Ethylhexylglycerin for Skin: Benefits, How to Use

Ethylhexylglycerin for Skin: Benefits, How to Use

Although it may sound like something out of an episode of “I Love Lucy,” ethylhexylglycerin is actually a great little ingredient when it comes to skincare. And while it also sounds like something that might be used in a science experiment, it’s actually completely safe to use on your skin. As we’ll see in this article, it even replaces other, more harmful ingredients.


Ingredient Category: Humectant, Emollient

Main Benefit: Ethylhexylglycerin has a multitude of uses but it’s perhaps best known as a preservative.

Find It In: So Clean! Facial Cleanser, Rose and Shine Rose Water Toner, Nectar of the C Vitamin C Serum, Just Dew It Hydrating Serum, Eyes Eyes Baby Anti-Aging Eye Cream, Crème de la Cream Brightening Moisturizer, and H2 Oh Yeah Hydrating Moisturizer.


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What is Ethylhexylglycerin?

Throwing it back to science class for a sec, ethylhexylglycerin is a kind of alkyl glyceryl ether. A colorless liquid, this synthetic compound is derived from vegetable glycerin (which often comes from palm or coconut oil). If you’re super-into science, it’s chemical formula is: C11H24O3.

Ethylhexylglycerin Skin Benefits

So, what does ethylhexylglycerin actually do? Here’s a list of just some of its benefits:

  • Ethylhexylglycerin increases the shelf life of products - Even if you use your skincare products day and night (as you should!), most skincare products last at least a few weeks if not longer. That’s because they have some kind of preservative in them. Ethylhexylglycerin will keep your products viable longer because it essentially works as a preservative.
  • Ethylhexylglycerin is safe in skincare products - The Cosmetic Ingredient Review, an organization that “reviews and assess the safety of ingredients in an open, unbiased, and expert manner,” has done extensive testing and has deemed ethylhexylglycerin to be safe.
  • Ethylhexylglycerin replaces dangerous parabens - As you probably know, we here at Fleur & Bee aren’t big fans of parabens which are thought to be carcinogenic. The problem is, without some kind of preservative, most cosmetics and skincare products wouldn’t last very long and we’d all be buying them every few days. Because ethylhexylglycerin can be used as a preservative, it can take the place of parabens.
  • Ethylhexylglycerin helps keep the ingredients in products “stick” together - Because we don’t see what goes into the manufacturing of skincare products, most of us aren’t really aware of the fact that without something binding the individual ingredients together, our skincare products would basically just be little piles of separate ingredients. Ethylhexylglycerin helps keep ingredients from separating once they’re together.
  • Ethylhexylglycerin is a humectant - Imagine being able to reach up into the air and pull down a cloud and use the moisture in the cloud to hydrate your skin. That’s kind of what humectants do. They essentially pull moisture from the environment, bring them to the skin’s surface, and hold them there. This makes the skin dewy and well-hydrated.
  • Ethylhexylglycerin is an emollient - Not only does ethylhexylglycerin pull moisture from outside sources to hydrate your skin, it softens the skin directly. It also helps make the products themselves softer so they feel better on the skin.
  • Ethylhexylglycerin is stable - Usually, when we refer to a person as stable, we mean that we can always count on them to do what they say they’re going to do and stay strong and steady no matter what. That’s kind of the same idea in skincare. When an ingredient like ethylhexylglycerin is deemed “stable,” it means that it will help the product do what it’s supposed to do and not mess up any delicate formulas. This is crucial to making sure products work the way they’re supposed to for however long you have them.
  • Ethylhexylglycerin is a surfactant - You know how oil and water just won’t mix no matter what you do? Well, by acting as a surfactant, ethylhexylglycerin can get ingredients like that to not only mix but stay mixed. This is really crucial, otherwise, most of our skincare products would just be layers of different ingredients.
  • Ethylhexylglycerin helps to purify the skin - Ethylhexylglycerin helps to keep skin free of organisms that might harm it.

What Products Contain Ethylhexylglycerin?

You may not be aware of it, but ethylhexylglycerin is in many of the products you buy. Used in everything from deodorants, hair spray, makeup, shampoos, lotions, and sunblock. As more and more companies discover what a better alternative it is to harmful preservatives, you’ll most likely find it more and more often in products so keep your eyes peeled!

How To Use Ethylhexylglycerin in Your Skin Care Routine

The great thing about incorporating ethylhexylglycerin into your skincare routine is that it’s in so many products you’re probably using it right now without even realizing it. Let’s go through a typical skincare routine so you can see which products actually use ethylhexylglycerin:

1. Cleansing

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a hundred times: the basis of any great skincare routine is a clean face. Our So Clean! facial cleanser is perfect for cleansing the skin without drying it out. Packed with great vegan ingredients like organic coconut oil to remove dirt and oil, organic aloe to hydrate the skin, and you guessed it – ethylhexylglycerin – it will gently cleanse and prep your skin for the rest of your skincare routine.

2. Toning

Of all the skincare steps you take, toning has to be the easiest–at least with our Rose and Shine rose water toner! Just a spritz or two is all you need to hydrate and freshen up the skin. Made with just a handful of ingredients including rose hydrosol and water, it contains ethylhexylglycerin as well.

3. Using Serum

If you really want your skin to glow like a lightbulb, our Nectar of the C vitamin C serum is about as good as it gets. In addition to giving skin back its glow, it evens out skin tone, gets to work on dark spots, and softens the look of fine lines. Full of great, gentle ingredients like camomile, clary sage, organic jojoba seed oil, and pink grapefruit seed oil, it also contains ethylhexylglycerin. For those with dry or dehydrated skin, try Just Dew It hydrating serum. We packed this serum with ultra-hydrating ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, sea buckthorn oil and prickly pear seed oil, to keep your skin plumped and hydrated all day long.

4. Moisturizing

Even with gentle, non-drying skincare products it’s crucial that you make sure you moisturize your skin. Both our Crème de la Cream brightening moisturizer and our H2 Oh Yeah hydrating moisturizer contain nourishing ingredients like organic jojoba oil for moisture, organic aloe vera leaf juice to soothe and hydrate, and, of course, ethylhexylglycerin!

5. Protecting the Skin Around Your Eyes

Protecting the skin around your eyes: No matter how old (or young!) you are, it’s imperative that you protect the skin around your eyes with a good eye cream. Our Eyes Eyes Baby eye cream contains organic sunflower seed oil, organic aloe vera leaf juice, squalane (from olive oil), niacinamide (vitamin B3), and you guessed it, ethylhexylglycerin!

We hope that sheds some light on this (relatively) new and exciting skincare ingredient. We think you’ll find it’s used more and more as companies move away from dangerous preservatives!