What Is Pure Glycerin?

Updated April 17, 2017

Made from vegetable or animal fat, pure glycerine is a natural emollient that has a cooling effect on the skin. Having a purity of 99.5 per cent, pure glycerine is also referred to as technical or industrial-grade glycerine. By drawing oxygen into the skin, applying pure glycerine assists the skin in moisture retention. Used as a main ingredient in many cosmetic and soap products, pure glycerine may also be used in homemade moisturiser recipes.

Properties of Pure Glycerin

Clear and gooey, pure glycerine is naturally biodegradable and soluble in alcohol and water. Because pure glycerine is insoluble in vegetable and mineral oils as well as cosmetic esters, it's ideal for use as an ingredient in cosmetics.

A natural humectant, pure glycerine protects the skin by sealing in moisture. Concentrations of 2 per cent to 7 per cent of pure glycerine are typically used in commercially manufactured moisturising creams and lotions.

Common Uses

Pure glycerine is commonly used as an ingredient in soaps, moisturisers, after-sun skin products, facial cleansers, hair conditioner, self-tanners, liquid hand soap, shaving products, toothpaste and mouthwash.

In manufacturing herbal extracts, pure glycerine is used as an alcohol substitute. Called glycerites, glycerine-based herbal extracts allow children and those with alcohol sensitivities to safely ingest herbal tonics.

Nighttime Treatment

As an overnight moisturiser, pure glycerine can be used alone or mixed with a little lemon juice or rosewater before application.

At bedtime, begin by applying the glycerine mixture to the feet. Expect it to feel thick and goopy. Massage it onto the feet and cover the feet with socks to seal in the moisture.

After you're finished with everything that needs to be done before bedtime, rub the glycerine mixture into the hands as well. Cover the hands in special mittens that are intended for this purpose and keep the hands and feet covered until morning. Rinsing the hands and feet with plain water in the morning will remove the excess. Following this procedure as necessary keeps hands soft and feet smooth.

Easy Homemade Moisturizer

Pour 3 tbsp pure glycerine and 3 tbsp rosewater into a small, clean bottle. Replace the cap and shake it to combine the ingredients. Before each use, shake the bottle and apply the contents to the face and body as desired.

Where to Purchase

Pure glycerine is sold in small amounts in chemists. It can often be bought in larger amounts from whole food stores, herb shops and online retailers (see References below), and it's inexpensive.

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About the Author

Pamela Gentry is an experienced writer specializing in original articles, blogs, product reviews and website copy. Her specialties include interior design, health and wellness and advertising. Gentry currently writes various types of content for Scripted, Writer Access, CopyPress, Get a Copywriter and Gated Publications.