the winter after every shower, I would have to apply a moisturizer as well as throughout the day due to our harsh cold winter weather. I live in a suburb outside of Buffalo, NY. I SERIOUSLY never thought I would find a natural soap with a built in moisturizer that would change my views on what I HAD been using for so many years. I absolutely love the calming lavender scent of the goat milk soap. For the first time, I did not have to use a moisturizing lotion after my shower. I will be telling all of my family and friends about your AMAZING company! You have another life long customer!!"Julie P.

Types of Natural Humectants

There are several natural humectants you can find in soaps, cosmetics, and moisturizers. They include glycerin, honey, aloe vera, and lactic acid. Below is a bit more about each type of humectant and how our soaps make perfect use of each.

Glycerin Natural Humectant

Glycerin is also known as glycerol. It is a powerful humectant that is easily absorbed through the skin. Glycerin is a natural product derived from the chemical reaction that makes soap.

When you mix all the ingredients together to make soap, the key inputs are fatty acids and lye. These fatty acids (fats or oils) that you start with have glycerol in them. During the soap-making process, the fatty acids mix with the lye, and the outputs are soap and glycerin. The glycerin is formed when the fatty acids release the glycerol.

In most commercial soaps, glycerin is removed and sold off as a valuable by-product. Cheaper synthetics like urea or lithium chloride are then added to the soap. These cheap, synthetic ingredients can be irritating to your skin. And they don't fully replace the moisturizing properties of the missing glycerin.

Our goat milk soaps do not contain any synthetic humectants. Instead, they contain all the naturally occurring glycerin that is produced during soapmaking. This creates a moisturizing bar of soap that won't dry your skin.

Almond Goat Milk Soap
"My husband loves the Almond scent. I love how soft his skin feels. He just asked me to order another bar!"Vicki

We also don't add extra glycerin to our soaps. Naturally occurring glycerin helps moisturize your skin. But too much glycerin can actually draw too much moisture out of your lower skin levels. This can cause skin dryness instead of relieving it.

The glycerin in our natural goat milk soaps is in perfect balance. You can trust that it will help your skin keep its moisture balance just right.

Lactic Acid Natural Humectant

Lactic acid in skincare is often promoted for its ability to help remove dead skin cells. This leads to the uncovering of new cells on the surface of your skin. The result is that your skin is smoother and looks younger. Lactic acid does this by breaking down the bonds holding dead skin cells together. But lactic acid is also a humectant and aids in moisturizing your skin.

It is important to determine how much lactic acid to add to goat milk soap. Too little lactic acid, and you don't remove enough dead skin cells. But too much lactic acid can irritate your skin. Goat milk contains lactic acid that is in natural and perfect balance. So by adding fresh, raw, whole goat milk to our goat milk soaps, we know that the lactic acid quantity is just right.

Calendula Goat Milk Soap
"My skin is so soft & moisturized just by using this soap. My skin is very sensitive & the Calendula is calming for my skin. It is absolutely the highest quality soap & I highly recommend it & all other products."Teresa H.

The lactic acid in goat milk soap both cleans and moisturizes your skin. The exfoliating properties of lactic acid help break down the top layer of dead skin cells. Then the humectant properties of lactic acid draw moisture to fresh new cells. This helps to create soft and supple skin. Soaps made with water often do not have this lactic acid benefit.

Honey Humectant

Honey is a combination of fructose and glucose. Honey humectant is another ingredient that both exfoliates and moisturizes. Both these forms of sugar are humectants. In fact, all sugars draw and hold moisture to them. We add humectant honey to the Oatmeal Milk & Honey Goat Milk Soap. Because it contains glycerin, lactic acid, and honey, it is a humectant-rich soap. This makes it a great choice for moisturizing your skin.

