Most of the time it happens that whenever you go to the supermarket to purchase a skincare product or a haircare product you happen to scroll through the list of ingredients mentioned on the label. I am sure many a time you may have come across the word alcohol-free on the label of your skincare or haircare products and when you scroll through the list you are very disappointed to see the word cetostearyl alcohol mentioned among the list of ingredients. Yes, this is indeed very confusing.
Many people are under the misconception that Cetostearyl Alcohol will also have the same drying effect on your skin and hair just like any other rubbing alcohol. But actually it’s not true with Cetostearyl Alcohol. Not all alcohols have a drying and dehydrating effect on your skin and hair, some alcohols such as cetostearyl alcohol have moisturizing and a conditioning effect on your hair and skin. You don’t have to be terrified every time you come across the word - alcohol in your beauty products. You may be curious about cetostearyl alcohol and wanting to know more about this latest beauty ingredient. Keep reading to know more about its beauty benefits and how can it be effectively added to your daily hair care regime to enhance the beauty and health of your hair and scalp.
What Is Cetostearyl Alcohol?
Cetostearyl Alcohol is a common ingredient which is mostly found in your favourite beauty products. Unlike other alcohols, Cetostearyl alcohol does not have a drying effect on your skin and hair. Instead it helps to keep your skin and hair moisturized and nourished making it soft, smooth and shiny. This alcohol is derived from vegetable oils such as coconut oil and palm oil, hence it is also known as Palmityl Alcohol. It is interesting to note that the name Cetostearyl Alcohol is derived from the Latin word Cetus, meaning whale oil, from which it was obtained for the first time.
Cetostearyl Alcohol is a white, waxy substance which is available in pallets and is made by the combination of 2 fatty alcohols such as cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol. It is a common name in many cosmetic products such as shampoos, conditioners, creams, lotions and moisturizers. Cetostearyl Alcohol acts as an emulsifier and a stabilizer, preventing products from separating. In many of your favourite skincare and haircare products, it is mostly found in the list of ingredients under the name of Cetearyl alcohol, but it may appear under other names also such as-
- C16-18 alcohols
- (C16-C18) alkyl alcohol
- Alcohols, C1618
- Cetyl/Stearyl alcohol
- 1-octadecanol, mixed with 1-hexadecanol
The ingredient is the same, only the names are changing, so you don’t have to be worried when you see the above-mentioned names instead of Cetostearyl Alcohol mentioned on the list of the ingredients of your beauty products.
How Does Cetostearyl Alcohol work?
Cetostearyl Alcohol is added to most of the personal care products for good reasons. It helps to stabilize the formulations of your skincare and haircare products. This multi-purpose beauty ingredient has numerous roles to play in the cosmetic formulations as it acts as an emulsifier, as an emollient, as an opacifier, as a thickener and as a carrier of other ingredients in the formula.
- The emulsifying property ensures that the oil and water molecules do not separate, giving an ideal smooth finish and texture to the formulation.
- The emollient property of Cetostearyl Alcohol in the formulation is responsible for making your skin/hair soft and smooth.
- Cetostearyl Alcohol acts as an opacifier, making the product opaque in appearance.
- It adds thickness to the creams, moisturizers and lotions, giving a thick and creamy texture to the personal care products.
- It also acts as a carrier of other ingredients by aiding the penetration of other ingredients as it gets easily absorbed into the deeper layers of the skin.
Due to these incredible properties, Cetostearyl Alcohol is used extensively in many skincare products such as face washes, creams, body lotions and moisturizers and in hair care products such as shampoos, conditioners, hair mousses, hair removal creams and hair dyes. It adds to the thickness and volume, thereby enhancing the texture, appearance of the formulae on your skin and hair.
Benefits Of Cetostearyl Alcohol For Your Hair
Cetostearyl Alcohol is known to be quite beneficial in treating dry, dull and thin hair, because of its immense hydrating, smoothening and nourishing properties, it readily helps your hair to bounce back to becoming healthy, luscious and beautiful. Its emulsifying and emollient properties make it a key ingredient in many personal care formulae. This helps to make your hair soft, smooth and adds volume to your hair. It helps to treat a major part of your hair problems. Let us know the benefits of Cetostearyl Alcohol for your hair.
