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!