Make Your Own Glycerin Skin Moisturizer

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One of the ways I keep my skin moisturized (especially during the cold winter months when my skin is the driest), is by making a very easy homemade moisturizer with glycerin and water. I’ve been making this mixture for over 10 years now and I’ve learned that just these two simple ingredients can make a very effective homemade treatment for dry skin. It’s become one of my favorite homemade mixtures!

A bottle of homemade moisturizing spray made with glycerin

How To Use Glycerin As A Moisturizer

Vegetable glycerin is a clear syrupy liquid that’s made by combining liquid and fats derived from vegetable oil. What makes glycerin very beneficial for our skin is that it has water binding capabilities that allow it to draw and absorb moisture from the air which in turn can help skin retain moisture.  Plus it’s a very natural product to use on skin as well. Vegetable glycerin can be found in most drugstores or in the pharmacy area of many large grocery stores, or you can find it on Amazon here: Vegetable Glycerin

Your bottle of glycerin may say that you can simply massage a few drops of glycerin into your skin for moisturizing, but I find that it’s nice to dilute glycerin for skin. I use a simple dilution formula of 1 part glycerin to 4 parts water.

Because glycerin is kind of sticky and syrupy on its own, and because it mixes so very easily with water, I think the best way to use glycerin as a moisturizer is to make an easy spray using these two ingredients.

Two Helpful Tips for Homemade Glycerin Moisturizer

Even though this is a very simple two-ingredient mixture, I do have a couple of quick tips.

First, I recommend that you use a mist bottle for this spray. I’ve learned that spraying a fine mist onto your skin is a much more pleasurable way to apply this mixture (instead of a harsher blast from a spray bottle which is what I tried first). In fact it was the change to using a mist bottle that helped me love this mixture and has kept me using it now for many years. It’s just a gentler and more evenly applied way to get this mixture onto your skin. Plus, a mist application makes it easier to use glycerin on your face too!

Sometimes I use my glass mist bottle, however once my hands are wet from spreading this mixture on my skin, the glass bottle can sometimes feel a little slippery in my hands. That’s why many times I still use a plastic mist bottle that I keep in my supplies too. I originally found my plastic mist bottle at a beauty supply store which can be a handy place to find a variety of spray and mist bottles for your DIY needs.

Second, I recommend that you use distilled water for your homemade glycerin moisturizing spray because distilled water is purified and very shelf-stable, and will stay good for the several months that it may take you to use up your homemade spray.

How to make glycerin moisturizer

My Glycerin Moisturizer Recipe

As mentioned above, I usually use a dilution ratio of 1 part glycerin with 4 parts of water. I’ve found this is a ratio that gives you moisturizing benefit, without the mixture being too sticky. When you have a formula like this, you can make your glycerin moisturizer in any size you wish, however I always use the measurements below when I mix up a batch:

Homemade Glycerin Skin Moisturizer

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup glycerin
  • 1 cup distilled water
  • A few drops of essential oil (optional)
  • A spray bottle or mist bottle

Combine the glycerin and distilled water in a mist bottle and then shake gently to mix. If you would like a little fragrance, a few drops of an essential oil can also be added. (A funnel is super helpful for getting the ingredients into your bottle too). To use – spritz the mixture onto your skin and then rub it in.

Homemade glycerin and water moisturizer

And that’s all there is to it! This glycerin moisturizer is a very simple and natural way to keep your skin soft, smooth, and hydrated without any artificial scents or chemicals to worry about. And when you look at the hefty price tags on some of the skin creams at the store, this is definitely a money-saving way to keep your skin moisturized too. That’s why for several years now, I just keep making my own glycerin moisturizing spray!

Here are a couple other variations of this recipe I’ve made too:

This post was originally published April, 2011 and updated February, 2022. Here’s the original picture you may have seen floating around Pinterest!

Homemade Glycerin Skin Moisturizing Spray

This simple homemade mixture of glycerin and water is a very natural and effective remedy for dry skin. I recommend a bottle with a mist spray top for applying the mixture to your skin.
Yield: 9 oz
Author: Beverly

Materials:

  • 1/4 cup Vegetable Glycerin
  • 1 cup Distilled Water
  • A few drops Essential Oil (optional for scent)
  • 1 Mist Bottle

Instructions:

  • Combine the glycerin and distilled water in the mist bottle.
  • You can also add a few drops of essential oil if you would like to add scent to your mixture.
  • Put the top on the mist bottle and gently shake to mix the ingredients.
  • To Use: Spritz some of the mixture onto dry skin and rub in.

