Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hair Glossary: Cetearyl Alcohol

Learning the ingredients that are in your products will surely keep you on top of your hair game. Today I begin with my first addition to the...
Hair Glossary: cetearyl alcohol aka Cetostearyl alcohol or cetylstearyl alcohol.

I often find this ingredient in my conditioners. At first glance you might mistake it as rubbing alcohol that dries out the skin. But this is far from the truth, it is an emulsifying wax, made by combining fatty alcohols from vegetable sources, such as coconut alcohol. It can also be made artificially. It is used in many cosmetics as an emollient, thickening agent, moisturizer, emulsifier, stabilizer, opacifier as well as a carrying agent for other ingredients. It is a substitute for making lotions if you don't have emulsifying wax as well. <--This is the wikipedia definition.

HUH?..well if you are as stuck as I am then you might be more interested in what had to say about cetearyl alcohol.
It is an ingredient that is used in conditioners to soften the hair; deposited on the outer surface of the hair shaft, it smoothes out the cuticle to give the desirable soft feeling to the hair. It is a fatty alcohol derived from coconut oil.

It looks to me that Cetearyl alcohol is a really important ingredient. Scientifically its purpose is to stabilize a combination of liquids that would not normally blend or mix together. This is probably essential in conditioners that have water as a base and include a lot of other oils. This in fact will create a cream or wax or lotion. Because it is a fatty alcohol from coconut has the power to soften hair.

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