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Utilité de l'alcool cétylique en cosmétique.

What is cetyl alcohol?

Published February 20, 2024, by Stéphanie, Doctorate in Life and Health Sciences — 2 min read

Cetyl alcohol (INCI name: Cetyl Alcohol) is a fatty alcohol derived from fatty acids obtained through the treatment of mineral or vegetable oils. It is a waxy substance with long carbon chains.

The cetyl alcohol present in our skincare products is of plant origin. It is produced from coconut oil.

Why use it in skincare formulas?

  • It is used as a emulsion stabiliser and co-emulsifier, where it promotes the mixing of two immiscible liquids. It thus contributes to creating a stable emulsion in conjunction with other, more powerful emulsifiers. Indeed, cetyl alcohol is never used alone, as it is difficult to stabilise an emulsion in which it is the only emulsifier;

  • It also acts as a consistency/texture agentwhere it modulates the texture. It will thicken and enrich the feel of creams, thereby providing a creamy consistency;

  • It has a emollient power, meaning it softens and soothes the skin;

  • It is film-forming, thus slowing down water loss without being too occlusive;

  • It possesses a smoothing potential, making the hair softer to the touch and easier to detangle.

In skincare, cetyl alcohol is used at a concentration of 2 to 5% in combination with other emulsifiers.

Should we be wary of cetyl alcohol?

Alcohol used in skincare is often feared and criticised, where it is accused of being drying and irritating. Is this the same case with fatty alcohols? Fatty alcohols have no relation to alcohol/ethanol and are often confused. The CIR (Cosmetic Ingredient Review) has concluded the safety of cetyl alcohol in a report.


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