As a health-conscious hairdresser, you have probably found yourself going through the ingredient list of products before using them on clients or yourself. If you have, you will have stumbled upon the ingredient Cetearyl Alcohol in some of our products. Alcohol in NATULIQUE hair products?

But isn’t alcohol bad? Alcohol in skin and haircare products has a bad reputation, but is Cetearyl Alcohol actually bad for your hair?

Cetearyl Alcohol in hair products

What is Cetearyl Alcohol?

Alcohol is often used as a generic term, but not all alcohols are created equal.

Alcohol can fall into two categories:
1) high molecular alcohols
2) low molecular alcohols.

Low molecular alcohols are also known as drying alcohols.

High molecular alcohols are also called fatty alcohols.

Cetearyl Alcohol falls into this last category. It is an ingredient that is derived naturally from plants like palm oil or coconut oil.

Cetearyl Alcohol acts as an emulsifier and stabilizer. This means that is it used for blending ingredients that do not normally mix (such as water and oil). It can also be used to thicken up the consistency of a product. In clinical studies, Cetearyl Alcohol was found to have NO toxicity and was NON-mutagenic. Non-mutagenic means that it is a chemical agent that does NOT change your DNA. DNA changes are what can cause certain diseases like cancer.

Although the names sound similar, Cetyl Alcohol and Ceteareth-20 are not the same as Cetearyl Alcohol. They do have stuff in common though. Cetearyl Alcohol is made from Cetyl Alcohol and Stearyl Alcohol, and if you mix Cetearyl Alcohol with Ethylene Oxide you get Ceteareth-20. Both Cetyl Alcohol and Ceteareth-20 serves kind of the same purpose as Cetearyl Alcohol – they act as an emulsifier and help to stabilize and thinker up skincare products and hair products.

Fast Facts: Cetearyl Alcohol

  • TYPE OF INGREDIENT: Emulsifier
  • WHAT IT DOES: Prevents separation, thickens consistency, stabilizes products, provides texture, protects hair
  • MAIN BENEFITS: Hydrating, moisturizing, smoothening
  • EWG Score: 1

Is Cetearyl Alcohol Safe for Your Hair?

Let’s take a look at what science has to say.

Drying alcohols, as the name suggests, can be drying to the hair and scalp, and should be avoided as much as possible. But because this type of alcohol evaporates quickly, and helps a product to dry faster, it is simply not possible to make products such as hairspray without this ingredient.

You wouldn’t want to spend time on a nice blowout and styling to have your hairspray leave your clients’ hair all wet after, would you?

But according to science, fatty alcohols, such as Cetearyl Alcohol, actually has properties that are very beneficial to hair and scalp!

Cetearyl Alcohol is hydrating, moisturizing and smoothening. It helps to soften the hair and provide slip to help detangle hair better! This is why you will find this nice, hydrating fatty alcohol in our conditioners and hair care products.

So, should you always go for “alcohol-free” hair products?

Sometimes the answer is yes.
Sometimes it is no.

It completely depends on the type of alcohol!

Drying Alcohols

  • Alcohol Denat

  • Ethanol
  • Denature Alcohol

  • Methanol
  • Benzyl Alcohol

  • Isopropyl Alcohol

  • SD Alcohol 40

Drying vs. Fatty Alcohol

Fatty Alcohols

  • Cetearyl Alcohol

  • Cetyl Alcohol

  • Glycol
  • C12-16
  • Stearyl Alcohol

  • Lauryl Alcohol

  • Myristyl Alcohol

NATULIQUE Products with Cetearyl Alcohol

A Great Example

A product that proves not all alcohols are drying and damaging is the Intensive Hair mask! This product is a VERY moisturizing product that has Cetearyl Alcohol in it. It also contains other hydrating ingredients such as Argan Oil, Shea Butter and Almond Oil. All organic, of course!

Click on the image below to read more about this nourishing product.

Learning more about our ingredients…

Did you find the post useful? We hope you did!

If you are up for more, we recommend that you have a look at the post on keratin.
Here, we explain why keratin is an outstanding ingredient and what it does for your hair!

Learn about keratin!