Treat your skin like a precious Eden


Making a Glycerite

Glycerine - glycerine is a natural constituent of fatty acid triglycerides. Glycerine has many functions, it is a self-preserving ingredient and it is a humectant which means it attracts and holds moisture. 

I have been experimenting more with Glycerites using dried flowers, fresh flowers, fresh fruits and powders.  A few posts back, I touched a little on facial compressing and am still trying to perfect an amazing compress to share.  You can certainly try to make your own, as glycerin is water soluble.

In skincare glycerine is used in oil-free lotions, in glycerites and as a humectant in face masques to stop the clay drying out.  Adding a splash into your hot(ish) water basin makes a wonderful compress to home facials, manicure and pedicure soaks as well. I have also added glycerites into my personal hydrosols, for extra hydration when traveling to a dry climate or air travel.

These are some notes taken from my formulating class on Vegetable glycerine and as you will see, you can use these in a variety of fun ways. .

You can find certified organic VG is most often soy, palm or coconut based and has a slightly higher water content than the non-plant version – commonly made from animal tallow.  I have yet to find a C Organic coconut glycerine, but found certified organic (soy) glycerine at Mountain Rose Herbs

In skincare, glycerine functions as a humectant – drawing moisture to the skin when it comprises under a certain percentage of a formula (generally recommended at 5% – 10%).  However, at higher percentages, glycerine can do quite the opposite – drawing moisture from the skin.                                  Dosage is everything when it comes to glycerine – because it has another really cool and useful ability: it can function as a preservative or aid to a preservative.

Glycerites AKA (glycerin extracts) are using glycerine as the main extraction medium. Traditionally, these are made by adding fresh or dried plant material and water to glycerine, letting the mixture sit for a period of time (with daily agitation), then straining and bottling.  It is also entirely possible to make glycerites using fresh fruits and vegetables. 

The fresh-food glycerites I have tried have all demonstrated a wonderful ability to not only capture, but to retain the scent of the food.   * To date, I have personally tried cucumber, raspberry (my favorite so far!). A splash of raspberry glycerite in a skin tonic adds an extra dimension of natural freshness that is positively addictive!  Since glycerine can function as a preservative all by itself, one would think it completely unnecessary to add a preservative to a glycerite.

In a glycerite with dried herbs, it is easy to be accurate about total water content because the water is weighed out and added. In a glycerite using fresh plants, it becomes a bit trickier, although there seems to be a general consensus of using minimum 55% glycerine.  With fresh fruit or veg, the water-to-glycerine ratio gets pretty darn tricky to figure – and if the water content is ‘a guesstimate’, it’s impossible to calculate exact percentages.

Glycerites: Infusion Time

  • Average for fresh food glycerites: 5-7 days
  • Average for dried food glycerites: you tell me – I haven’t tried this yet
  • Average for dried herb glycerites: 7-14 days
  • Average for fresh herb glycerites: 6-10 days

If you have a garden full of medicinal blooms, making a glycerite can be a fun way to incorporate them into your skin care.  Just make sure that flower is NOT poisonous!  Not too long ago I infused my “yellow jasmine” flowers that smelled like sweet, butterscotch baby powder (not I did not add them into any skin concoction yet0 thank goodness) .. so when I did more research into that particular flower (as I was trained #annharmon) I found out it was indeed poisonous- whoops?  

So before you submerge your blooms, make sure to do your research first.  I have pink jasmine and honeysuckle blooming at the moment, so into the glycerine they go.  I leave them in the gylcerine for a few weeks until I get a good strong scent.

Any one up for a fun DIY?


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Monika Peters