Vegetable Glycerin: What It Is and How to Use It

Common beauty and haircare products—from high-end serums to everyday liquid soaps—use vegetable glycerin (also called glycerol) as a base. But what exactly is this beauty ingredient? Glycerin is a clear syrup-like liquid typically made from vegetable oils. Unlike pure oils, glycerin is water-soluble, meaning it mixes well with water. This makes it perfect for crafting soaps, toners, lotions, setting sprays and even bath bombs.

moist skin

Moisture Magnet

Vegetable glycerin is so popular in the beauty world because of its moisturizing power. Glycerin is a humectant — a moisturizing agent that attracts water and locks it in. When it comes to skincare, humectants can pull water from the air or even deeper layers of your skin to the outer layer of your skin to moisturize the area. Dry skin and hair love glycerin’s natural moisturizing qualities!

Desert Dry

A word of warning, if you live in a very dry climate, you should be careful with applying pure glycerin directly to your skin. Humectants will draw water from the nearest source. If that source is moisture in the deeper layers of your skin, it can dehydrate your skin even more by pulling all moisture from there. Yikes, not what we’re going for! But there’s a simple solution if you do live in a dry climate or struggle with dehydrated skin: dilute glycerin with a water source before applying it to your skin.

How To Use It

With its moisturizing power, glycerin is the perfect ingredient for all your DIY beauty recipes. If smooth, supple skin and soft moisturized locks are what you’re going for, then try these all-natural beauty concoctions that you can whip up at home:

body butter


Melt 1 cup of Viva Naturals Organic Shea Butter in a glass measuring cup either in a microwave or double boiler. Then, mix in 2 tbsp of Glycerin, 1 cup of Viva Naturals Organic Coconut Oil and 1 tbsp Viva Naturals Organic Jojoba Oil. Place the measuring cup in the freezer for 10 minutes, then whip with an electric mixer. Voila!

facial toner


Mix ¼ of a cup of glycerin with 1 ½ cups of rose water. Pour in a spray bottle. Shake well before use. Spray it onto your face to achieve a healthy glow and dewy look. Great for when your skin feels parched and tight.

cooling gel


Mix 2 teaspoons of glycerin, 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel, and add 2 drops of an aromatic essential oil like eucalyptus. Use it after workouts or whenever your skin is craving a cool-down.

leave in conditioner


Mix ½ a tablespoon of glycerin, 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel, 10 drops of your favorite essential oil (optional) and 5 tablespoons of distilled water. Shake before applying to wet curls.

Glycerin is the perfect moisturizing ingredient for all your beauty needs. DIY-ing your favorite blends, tailored to your own skin and hair—and skipping harsh chemicals in the process? Now that’s a recipe we can all get behind! Now that you know the benefits of glycerin, are you ready to mix up (literally and figuratively) a new skincare routine?


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1 September 25, 2020

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