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Short description: Vegetable glycerin

Commonly known as: Glycerin (I.N.C.), Glycerol, Propane-1,2,3-triol, Trihydroxypropane, Glyceritol, Propanetriol.
Botanical name: Brassica napus, Helianthus annuus, Elaeis guineesis, etc.
Extraction process: Manufacture of biofuels from vegetable oils (rapeseed, corn, sunflower, palm, soya, coconut, olive, flax, palm kernel...), followed by a distillation, decoloration and filtration stage.
Family: Various.
Part of the plant extracted: Vegetable oils.
Location: /
Flowering: /
Provenance, origin: Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia) and Europe (France, Germany, Belgium, Romania, Ukraine, etc.).
Phytochemical composition: Chemical compound with three hydroxyl groups of the alcohol type (trialcool).
Sensorial properties: Appearance: thick viscous liquid; Color: colorless to light yellow; Odor: odorless.
Physical characteristics: Molar mass : 92,0932 g/mol ; Density : 1,2 - 1,3 g/cm3 ; Miscible in water and ethanol ; Slightly soluble in acetone; Non-miscible in fatty oils and essential oils; Recommended dosage for a cosmetic use in an aqueous phase: from 2 to 10% (beyond 10%, glycerin loses its moisturizing properties, and on the contrary, it favors dehydration).
Benefits: Humectant, softening, protective, emollient, antioxidant, solvent, lubricant, stabilizer, thickener.
Concerns: All skin types, especially dry and dehydrated skin; All hair types, especially dry hair.



  • Softening, soothing: Improve the appearance of water by providing comfort and softness by maintaining a constant level of moisture;

  • Hair conditioner: Helps recreate a healthy cuticle by wrapping a film around the hair fibers and ensuring the cohesion of the scales. However, glycerin-based hair products must be used in a humid (non-dry) environment to avoid accentuating dehydration;

  • Filmogenic: To slow down the water leakage by reinforcing the barrier function of the skin by the formation of a film on the epidermis;

  • Hydrating: Capacity to store water in the upper layers of the skin, by capturing and retaining moisture from the air up to 25% of its weight in water to maintain skin hydration;

  • Protective: To limit the impact of the external aggressions (cold, UV, wind) on the skin by forming a protective layer. It also participates in the restoration of the natural defenses of the skin;

  • Repairing: To activate the process of regeneration of the cutaneous fabrics by supporting the synthesis of the lipids and the integrity of the cells of the skin.


  • Face care (face creams, serums, masks, make-up removal lotions, lip balms, face scrubs, moisturizing mists, shaving foams, eye contour creams);

  • Body care (body creams, moisturizing milks, shower gels, exfoliating gels, nourishing hand balms, after-sun lotions);

  • Hair care (shampoos, conditioners, hair masks, moisturizing hair lotions, styling gels);

  • Hygiene (hydroalcoholic gels, toothpastes);

  • Make-up (lipsticks, lip glosses, blushes).


Store at room temperature (minimum 20°C and maximum 60°C) protected from light, but especially protected from humidity.

Contra-Indications and Precautions

Glycerin is one of the most tolerated active ingredients. It adapts to all the typologies of skin, including sensitive skin. Indeed, it is present in many hypoallergenic products. Its use is authorized for babies under 3 years old, children under 6 years old, as well as pregnant and nursing women.

However, glycerin must be used diluted on the skin at the risk of causing irritation or mild allergies. An overdose of glycerin (beyond 10%) could have a drying effect on the skin. 

  • In a cream, a milk, a cleansing gel, a lip balm: 2 to 5% maximum in the formulation;

  • In shower gel and shampoo: 2 to 10% maximum in the formulation.

Find out more

Glycerin was discovered in 1783 by the Swedish chemist and pharmacist Carl Wilhelm SCHEELE by boiling olive oil with lead oxide. It was then discovered in 1823 by the French chemist Michel-Eugène CHEVREUL for soap manufacturing (saponification). The name comes from the Greek "glykerós" which means "sweet". Historically, glycerin was of animal and synthetic origin. Today, we can use 100% vegetable glycerin, produced from vegetable oils rich in fatty acids. In addition to its humectant properties thanks to its high affinity with water, it is also a very good solvent to extract the active ingredients of a plant, much better than water or alcohol. Glycerin is also a very good emulsifier; it facilitates the mixing of ingredients in a formula.