Humectant and smoothing
Propylene glycol is a clear, syrupy liquid, with no color, odour or taste. It is a synthetic liquid, completely soluble in water, which helps the skin to absorbs moisture. It also helps the hair to be soft and easy to brush.
Propylene glycol has many uses and is a very versatile substance. This wide use means that much is known about the safety of this material. It is recognised as safe for use in foods, cosmetics and medicines. Lush has been using it over the decades and never had health concerns relating to it.
Lush buys propylene glycol in Europe. It meets food grade specifications (although it is not edible) and is palm oil free. It is usually made from rapeseed oil but sometimes made from coconut, or other vegetarian crops depending on crop growth.
Propylene glycol is a humectant, which means it is carrying the water-based ingredients into the skin. It also absorbs moisture in formulas, reducing bacteria growth, helping products to last longer. In hair care products, it softens the hair and allows it to be combed through easily.
In combination with effective oils - such as olive, almond and jojoba - it helps to add moisture, increase tensile strength and protect the hair from dryness. In combination with carrageenan extract and sodium lauryl sulphate, this makes a self-preserving solid shower jelly, with a gentle lather that softens the skin.