What are you wearing? | Cetyl Alcohol


What is it?

Cetyl alcohol is a straight chained alcohol. Originally it was derived from sperm whale oil BUT luckily that type of cruelty has stopped and you can now find it from plants (palm oil) and end products of the petroleum industry. It is a white, waxy solid and it known to be a fatty alcohol. (CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO ON ALCOHOLS) According to the FDA, it is on the list of permitted food additives. EU Cosmetics Directive allows it to be used in cosmetics as long as it is derived from plants.


What does it do?

CIR expert panel says that Cetyl alcohol is good for sensitive skin. It can act like an emulsifer, an emollient and/or a thickening agent specifically when making creams and lotions. In shampoos it is known to be used as an opacifier which in literal terms means to make a solution clear or opaque. t keeps the water and oil from separating and helps with the spreadability. Some have said that though cetyl alcohol is an alcohol, which is normally considered to be extremely drying and bad for you skin, it is said to be conditioning and softening for the skin.


What products is it in?

Moisturizer, face cream, shampoo/conditioner, anti-aging treatments, hair dye, sunscreen, cleanser and lipstick


Side Effects

I just want to preface this by saying I have found some conflicting arguments for what the side effects are using Cetyl alcohol. There are some sources that say fatty alcohols are moisturizing and good for the skin but at the same time the exposing arguments say that dermatologist do not fully support it. If you have sensitive/irritated skin you should avoid it just because of what alcohol does to your skin.

Products with a high concentration of alcohols has the ability to altercate the lipid bilayer of the epidermis which is known to be the protective barrier. This is also why you probably know some oily skin beauties who use alcohol based toners because it will give you that immediate matte look. HOWEVER stripping your skin of all of its oil will just make your skin produce oil in hyperdrive trying to compensate for everything that it has lost. This could cause enlarged pores and increased bumps.


Other Names






Hexadecyl alcohol

Palmityl alcohol


Products You Can Find It In

Cetaphil Products

Jergens Products



(That I will post at the end of every blog and in the description box of every video)

  1. This is just information that I have found myself while researching and therefore it is not my own information. I will leave links to all the original files and even other bloggers who dove into this before me. I am not an expert but I want to share what I have found.
  2. At no point during this series should you take the information given as the GOLDEN STANDARD. Listen to your own body and do what is working best for you. So if you find out a product has a chemical that does not work for me and your skin is fine…KEEP IT
  3. Always feel free to do your own research and come to your own conclusions
  4. A dermatologist is a great source of information



Cosmetic Info


Love to Know – Skincare

Merck Index Online

Paula’s Choice

Truth in Aging

Web MD



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