Is Glycerin Vegan

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What Is Glycerin

Glycerin is another name for glycerol or glycol. A thick gelatinous, odorless, compound made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. It is technically sugar alcohol. Which dissolves in water completely and is low on toxic levels.

Glycerin is part of a larger molecule called triglyceride. To extract glycerin from triglyceride, The fat is saponified with sodium hydroxide. This reduces it into glycerin. These days most of the glycerin is manufactured from vegetable sources, although it can also be manufactured from petroleum oils.

The reason glycerin is used so much in a variety of things is because of its hygroscopic. This means it absorbs water from the air, This makes it an important ingredient for food, especially baked items and cosmetics. It helps cosmetics retain moisture. Some other things in which glycerin is used are the base of lotions, cakes, candies, and some printing inks, etc.

Glycerin is a humectant, a type of moisturizing agent that pulls water into the outer layer of your skin from deeper levels of your skin and the air.

According to a study, glycerin is the most effective humectant in comparison with numerous others like Alpha hydroxy acids, such as lactic acid and glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid, propylene glycol, butylene glycol, sorbitol, and urea.

Is Glycerin vegan?

Most of the glycerin used these days is vegan but, be animal glycerin in some products. In this case, it’s best to check with the company to make sure if you’re in doubt.

Plant-based glycerin

Vegetable glycerin is made by heating triglyceride-rich vegetable fats. These include palm, soy, and coconut oils. These are placed under pressure together with a strong alkali, such as lye. This combination of heat, pressure, and water causes the glycerin to split away from fatty acids and mix with water.

Animal-based glycerin

Animal glycerin is extracted from tallow which usually comes from beef or mutton fats. Tallow is mixed with water and heated over medium to low temperature till it’s thick. This mixture is further refrigerated overnight to harden. The hardened mixture then can be boiled and strained to remove excess water and impurities.

The end product is then ready to be used in soaps, lotions, or hair products like vegetable glycerin.

What is glycerin used for?

Glycerin is a versatile product that is used in a variety of products such as cosmetics, food, paper, and pharmaceutical industries.

In the cosmetics industry glycerin is used in a variety of lip balms, lotions, makeup, etc. It is also used in soaps and shampoos, including many natural products.

For the paper industry, it is used to reduce the shrinkage of paper during manufacturing. In the medical and pharmaceutical fields, it’s a prominent ingredient in many treatments.


So what we learned is, generally when glycerin is used in food-related items, it is usually vegetable-based glycerin. Although there is no proof that it’s always the case as in many instances it can be made from animal fats.

If you’re ever in doubt regarding the glycerin you’re consuming it’s better to check the label or contact the manufacturer.

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