Are Alcohols in Natural Hair Products safe?

Have you ever heard the phrase ‘Alcohol is bad for natural hair’, and then you stepped into the shopping mall and realised that every single natural hair product you saw had something alcohol in it?

The thing is you can hardly manufacture hair products or any creamy cosmetic without some form of alcohol, i.e. fatty alcohol. These fats are what makes lotions lotions, conditioners conditioners, shampoos shampoos. They are the substances that make you able to call something ‘creamy’. Without them, all you would have is just some watery substance and oil floating on top. These are the fats that emulsify, opacify, and thicken hair products. And this is the reason why they are in every hair product you see. They are mostly derived from natural products, and the word ‘alcohol’ accompany them because they have molecules of ‘C’, ‘H’ and ‘OH’ in their chain, not because they are harmful. Don’t worry, this is not a chemistry class. Examples are cetyl alcohol, steary alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, etc.

Now are all alcohols safe for our hair? Absolutely not. Only fatty alcohols are safe. Drying alcohols are not. As the word says, they are drying. They make your hair feel crunchy, dry, and promote breakage. They are hard to miss in products, because they smell like what many people call ‘Spirit’. Examples are Ethanol, Isobutane, Isopropyl Alcohol, Propanol, Propyl Alcohol

Not all alcohol look like this. Source

So I believe when next you pick your ingredients, you would know what exactly it is you are looking for and running away from. If you were thinking of skipping the word ‘Alcohol’ completely, ehm, you might as well start using only water on your hair cos it aint gonna happen.

Next week, I will talk about Acids in hair products.

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1 comment

  1. A list of the "good" and "bad" alcohols would be nice.


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