- Cetostearyl Alcohol fights hair dryness and helps to keep your hair moisturized.
- It controls the frizz and makes your hair more manageable.
- Cetostearyl Alcohol in hair care formulation helps to increase the foam-forming ability of the product, thereby improving its spreadability.
- Cetostearyl Alcohol has a conditioning effect on your hair making your hair more soft and smooth.
- Cetostearyl Alcohol acts as an opacifier, giving an opaque appearance to your hair care products
- It helps to detangle your hair making your combing session hassle-free.
- It helps to increase the viscosity of hair care products.
Apart from Cetearyl or Cetostearyl Alcohol, other alcohols which are effectively used in skincare and haircare formulae are cetyl alcohol, lanolin, lauryl alcohol, myristyl alcohol, oleyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol.
Bad Alcohols In Hair Care Products
All alcohols are not created in the same way. Some alcohols are good for your hair as it helps to make your hair soft and smooth and other alcohols tend to dry out your hair. If your hair is already dry and brittle, then avoid hair care products which have the below-mentioned alcohols in their list of ingredients.
- Isopropyl Alcohol
- Propyl Alcohol
- SD Alcohol 40
- SD Alcohol 40B
- SD Alcohol 38B
- SD Alcohol 39B
- SD Alcohol 40-2
- Denatured Alcohol
- Alcohol Denat
- Ethyl Alcohol
These alcohols are preferably used in an aerosol spray which is used in hair styling. When your hair is styled, you do not need a hair product which moisturizes your strands as it will interfere with your hairstyle. You just need a hair spray to keep your style intact for a longer time. Alcohol tends to dry out quickly and hence is used in hair styling sprays to give firm support to your styled hair.
How To Use Cetostearyl Alcohol On Your Hair?
Cetostearyl Alcohol is known to have a moisturizing and a smoothing effect on your hair and hence readily used in numerous hair care products. It is known to add spreadability to your hair care product so that it glides through your hair making it easier to detangle and combing becomes easier. It makes your hair soft and smooth and improves the texture of your hair, leaving your hair hydrated and nourished. Because of these beneficial properties, Cetostearyl Alcohol has become the key ingredient in many shampoos, conditioners, hair mousses and hair dyes.
Every alternate day you can shampoo your hair which has cetostearyl alcohol in its ingredient list. Similarly use a conditioner which has Cetearyl alcohol to make your hair stay hydrated for a longer time. You can also condition and style your hair with a hair mousse which has cetostearyl alcohol in the ingredient list.
Side Effects Of Cetostearyl Alcohol
You must have seen people being shocked when you talk about using alcohol on your hair. Alcohols are considered to have a drying effect on your hair. But there are exceptions to this as well. And one such example is Cetostearyl Alcohol which is known to be an emollient and makes your hair soft and smooth, thereby improving its texture and appearance.
Generally, Cetostearyl Alcohol is known to be non-toxic and does not have any damaging effect on your skin and hair, hence used extensively in many cosmetic products. In the skincare range, it is used in soaps, creams, moisturizers, body lotion because of its emollient property and because it adds thickness to the skincare formulae. But some people with sensitive skin may experience an allergic reaction to cetostearyl alcohol. So if you have sensitive skin, then it is always advisable to perform a patch test, before applying it for the first time. Wait for 24 hours and check for any allergic reactions. Common side effects of Cetostearyl Alcohol include itchiness, skin irritation, redness, swelling, stinging, blistering and burning. If the allergic symptoms persist, you should immediately consult a doctor. It is always advisable for pregnant women and nursing mothers to avoid Cetostearyl alcohol products. It should only be used for external use. Store the product in a cool, dry place which is inaccessible to children.
Choose your personal care products with the utmost care, as each individual’s hair type is different and it reacts differently to different beauty products. Choose a beauty product depending upon the type and texture of your hair and skin. Only choosing the right product will give you the desired effect.
Written By - Akhila Menon
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