Notes:

You can make this mixture in larger batches too, using a ratio of 1 part glycerin to 4 parts water.

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90 Comments

    1. I would not add witch hazel to this recipe as it has more of a drying and astringent effect on the skin, which would make this spray much less moisturizing.

  1. Surprisingly, this is the first and only dilution recipe I have been able to find that is exactly what I need. One question though: I really want to add a bit of sunflower oil because that has always helped my acne skin. How can I add that into this recipe?

  2. I make something like this also! Except instead of regular water, I use rice water with a bit of Anise oil in it. Very hydrating, especially right out of the bath before I use my own HM Face cream. It’s made a big difference in my skin. Love your blog. Keep up the good work.

    1. I always spray this onto my dry skin (rather than wet skin immediately after a shower). Because it’s already a “watery” type of spray, I prefer to rub it into my skin when it is already toweled off or otherwise dry anytime during the day I want some moisturizing.

  3. I’m quite new in making diy face products and love your blog.
    I hope they I understand it correctly but I can use glycerin in any face/body diy products, such as face toner, face serum, body moisturiser/butter. Can I mix it with any other ingredients like Shea butter, vitamin e and other carrier oils? Are there any ingredients that I shouldn’t mix it with? Thank you

    1. I usually mix my glycerin with other liquid ingredients for homemade beauty products. I’ve used glycerin together with aloe vera gel and water for an after sun spray, and I’ve used it with castille soap, honey, and oil for a homemade body wash. I think you could also mix glycerin with cocoa butter or shea butter if the butters were melted, however both of those things are already very moisturizing so I don’t know if there would be a need to add glycerin to them. At this point, I don’t know of any ingredients normally used in DIY beauty products that cannot be mixed with glycerin. I think it’s more a matter of if the glycerin is additionally needed with other ingredients that are already very moisturizing.

  4. I actually have dry skin too, and it make me uncomfortable sometimes. Thanks to this I will try it now. I have all the ingredients at hand.

  5. I live in Northern California and have been doing this for years. Vegetable glycerin (food grade) is super well priced too. I get vegetable glycerin from amazon for less than $8.00 and that bottle lasts me well over a year. And I use it religiously! I take a 360 Hair Spray bottle and add water with a few drops of the vegetable glycerin and add a few drops of jojoba oil and lavender essential oil — ITS AMAZING. I have sensitive dry skin and this is a life saver. Sometimes I will add in Aloe Vera, especially during summer. My skin eats it up and makes my skin feel so good.

    So happy you found that it worked for you as well!!

    Best,
    Sarah
    @itssarahclark -IG
    itssarahclark.com

    1. This mixture should have a very long shelf life because of the distilled water that you use. It takes me several months (sometimes almost a year) to use up a batch and it always stays fine during that time.

  6. The effectiveness of ‘plain ol’ tap water’ depends on where you are. Most is likely fine, but i moved fro an area where our tap water was spring water with no additives (HEAVEN!!) to a place where lord ONLY knows what’s in that stuff. I use distilled water for my DIY cleaning supplies and any ‘leave on’ cosmetics. (Among other things – my tap water is very good at leaving water spots) – I also used tap water that has sat over night with a stick of bamboo charcoal for making wild ferments and drinking. Otherwise – tap water it is.

  7. I just mixed food grade glycerin baby oil and to take away the sting and pain from over use of my acne medicine skin and for do it myself anti aging cream I did add a tiny bit of blistex moisture melt and that worked my skin not as dry and irritated now skin on face and under eyes . Night number tow apply twice a day or as needed.

  8. My grandmother was born in Prussia in 1861 and when she came to America in 1880
    She would have the chemist (druggist) mix glycerin and ROSE WATER this is the
    Correct recipe.

    1. Many of the “make your own” strategies we’re rediscovering today (like this glycerin spray) have their roots in things that previous generations were doing. Mixing glycerin and rose water is a very good example.

    2. Rose water is the classic! I’ve found that any hydrosol (floral/herb water) that is good for your skin type works. Lavender seems to come 2nd in popularity. I find straight-up hydrosol to be too strong a scent and too expensive. I use one part hydrosol to 3 parts distilled water. But that is all a matter of taste, purse, and how strong your hydrosol smells.

  9. I Mix glycerine with aloe vera gel and Tee tree oil for my Dry and acne prone skin. I use it AT night as moisturizer and sleeping Mask. IT help to my clear my acne and acne scars.

    1. Did you use aloe vera gel from the plant or store bought in a container? Also how long did you use until you saw improvements in your skin?

