Using vegetable glycerin in skincare products is increasingly popular due to its natural moisturizing properties. Vegetable glycerin, also known as glycerol or glycerine, is a colorless and odorless liquid derived from vegetable oils and is widely used in a variety of products, from cosmetics and skin care to pharmaceuticals and food. As a humectant, it helps to attract and retain moisture in the skin, and is often used in formulations to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of aging. In this guide, we'll explore the benefits and drawbacks of using vegetable glycerin as a humectant in skincare products and offer tips and tricks on how to get the most out of it.
What is vegetable glycerin?
Vegetable glycerin (VG) is a natural by-product of the saponification process used to create vegetable oils. It is a colorless, odorless, and viscous liquid made from the glycerin fatty acid esters that are distilled from vegetable oils such as palm oil, soybean oil, coconut oil, and sunflower seed oil. It is tasteless, has a neutral PH, and is non-toxic and non-irritating to the skin. Due to its high moisture retention ability and natural hyaluronic acid content, it is commonly used as an ingredient in skin care products including moisturizers, lotions, and facial serums. It is also used in many household products such as shampoos, foods, and some pharmaceuticals.
Benefits of vegetable glycerin as a humectant
Vegetable glycerin is hygroscopic, meaning it will attract and retain moisture in the skin, which is great for dry or dehydrated skin. Vegetable glycerin is often used in serum-like skincare products to provide a temporary boost of hydration and improve overall skin texture. As a humectant, it also reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by plumping up the epidermis, giving the skin a smoother and younger appearance. Some other benefits include:
Stabilizes pH - The pH of skin is naturally slightly acidic, but it can become more alkaline as we age, which can lead to dry, brittle, and wrinkled skin. Vegetable glycerin contains citric acid and other humic acids, which are acids that push the skin’s pH towards an alkaline state and help prevent the breakdown of skin’s natural barrier.
- Improves skin hydration - Vegetable glycerin works as a humectant by attracting and holding water molecules from the environment and even from the atmosphere, which helps to hold in moisture in the skin and prevent dehydration. Dehydrated skin can result in redness, flaking, and wrinkles, so using products with vegetable glycerin can help to prevent these issues.
How to use vegetable glycerin as a humectant in skincare products
Vegetable glycerin can be used in a variety of skincare products, including toners, serums, and moisturizers. To use vegetable glycerin as a humectant in skincare products, you can add it to creams, lotions, and other products that contain oils, water, and other bases. Vegetable glycerin can be used in high concentrations without negative effects on the skin. The recommended usage rate is around 10% to 20%. When using this as a humectant, it is important to be sure that the product is well incorporated into the oil phase of the emulsion and that there are no clumps or lumps in the product.
Types of skincare products that can benefit from vegetable glycerin
Vegetable glycerin is often used in creams, lotions, and serums to help boost hydration and prevent dry and dehydrated skin. These types of products can greatly benefit from the use of vegetable glycerin as a humectant to quickly boost hydration and improve the overall texture of the skin.
- Moisturizers - Vegetable glycerin is often added to creams, lotions, and serums to increase hydration and improve the texture of the skin. It is often used in combination with other ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and almond oil to provide long-lasting hydration.
- Cleansers - Using vegetable glycerin as a humectant in cleansers is a great way to add moisture to the skin while cleansing the face. Vegetable glycerin can be added to foaming cleansers to boost hydration and leave the skin feeling silky smooth.
- Toners - Vegetable glycerin works well in toners because it can help to boost hydration, reduce redness, and calm the skin while also containing anti-aging properties.