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February 4, 2009

Hair Tip of The Day- The Truth About Glycerin

CN: Oyin's Juices and Berries has a pretty delicious ingredient list:

Purified water infused with horsetail, lavender, nettle, roses, and chamomile; organic flaxseeds; aloe vera juice; vegetable glycerine; essences of lavender, sweet orange, ylang ylang, and rosemary; grapefruit seed extract; citric acid; and love

This spritz seems to truly be moisturizing my hair, despite the glycerin. I was under the impression that glycerin in the winter time is a bad thing, as it may leech the moisture from my strands. Are there some instances where you can get away with it? Is it far enough down on the list? Does my moisturizing conditioners and butters counteract it?

JC: Glycerin (glycerine/glycerol - all the same thing) is hygroscopic. This means it draws moisture (water) from its surrounding. It is very good at doing these because it has 3 water attracting groups (known as hydroxyl groups) per molecule (As far as molecules go, this is quite high!). This is the reason why some people say that glycerin is drying which is sort of true but not really. If you expose glycerin to air, it will saturate itself to the point where it does not need any more water. And when you put it in water (which it loves), then it will REALLY saturate itself and will not draw water away from your hair. Therefore, the message is glycerin plus water, is good! While the herbs and essences probably just make the product smell good, the glycerin is the stuff that makes it moisturising.

The moisturising conditioners and butters probably just add to the effect of the product.

29 Chime in!:

Maria said...

This stuff sounds divine. How does it smell?

Precious-Olivia said...

That's really informative, I did not know that. Cool.

Naturally Leslie said...

I've often wondered about glycerin so this was very helpful and informative. Thanks CN and JC!

missglass said...

i was just about to write about this to someone on youtube everyone always says glycerin is drying in the winter, but i still use it and i live in upstate NY and it gets to around -20 here sometimes and i've never had a problem with it...so i looked it up and found out that glycerin IS bad for your hair if you live in areas that have low humidity but winter doesn't mean low humidity in all places our humidity here is 90% on any given day.

Zizi said...

Thanks for that as I do love me some glycerin. do u know what the difference is between glycerin and vegetable glycerin?

Jc said...

missglass - this is not true if you add water to the glycerin.

Zizi - I'm not entirely sure. I can only assume vegetable glycerin is just stating that the source is from vegetables. This is sort of odd because most glycerin is produced from vegetable oil. I guess if you have a specific product then you can always ask the manufacturer

Anonymous said...

What's happenin curly divas;

Lady Hobbs here...I am truly a long time witness to the moisturizing benefits of the gylcerin/H20 collabo...the 1:1 ratio is delectablity additive to say the lest; simply won't leave home without it...wink

NaturallyCurlyDee said...

This is great information!! I think I will buy vegatable glycerin today at Whole Foods!! Thanks Nik and JC!!!

JazBNatural said...

Zizi, glycerin is made from fat. "Glycerin" is made from animal fat, while vegetable glycerin is made from vegetable fat. =]

JaC said...

Very very informative thank you and God bless you all :o)

Anonymous said...

Glycerin good? I don't think so.
http://www.healthy-communications.com/harmfulingredients1.html

Anonymous said...

I use vegetable glycerin/water /sweet orange eo in a spritz bottle and my hair loves it. 3c/4a. Inly thing is, my hair is a little greasy but it keeps the curls pattern quenched all day

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous (with the healthy communications link)
On the website it says SYNTHETIC glycerine have those harmful properties and i didnt see any mention of vegetable glycerine which is what is being discussed here.

Anonymous said...

@JC
When you say put it with water, do you mean use on damp hair? Thanks,

Anonymous said...

is glycerin gud for curly hair ?

Anonymous said...

I made a hair spritz using vg and water, 1:2 parts. I added jojoba oil and castor oil. When I spritzed my hair with the mixture my hair felt a little sticky. When my hair had dried it felt silky and moisturised. I did my research on vg because it is a natural product and I try not to use chemicals. For it to work VG must be diluted with water. This was the first time I'd used it and have read many complaints about it leaving hair dry and brittle. VG loves water and I would suggest diluting it with water at a minimum of 1:2 parts with water. I think next time I'll try to use more water to see how it affects my hair next time. VG also acts as a preservative!

Anonymous said...

i use a daily dosage of glycerin, hair oil, and mane and tail leave and conditioner on my tweeny weeny afro. I love the combination on my hair.

