What Is Pure Glycerin?


Made from vegetable or animal fat, pure glycerin is a natural emollient that has a cooling effect on the skin. Having a purity of 99.5 percent, pure glycerin is also referred to as technical or industrial-grade glycerin. By drawing oxygen into the skin, applying pure glycerin assists the skin in moisture retention. Used as a main ingredient in many cosmetic and soap products, pure glycerin may also be used in homemade moisturizer recipes.

Properties of Pure Glycerin

  • Clear and gooey, pure glycerin is naturally biodegradable and soluble in alcohol and water. Because pure glycerin is insoluble in vegetable and mineral oils as well as cosmetic esters, it's ideal for use as an ingredient in cosmetics.

    A natural humectant, pure glycerin protects the skin by sealing in moisture. Concentrations of 2 percent to 7 percent of pure glycerin are typically used in commercially manufactured moisturizing creams and lotions.

Common Uses

  • Pure glycerin is commonly used as an ingredient in soaps, moisturizers, after-sun skin products, facial cleansers, hair conditioner, self-tanners, liquid hand soap, shaving products, toothpaste and mouthwash.

    In manufacturing herbal extracts, pure glycerin is used as an alcohol substitute.
    Called glycerites, glycerin-based herbal extracts allow children and those with alcohol sensitivities to safely ingest herbal tonics.

Nighttime Treatment

  • As an overnight moisturizer, pure glycerin can be used alone or mixed with a little lemon juice or rosewater before application.

    At bedtime, begin by applying the glycerin mixture to the feet. Expect it to feel thick and goopy. Massage it onto the feet and cover the feet with socks to seal in the moisture.

    After you're finished with everything that needs to be done before bedtime, rub the glycerin mixture into the hands as well. Cover the hands in special mittens that are intended for this purpose and keep the hands and feet covered until morning. Rinsing the hands and feet with plain water in the morning will remove the excess. Following this procedure as necessary keeps hands soft and feet smooth.

Easy Homemade Moisturizer

  • Pour 3 tbsp. pure glycerin and 3 tbsp. rosewater into a small, clean bottle. Replace the cap and shake it to combine the ingredients. Before each use, shake the bottle and apply the contents to the face and body as desired.

Where to Purchase

  • Pure glycerin is sold in small amounts in drug stores. It can often be bought in larger amounts from whole food stores, herb shops and online retailers, and it's inexpensive.

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