Fatty alcohols: Cetyl alcohol, Stearyl alcohol, Cetostearyl alcohol.

Alcohols (e.g denatured alcohol, ethanol and propanol) can be very drying on the hair and skin but there is a different group of alcohols called fatty alcohols which do not behave like ‘real alcohol’.

Examples include: Cetyl alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl alcohol and Cetostearyl alcohol. They are commonly derived from palm oil and coconut oil and are usually found in hair conditioners (both rinse-out and leave-ins). They do not penetrate the hair but can make it feel soft.

They mainly function as:

  1. Viscosity-increasing agents (thickeners). They are responsible for the creamy look of conditioners. During conditioning, fatty alcohols are responsible for allowing conditioner to spread easily over the hair.
  2. Emulsifiers. The help the oil and water ingredients in our hair conditioners mix.
  3. Foam boosters.

Next time, you’re thinking of buying a new product and you see any of these alcohols in the ingredient list, fret not! They’re not one of the bad guys!
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© Copyright 2014 Dr Fomsky, All rights Reserved. Written For: Get your Sizzelle on!

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