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#Alcohol: The Good and The Bad

Updated: Dec 13, 2022

You read the word alcohol in your skin care ingredients or even your hair care products and automatically you decide need to put that back on the shelf. Many times we have been told alcohols are drying, stay away from alcohols they are damaging to your skin and hair.


Yes, alcohols definitely have a bad rep. but we have to separate them, because even with there being a list of #drying #alcohols that can most assuredly damage skin and hair there are just as many #moisturizing #alcohol that offer wonderful benefits that aid in the body's integrity.


Alcohol Ingredients that aren't your skin's best friend:


1. Ethanol Alcohol: Can cause burning sensations on the skin


2. Ethyl Alcohol: Found in astringents and if you have dry or sensitive skin you definitely want to avoid

3. Isopropyl alcohol: Dehydrating effects on skin and hair often found in toners and gel moisturizers


4. SD alcohol: Used as an anti-foaming agent in some skin care and cosmetics products and like Isopropyl alcohol dries the skin out.


Now thats









But here are alcohols that offer some helpful benefits to skin and hair that can help in the overall integrity of them both.


Beneficial Alcohols that offer moisture


1. Cetyl Alcohol Extracted from coconut oil, it is an emollient that is included in skin care products to stabilize the formulations. It is a prime ingredient in moisturizers because it helps the moisturizer lock the in moisture to create a protective barrier for skin.


2. Stearyl Alcohol Also derived from coconut oil. Because it is an emollient as well as an emulsifier, it can be substituted for cetyl alcohol to firm skin care formulations. It is mostly found in creams, lubricants, depilatories and conditioners.



Derived from natural oils and fats, it imparts an emollient feel to the skin. Cetearyl alcohol is widely used in cleansers, permanent hair color, face creams, eye make-up and sunblocks.



As an emulsifier, it holds the water and oils together in cosmetics. It is typically made from the fats of vegetable oils.



5. Oleyl alcohol

Derived from olive oil, beef fat or fish






There are more alcohols out there, both drying and moisturizing. Even the most natural of ingredients can cause an irritation or full on allergic reaction. These are just some that are used generally in some of the skincare, haircare and cosmetic brand ingredients. As always I implore you please read those ingredient labels and use Google to search names you are unsure of.



- C Farrow


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