Glycerin is one of the most used ingredients in skincare, featuring highly in the active ingredients of many bestselling moisturisers. You may have also noticed glycerin listed in the ingredients of other items around your home, such as on natural soaps, cough medicines and even baked goods.
A highly adaptable liquid that lends itself to all manner of uses, glycerin is one of the hardest working ingredients in the world of skincare. Here’s why:
What Is Glycerin?
Most glycerin is vegetarian, being made by heating vegetable fats, such as palm, soy and coconut oils either under pressure or with an alkali. Through this process, the glycerin separates from the oil and fuses with water molecules, creating an odourless, colourless liquid.
Glycerin has a syrupy consistency and is also sweet, which makes it ideal for using in the catering industry as it lends itself perfectly to confectionary. You might then wonder how on earth glycerin has made its way into the world of cosmetic beauty products. Well, it turns out that not only is glycerin an incredibly safe ingredient, it also does wonders for our skin.
How Does it Work?
There are three main categories of moisturiser: emollients, humectants and/or occlusives. Glycerin is a humectant, alongside other ingredients like aloe vera and hyaluronic acid.
Humectants draw water to the skin and bind the water to keep it there. They are quickly absorbed and usually a light consistency, making them suitable for all skin types.
Emollients fill the cracks on the surface of the skin, creating a smoother complexion and helping to repair your skin’s natural barrier. They are usually a creamy consistency and are suitable for most skin types, though not ideal for oily skin.
Occlusives seal moisture into the skin, preventing it from escaping. They usually come in the form of thick cream or balm and are ideal for mature, dehydrated or dry skin.
As glycerin attracts moisture to itself, it can bring moisture up from deeper layers of skin and also draw moisture out of the air towards the skin, all without creating an oily layer on the skin’s surface. This combination of features make it ideal for keeping skin hydrated, no matter your skin type.
What Products Contain Glycerin?
For Oily/Combination Skin
When you need to hydrate your skin without risking a break-out, REN offers the solution. This gel cream reduces oil, hydrates dry patches, and leaves the skin with a matte finish.
For Dry/Dehydrated Skin
Dry or dehydrated skin needs a little extra love when it comes to moisturisation. This gel-balm by Thelgo does just that, combining the nourishing properties of glycerin and aloe vera with heavier ingredients designed to lock in moisture.
For Sensitive Skin
With both glycerin and hyaluronic acid, you know this day cream by Elemis will do wonders for your skin’s hydration, and with the addition of orange blossom milk, your sensitive skin will be soothed at the same time.
For All Skin Types
Combining two powerful humectants, glycerin and aloe vera, this mist from Elizabeth Arden is a fantastic addition to your handbag, either when travelling or just for an afternoon hydration boost.
Could your hair do with a boost of moisture too? Glycerin is equally as popular in hair products as it is in the world of skincare. Moisture Me Rich uses glycerin as one of its key ingredients to draw moisture into the hair, leaving you with bouncy, hydrated locks.