How to Buy Glycerin

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Glycerin is a colorless liquid that is cosmetically useful in treating dry skin, healing scars, and softening calluses (among many other uses). For that reason, glycerin is a common ingredient in homemade soaps and shampoos for both people and pets. This article will discuss some common places to purchase glycerin for personal use and the cost-effective option of buying glycerin in bulk.

Depending on your needs, finding glycerin can be as easy as a trip down to your local pharmacy. At a pharmacy, glycerin is usually only sold in small quantities (from 2.5 to 5 ounces) at prices ranging from $5 to $10. For many personal uses this may be a sufficient quantity of glycerin. However, in some cases, such as making home-made soap or shampoo, a greater and more cost-effective quantity of glycerin may be desired. In that case, you'll want to investigate where to buy glycerin in bulk.

One of the fastest ways to locate glycerin in bulk is by searching Google for "glycerin by the gallon." This will yield several businesses willing to ship bulk glycerin directly to your home at competitive prices (around $30 per gallon). But, keep in mind that these prices don't include shipping, and liquids are heavy: You can expect to pay upwards of $15 to have a gallon (about 10 pounds) of glycerin domestically shipped to you.

If you want to find a local alternative for buying bulk glycerin, try searching the yellow pages for craft stores, baking supply stores, or barn-animal supply stores. Craft stores sometimes carry glycerin for individuals interested in making their own body soap, and commercial bakers use glycerin in recipes as a preservative or to keep food from drying out. Horse owners often purchase large quantities of glycerin for shampoo or equine hoof care.

Tips & Warnings

  • By the way, when buying glycerin (particularly in bulk), look for a "USP (United States Parmacopoeia) grade" or "food grade" product. This ensures you are getting a high quality product that is safe for cosmetic use.
  • Most glycerin is derived from animal fat, but 100% vegetable glycerin is also available in bulk at slightly greater cost.

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