Oatmeal Milk & Honey Goat Milk Soap
"I love how goat's milk soap makes my skin feel nourished and refreshed, not dried out. I really enjoy the scent of the Oatmeal Milk & Honey soap immensely."Laurel

Aloe Vera Humectant

Aloe plants are succulents, meaning they gorge water and hold it in their leaves. The juice of the aloe plant is often used as a natural humectant. Aloe juice or gel penetrates deep into the layers of skin and binds water to itself. This creates a naturally moist environment that is great for healing. For this reason, aloe is often used for sunburns. We add aloe to our Goat Milk Shaving Soap because it can provide extra moisture to skin that is chafed by shaving.

Oatmeal Milk & Honey Goat Milk Shaving Soap
"I just received my goat milk Oatmeal Milk and Honey shaving soap and used it to shave my legs... Oh my goodness-I love it! It's so much better than shaving cream or gel.. not the thick mess slathered on my legs but a light sudsy substance that gave oh, such a smooth, close shave! I'm so glad to have found this!"Kathleen M.

Humectants vs. Emollients and Occlusives

Humectants are not the only category of ingredients to aid in moisturizing your skin. These ingredients can also be used to add moisturizing properties to soaps:


Emollient means "to soften or soothe." Remember that a humectant pulls moisture to itself. In contrast, an emollient is designed to trap water on the skin and usually uses oils to do so.

When the top layer of your skin dries out, it cracks. Emollients use lipids to fill the spaces between those cracked cells. Lipids are simply fatty substances such as shea butter or sunflower oil.


An occlusive is something that has retentive properties and prevents water loss. Occlusive ingredients include lanolin, mineral oil, silicones, and beeswax. If emollients are applied very heavily, they can act as an occlusive.

Your skin may often be bombarded by drying conditions such as hot weather, winter air, or an arid climate. If your skin is dry, a humectant will draw water to your skin. Emollients and occlusives will help your skin keep the water it drew.

Goat Milk Soaps Humectants

All our goat milk soaps use glycerin and lactic acid as humectants for skin to maintain your moisture. These natural soaps will clean your skin without drying it out.

Purity Goat Milk Soap
"I ordered the goat milk soap Purity. I have a dry patch on my face. For years I’ve tried everything and nothing helped. The goat milk soap took care of it instantly! I love it! My uncle came to visit and was telling me about his dry skin. I told him about the goat milk soap. I asked him to try it. He is absolutely amazed at how well it worked. He loves it! I also bought the lotion because it’s summertime in Texas and I knew I needed some extra moisture. I love how it moisturizes and how my skin feels. I’ve never said this about a product before but it’s the real thing!!!!!!!!!!!!"Robin G.

Solid Goat Milk Lotions Humectants

If you are suffering from dry or cracking skin, you may need extra moisture. Adding Solid Goat Milk Lotion to your skin will provide the extra moisture it needs. Solid lotions contain ingredients that have emollient, occlusive, and humectant properties.

Tea Tree Solid Goat Milk Lotion
"Our family loves Goats Milk Stuff products but Lotion sticks might be our favorite. They give the perfect amount of moisture to your skin without any greasy or oily feeling after. Plus, they are super easy to use! Our pre-teens pair the Tea Tree lotion stick with Tea Tree soap to combat acne. Their skin has never looked better!" - Courtney R.

These are the ingredients in the Unscented Solid Goat Milk Lotion.

  • Sweet almond oil - Emollient
  • Coconut oil - Emollient
  • Beeswax - Occlusive
  • Avocado oil - Emollient
  • Cocoa butter - Occlusive
  • Mango butter - Occlusive
  • Dehydrated Goat Milk - Humectant

The Solid Goat Milk Lotions contain emollients, occlusives, and a humectant. We designed the formula to include a combination of all three moisturizing actions. This creates an ideal moisturizer. You can trust your skin to the goodness of goat milk if you want healthy skin that is softer and smoother.

Unscented Solid Goat Milk Lotion
"Love your lotion sticks!! Scented or Unscented, they are all smooth and silky when applied and never sticky or greasy."Kim G.

Have you noticed a difference in your skin after using goat milk soaps and solid goat milk lotions? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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