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Cetyl Alcohol is a fatty alcohol that is derived from coconut and palm oils. (Just FYI, avoid this ingredient if you’re allergic or even slightly allergic to coconuts.) Far from drying, this alcohol is actually an emollient (makes hair and skin softer).
Stearyl Alcohol is another fatty alcohol that needs mention. It is nothing like ethanol, it is is actually a white solid and is insoluble in water. Stearyl alcohol is often used in conditioners and shampoos and acts as an emollient (softener).
Fatty alcohols provide an emollient effect, and bind water and oil to give hair conditioners their slip and creaminess.

Unfortunately, lots of people are sensitive (or believe themselves to be sensitive) to fatty alcohols and find them pore-clogging. Many acne-prone people would rather not take the chance doing skincare trial and error to find out if they’re truly sensitive and avoid all products with these ingredients.

  • Cetyl Alcohol: Used as an emollient, emulsifier, thickener, and a carrying agent for other ingredients.
  • Lauryl Alcohol: Derived from Coconut and Palm Seed Oil, it is used as an emollient, spreading agent and surfactant.
  • Stearyl Alcohol: Derived from Stearic Acid, it is used as an emollient to help keep other ingredients stable within a formulation.
  • Cetearyl Alcohol: A Fatty Alcohol used as an emollient, emulsifier, thickener and a carrying agent for other ingredients.It can be derived naturally as Coconut Fatty Alcohol, or synthetically. Cetearyl Alcohol is a mixture of Cetyl and Stearyl alcohols.
  • Oleyl Alcohol: This comes from Oleic Acid, it is fattier and greasier than other alcohols.
  • Arachidyl Alcohol: A fatty alcohol used as a stabilizer and thickening ingredient.
  • Malonic Acid: used as a skin conditioner.

  • Butyl Myristate: A fatty alcohol used in nail polishes and nail polish removers, lipsticks, and face and protective creams. It is derived from myristic acid and butyl alcohol. More irritating than ethanol, but less so than some other alcohols.

  • Behenyl alcohol: used as a thickening agent.

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