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:
- 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.
- Emulsifiers. The help the oil and water ingredients in our hair conditioners mix.
- Foam boosters.
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