One of the skin care world’s best behind-the-scenes workers, glycerin does so much it’s hard to believe most of us aren’t banging down doors to get it. From providing moisture to cleansing the skin, glycerin is an amazing multi-tasker.
In this article, we’ll talk about what glycerin is, what it’s made of, 10 benefits of glycerin, what types of skin should use it, how to use glycerin for your skin, and other frequently asked questions about glycerin in skin care.
IN A NUTSHELL
Ingredient Category: Humectant
Main Benefit: Because glycerin is a humectant, it draws water to the surface of the skin both from the deeper layers of skin and from the atmosphere. This helps keep your skin feeling hydrated.
Find It In: All Fleur & Bee products.
What Is Glycerin? What Is Glycerin Made Of?
Glycerin is classified as a humectant, which is basically a substance that helps retain moisture. Humectants are like the people who stand at the sidelines of a marathon and hand cups of water to the participants—they keep everyone hydrated while staying out of the way of the runners.
This clear, odor-free liquid is a compound that has a sweet taste to it. In fact, you may know glycerin from food ingredients where it’s sometimes used as a sweetener or to keep food moist. Although there is such a thing as synthetic glycerin, the natural version that we use in our products is entirely plant-based.
Because of its versatility and ability to moisturize, it’s used in everything from lotions, to soaps, to toners.
10 Benefits of Glycerin
As we mentioned above, glycerin is one of those ingredients that performs a multitude of tasks. Although it’s often thought of as a moisturizer, that’s far from the only thing it does!
Here are 10 benefits of glycerin you may--or may not--be aware of:
- Glycerin moisturizes - Not only does glycerin moisturize the skin, it pulls moisture up from the lower levels of the skin (the dermis) to the upper levels (the epidermis), essentially allowing the skin to help moisturize itself.
- Glycerin creates a calming sensation - Plant-based glycerin is extraordinarily gentle on sensitive skin and can help alleviate temporary skin discomfort.
- Glycerin protects - By helping to maintain the skin’s protective layer of moisture, glycerin creates a barrier between the skin and elements that can harm it.
- Glycerin smooths the skin - Its hydrating properties help create a smoother looking appearance to the skin.
- Glycerin exfoliates - Yes, even though it’s a moisturizer, glycerin does play a role in the exfoliation process, helping to improve skin’s radiance.
- Glycerin brightens - Between glycerin’s rejuvenating properties and its ability to moisturize, glycerin plays a key role in keeping skin looking bright and luminous!
- Glycerin improves your complexion - Glycerin is non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores!
- Glycerin can be combined with other ingredients - One of the great things about glycerin is that it works well with so many other ingredients to add moisture.
- Glycerin has anti-aging benefits - By bringing your skin’s natural moisture to the surface, glycerin helps to reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Glycerin acts as a natural preservative - When used in skincare products, it can be used as a preservative and solvent in products with herbal and botanical extracts.
What Skin Types Should Use It
One of the main reasons we love glycerin is that literally every skin type can use glycerin and benefit from it.
Here are a few examples of how glycerin benefits different skin types:
Glycerin for dry skin: Those with dry skin in particular will really benefit from glycerin, since one of its main jobs as a humectant is to moisturize. In fact, not only does glycerin moisturize the skin, it pulls water from the second layer of the skin (dermis) and brings it up to the top (epidermis), giving you that extra boost of hydration.
Glycerin for super-dry, cracked skin: If you have really dry skin, you probably spend a good part of the colder months trying to deal with cracked skin, which is uncomfortable and can even bleed if not treated. Glycerin not only provides protective moisture, but it can prevent your skin from such a state.
Glycerin for oily skin: Often, those with oily skin will skip using moisturizer, worrying that adding moisture will result in even oilier skin. However, skipping moisturizer causes your skin to overproduce oil. The trick is finding an oil-balancing face cream or lotion that will benefit your skin type. Look for a moisturizer containing glycerin. Glycerin is non-comedogenic, so it’s less likely to clog pores.
Glycerin for combination skin: One of glycerin’s jobs is not only to hydrate the skin, but uphold the skin’s protective moisture barrier. This is why it’s so effective on combination skin.
Glycerin for aging skin: As we get older, our skin becomes substantially dryer and more apt to develop fine lines and wrinkles. This is especially true of the skin around the eyes, which is why we included glycerin in our Eyes Eyes Baby eye cream. For this reason, it is important to make sure you increase skin hydration over time.
