When scanning the ingredients of your hair and skincare products, for most of us, seeing the word “alcohol” may raise some red flags.
You may instantly think ‘drying’ and when pondering what you put on your hair and skin, would probably not want it.
But don’t be too hasty to judge.
Not All Alcohol is Bad
The truth is, not all alcohols are bad or even drying.
We are not joking!
Fatty alcohols are not irritating and can actually be beneficial for your skin.
Take Cetearyl Alcohol, for example. It’s a fatty alcohol that’s actually allowed by the FDA as an ingredient in skin and hair care products that are labeled “alcohol-free.”
Cetearyl Alcohol also referred to as cetostearyl alcohol, is a waxy substance that is derived from plants like coconuts and palms (but some labs can even synthesize it). When used in beauty products like moisturizers, lotions, and shampoos, cetearyl alcohol can act as an emollient, an emulsifier, and a stabilizer.
Emulsifiers are used to combine ingredients that normally don’t mix together, like oil and water, and stabilizers prevent these ingredients from separating. Emollients soften and soothe your skin.
Why use any alcohol?
Alcohol can make a thick skincare product feel weightless. This allows the product to not only glide over your skin effortlessly but allows you to apply a nice thin, even layer.
Your skin is naturally very good at keeping ingredients out. Skin-protective substances (like lipids (fats), enzymes, and antioxidants) act like little soldiers, keeping everything –including the beneficial ingredients in your products– from getting in. Alcohol (the bad kind) helps ingredients like retinol and vitamin C penetrate your skin more effectively, but it does that by breaking down that barrier the little soldiers are defending. This destroys the very substances that keep your skin healthy over the long term. Think of the old western movies where a fight breaks out in a bar and cowboys are throwing each other through the windows… This is what happens when bad alcohols are involved! The windows (your skin barrier) and the cowboys (the good ingredients) both get broken.
Fatty alcohols do not behave like this. They are friendly alcohols. They’re more like a checkpoint, stopping all the visitors and allowing the good ingredients to pass, opening the doors, and even escorting them in.
So cetearyl alcohol is not like the alcohols known for drying and irritating your skin. It’s actually a good ingredient!
The rule of thumb for understanding any alcohol in your products is this…
If it starts with a C or an S, it’s SAFE; not drying or damaging.
Remember, fatty alcohols are not the least bit harmful to your skin. Often confused with the bad alcohols, like ethanol, denatured alcohol, propanol, propyl alcohol, and isopropyl alcohol), fatty alcohols include, among others, cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol. Don’t let their names scare you off.
Why We Use It
Now that you know what cetearyl alcohol is, let’s review the benefits it brings.
- Cetearyl alcohol is an emollient, which means it helps soften your skin. It also helps to improve the spreadability and texture of the product so that you can more easily apply it to your hair and skin.
- Cetearyl alcohol also functions as a surfactant. Surfactants are ingredients that lower the surface tension between two substances, such as two liquids or a liquid and a solid. Another job of surfactants is to degrease and emulsify oils and fats and suspend dirt, allowing them to be washed away. It can also increase the capacity of foaming in products like body washes and facial cleansers.
- Last but not least, another important function of cetearyl alcohol is, it works to thicken product formulations in order to make them less runny and easier to spread.
Share this info with your family and friends so that when they see cetearyl alcohol as an ingredient, they know that it’s safe to use and will not harm your skin.
LuxeOrganix is proud to be a company that uses cetearyl alcohol derived from coconut oil, which is much better for the environment and has no ethical issues around its harvesting. We don’t just care about your skin… we also care about our planet and the animals that live here.
Like What You Just Read?
In case you were wondering, these are some LuxeOrganix products that include Cetearyl Alcohol.