Glyceryl Laurate: What Is It, Skin Benefits, Cosmetic Uses & Side Effects

Priya Singh
Fact-Checker: Priya Singh
This article was last updated on: October 20, 2023
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Navigating the world of cosmetics can feel like deciphering a complex scientific code with scores of scientific names and foreign terminologies. Among these many ingredients, you may have stumbled across Glyceryl Laurate. Though the name may sound daunting, don’t let it deter you.

In this article, we’ll delve deep into the world of this lesser-known yet vital cosmetic ingredient – Glyceryl Laurate. The aim is to understand its role, why it finds a place in your beauty products, and how it impacts your skin.

What is Glyceryl Laurate?

Glyceryl Laurate, also known as 2,3-dihydroxypropyl laurate or lauric acid monoester with glycerol, is a compound commonly used in the cosmetics industry. It’s primarily used as a skin-conditioning agent, an emollient, and an emulsifying surfactant in various skincare and beauty products.

The ingredient functions as an emollient, meaning it helps soften and smooth the skin, creating a layer that locks in moisture and prevents dryness. As a surfactant, it aids in the formation of emulsions by reducing the surface tension of the substances to be emulsified, which means it helps oil and water mix, improving the texture and application of the product.

In terms of concentration, the amount of Glyceryl Laurate used in cosmetic formulations can vary around the 0.1-5% mark, depending on the specific product and its purpose. It can sometimes be bought as a standalone ingredient but is also commonly incorporated as part of a more comprehensive formulation of ingredients.

Who Can Use Glyceryl Laurate?

Glyceryl Laurate is a versatile ingredient suitable for all skin types, including sensitive and acne-prone skin. Its gentle and moisturizing properties make it a beneficial component in skincare products for various skin conditions.

Those maintaining a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle can rest easy, too. Glyceryl Laurate is typically derived from plant sources, making it suitable for vegan and vegetarian cosmetic users.

Glyceryl Laurate is generally considered safe to use for pregnant and breastfeeding women. However, research into this topic isn’t particularly thorough; as always, it’s highly recommended to consult a healthcare provider or dermatologist before introducing new skincare products during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Glyceryl Laurate Skin Benefits

Glyceryl Laurate is valued for its impressive skin benefits, largely thanks to its function as a skin conditioner and emollient. Each of these facets of its function leads to a range of advantages:

  • Skin Conditioning: At its core, Glyceryl Laurate is a fantastic skin conditioning agent. What does this mean? Essentially, it improves the skin’s overall feel and appearance. This isn’t merely surface-level improvement. Glyceryl Laurate forms a protective layer on your skin that actively prevents moisture from escaping, thereby increasing hydration. As a result, your skin can look and feel noticeably softer, smoother, and more supple with continued usage. The conditioning aspect of this ingredient contributes to the important moisture barrier that helps to keep skin hydrated, which, in turn, can help to alleviate dryness and flakiness.
  • Emollient: As an emollient, Glyceryl Laurate allows your skin to maintain its elasticity by softening and soothing it. This happens because emollients like Glyceryl Laurate fill in the tiny crevices between skin cells that create a rough texture on the surface of the skin. By doing so, it can lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, resulting in an overall smoother and refreshed skin surface. The hardened texture of mature skin can be visibly reduced with the use of this ingredient, making it a popular choice in anti-aging products.

It’s essential to remember, however, that the beautifying effects offered by Glyceryl Laurate aren’t permanent. To keep enjoying these skin benefits, you must regularly use products containing this ingredient in your skincare routine.

Glyceryl Laurate’s Non-active Cosmetic Uses

In the world of cosmetics, the term “non-active” refers to ingredients that do not directly affect skin or hair health but contribute to the product’s overall performance, texture, or aesthetic appeal. Glyceryl Laurate has a key non-active function as a surfactant and emulsifying agent.

  • Emulsifying: In its role as a surfactant, Glyceryl Laurate reduces the surface tension of substances, enabling oil and water, which usually do not mix well, to form an emulsion. This is especially useful in cosmetic products, as it allows for a smooth and even application, enhances the product’s spreadability, and helps deliver the active ingredients evenly across the skin. Without an emulsifying agent like Glyceryl Laurate, your skincare product might separate into its individual components, resulting in an inconsistent texture and less effective delivery of beneficial ingredients to the skin.

Glyceryl Laurate Potential Side Effects

In skincare, it’s essential to understand that side effects and reactions to an ingredient can vary significantly from one person to another. This variation comes down to differences in individual skin types, the product’s specific formulation, and the ingredient’s concentration. A better understanding of your skin type can help you predict how your skin might respond to specific ingredients.

While Glyceryl Laurate is generally well-tolerated, some potential side effects could include:

  • Skin Irritation: Like any ingredient, Glyceryl Laurate could potentially cause skin irritation or allergic reactions in a small number of people. Signs of irritation could include redness, itching, or swelling.
  • Dryness: Though rare, because Glyceryl Laurate is a surfactant, it could potentially lead to skin dryness in some individuals, particularly those with already dry skin.

If you experience any of the above side effects with a product containing Glyceryl Laurate, it’s advisable to discontinue use and consult with a dermatologist or healthcare provider.

However, it’s crucial to remember that adverse reactions to Glyceryl Laurate are rare. In general, this ingredient is considered to be safe and effective for most people when used correctly in cosmetic products.

To ensure the safest experience with new skincare products, it’s highly recommended to do a patch test before regular use, especially if you have known skin sensitivities or allergies. Our patch testing guide can provide detailed steps to perform a patch test accurately, helping to preview any potential adverse reactions in a controlled manner.

Comedogenic Rating

Regarding the comedogenic rating, Glyceryl Laurate scores a 1 on a scale of 0 to 5.

This rating indicates that it has a very low risk of clogging pores, owing to its molecular structure and how it interacts with the skin. A low comedogenic rating implies that the ingredient is unlikely to contribute to the formation of acne or breakouts.

Thus, Glyceryl Laurate is generally suitable for all skin types, including those prone to acne or breakouts.


Success in skincare often involves a bit of experimentation. Finding the right products and ingredients that work for your unique skin is a process of trial and error, and consistency is key once you’ve identified what works for you.

Glyceryl Laurate is an ingredient with both non-active and active effects. Its role as a surfactant enhances the texture and application of cosmetic products, while its skin-conditioning and emollient properties provide immediate benefits to the skin, improving its texture, hydration, and overall appearance.

Despite its scientific name, this ingredient is a real gem in skincare. Its versatility, low comedogenic rating, and beneficial properties make it an excellent addition to a wide range of skincare formulas.

While Glyceryl Laurate is not as famous as other skincare ingredients, it doesn’t make its contribution any less significant. It shares similarities with glyceryl stearate and glyceryl oleate, which also serve as emollients and emulsifiers.

Results from using this ingredient can be seen reasonably quickly, as its emollient and skin-conditioning properties start working as soon as you apply the product. However, regular and consistent use is advised for longer-lasting and more noticeable results.

If you have concerns about this ingredient, it’s comforting to know that Glyceryl Laurate is generally considered safe for most people, with a low risk of causing skin irritation or clogging pores. As always, understanding your skin type and needs is crucial in choosing the right skincare products that will help you achieve your desired results.

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