|What is it?
|Propanediol is a humectant and solvent derived from corn sugar. It is a good natural alternative to propylene glycol.
|Semi-viscous clear liquid
|1–20%, though I find it can feel draggy beyond 3%—this does depend on the formulation, though!
|In products it tends to be smooth, but too much can be draggy
|Nothing very noticeable, slightly sweet
|Why do we use it in formulations?
|It’s a fantastic non-sticky humectant. I’ll often include it in products that I want to be super hydrating (facial lotions, winter products, etc.). I frequently choose it for inclusion in more watery products (things like facial mists, gels, and micellar waters) where a tacky skin-feel would be really noticeable, especially since it can help reduce the stickiness of glycerin.
It helps add clarity and boosts both viscosity and flash-foam in surfactant products. It also increases the feeling of cleanliness on rinse-off.
|Do you need it?
|No, but it’s inexpensive and versatile, so if somewhere you’re shopping will sell you a small amount I’d grab a bottle as part of a larger order.
|It’s a great non-sticky humectant that serves many other purposes (see “why do we use it in recipes?”).
|Can be harder to find than other humectants.
|Alternatives & Substitutions
|Vegetable glycerin is a decent alternative, though watch that you don’t include so much in the recipe that it starts to feel sticky. Propylene glycol would be a great alternative as they are very similar.
|How to Work with It
|Include it in your heated water phase or cold-process it if the recipe does not require heating.
|Storage & Shelf Life
|Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, Propanediol should last about a year once opened.
|Tips, Tricks, and Quirks
|Propanediol can boost preservative performance!
|Recommended starter amount
|30mL (1fl oz)
|Where to Buy it
|Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.
Some Formulations that Use Propanediol
- Rich Foaming Hand Wash
- Hot Chocolate Natural Body Butter
- Easy 2% Salicylic Acid Solution
- 5% Lactic Acid + Hyaluronic Acid Exfoliating Serum
- Raspberry Mint No-Melt Summer Body Butter
- Ultra-Light Summer Face Cream
- Brighten & Boost Facial Serum
- 2 Creamy Conditioners with BTMS-25: Light & Rich
- Natural Oil-Free Turmeric Face Lotion
- Brightening Hyaluronic Acid & Niacinamide Facial Serum
- De-Puffing Peppermint Aloe Facial Roller
- Summer Solstice Body Milk
- Rich Plum Face Wash
- Birthday Suit Solid Body Wash
- Silky Soothing Facial Gel
- Rose & Silk Clarifying Shampoo
- Moisturizing Repair Lotion
- Ice Palace Ceramide Glow Gel Cream
- Hyaluronic Acid B5 Facial Serum
- Soothing Makeup Finishing Spray