How to Use Glycerin on the Face

If you suffer from dry skin on your face, glycerin may be your new must-have product. This clear liquid is derived from either animal fat or vegetable oils, is odorless, and has the consistency of thick syrup. When applied topically to the face, glycerin works to increase moisture on the skin and lock it in to curb the dryness. Work glycerin into your skin-care routine, and say sayonara to scales and hello to soothed, supple skin.

Woman touching her face (Image: Jin Yamada/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Wash your face as usual. Pat it dry with a soft towel to soak up excess moisture, but leave the skin slightly damp. Moisten a cotton ball with glycerin. Rub the glycerin onto your face, avoiding your lips, eyes and inside of your nose and mouth. Leave the glycerin on your face to absorb into your skin without rinsing or wiping it off.

Step 2

Apply a glycerin mask to your face. Mix 3 teaspoons of white kaolin clay and 1/2 teaspoon of bentonite clay into a bowl. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of glycerin, 5 teaspoons of water and 2 drops of rose-geranium essential oil. Spread the mask onto your dry face using circular motions. Let the mask dry completely before rinsing it off with warm water.

Step 3

Wash your face with a homemade glycerin facial cleanser. Mix 1/2 cup of water and 1 1/2 tablespoons each of glycerin and cornstarch into a heatproof glass jar. Put the lid on the jar and place it into a pot of water on the stove. Bring the water to a boil. Continue heating the jar until the mixture inside has turned clear. Remove the jar with a potholder and let it cool completely. Scoop about a teaspoon of the mixture from the jar and massage it onto damp skin. Rinse well with warm water.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft towel

  • Cotton ball

  • 3 teaspoons white kaolin clay

  • 1/2 teaspoon bentonite clay

  • Bowl

  • Spoon

  • 2 drops rose-geranium essential oil

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • Heatproof glass jar with lid

  • Pot


You can buy glycerin at most drugstores and pharmacies.

You can store the homemade glycerin facial cleanser at room temperature for up to 10 days.


Consult your doctor before using glycerin if you are allergic to lactic acid, urea or any other inactive ingredients listed on the bottle of glycerin.

Glycerin can make your skin sensitive to the sun. Be sure to wear sunscreen on your face when using glycerin topically.

Ask your doctor before using glycerin on your face if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Stop using glycerin and call your doctor if you notice side effects such as blistering, swelling, peeling or other unusual changes to the skin. Side effects are rare, but it’s important to discontinue use immediately and seek medical attention if you exhibit these symptoms.

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