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Propanediol (PDO) is a common ingredient in cosmetics and personal care products such as lotions, cleansers, and other skin treatments. It’s a chemical similar to propylene glycol, but thought to be safer.
INC Name: Propanediol
Other Names: Propanediol 1, 3, Propanediol 1,3
Derived From: Plants (Corn sugar)
Ingredient Function: Humectant, Solvent, Preservative booster, Penetration Enhancer, Texture enhancer
Appearance: Clear, semi-viscous liquid
Smell: Mild to slightly sweet smell
Usage rate: 1-10%, up to 40%
Storage: Stored in a cool, dry place
Shelf Life: 12 months
- PH Range: 7
- Add it to the heated water phase, or add to cold water for a recipe that does not require heating
- It’s a non-sticky humectant
- Can be used to thin-out a formulation to make it not too thick
- Alternatives/ Substitutes to Propanediol are Vegetable Glycerine and Propylene Glycol (which is a naturally derived alternative to Propylene Glycol).
- For external use only; Use for cosmetic formulations only
Common Types of Products With Propanediol
Propanediol is commonly added to hydrating skincare and haircare products, such as:
- Hydrating hair and skin conditioner, Lotions/ creams
- Cleansers and Toners
- Lotions and creams
- Serums and gel products
- Body and face mists
- Hydrating cleansers and micellar waters
- Hair Shampoos and Conditioners, and detangling hair conditioners
Properties and Benefits of Propanediol in Skincare and Beauty
- Humectant Property: Propanediol helps keep the skin moisturized and hydrated, reduces flakiness and leaves skin smoother and dewy
- Preservative Booster: Helps increase the effectiveness of the preservative in a formulation/ product, helping extend the shelf life
- Penetration Enhancer: Propanediol has the ability to increase the penetration of other ingredients in a formulation. It helps the skin better absorb active ingredients, increasing the effectiveness of a product
- Texture Enhancer: Helps improve the texture, hand-feel and skin-feel of the formulation/ final product. It makes a product spread better and glide, giving a richer feel.
- Emollient Property: Due to it’s emollient property, Propanediol helps make the skin softer and smoother by keeping it hydrated and preventing water loss
- HairCare Benefits: Moisturizes and softens hair, and also tames friz and flyaways
- Suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin, as it is does not cause irritation in sensitive skin.
Propanediol vs Glycerin: They are both viscous liquid, but propanediol is more runny / lighter. Glycerin is more viscous/ sticky/ thicker and feels heavier and more sticky on the skin, while Propanediol is non-sticky and leaves a dry, non-tacky skin-feel. Propanediol is a non-sticky alternative to Glycerin.
Propanediol vs Propylene Glycol: Propanediol is naturally-derived (from plants/ corn sugar); Propylene Glycol is synthetic/ synthetically processed (derived from Petroleum). They are both humectants and offer similar benefits to the skin. Some skin types are sensitive to/ irritated by Propylene Glycol, while Propanediol is non-irritating to all skin types. Propanediol is a natural alternative to Propylene Glycol.
*NOTE: This product is for external use only; Use for cosmetic formulations only
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