Ethylhexylglycerin: Benefits and How to Use it on your Hair.
Ethylhexylglycerin, or octoxyglycerin, is a glyceryl ether that is commonly used as part of a preservative system in cosmetic preparations.
Ethylhexylglycerin is one of the many items on an ingredient list that your eyes might glaze over because of its complicated-sounding name. While the ingredient may not be something you are familiar with, ethylhexylglycerin has as many uses in beauty formulations as it does consonants, so you are most likely already using products with this ingredient. Ethylhexylglycerin can act as a surfactant, preservative, deodorizer, and conditioning agent.
Ethylhexylglycerin has proven benefits in the formulation of beauty products and provides conditioning to hair and skin as well. It is considered a naturally derived and less toxic alternative to parabens or sulfates, which are often found to be irritating.
What Is Ethylhexylglycerin?
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Ethylhexylglycerin is a vegetable glycerin preservative that can be obtained from animal sources but mainly comes from plant-derived sources of glycerin, such as soybean or palm.
Benefits of Ethylhexylglycerin for Hair:
1) Stabilizes hair products: Ethylhexylglycerin is a natural preservative that helps to ensure beauty products do not spoil or separate between production and purchase by the consumer. It is especially helpful in water-based formulations. "The presence of ethylhexylglycerin provides antimicrobial action to help maintain the safety of the product and prevent the growth of bacteria, mold, or fungi," shares Collins.
2) Gently cleanses scalp and hair: As a surfactant, ethylhexylglycerin will attract oil and grime from the scalp so that it can be washed away, says Collins. It provides a gentle cleansing that removes impurities without stripping the hair and skin of moisture.
3) Conditions the hair and skin: In addition to cleansing the hair and scalp, ethylhexylglycerin can provide, and lock in, moisture. Collins explains that it is derived from glycerin, which makes it a great conditioner.
4) Improves overall scalp health: An imbalanced scalp can lead to a host of issues for the skin of the scalp as well as the hair. Overly-stripping cleansers can actually promote more oil production, and dry, flaky scalps can cause itching and hair loss. The combination of cleansing and moisture provided by ethylhexylglycerin promotes a balanced scalp environment.
5) Softens and smooths hair: Sperling says that ethylhexylglycerin has been used in hair products to help soften the hair, because its hydrating benefits make the hair appear smoother.
How to Use Ethylhexylglycerin for Hair
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After learning about ethylhexylglycerin, it's easy to see why dermatologists and beauty brands alike are fans of this powerful preservative. While you may not be able to easily purchase ethylhexylglycerin on its own, it can be found on many ingredient lists of products you may already own. If you have previously had issues with or want to avoid parabens or sulfates, consider looking for products that use ethylhexylglycerin instead of the more controversial ingredients.