  10. Hi I love this page and I am here with a question. Can this be an effective moisturizer in the hair on your head?

  11. Thank you for posting this I will definitely try it.
    Also glad you found it for yourself….using Vaseline actually only makes you more dry because it prevents moisture from getting into your skin. It basically covers you with pure mineral oil which you can tell by running your hands under water after applying it. When you do that you will see the water just bead up on your skin and sit there…it will never penetrate the oil.
    The way to make mineral oil (just so you know where it comes from)
    1. Get gasoline from any pump
    2. Put the gasoline in a glass beaker and heat with a bunsen burner
    3. Separate the liquid from the solid part of the gasoline
    4. Put a candle wick in the solid that was left after separating
    5. The drips from that self made candle…from the gasoline that was heated and separated…is now mineral oil. Definitely not something you want on your skin and as I said above it actually makes you more dry.

    Best to avoid any products with Mineral Oil and SD40 alcohol because both dry you out.

    1. Thank you for posting this; I was concerned about her using Vaseline as well. No one should use petroleum products on their skin. Most cheap lip balm contains some form of petroleum.

    1. You can use this spray instead of moisturizer. When I use it, I just use it by itself without any other lotion.

        1. Yes, I use this on my face too. I usually squirt some on my fingers first and then apply it to my face. I find this a little easier than trying to squirt it directly on my face.

    1. I always use this spray up within three to four months and it does not grow moldy during that time. However I also always use either filtered water or distilled water which will prevent any mold from growing too.

  12. I have been reading through the comments and l am really exited to try out and make some of these fab products..

  13. I will like to make sugar scrub adding glycerin, do I had to add water to the recipe? and how much glyceryn in a recipe? thanks Osiris

  14. Your can purchase vegetable glycerine from soap and cosmetic suppliers.

    In the U.S., there’s a company called MakingCosmetics (add a dot com after that to find their site), New Directions Aromatics and several others.

    There’s also a site called ‘NowFoods’ in the U.S. that sells vegetable glycerine for $50 a gallon, but I’ve no idea whether that’s the best price for it out there – you’d have to do some googling to shop around and see if you can find a better price.

    The stuff sold in drug stores tends to be pharmaceutical grade, so some of the goodies can often be removed before it hits the shelves.

    I prefer to buy the organic, vegetable variety in bulk, especially as I use so much of it – it’s worth it for me to buy it in bulk.

    As for bugs and mold and whatnot, whenver I make products at home that involve water and humectants, I always include a preservative – usually Liquid Germall Plus (available from places like MakingCosmetics and New Directions Aromatics – just to be on the safe side.

    If anyone’s interested, Susan Barclay-Nichols over at her swiftcraftymonkey blogspot is a veritible font of knowledge on making skin and hair care products at home, explaining everything in great detail with research to back it all up, which anyone can do themselves.

    I learned everything I know from her so I’m sure some of you will no doubt get lost in her site – I know I could spend days reading it and lose track of time entirely lol

  15. I love this, but after 2 weeks I have what appears to be mold in my mist bottle. I didn’t use any essential oils, but followed the recipe exactly besides that optional part. Anyone else had this happen or know how to prevent it? Thanks in advance for the help!!

    1. Using filtered water should help prevent mold. You can also try distilled water to help prevent any mold. Another option is to keep it in the refrigerator, but of course then you’ve got some very cold moisturizer to spray on yourself which is not very comfortable unless it’s a very hot day.

    2. I know these comments are old, so hopefully you all are better informed. If you use glycerin and water distilled or filtered it doesn’t persevere it at all! At best toners/ mists are best made every few days to prevent mold. If you don’t want to do that then you have to add a persevative for it to last longer. My source is Michelle from Labmuffin beauty Science she has a PHD check out her blog and YouTube channel…..stay safe people

    1. I think if you use aloe gel it might have too thick of a texture to spray well. If you really wanted to add some aloe gel, you will probably want to either use just a very tiny amount so that it is still a thin mixture that will spray, or switch to a pump type bottle instead.

        1. That’s a pretty good idea! It should be fine to add a bit of Vitamin E oil to your the glycerin/water mixture.

        1. It can be any kind, however almost all glycerins that are sold are vegetable glycerin, even though it’s not always obvious on the labeling.

  16. Great recipe! Do I need to refrigerate this Glycerin Skin Moisturizer? I live in a tropical country so, do you think the heat can deteriorate this moisturizer?

