Propylene glycol is a clear, syrupy liquid, with no colour, smell 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.
Propylene glycol is a humectant, which means it is carrying 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.
Because propylene glycol is usually derived from petrochemicals it was removed from Lush soaps in 2014, and replaced by sorbitol. In 2017, a rapeseed oil-based source was found and the compound has been progressively brought back in all our products.