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Glycerin
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In the ingredient descriptions: Good means that I like to see this in a product's list of ingredients. Okay means this product appears safe for a curly person like me to use. Caution means that this ingredient may not be good in some hair care products, or for some people. Avoid means this ingredient may hurt your hair. If you see this ingredient in a hair product, it's best to put it down and walk away.

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Glycerin    (aka Glycerine, Glycerol)
Good
Glycerin is used as a humectant, and also to add slip in a conditioner to make the product easier for combing. It's also put in products to keep the products from drying up in the container.

It's known to be non toxic, and doesn't cause skin irritation (Winter says it may be irritating to the mucas membranes in concentrated solutions, but when used normally, it's non-irritating and non-allergenic.). (Fun fact: It's actually a byproduct of regular human metabolism).

Glycerin is a clear, thick liquid which is completely water soluble. It occurs in nature in animal fats, and is often used to make glycerin soap (when a highly alkaline substance is added to it). It can also be made synthetically [Hunting (Shampoo) pg 238-239].

Glycerin is a by-product of soap making. It's a sweet-tasting, oily liquid (but I don't recommend drinking it, or course), made from adding something basic to a fat or an oil. It's a humectant because it absorbs water from the air, and it can help products spread better[Winter (7th ed) pg 256]. —This is great for combing, but I’ve found that once it dries, it’s gone, so it shouldn’t be too close to the top of the ingredient list (after water). You want it for slip, but you need other ingredients to help keep your hair calm and together after this dries—T
Source(s): Hunting Winter



References:

Applewhite, Thomas H., ed. Proceedings of the World Conference on Lauric Oils: Sources, Processing, and Applications
AOCS Publishing, 1994.

Barel, André O., Marc Paye, and Howard I. Maibach., eds. Handbook of Cosmetic Science and Technology, Second Edition
Marcel Dekker, Inc., 2001.

Begoun, Paula. Don’t Go Shopping for Hair-Care Products Without Me. 3rd Edition.
Renton: Beginning Press, 2005.

Begoun, Paula. The Beauty Bible.
Renton: Beginning Press, 2002.

Begoun, Paula. Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me.
Renton: Beginning Press, 2003.

Bellum, Sarah, ed. The Beauty Brains: Real Scientists Answer Your Beauty Questions
New York: Brains Publishing, 2008.

Gottschalk, Tari E. and McEwen, Gerald N, Jr. PhD, eds. International Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary and Handbook, Tenth Edition 2004, Volumes 1-4.
Washington D. C.: The Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragance Association, 2004.

Halal, John Hair Structure and Chemistry Simplified, Fifth Edition
Albany: Milady, 2002.

Hunting, Anthony L.L. Encyclopedia of Conditioning Rinse Ingredients.
Cranford, NJ: Micelle Press, Inc., 1987.

Hunting, Anthony L.L. Encyclopedia of Shampoo Ingredients.
Cranford, NJ: Micelle Press, Inc., 1983.

Johnson, Dale H. (Ed.). Hair and Hair Care, Cosmetic Science and Technology Series. Vol. 17.
New York: Marcel Dekker, 1997. Print.

Nnanna, Ifendu A. and Jiding Xia., eds. Protein-Based Surfactants: Synthesis: Physicochemical Properties, and Applications (Surfactant Science)
Madison Heights: CRC, 2001.

Quadflieg, Jutta Maria. Fundamental properties of Afro-American hair as related to their straightening/relaxing behaviour.
Diss. U of Rheinisch-Westfälischen Technischen Hochschule Aachen, 2003.

Schueller, Randy and Perry Romanowski, eds. Conditioning Agents for Hair and Skin.
New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc., 1999.

Winter, Ruth M.S. A Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients: Complete Information About the Harmful and Desirable Ingredients Found in Cosmetics and Cosmeceuticals
New York: Three Rivers Press, 2005.

Zviak, Charles., ed. The Science of Hair Care (Dermatology)
New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc., 1986.

 

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