    1. It can’t hurt to refrigerate this product, however then you will have to spray yourself with cold moisturizer, which if you live where its warm and tropical might not be all bad! If you leave it out at room temperature, make sure you use distilled water or purified water of some type to keep bacteria from growing in the water used in the mixture.

    1. A mister bottle squirts out a much finer spray that a spray bottle. A spray bottle will have a larger and more direct stream that it shoots out of the nozzle

  17. Hello. I bought glycerin from a drug store and it just says glycerin. Is this the same as the vegetable glycerin?

  18. I’ve been looking for this post in pinterest to pin & can’t locate it. Sorry, I’m new to all this. Thanks!

  19. Hi Bev, Thanks for this article on glycerin. I’m looking for something that will help my granddaughter’s extremely dry itchy skin. I’ve been studying EO’s lately, but this looks more affordable & something simple even my 7 yo granddaughter can do.Will this aid in the healing, do you think? Thanks for the post.

    1. Hi Linda – yes, I think this glycerin spray could help your granddaughter’s dry skin. I get very dry skin in the winter too and it’s helped me a lot. My husband finds this works better for his dry hands than lotions! What I notice the most is that the effects of the glycerin spray seem to last longer. I don’t have to reapply it as often as lotions.

  20. Thanks for this great post! I order propylene glycol (for perfume making) off Amazon and I was so excited when the box arrived today. I opened it, read the label, and realized they’d sent me vegetable glycerine by accident 🙁 Since I’m fairly new to natural products, all I knew about VG was that it’s in the soap I buy from Whole Foods haha. So I started some research, and made my own mist after reading your article. I add tea tree oil and lemon essential oil to mine. It smells great, moisturizers my skin better than I expected, and it’s a bit more expensive than what I actually purchased!

    This morning, my legs were so dry I could see scratch marks when I would scratch an itch. This mix completely changed that!

    1. Sorry, I don’t know how to make glycerine from scratch. Not sure if it’s even possible to make it on your own without specialized equipment.

  21. You can buy a gallon (10 pounds) of food grade vegetable glycerin on ebay for $35.00 with free shipping. Considering Wal Mart charges $3.99 for a 4 ounce bottle, this is a tremendous savings.

  22. Great comments and thanks for the ideas. I have used the recipe with the change of using organic rose water. Love it love the scent. Going to try out other floral waters for a change,and personalized gifts.
    Found both ingredients on Amazon.

  23. I have been adding GLYCERIN to my (store bought) lotions for yrs now. I mix it with plain EUCERIN (in the bottle – NOT the jar) and use as a facial moisturizer. Works as good as the more expensive creams. Altho’ mine does not have any anti-aging properties… you could always alternate with a different cream at night.

  24. This works perfectly for me. I spray it on my hair after washing and my face and neck. Just a quick light spray makes my naturally curly hair shine and my skin looks moist. I used the 1:4 ratio, just glycerine and spring water.

  25. Love this!! Amazon has a quart of glycerin for <$12, they have smaller containers, but not as good of deal. Makes great gifts if you have a selection of oils on hand; which is what I'm doing with my quart of glycerin. I use 2 parts glycerin, 2 parts aloe vera gel, 3 parts distiller water. I screwed up the measurements the first time I made it, but like the results, so I've kept with it. Thanks for the wonderful recipe.

  26. Would also like to make my own home made moisturizing skin lightener. Would adding lime or lemon to this glycerine moisturizer do that for me or totally defeat the purpose? Thanks

    1. Yes, I use this spray on my face and it works well there too. Sometimes I find it’s a little easier to spray it on my hand first, and then rub it on my face.

      1. Of course it’s possible to make glycerine. Here is a very simple recipe from Mother Earth News. It uses olive oil and coconut oil.
        http://www.motherearthnews.com/natural-health/old-school-beauty-making-glycerin-zbcz1304zold.aspx

        Another thing a person can do is rub their skin with coconut oil directly. I do that after bathing and it works very well. I never put it on my face however. It’s very helpful for those of us in the West where its very, very dry.

  27. Thank you for the recipe. I love glycerin moisturizers but never thought about making it. The hand hot oil treatment looks good too. So glad I found your blog!

  28. Thank you for the recipe. I love glycerin moisturizers but never thought about making it. The hand hot oil treatment looks good too. So glad I found your blog!

  29. I am still liking this glycerin moisturizer too. I did find that a mist bottle works better for applying it to your skin than a spray bottle.

  30. I got a bottle of this from the same Kathryn last year and it's all I use. Of course I ran out of hers and now make my own. I use it every morning and night. I use less glycerin though.