Vegetable glycerine, the best humectant
Glycerin should really be considered a foundational ingredient for building skincare products. It draws moisture into the skin and hair and forms a barrier helping to retain moisture. Hair and skincare products with glycerin will smooth our skin and hair, temporarily fill in wrinkles, and stay moist.
Glycerin is a natural component of healthy skin and is found in humans, animals and vegetables. It’s also known as glycerin or glycerol, the latter being the term most often used in studies about this ingredient.
It can be derived from vegetable or animal sources, or made synthetically. Most of the suppliers sell vegetable glycerin made from vegetable oils. It is thick, odorless and syrupy and easily dissolves in any liquid, making it a dream to use. As with all ingredients, there is no difference chemically between vegetable or synthetic glycerin, but most of the natural brands like us will only buy natural vegetable glycerin because that is what customers want.
Side note: The natural version is more expensive than the lab made version, though it has the same effect on skin, and is not better for the skin in any way. This is partly the reason why drug store brands that use lab made ingredients are cheaper, but still work well and are safe. Lab made glycerin is much more sustainable for the environment too as the land needed to grow monocrops contributes heavily to deforestation.
Glycerin can draw moisture from the air around us and help keep that moisture in the skin because it is a humectant. Other humectants that we like to use include glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate, and sorbitol. Although hyaluronic acid is having a moment, it is not as easy to work with as glycerine.
Besides all of the above, glycerin also functions as a delivery system to enhance the penetration of other ingredients. Other ingredients work better when glycerin is around. It also improves elasticity and strengthens the skin barrier.
Glycerin has a very long history of safe use, and is non-allergenic, suitable for all skin types, even oily or acne-prone skin. Make sure your products have good amounts of glycerin in them!