Friday, 17 June 2011

Ingredient Spotlight: Vegetable Glycerin


What is glycerin?

Glycerine (also knows as glycerol or glycerin) is a sticky, colorless, odorless, sweet alcohol derived from either animal or vegetable sources. It is water soluble. Glycerine is a humectant and highly attracted to water.

How does glycerine benefit the hair?

Glycerine draws moisture from its surroundings. When there is moisture in air, glycerine draws moisture from the air into your hair, keeping your hair moisturized.

How do I get the best benefit from glycerine? 

Do not apply glycerine directly to your hair. If you use glycerine, remember to mix it with water. If you don't mix it with water it can leave your hair feeling sticky and dry.

What are the drawbacks to using glycerine?

  • Must be used with water. 
  • Finding a good proportion for your hair.  Finding a good proportion for your hair could take a couple tries . If you don't use enough, you won't get the optimal moisture, but if you too much, your hair can feel gummy. (Good news is that if you used too much, all you have to do is rinse your hair. Water removes glycerine very easily)

You say glycerine is good when there is moisture in the air, what happens if there is no moisture in the air? Will it pull the moisture from my hair?

 No. The way glycerine works is that when the environment is dry, it pulls moisture from where it can be found. If you applied glycerine directly to your hair and didn't add water to it, it could draw the moisture from your hair, but this is ONLY IF YOU DON'T APPLY WATER. If you mix your glycerine with water, the glycerine will  have a water supply and would not need to take moisture from your hair or the air.

Can I use glycerine year round?

Yes. I have used it for three years without any problems. However, if you find that glycerine does stop working for you at certain times in the year, by all means, stop using it at those times. Your hair is your hair is your hair. Do what works for you.

What were your experiences with glycerine?

From my own experiences, glycerine is great for keeping natural hair moisturized and soft. It was a miracle when I was transitioning. My newgrowth stayed soft, moisturized, and shiny. I absolutely love glycerine and it is a key ingredient in all of my leave-in moisture mixes.

 You talked about proportions earlier, do you have a recommended proportion for people new to glycerine?

My rule of thumb is for every cup of water, use one ounce of vegetable glycerine. You can also check out my glycerine mix recipe here.

Do you have a  favorite brand of vegetable glycerine?

I'm glad you ask. I really like NOW Foods' glycerine. I found that it works well and that brand is usually inexpensive. It can be found at many health food stores or online:



  1. Nice post! Veggie glycerin keeps my hair soft as well. Did you know that glycerin prevents breakage in natural hair. Check out this post on 'The Natural Haven':( There is a scientific article that back the claim cited in the post.

  2. I just read the post, I was aware of the first two properties, but preventing damage, I was unaware of that. I must read the original article now!! Thanks for sharing with me! I do love my research!

  3. Glycerin uses include many applications. Some include E-Cigs, Arts & Crafts, Food Applications, Personal Care needs, Synthetic Ice Formulations, and Food Grade Antifreeze applications.

  4. Holy Crap! I didn't know it had so many other uses. Have you tried an arts and crafts project with it? How would you use glycerin with something like that?

  5. I really like your blog. I really appreciate the good quality content you are posting here for free. I was looking to buy an glycerine but was looking for all the characteristics. Thanks for sharing all the information with us.