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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

For the Love of Glycerin

Recently, I've posted about hair care products that have not lived up to my expectations. During one of my product tryouts, I ran across information about using glycerin to improve some of the products that I won`t be able to return for refunds. Because I am a strange kind of person, I got curious about why glycerin was so recommended. I did a little bit of research.

According to much of the info I ran across on various sites (focused on everything from beauty care to healthcare), glycerin is like a do-all, solve-all kind of item. Of course, when I use the word "information", I'm talking about internet information where everyone is wise and wonderful and knows exactly what they are talking about. So I take it all with caution, a grain of salt and a medical hotline on speed-dial.

If lots of internet wisdom is to be believed, we should all be buying glycerin by the gallon because it can be used in just about every part of a normal person's day. I'll stick with the few things about glycerin that interested me:
  • It's great for adding not just to hair products, but it can improve lotions and soaps too.
  • Also (and this really surprised me), some people take glycerin orally to relieve constipation. 
  • Surprise again - Some people use glycerin to treat dry mouth and gum tissue problems.
  • Tired of being surprised, but some folks believe that glycerin can (when taken orally) encourage weight loss. (Maybe that ties in to the constipation relief?)
  • (NOTE: did you know that glycerin is sometimes prescribed? So don't just let the internet be your healthcare guide. Check with a doctor about anything you plan to use that could have a negative effect. I myself don't even like to breathe the air without a prescription!)

Anyway. This glycerin. Who knew it could be used so many different ways. And why the heck had I not heard all this before!?
I've used this before
& never thought about it
Since I am paranoid about believing even a tiny part of what I read on the internet, especially when it comes to my health and well-being, I'm super-cautious about ingesting anything without my doctors' approval. But I can't wait until my appointment next week to ask about trying oral uses of glycerin. In the meantime though, I'm sure even my docs sometimes wonder what the hell is going on with this hair of mine so I am already testing glycerin in my beauty products.

Did I mention that glycerin is a fairly cheap purchase? At least for now. Soon as everyone starts getting hot about it, the price is going to be jacked up like crazy. Just you watch for it. In the meantime, I paid too much and still, for just under 12 bucks, I was able to get a 4oz bottle each of "100% Pure Vegetable Glycerin" and a Rosewater Glycerin mix. My first test was on my skin. I picked my knees because, well... See I had been playing cars with my nephew. This means a lot of crawling around on the floor and getting all ashy-kneed in the process.


The pure glycerin is a thick-ish syrup-like substance that I expected to be sticky (based on some user comments at review sites). When applied straight, it does have a slightly tacky feel on my skin - like a thin coating of petroluem jelly - but it's not unpleasant or too noticeable. When applied with my body lotion, there was very little tacky-ness. I actually love the way it feels applied straight, no chaser. Another plus: no odor at all.
probably cheaper than my 4oz bottle...
The Rosewater glycerin mix is as thin as water. Directions are to shake well prior to use - I guess to distribute the glycerin. This is something that I will definitely be using on my face prior to applying my regular moisturizer. When I applied to my han
ds, there was zero tacky-ness. The rosewater (which is a scent I'm not usually wild about) is not over-strong or unpleasant. I actually  kind of like it because I was about to be testing this one on my hair as well.

To get a good idea of glycerin's moisturizing benefits, I wanted to make sure my hair was really clean and completely dry. I did a shampoo and rinse-out conditioner to get every strand nice and clean. Thanks to some of the other products I`d tried on my hair these past several days, the being dry as a bone part was no problem.

I tried the pure glycerin on a hank of hair on the left side of my head and worked it in real good. Without looking in a mirror, I did a "touch test". Wow. Big difference between the treated and un-treated hair. Lots of instant softness and the sort of bouncy feel I get with really good products.

Still not using a mirror, I treated a hank of hair on the right side with the rosewater mix. Nice enough, but not nearly as moisturized (by feel) once it dried.

Finally, I took a look in the mirror and... Both side looked lots better than my un-treated hair. Hair can definitely look as dry as it feels. My un-treated hair was about as crunchy as fresh potato chips.

Bottom line: I think that using glycerin is going to be good for my hair simply because the moisture retention will help reduce breakage. Also, I'll be applying both the pure and the rosewater mixed version to my scalp as well. And, because I can use less of other products, I won't need to wash as often (to get rid of their odor and buildup). Less washing, less drying out and handling.

I will have to report back on how this does on my skin over the longer term. I`m going to be using the rosewater on my face and the pure product on the dryer areas of my body. For the rest of my skin, I will add glycerin to the regular lotions I am currently using. What I can tell you right away from using the pure glycerin is that my hands didn't dry out every couple of hours like they normally do. Usually I am reapplying lotion after every hand-washing or time out in the cold. Love that.

If you are thinking of trying glycerin, I understand that it`s available (for reasonable prices) at most drug stores and chains. I happened to get mine at our local health food store just because I was in there to pick up some honey! Even though I will be able to stretch the use of a 4oz bottle for weeks and weeks (because a teensy bit goes a loooong way), I paid too much for such a small container, so... shop wisely. Also, just think of being able to maybe salvage some products by boosting their properties (and your lotions) with a bit of glycerin. I think this is money well spent. As far as ingesting the stuff.... I would check with a doctor first! I'm just saying and I'll keep saying it as long as there are people who believe everything they see online. 


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