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Ingredient focus


Rina Teslica
Writer and expert1 year ago
View Rina Teslica's profile
medium skinned model applying cream on her face

When thinking of skin hydration your sk-intellectual mind probably goes straight to {hyaluronic acid}. But that’s not the only moisture booster you should have in your {skin care} repertoire. More than likely you already have products infused with this humectant but let’s get into the nitty gritty of this skin-replenishing ingredient. 

First up — what is glycerin?

Glycerin, otherwise known as glycerol, is a humectant found in the fat of animals and plants. By humectant we mean that it prevents moisture loss which is a winner-winner –chicken-dinner for keeping a nourished, radiant complexion. Most skin care however uses manufactured hydrolysed glycerin, meaning it’s much more purified (and therefore more potent.)  

How does glycerin work?

Simply put, glycerin attracts moisture from the air into the stratum corneum (top layer of skin). It has a super low molecular weight (90g/mol) meaning it can be absorbed deep into the dermis and deliver serious hydration where you need it most. As it’s quite potent, glycerin is usually infused with other occlusives (ingredients that ward against moisture loss — they’re like an overcoat for your complexion) and works to stabilise other ingredients or to increase their hydrating powers. 

What are glycerin's benefits on the skin?

One of the main benefits of this moisture replenisher is exactly that. It’s a perfect moisturising agent and therefore a saviour for those with {dry}, {dehydrated} (and dare we say flaky) skin types. Not only adept at moisturising it’s also a great ingredient to protect against harsher products you may be using (lookin’ at you, {retinol}...). As glycerin does such a stellar job it’s been promoted by doctors to treat extreme dryness and repair skins elasticity!  


We spoke to Cult Concierge's {Syhem} about this super hydrator and which are the best glycerin-rich products you should be eyeing up to include into your skin care routine... 

A super serum to quench thirsty skin, the {Cicaplast B5 Face Serum} is a skin saviour for dehydrated complexions. Created to act like a ‘barrier’ on the surface of the skin, it not only hydrates but protects against external aggressors at the same time. Infused with glycerin and hyaluronic acid it delivers serious hydration where skin is lacking in moisture. Plus,  with the addition of the vitamin B5, (in a 10% concentration) it helps reduce trans-epidermal water loss and reinforces the skin barrier.  This brightening serum delivers serious dew-boosting nourishment that works deep into the skin. 

A super-charged serum infused with a plethora of active skin hydrators, Medik8’s {Hydr8 Intense} delivers unparalleled levels of hydration. Not only does it contain varied levels of hydrating hero hyaluronic acid, but it's infused with Natural Moisturising Factors sodium PCA, glycerin, urea, proteins, sugars, 15 different amino acids, lactic acid and creatin — helping to bind water to the skin for unmatched hydration. Syhem explains that this formula ‘features different types of glycerin Glyceryl Glucoside (made by cross-reacting glycerin with glucose to draw and hold onto water within skin’s surface layer) and Diglycerin which has a larger molecular structure than typical glycerin, meaning it penetrates slower into the skin but gives longer lasting moisture.’ 

Giving a gorgeous veil of lasting hydration the {Skin Hydrate the Mist} from Jordan Samuels is an over-make up or post-cleansing complexion enhancer that delivers buckets of hydration whenever your skin needs it. With a blend of antioxidant rich red seaweed, cucumber extract and of course glycerin this soothes, calms and retains moisture after every dew-boosting spritz.  

Described by Syhem as ‘A cushion for stressed skin’ this powerful skin barrier repairing moisturiser contains ingredients that can only be found in the harshest climates on Earth... and no, it’s not your compromised complexion! Infused with five moisture-locking ceramides, the glycerin in this formula works together with them and the betaine, panthenol and shea butter to help lock in moisture within the dermis. Plus, with the protective ectoin extract this velvety smooth cream forms a weightless, invisible shield on your skin to protect it from wind, rain, snow, hale, your ex... 

Environmental aggressors’ worst nightmare, this powerful serum is infused with an extremely stable {vitamin C} that penetrates deep into the skin to provide unparalleled antioxidant protection. How you may ask? Well, star ingredient glycerin that’s how. Syhem explains that ‘as glycerin is a waterless base it stabilises the formula and prevents the vitamin C from oxidising.’ The result? A stronger skin barrier with increased cell renewal and firmer, brighter skin. This skin smoother also contains orange extract to boost elasticity, as well as a complex of glutathione and three further antioxidants to protect your skin and diminish dullness. Brighter, more youthful looking skin is on the horizon... 



Rina Teslica
Writer and expert
View Rina Teslica's profile
Rina is Cult Beauty’s Junior SEO Copywriter and has always had a passion for beauty and skin care (rich moisturisers are her obsession). What started as a love for The Body Shop and their famed Born Lippy lip balms (in ‘Watermelon’ of course!), she is now more interested in finding products with proven effectiveness instead of broken promises. A loud and proud VIEVE fan, Rina owns nearly every item of the range and recommends the brand to anyone who will listen... When she’s not intently reading ingredient lists, you can find her either immersed in multiple true crime podcasts or co-hosting her own parenting one, with an *extra* hot cappuccino in hand.