I'm a crafter who likes to make her own body oils and butters but I have no background in chemistry. Now, I just read something about propanediol (which I'm considering for modifying the feel of my anhydrous product) and on one site it says that in appearance it is a clear colourless oil but then it also mentions it's solubility is in water.


So, I want to know how it can be an oil and be soluble in water, but more importantly, I want to know if this means it's not soluble in oil and hence I can't use if for my anhydrous product?

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ To look like an oil and to be an oil are quite different things. That said, it may or may not be soluble in actual oil; there is no way to tell in advance. Chemistry is an experimental science, they say. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 11:47
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ There is no strict definition of what is "an oil". In this case it is merely a descriptor saying that it is a clear mobile liquid $\endgroup$
    – Waylander
    Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 11:49
  • $\begingroup$ Okay, so, is propanediol oil/fat soluble at all? $\endgroup$
    – user191110
    Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 12:06
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Its not an oil but a di-ol in other words has two -OH groups in it , ethanol for example has one -OH group, glycerol has 3. As it is a form of an alcohol (a more or less generic name for molecules with OH groups) it is soluble in water but it is also viscous, as a result of its chemical structure, and as it is viscous it feels a bit like an oil. $\endgroup$
    – porphyrin
    Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 16:25

1 Answer 1


This question requires some additional specification before it can be answered.

Propanediol is ambiguous as a chemical name. There is 1,2-propanediol and 1,3-propanediol, and these are different compounds (namely, structural isomers).

Though either way, if you check references, you will see that both compounds are miscible with water, so the solubility is infinite.

See: 1,2-propanediol and 1,3-propanediol.

The term "oil" simply refers to the fact that it is a viscous liquid at room temperature.

Unfortunately, generalized solubility is hard to determine. 1,2-propanediol appears to be miscible in several different polar solvents, so you might be able to dissolve in something anhydrous.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, Zhe. The one I'm referring to is 1,3 propanediol. Here's the site I was checking it out on: www.lotioncrafter.com/propanediol-1-3.html $\endgroup$
    – user191110
    Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 19:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.