Vegetable glycerin, also called glycerol or glycerine, is a clear liquid that's usually made from coconut, palm or soybean oils.
Vegetable glycerin is odorless and it has a mild, sweet taste. This ingredient has a syrup-like consistency and can be used to make cosmetics or certain food products.
Vegetable glycerin is added to foods to help oil and water-based ingredients mix. It is also used to sweeten or moisten food. Additionally, vegetable glycerin can prevent ice crystals from forming in frozen foods like ice cream.
Vegetable glycerin is used to make toothpaste and it helps prevent the toothpaste from drying out or hardening in the tube. Finally, it is added to candles, deodorants, lotions, makeup and soaps.
You can buy vegetable glycerin in vape shops, pharmacies, supermarkets or online stores. When buying vegetable glycerin, consider these factors:
To make vegetable glycerin, you must heat triglyceride-rich vegetable fats and combine it with a strong alkali like lye.
Follow the recipe to make your own vegetable glycerin at home. You will need a saucepan and a food thermometer.
If you don't have coconut and olive oil, use jojoba, palm or vegetable oils.
To make DIY soap, pour the soap into a mold and freeze it for 24 hours. Air-dry the soap for at least three weeks to finish curing it before use. (Related: How to make your own DIY liquid hand soap and laundry soap.)
Since vegetable glycerin is made after exposing your ingredients to high temperatures, it is best to wear safety gear like a face mask, goggles, pants and a long-sleeved shirt. If the mixtures come in contact with your bare skin, flush the affected area with cold water and consult a physician as needed.
Vegetable glycerin is generally considered safe, but if you're not used to applying products that contain vegetable glycerin, do a patch test first to see how your skin reacts.
When ingested, vegetable glycerin can cause symptoms such as:
Note that glycerin is a form of sugar alcohol that your body can't fully absorb. If you consume too much vegetable glycerin, you may also experience symptoms like diarrhea and gas.
If you want to create your own cosmetics or DIY soap, learn how to make vegetable glycerin at home.