How To: Lemon Glycerine Extract

After discovering how fabulously glycerine captures the freshness of cucumber, I had to see if it was just as good at capturing lemon.

Guess what!?

Yeah, you guessed - it's GREAT!

Let's make lemon glycerine extract!

Calculating the Percentage

Glycerine extracts are commonly made with dried plant materials that are reconstituted with water, then added to the glycerine.

The usual ratio of water to glycerine is 50/50. But we're using fresh ingredients here, so we need to do a titch of calculation.

Fresh lemon is about 50% water, so we’re going to need double lemon to glycerine giving us a ratio that looks like this:

  • 33.3 % Glycerine
  • 66.1 % Organic Lemon
  • 0.5 % Preservative (I used benzyl alcohol)

Even though this is a glycerine extract (and would not normally need preservation), Aroma Zone (whos method I have followed for this and the previously made glycerine extract) recommends adding preservative.


  • Sanitize the jar and your equipment
  • Wash and and slice the lemon, removing any seeds
  • Weigh and add the lemon
  • Weigh and add glycerine
  • Add preservative
  • Place lid on jar
  • Keep jar in a dark and not too warm area
  • Agitate the jar daily for 1 week

Tip: Always always measure your ingredients by weight - this is the only accurate way to be sure of your amounts in any formula.


To strain and bottle the extract, you'll need:

  • Funnel
  • Container to strain into (choose something you can easily sterilize and pour from)
  • Filter of some type (coffee filters or cheesecloth)
  • Container for your extract
  • Labels

Place the funnel into the container and line it with your chosen filter.
Strain the glycerine.

I wish there was a sniff button here - the glycerine has beautifully captured the scent of the lemon.

Final step: transfer to your final container.
Label and date
Use within 6 months.


Here's the final product. As you can see, it has taken on a golden hue from the lemon.

To Use

The extract can be used in place of glycerine in any formula. I've tried this one in skin tonic and the previously-made cucumber extract in an eye cream.

Coming Up Next

We're not done making glycerine extracts just yet... stay tuned for a strawberry glycerine extract.

More How-to's

Cucumber Glycerine Extract - 1
Cucumber Glycerine Extract- 2
Visit the How To Page

Final Note

Thank you María for the inspiration - you've really started something here! 


María said…
Lovely for those acne-prone and oily skins! And what about a refreshing morning toner? Aaaahhh, the possibilities...
Anamaria said…
Hi Lise, this is wonderful, I really want to try it. There is a question though, are there different types of glycerin? Like edible and medicinal or are all the same?
LisaLise said…
HI Anamaria- there are different sources of glycerine - plant, animal, and synthetic, but I've never heard of different types of glycerine. Synthetic glycerine is even described as nature-identical. I buy my glycerine frm a cosmetics supplier which is probably identical to food grade glycerine-o
LisaLise said…
Hi María - oh that's a great idea! I've tried it in a cream and shower gel so far, but great for a toner!
Unknown said…
Beautiful idea. I need to try it just to sniff it!
LisaLise said…
That was my motivation for trying it too :)
Anamaria said…
Thank you Lise for your answer
LisaLise said…
My pleasure Anamaria - have fun with it :)
Lindy Young said…
Thank you for this! I have a lemon tree that is bursting right now! Of course this recipe used all of 1/2 of one of them, haha, but if it works well I will make more! I'm now in search of an Ecocert preservative for a 2.5 pH, which is what I ended up with for this product. Hard to imagine it needs a preservative, but, I don't know very much. Thanks for sharing this!!
LisaLise said…
HI Lindy, Thanks for your feedback. Fresh food glycerites do indeed the addition of preservative, although I agree, the acidity of this one - along with the glycerine percentage might suggest it wasn't necessary. I've had a few glycerites go wonky - it comes down to percentage of glycerine to what you have added to it. If you want to try preservative free, give it a shot, but be sure and monitor the mixture carefully and don't add it to anything you give to anyone else until you are sure you have a stable preparation.
Chua Xin Yi said…
Hello Lisa, lemon sounds lovely and refreshing to include in skincare products. I am wondering whether its safe to use in the day and head out into the sun? I'm worried about sun exposure after using lemon glycerites.
LisaLise said…
Hi Chua Lin- I understand your concern. If you are adding your glycerite to a leave on product (cream, tonic etc) then you might want to err on the side of caution and keep the percentage very low. If you are using it in a rinse-off you can be more generous with the amount. That said, a glycerite is a milder extraction and does not have the same concentrated strength as an essential oil.
Chua Xin Yi said…
Thank you very much Lisa, that makes a lot of sense. There are alot of wonderful fruits with their properties. May I know what resource do you use when researching your ingredients? Do you research scientific journals?
LisaLise said…
Hi Chua Xin Yi - I do indeed search science based sources for my information— keyword: resources. Always look at several sources when researching. 😁
Laura said…
This is great and I will try it out. I was wondering though why life spam was only 6 months? Any chance we can build that up to 2 years if we're thinking of shelving it?

Thanks a lot!
LisaLise said…
Hi Laura - You'll probably want to use the glycerite as an ingredient in a skincare product within 6 months of making it, as many cosmetics products have an expected life span of 6 - 12 months, so overall you are looking at a longer period. That said, I have some glycerites that have lasted over 2 years.
Unknown said…
Hi Lisa,
I love your blog! I was wondering what your thoughts are on speeding up the process of making a lemon glycerite (or any) using a instapot on a low setting. Good idea or better to let it macerate for the week?

Thank you!

LisaLise said…
Hi Unknown - thanks for your kind comments. I cannot recommend speeding up the process by using heat. You might try infusing for less time though - best of luck with it :)
Maneesha Mundhra said…
Thankyou for all the information. I had one question.since lemon contains Vit C and this glycerite has water content in which vitamin c is soluble,can it be preserved with Geoguard ultra as it has sodium benzoate in it.
LisaLise said…
Hi Maneesha — I’ve not worked with this preservative in glycerites but I imagine checking the manufacturers recommendations/requirements for pH range would give you an indication of how suited it might be.
Freya Hanz said…
Hi Lisa, do you have any after-photos? I would like to see what it does to skin. Will it make the skin peel or lighten?
LisaLise said…
Hi Freya -- there is an after photo at the bottom of the post where you can see the finished glycerite-.. is that what you meant?
Freya Hanz said…
Hi Lisa! I mean the effect when you apply it on the skin. :)
LisaLise said…
Hi Freya — thanks for explaining. It is going to depend on what you use the glycerite in and the dosage etc. Glycerites can be added to everything from cleansers to cream to tonic to masks.. 😊
Wilda said…
Hi Freya,the product we will make with the glycerites, will not be affected by the shelf life of the glycerites? Will the pproduct has its own shelf life? Thanks for sharing with us.
Unknown said…
Hi Lisa would it still be the 1:3 ratio if I use orange instead of a lemon? Thank you for your response. Also have you ever tried this with pineapples?
LisaLise said…
Hi Unknown — I would use the same proportion for orange as for lemon. Yes I’ve done numerous pineapple glycerites— they’re fabulous— go for it 😊
Anonymous said…
Is it okay if I don't use any preservatives? I heard that glycerin itself is a preservative. When is the expiration date for adding preservative and not adding preservative?
LisaLise said…
Hi Anon — you can leave the preservative out as this combination of glycerine and raw material with low pH leaves a minimal risk.