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Curly Nikki

Are All Alcohols Drying?

By January 27th, 20217 Comments

Are All Alcohols Drying?

I’ve been asked this question 5 times in the past week!

Here’s a list of the ‘okay’ or ‘fatty’ alcohols:

Behenyl alcohol
Cetearyl alcohol
Cetyl alcohol
Isocetyl alcohol
Isostearyl alcohol
Lauryl alcohol
Myristyl alcohol
Stearyl alcohol
C30-50 Alcohols
Lanolin alcohol

Fatty alcohols provide an emollient effect, and bind water and oil to give our favorite conditioners their slip and creaminess.

Cetyl and/or Sterayl alcohols are present in most of my favorite products (Pantene R&N Breakage Defense Mask, Herbal Essence Hello Hydration, DevaCare One C). I found the following descrptions on Treasured Locks:
  • Cetyl Alcohol– This is a fatty alcohol that is derived from coconut and palm oils. Far from drying, this alcohol is actually an emollient (makes hair and skin softer).
  • Stearyl Alcohol– another fatty alcohol. 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).
I hope this clarifies some things chicas!



  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks so much! This is great information. I've been checking ingredients on products and I was really confused by the different types of "alcohol."

  • JessB says:

    THX!!! i'm a stickler about what's in the products that i use in my hair & have been going a lil nuts tryin to find something w/o alcohol in it…now i can gain my sanity back! LOL 🙂

  • Maria says:

    Thank you Nikki. Alcohol dries out my hair more than mineral oil! I stay away from it at all costs.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks so much for this info!! I’ve tried to find this stuff out in the past and it ust left me confused. Thanks again.

  • Amina says:

    thank you so much for the information
    when i first stated using qhemet products and she has some of these alcohols listed, i was like…eeuh..i thought it was all natural..
    now i understand better

  • Anonymous says:

    I never knew that. Thanks!

  • Anonymous says:

    Wow how surreal! I was looking at the ingredient list of a new organic conditioner I purchased recently and was thinking “what is it with all these alcohols!!” It contained cetyl alcohol. Well, thanks to you Nikki, I know better today. :=) Thanks!!

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