It’s a common sweetener in food and pharmaceutical products like syrups and lozenges, and it can be used to keep botanical extracts fresh for longer, but glycerin is perhaps best known as an excellent ingredient in all sorts of cosmetics. Just like magic, glycerin draws moisture out of the air and locks it into skin, making it a lovely addition to dozens of our hydrating products.
Glycerin, discovered in 1779 by Swedish chemist Carl W. Scheele, is a sweet, clear, thick liquid created during the soap-making process. When you add lye, or sodium hydroxide, to something fatty—like vegetable oil—the two ingredients react to create soap and glycerin. Although glycerin can be made from animal fat, ours is completely vegetarian and derived from rapeseed oil.
Soften up with glycerin
Glycerin is an important ingredient in plenty of our products because it’s wonderful for softening skin and hair. Like honey and vanilla, glycerin acts as a humectant, meaning it draws moisture from the air into skin and hair for lasting hydration. We love using it for a silky, softening touch in our body lotions, soaps and shower gels. In our body conditioners, glycerin not only hydrates but is blended with other ingredients like aloe vera or fresh fruit juices, bringing them deeper into the skin to boost their effectiveness. And in R&B Hair Moisturizer and Happy Happy Joy Joy Conditioner, it helps hair retain moisture to stay shiny and soft.
Whenever we formulate a product, we think about the best way to keep it fresh. Microorganisms like bacteria can thrive in lotions and shower gels and other products that contain water, so we use safe synthetic preservatives in some of them to limit bacteria growth. However, our product inventors are always coming up with new ways to keep products from spoiling, and glycerin has been a shining star.
Glycerin absorbs excess water into its structure so bacteria can’t access it, making it impossible for them to survive. This enables our inventors to create expertly balanced, self-preserving formulas that don’t need synthetic preservatives to stay fresh.