Learn all about glycerites, AKA glycerin infusions or glycerin extracts, their skin care benefits, plus an easy DIY glycerite recipe.
Can I admit something to you? I’ve been making handcrafted skin care products for over two decades, and I only made my first DIY glycerite just last summer.
I love formulating with glycerites, also known as glycerin infusions or glycerin extracts. But up until just a few months ago, I had always purchased premade glycerites (AKA glycerin extracts) from cosmetic suppliers.
What took me so long to give DIY glycerite recipes a go?
I thought that they would be too complicated and time consuming to make. I’ve always had trouble with my herbal infused oils spoiling and molding, and I figured glycerites would be the same way.
When I had a countertop overrun with homegrown peaches, and had made my fill of cobblers and canning, I decided to experiment with the summer bounty and make my first glycerite.
DIY glycerites are easy to make, supremely flexible, and add a bushel-full of benefits to your handmade skin care products.
Now, I love making glycerites, especially because of the flexibility. You can safely use fresh herbs, flowers, and fresh fruits and vegetables to make glycerites, unlike infused oils which an only be made with dry ingredients.
What Are Glycerites?
So, to the uninitiated, what exactly are glycerites, or glycerin infusions?
Glycerites are extracts that use glycerin as the base, rather than alcohol. Almost any plant matter can be used to make a glycerite: herbs, flowers, fresh fruit, vegetables.
As the plant material steeps in the glycerin, water-soluble constituents of the plant are extracted into the glycerin. The glycerite takes on all the beneficial qualities, color, and sometimes scent, of the herb, fruit/vegetable, or flower used.
Some of my favorite (and most beneficial) herbs, fruits, and vegetables to use in DIY glycerite recipes are:
- Berries of all types (blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries make awesome glycerites)
- Lilac (this smells amazing)
Remember, when making glycerites you can use fresh fruits/vegetables, and either fresh or dried herbs. Because glycerin is water-based, the liquid constituents fresh ingredients are readily infused.
How To Use Glycerites in Handmade Skin Care
You can use glycerites wherever you would use glycerin. In fact, you can substitute glycerites for glycerin in any recipe.
My favorite way to use glycerites is in facial moisturizers and body lotions. I’ve made an awesome triple berry facial moisturizer with strawberry glycerite. So. Good.
Currently I’m putting final tweaks on a formulation for a body lotion with mango butter and glycerite made from fresh peaches from our orchard. (I’ll be sharing this peach mango body lotion recipe in an upcoming mini course!)
You could also use glycerites in bath bombs, facial masks, and toners/splashes.
Although a tiny amount of glycerite may mix in oil-only products like body balm, glycerites are water-soluble so they mix best in products that are not oil-based.
Are you ready to try your hand at making glycerites yourself? Here’s the super simple process.
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DIY Glycerite Instructions
When making glycerites, ingredients are measured by weight, as a percent. This insures the correct ratio of glycerin-to-infusing-ingredient, allowing you to make a safe finished product without the use of preservatives. Although, to lengthen shelf life you can add a broad-spectrum preservative like Germall Plus.
(If you are unsure how to measure in this way, check out my Measurements Made Easy online class to learn how to easily and effectively measure by weight, in parts, and how to calculate and measure in percent.)
- 70% vegetable glycerin
- 30% herbs, fruits, flowers, or vegetables
- Optional to extend shelf life: 0.5% liquid Germall Plus preservative*
*If using preservative, reduce glycerin to 69.5%
Step 1: Weigh out whatever herb, fruit, or vegetable you’re infusing and give it a rough chop. Pour into a clean and sanitized glass jar.
Step 2: Weigh out glycerin and pour into the jar. Stir well until everything is nicely incorporated.
Step 3: Put a lid on your jar and let the mixture set for 7 to 10 days. Shake the jar daily. You’ll notice the glycerin start to take on the color of your infusing ingredient. It’s so pretty!
Step 4: Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve covered with a coffee filter or butter muslin. This will take a looooong time, so be patient and let the glycerite do its thing. Although it’s tempting, don’t squeeze the filter, otherwise your glycerite will turn out cloudy.
Step 5: After the glycerite is completely strained, discard thrbs/fruit. I like to compost mine. If you are adding preservative, do that now and stir well.
Use this glycerite in any recipe that calls for glycerin, like handmade lotions and facial creams.
Shelf life: Unpreserved your glycerite should last 4 months, preserved for 12 months. But, of course, if it changes in consistency or smell, toss it.