Anonymous said...

A 1:1 mixture of veg. glycerin to water also makes a super cheap, super effective facial moisturizer...especially in the winter. My bottle (walmart brand, I think) suggests the usage of it as a protectant against winter winds...even on babies/children.

Nichelle said...

I've heard negative comments about glycerine as well...that's why I did my research. I just started a hair/skincare company so I wanted to know if it really was bad before I added it to my products. I purchased natural glycerine and added it to a conditioner mix. I used it on my fro...I LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT! I'm glad we have so many people who don't take the first thing they hear as gospel... Ladies continue your research, that's the only way we will advance!

"Educated consumers always know how to make a dollar outta 15 cents!"
-Me.

LadyLee said...

Glycerin does draw water. I don't use it bc my hair is so thick and I live in a humid area. My hair already draws water. That combined with glycerin - as my sister says: MEGA-fro!

Anonymous said...

can glycerin be a cause of frizz?

Anonymous said...

I started a natural hair and skin product company almost a year ago. I use nothing but all natural ingredients. I kept hearing that glycerin was bad in winter for hair, but no one could tell me why. This article proved what I have believed and personally found to be true all along. Thanks

Anonymous said...

this is very informative. I am really glad i read this. I live in saudi arabia and it's really hot here. so i bet glycerin with water wud be gud for me. do you know whether it's ok for babies? I have a 9 months old girl with really thick hair. it gets very very dry. it is ok for her? thankx

goneAUnatural said...

it has no smell. i just bought a bottle today for 4.99 at my local hair care shop. ; it's AMAZING !

Rach said...

I'm new to the natural transitioning and I wanted to know what does 1:2 parts mean? I just bought some vegetable glycerin and wanted to know how much water and glycerin I should put in my spray bottle. Also I have really dry, flaky scalp. Can I use veg glycerin straight on my scalp? If not, what should I do? Thanks!

Tabitha De'nae said...

Rach...
I just purchased some glycerin 99.5 at my local beauty. It was glycerin concentrate so it said on the bottle to mix with water; half and half. So i put it in my spray bottle and add an equal amount of water. Shook it up and started spraying. After using it for a couple of days my hair was so shiny and it felt really moisturized! I loved the look of it. Lately my hair has been sooo dry feeling and looking. I just recently used it on a twist out and my ends weren't fizzy at all. The only thing I dont like it has a tendency to make my hair feel oily/greasy. But its better than having dry hair to me. But yea when I bought it i had no prior knowledge about glycerin, maybe from organic chemistry lol , but nothing about how it effects natural hair. From reading the article above and the comments... the reviews are mixed, but so far its been ok for my hair and I'll keep using it. I may add a little more water next time so it wont leave my hair so greasy.

Anonymous said...

If the VG makes your hair look/feel greesy, you can add a natural gel or hairspray (I know that would make curly girls freak, but hear me out) once hair is dry. I have tight curls and love VG. If I overload on the VG and need to take out some moisture, I spray with Aubrey hairspray or put some Aubrey gel on dry hair. This seems to sop up some of the moisture. I wouldn't do this all the time, but I feel like having curly hair you have to be a chemist taking into account temperature, barometric pressure, humidity factors etc., so what I put in my hair on Monday in NYC might not work at all on Thursday if you get me. So if you over do it by mistake try the hair spray or gel to reverse the effect. Also, if you need a quick moisturizing fix, put 3 or 4 drops (no more if you want to avoid greasy look) with a natural leave in conditioner on dry hair and it will transform instantly. VG is natural, you just need to figure out what quantity works for your hair type and what conditioners/gels to mix it with. I saw a recipe for moisturizing castile soap shampoo including dr. bronners castile soap, veg glycerine and olive/jajoba oil. Kudos for everyone doing their research and veering toward natural products. -N

Anonymous said...

i luv glycerine! recently my hair took a lot of damage due to multiple coloring/dyeing, it became so dry, brittle and tangled even i use treatments and conditioner..but when i used pure glycrin in my damp hair, it works fast! it became moisturized and relaxed! i really like it:)

Ej said...

I just started transitioning. I usually put twist curls at night but 2 nights ago I added vg to my hair before I rolled. The rollers where in for 2 days. I was so upset when I discovered the vg straightened my hair instead. really!!!!!!!. Did I do something wrong? What gives?

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