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Cetyl alcohol
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In the ingredient descriptions: Good means that I like to see this in a product's list of ingredients. Okay means this product appears safe for a curly person like me to use. Caution means that this ingredient may not be good in some hair care products, or for some people. Avoid means this ingredient may hurt your hair. If you see this ingredient in a hair product, it's best to put it down and walk away.

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Cetyl alcohol    (aka 1-hexadecanol, palmityl alcohol, C16 alcohol, hexadecanol)
Good
Common ingredient used as an emollient, thickener, and keeping the product mixed together. Considered a "backbone" ingredient - [per The Beauty Brains link] this is used as a (common) carrier for the other ingredients. Non-greasy. Can be made from coconut fatty alcohol, or synthetically. Not found to be an irritant. Begoun (Cosmetics) pg 1264. Also used to increase foam, and to make a product less transparent. Used in a wide range of products, from hair conditioners to facial cleansers [Gottschalck pg 332]. Cetyl alcohol is the oldest known of the various fatty alcohols. It's been around since 1813. It is known as being a very safe ingredient, and is very compatible with other ingredients [Hunting (Conditioning) pgs 147-148]. I often use this as an ingredient to help weigh down my hair without being greasy or sticky.—T

This is in two of my favorite, go to conditioners that I've been using for well over ten years, and it's also in another conditioner I use frequently for about five years. It has not caused any problems as far as conditioning and defining my hair. That's why I'm calling it a

* * * Tried and true ingredient * * *
See also: Fatty alcohol Carrier ingredient
Source(s): Begoun Gottschalck Hunting http://thebeautybrains.com/2015/10/how-do-you-moisturize-curly-hair-episode-104/



References:

Applewhite, Thomas H., ed. Proceedings of the World Conference on Lauric Oils: Sources, Processing, and Applications
AOCS Publishing, 1994.

Barel, André O., Marc Paye, and Howard I. Maibach., eds. Handbook of Cosmetic Science and Technology, Second Edition
Marcel Dekker, Inc., 2001.

Begoun, Paula. Don’t Go Shopping for Hair-Care Products Without Me. 3rd Edition.
Renton: Beginning Press, 2005.

Begoun, Paula. The Beauty Bible.
Renton: Beginning Press, 2002.

Begoun, Paula. Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me.
Renton: Beginning Press, 2003.

Bellum, Sarah, ed. The Beauty Brains: Real Scientists Answer Your Beauty Questions
New York: Brains Publishing, 2008.

Gottschalk, Tari E. and McEwen, Gerald N, Jr. PhD, eds. International Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary and Handbook, Tenth Edition 2004, Volumes 1-4.
Washington D. C.: The Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragance Association, 2004.

Halal, John Hair Structure and Chemistry Simplified, Fifth Edition
Albany: Milady, 2002.

Hunting, Anthony L.L. Encyclopedia of Conditioning Rinse Ingredients.
Cranford, NJ: Micelle Press, Inc., 1987.

Hunting, Anthony L.L. Encyclopedia of Shampoo Ingredients.
Cranford, NJ: Micelle Press, Inc., 1983.

Johnson, Dale H. (Ed.). Hair and Hair Care, Cosmetic Science and Technology Series. Vol. 17.
New York: Marcel Dekker, 1997. Print.

Nnanna, Ifendu A. and Jiding Xia., eds. Protein-Based Surfactants: Synthesis: Physicochemical Properties, and Applications (Surfactant Science)
Madison Heights: CRC, 2001.

Quadflieg, Jutta Maria. Fundamental properties of Afro-American hair as related to their straightening/relaxing behaviour.
Diss. U of Rheinisch-Westfälischen Technischen Hochschule Aachen, 2003.

Schueller, Randy and Perry Romanowski, eds. Conditioning Agents for Hair and Skin.
New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc., 1999.

Winter, Ruth M.S. A Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients: Complete Information About the Harmful and Desirable Ingredients Found in Cosmetics and Cosmeceuticals
New York: Three Rivers Press, 2005.

Zviak, Charles., ed. The Science of Hair Care (Dermatology)
New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc., 1986.

 

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