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Properties and Uses of Cetyl Alcohol

Fatima Rangwala
Cetyl alcohol is a type of alcohol originated from oils or fats. It is widely used in the cosmetic industry, and has some distinct properties as compared to other types of alcohols, which makes it a useful element in cosmetics.
Picking up a shampoo or an conditioner's bottle in a store and reading the back label to check the ingredients content is normal when it comes to hair care. Many people use alcohol in their hair while taking a bath to maintain a smooth quality.
Alcohol dries the texture of your hair. Fatty alcohols like cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol are readily found in conditioners and shampoos these days, to help keep your hair hydrated.


▪ It is a fatty alcohol, which means it's originated from the oils or fats of a substance. Oil helps in the polishing of any surface or material, and also reduces the surface tension of a fluid. This alcohol is widely used in a host of cosmetics, skin products, and hair oils due to its chemical properties which benefits the hair.
▪ Because of its use in shampoos and conditioners, the hair gains all the softness and shine from the extracting chemicals.
▪ Fatty alcohols are larger molecules by nature, and have more than sufficient measure of oil extracts in them.
▪ Usually fats like oils do not blend with water, hence it gets a reason to act as a barrier for the loss of water. The use of alcohol might make you realize why your scalp and hair do not get dried up.
▪ The derivation of this alcohol chains straight from biome plants and animals present in nature. Thus, its name is derived from the animal whale oil, from which it was isolated.
▪ It is cited as an emollient and also as a secondary emulsifier, due to the softening properties it possesses. In a lotion, it simply adds volume and body to it.
▪ Therefore, this substance suits best in the domain of nails, hair, or any other skin care products.
▪ The toxicity, according to research, is quite minimal, and it disposes yellowish white flakes with zero smell and toxicity.
▪ Back in the early 18th century, the invention of this product was done by a French scientist, who used a waxy content which was extracted from sperm whale oil and was mixed with potassium hydroxide. Furthermore, the dags were left behind for a cooling process.
▪ Over the years, with the implementation of environmental norms, commercial whaling has been banned. Thus, it is no longer developed from whale oil. Instead, now it is produced from ordinary coconut or vegetable oil.


▪ As mentioned earlier, it's used in the cosmetic industry as a chemical agent in hair products.
▪ It is a naturally derived intoxicant that caters the softness and creaminess of a substance in the domain of hair products.
▪ The ease you experience while combing your hair after a bath is due to the conditioner effect.
▪ Thus, cetyl alcohol acts as a lubricant which sends flavors of moisture, richness, and softness.
▪ Apart from providing lubrication in skin creams and hand lotions, the same is employed in industries to smoothen nuts, pins, and bolts of machines.
In some cases, it's seen that this product is not used because it causes an adverse effect on the skin and hair of people. Although it is beneficial as a chemical element, scientifically, it's proven that the thickening agents massively increase the viscosity of the lubricant. In turn, such dense applications imbalance the resulting conditions after usage.