Cetyl Stearyl Alcohol
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Other Names: cetostearyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol
Cetyl stearyl alcohol is a multi-purpose, vegetable-derived blend of cetyl and stearyl fatty alcohols that is commonly used as an emollient, emulsifier, and thickener in a skincare formulation. As an emulsifier, it keeps the oil and water from separating whilst as a thickener, it helps to change the viscosity and increase the foaming capacity of lotions and shampoos.
It actually is not an ‘alcohol’, such as ethyl alcohol, that we know to be drying on the skin but is in fact a conditioner that helps to soften skin and hair. As such, it has a multitude of applications in moisturisers, shampoo/conditioner and facial cleansers.
The appearance of cetyl stearyl alcohol is best described as a mixture of pastilles and an irregular, waxy flake.
When comparing cetyl alcohol and cetyl stearyl alcohol, both are fatty alcohols ie alcohol that comes from fat, and both are emulsifiers and thickeners, but what sets them apart is that cetyl stearyl alcohol provides more enhanced viscosity building effects and provides better penetration with other ingredients in the formulation.
When storing this product, it is important to keep it in a tightly closed container in a cool, dry location. Temperatures over 32 degrees Celsius may cause the wax to coagulate.