Glycerin helps moisturize aging skin by not only providing your skin with moisture, but by pulling it from its second layer. This will provide a fresh and revitalized appearance by diminishing and reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
Glycerin for sensitive skin: Glycerin’s gentle, hydrating properties have a calming effect on sensitive skin, helping to beautify it by providing rejuvenating moisture. Remember that the source of glycerin we use is plant-based, so it’s less likely to cause irritation.
How To Use Glycerin for Your Skin
Glycerin is one of those ingredients that performs an astounding multitude of tasks—it just depends what you want it to do for your particular skin.
The main thing to remember when using glycerin in skincare is that unless you’re using it in a product like moisturizer (in which it is already mixed), it’s important to dilute pure glycerin with another ingredient, such as rosewater or vitamin E. When we say glycerin pulls moisture from your skin, we really mean it; and if you use it on its own, you risk pulling too much moisture out and irritating your skin. As long as you combine glycerin with other compatible ingredients, you’ll reap the benefits of this multitasker.
1. Use glycerin as a facial moisturizer – If glycerin has a reputation for one thing in particular, it’s as a moisturizer. When you look for a moisturizer, keep an eye out for glycerin in the ingredients list. We have included glycerin in both all of our facial moisturizers: Youth Fairy Retinol Moisturizer, Crème de la Cream Brightening Moisturizer and H2 Oh Yeah Hydrating Moisturizer.
2. Use glycerin as a body moisturizer – What’s good for the goose is good for the gander! Glycerin-infused body moisturizers are great for dry, thirsty skin.
3. Use glycerin as a cleanser – Chances are you’ve seen glycerin soaps—they’re usually almost transparent and feel creamy to the touch. Oil-free and non-comedogenic, glycerin makes a great cleanser for anyone with a tendency towards clogged pores or sensitive skin. That’s why we’ve included it in our So Clean! facial cleanser.
4. Use glycerin as a toner – Rosewater and glycerin are like the Venus and Serena of skincare ingredient combinations. Together, they restore hydration into the skin like nobody’s business, so we have included glycerin in our Rose and Shine rosewater toner.
5. Use glycerin as a hair conditioner – Glycerin’s moisturizing properties not only work on skin—they work on hair as well! Use it as a conditioner on dry hair; but be sure to dilute it with something else, like your regular conditioner. Also, if you have tinted hair, ask your hairstylist for advice about whether it’s safe for use on your chemically treated hair.
6. Use glycerin as a lip gloss/moisturizer – A little glycerin over the lips makes a great lip gloss that’s not only shiny, but gives your lips a little shot of moisture. This is especially beneficial, as the lip area is prone to dryness, wrinkles, and fine lines. We’ve included glycerin in our One Lip Wonder lip treatment to help hydrate and smooth dry lips.
7. Use glycerin to make old make-up usable again – Have a dried-out lipstick or foundation that’s seen better days? Add a little tiny drop of glycerin to help bring it back to life.
As you can see, glycerin is one of the hardest working products in skin care; luckily, you don’t have to bang down any doors to get it! The next time you’re purchasing cosmetics, keep an eye out for glycerin in the ingredients list.
Ready to add glycerin to your skincare routine? Every product in our 5-step Deluxe Set boasts glycerin as an active ingredient.
Other Frequently Asked Questions About Glycerin in Skin Care
What does glycerin do for your skin? Is glycerin good for your skin?
Glycerin literally does everything from moisturize the skin, to help uphold the skin’s protective barrier. Not only does glycerin hydrate the skin, but it actually draws moisture from the skin’s inner layers up to the epidermis, making the skin plumper and restoring a youthful look.
Yes, glycerin is excellent for the skin! By hydrating the skin, glycerin helps diminish and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
Is glycerin vegan?
Yes! Although there is glycerin that is derived from animal fats, the glycerin we use is entirely plant based. And remember, all Fleur & Bee products are 100% vegan, clean, and cruelty free.
Is glycerin safe for skin?
Yes, glycerin is completely safe for skin. Just remember that when using it in DIY skincare, it’s best to dilute pure glycerin with other ingredients or products, like rosewater or vitamin E, to prevent irritation.
Is glycerin non-comedogenic?
Yes, glycerin is entirely non-comedogenic, which means it won’t clog pores, making it great for oily skin.
Can I use glycerin on my face?
Yes! As we mentioned above, glycerin not only moisturizes your skin, it helps draw moisture from its deeper layers, plumping up the epidermis to give skin that youthful look. In fact, we have included glycerin in just about every single one of our skincare products.
Can I use glycerin on my lips?
Absolutely! Not only can you use glycerin on your lips as a moisturizer, you can use it as a gloss. It smooths the skin and helps diminish the fine lines and wrinkles that lips are especially susceptible to. You will find glycerin in our lip treatment, One Lip Wonder.