Thursday, 22 November 2012

Know Your Ingredients | Glycerin

I just want to start off with saying a big, fat THANK YOU to everyone for the response I've received so far regarding my 'Know Your Ingredients' series. Today's post will be on Glycerin, which is a very VERY popular ingredient used in the UK in almost every skincare or haircare product. Glycerin is a humectant ingredient that can be derived synthetically in a laboratory or naturally from fermented sugars and animal fats. There is concern over the use of synthetically derived glycerin as petrochemicals are used to creation the reaction that causes glycerin and petrochemicals have been shown in recent reports to cause health risks.

Glycerin/Glycerol/Glycerine is used A LOT in skincare and especially haircare products. I think this is the ingredient that pops up the most in my cosmetics and hair care stash; I just can’t get away from it!! Using glycerin is a great way to condition dry/flaky scalps, frizzy and brittle hair, I love using glycerin products like Moroccanoil’s Intense Hydrating Mask on my hair as it is chemically straighten and products with glycerin increase the moisture content in my hair AND prevents breakage.

The biggest thing to watch out for if your cosmetics routine is glycerin based is that it is VERY WEATHER-DEPENDANT. Glycerin has the ability to draw moisture from the atmosphere, into your hair and skin, and retain said moisture. However this only works effectively in weather conditions with a humidity level of 70% or more. If you live in the UK then it is completely fine to have a glycerin heavy cosmetic routine like I have because London (where I live) has an average humidity level of 79%, making it perfect Glycerin weather. If you happen to live in a particularly dry climate, I wouldn’t recommend you using glycerin products, as you will experience the opposite effect where the glycerin does the reverse and sucks the moisture OUT of your hair and into the atmosphere.

For as long as I can remember my mum adds a little bit of glycerin & rosewater to her moisturizer to seal the moisture into her skin and boost her moisturiser’s skincare properties as she normally got very dry skin during the cold months. I think this is a ridiculously smart idea as the humidity in London rises to 80%-90% from Oct – Feb  (so I would prescribe this trick to anyone who suffers from ridiculously dry skin in the winter).  Just a little dose of Glycerin
helps maintain the skin cell's water balance and improves the general appearance of skin. Hydration does wonders for anyone skin to be honest.

Glycerin is also a very effective preservative often used in medicine (commonly herbal) but if you ever find a shampoo, wash or conditioner using Glycerin as its preservative, PUT IT DOWN!!!! Glycerin is only an effective preservative with an ingredient content of 60% or over and honestly this amount would turn your hair into a big sticky and slimy mess.  The recommended amount of glycerin in a product is about 20% so be wary.

Hope my ‘Know Your Ingredient’ Series has been helpful and informative so far. I love doing the research for each ingredient but do le me know if you want me to touch up on any ingredient you are unsure of.