Is Glycerin Vegan?

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Have you recently switched to veganism and want to know if glycerin is vegan or not? Maybe you have heard people mention that it isn’t vegan and want some clarification? Or are you curious and want to know more? No matter the reason that brought you here today, we have the answer for you!

Knowing what is and isn’t vegan can be tricky. After all, most ingredient lists are huge, but with extremely small writing that leaves you standing in a grocery store frustrated and squinting while you try to work out if long and complex chemical names are vegan or not.

Frustrated, you start to wonder if you will ever know whether glycerin is vegan or not. Well, no more! Today we are here with the answers you need. Keep reading to find out if glycerin is vegan or not and everything else you need to know about it. 

Is Glycerin Vegan?

Let’s dive straight into it! Glycerin can be vegan, but you need to make sure it is the right type of glycerin! Glycerin can be made in two ways, from plant oil or animal fat. And we bet you can work out straightaway which one is suitable for vegans!

As a vegan, you should only use glycerin or glycerin-based products that are made with plant oil, as animal fat-based glycerin is not suitable for a vegan diet or lifestyle. 

Thankfully, most labels will state which glycerin they use, so you can find out quickly whether the product is safe for you to use or not.

If the label does not say which glycerin is used, it is best to contact the manufacturer directly. They can tell you what glycerin is used so you don’t end up accidentally using a non-vegan product! Let’s take a closer look at the two different types of glycerin now to help you learn more about them. 

Plant Oil Glycerin

Plant oil or vegan glycerin is often made with vegetable oil. The oil will undergo pressure from hot water, causing the oil to split, and exposing the fatty acid in vegetable oil. This acid is then absorbed by the water to make glycerin. 

The end result has a similar texture to syrup or oil thanks to its organic ingredients. This vegan glycerin has a wide range of applications from food to shampoo, lotions, toothpaste, and some cosmetics! 

Plant oil glycerin will have a sweet taste and is suitable for vegans to eat or use as part of other household products.

When purchasing a product that contains vegan glycerin, make sure you check that the other ingredients used are suitable for vegans too! 

Animal Fat Glycerin

The second glycerin available is animal fat glycerin. This is made with tallow (which comes from mutton or beef fat) that is mixed with water over low to medium heat until it thickens. The mixture is then cooled overnight in a refrigerator to harden. 

The hardened glycerin is often boiled to remove any excess water or strained to remove impurities. This glycerin has a wide range of uses, including lotions, soaps, and hair care products. It can also be used in low-fat prepared foods or to thicken liquors!

You must check the label before purchasing any of these products to ensure that the glycerin used is suitable for a vegan diet or lifestyle. It is surprising where you find this animal fat-based glycerin!

How Do I Know Which Glycerin Is Used?

Usually, it can be easy to spot which glycerin has been used in your food, household, or beauty products. The label should indicate whether vegetable glycerin has been used or not. 

If the ingredient list contains ‘vegetable glycerin’ then this is the vegan-friendly glycerin that has come from vegetable oil.

If the label does not clarify which glycerin is used or has animal or tallow written near it, then it will not be suitable for vegans. 

Thankfully, most products that contain vegetable glycerin are easy to spot. They will either have ‘vegetable glycerin’ written largely on the bottle, or you can find the source of glycerin printed as part of the ingredients list! 

If the product does not state what glycerin is used, it is best to contact the manufacturer directly to find out. While you wait for a response, we would avoid using the product, just in case, it isn’t suitable!


And there you have it, glycerin is vegan, providing it is the vegetable-based version! Make sure you check the label carefully before purchasing any product containing glycerin to avoid purchasing animal fat-based glycerin!

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