Beauty Lifestyle Natural Hair

Most used Products are Made with Alcohol


Before we try to understand the use of certain alcohol in our cosmetic products, we must first define what fatty alcohols are.  Natural fatty alcohols are also known long-chain alcohols.  I am not a chemist, I barely passed chemistry in high school, so I will not throw out a bunch of terms, I have no idea how to further explain.  Instead, after several website searches for a simple definition, I came across the Naked Chemist who breaks down several of the alcohols, the meaning and what they are used for.

According to the Naked Chemist, fatty alcohols are not really alcohols.  The ingredients found in most of our cosmetic products are actually fatty acids that are exposed to hydrogen, creating a process.  This particular “alcohol” unlike ethyl (rubbing alcohol), is used most commonly to condition and soften your skin and hair.  You may ask, how can an alcohol be a moisturizer?  It’s not.  The fat properties in which the “alcohol” came from allows the substance to be used as a thickener, or a carrying agent to be mixed with other ingredients to keep the oil (fatty acid) and water parts from separating in your lotion, cream, shampoo, conditioner etc…This particular alcohol, when added to a “natural” hair product acts as a softening agent, providing slip and management of tangles of our curls.

Common alcohols that may be found in our hair and skin products are, Cetyl, Stearyl, Cetearyl, Lauryl, and Oleyl.  You’ll want to avoid these alcohols: Alcohol Denat, Ethanol, SD Alcohol 40, Propanol, Isopropyl and Propyl.  These alcohols in comparison to the fatty acid alcohols are not from a plant but are methyl chemicals with additives that are toxic to the human body.  Most common term for most of these chemical properties is rubbing alcohol.  Rubbing alcohol, can be used for so many do it yourself projects, ingesting these alcohols either by mouth, skin or hair can become a health issue.

Here are a few Alcohol Free or Fatty Alcohol Hair Products that I have used or currently use for my hair:

Cantu Shea Butter Leave-in Conditioning Repair Cream There have been recent speculation about this product line. Since the day I went natural, I’ve used this and the curling cream off and on during my journey. Some tightly curled, 4c naturals do not care for the line, but I love it – especially during the cold months.

Most used Products are Made with Alcohol

Here are a few alcohol free or fatty alcohol based beauty products that I have used or are currently using in my daily routine:

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer

Neutrogena Oil-Free Cleansing Wipes

Alcohol Free Beauty Products

As with hair shampoos, conditioners, and styling products, face cleansers, toners and other beauty products may also have fatty acids as a main ingredient in the formula. If you use one of the off the shelves, high priced, beautifully marketed products to clean your pores, and see that there are alcohols such as isopropyl or ethanol, you’re doing more damage to your skin than good. After a face wash, your skin should not be dry and tight feeling which may happen when the alcohols in the products do not have any fatty acid properties. Like with your hair, you want to remove excess oil without stripping the natural oils from your scalp, hair and epidermis.

What everyday products do you use that you notice have fatty alcohols listed in the ingredients?

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  • Reply
    Evelyn Reese
    November 6, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    I have used a few of the cetaphil products myself. I love the information on the above alcohol free. The term fatty alcohol is new to you. Great information.

  • Reply
    November 6, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    Ooh, this is really interesting, and I didn’t really do well in chemistry either, but you explained it well. I’m glad to know that all chemical names aren’t always bad for our hair, no matter how it looks. Fatty alcohol is such a bad look, but pertinent for quite a bit of us.

  • Reply
    November 7, 2017 at 2:54 am

    Thank you for sharing this information. It’s good to know for future purposes. I was online tonight trying to collect recipes for natural products. I’m going to start making my own and knowing exactly what’s in everything I use.

  • Reply
    Lia World Traveler
    November 7, 2017 at 6:23 am

    I had no idea fatty alcohol was so pervasive in beauty products thanks for opening my eyes.

  • Reply
    November 7, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    Great Information, I have used a lot of these products! But I pay more attention to those that dont use as much alcohol!

  • Reply
    November 7, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    I’ve never thought about this. Thank you for sharing this information. I try to pay attention to ingredients when shopping for our care products.

  • Reply
    Sapphire Kharyzma
    November 7, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    I am so thankful for this post. I am always reading the ingredients and checking to see if there are any additives that I don’t care to deal with. Alcohol seems to be so common.

  • Reply
    November 8, 2017 at 6:53 am

    I had no idea fatty alcohol was a thing. All the more reason to work on my all natural remedies.

  • Reply
    Mimi Green
    November 8, 2017 at 6:57 am

    I need to check and see. I hope I’m. It devastated. I just started using Miele organics on my daughters hair. I’ve been using YouBe Natural products on my own hair.

    • Reply
      November 8, 2017 at 8:17 am

      I know. I was curious to know more about it because the word “alcohol” is used in most but it’s not rubbing alcohol. Like I mentioned, I’m not a chemist but the alcohols used aren’t really alcohol that we use on cuts.

  • Reply
    November 8, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    Thank you for sharing this information. I knew about some of the products but not all of them. Good stuff!

  • Reply
    November 9, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    I am going in a more holistic route and I am using more natural ingredients. Alchol is very stripping especially on natural hair.

  • Reply
    Nanekia Ansari
    November 11, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    I started paying attention when I decided to dye my hair. Because this process strips my hair anyway I have to use products that will replenish the nutrients it needs.

  • Reply
    November 14, 2017 at 11:51 pm

    I have heard of these products, but have yet to try it. I will check it out.

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