Is Cetearyl Alcohol Bad For Your Hair?

You may have gone through the ingredients list of the NATULIQUE products and have come across the ingredient Cetearyl Alcohol in some of our products. Why alcohol in NATULIQUE hair products? Alcohol isn't good for you, is it?

Alcohol in skin and hair care products has a bad reputation, but is cetearyl alcohol really that bad for your hair? Alcohol is often used as a generic term, but not all alcohols are created equal.

Cetearyl Alcohol in hair products


There are different forms of alcohol, namely;

  1. High molecular weight alcohols – also called fatty alcohols.
  2. Low molecular weight alcohols – also called drying alcohols.

Cetearyl alcohol (also called Cetostearyl alcohol or Cetylstearyl alcohol) falls into the first category. A fatty alcohol is an aliphatic alcohol; an ingredient that is naturally derived from vegetable crops such as palm oil and coconut oil. This form of alcohol is regularly used as a solvent or co-emulsifier in cosmetics, for example. This means that it is used for mixing ingredients that normally cannot mix (such as water and oil). It can also be used to thicken the texture.


  • TYPE OF INGREDIENT: Emulsifier
  • WHAT IT DOES: Prevents separation, thickens consistency, stabilizes products, textures, protects hair
  • KEY BENEFITS: Moisturizing & smoothing
  • EWG-score: 1


In clinical studies, cetearyl alcohol was found to have NO toxicity and was NOT mutagenic (it does NOT change your DNA). This is positive, because DNA changes can cause certain diseases, such as cancer. In addition, fatty alcohols such as Cetearyl alcohol have properties that are beneficial for hair and scalp, because it has a moisturizing and soothing effect. This makes the hair softer and makes it easier to detangle. A good product that proves that not all alcohols are drying and harmful is the Intensive Hair Mask. This product is a moisture regulating product that contains cetearyl alcohol. In addition, it also contains other moisturizing ingredients such as argan oil, shea butter and almond oil. All organic of course!

Yet we also use drying alcohols because we do not want to compromise on results. In the NATULIQUE hair spray we use this form of alcohol because, as the name suggests, it evaporates quickly and therefore allows a product to dry faster. This is because, simply put, you don't get happy with a hair spray that is wet. However, drying alcohols can dry out the hair and scalp, which we want to avoid as much as possible. As a result, we use a minimal addition of dry alcohols to still create a sustainable, dry, fixed effect.

So should you always go for 'alcohol-free' hair products?
Sometimes the answer is yes and sometimes it is no. It totally depends on the type of alcohol!

DRYING ALCOHOLS Drying vs. Fatty Alcohol

  • Alcohol Denat
  • Ethanol
  • Denature Alcohol
  • Methanol
  • Benzyl Alcohol
  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • SD Alcohol 40


  • Cetearyl Alcohol
  • Cetyl Alcohol
  • Glycol
  • C12-16
  • Stearyl Alcohol
  • Lauryl Alcohol
  • Myristyl Alcohol


  • Curl Defining Hair Cream
  • Nourishing Hair Cream
  • Intensive Hair Mask
  • Volume Shape Hair Mousse
  • Medium Hold Wax
  • Defining Hold Molding Paste
  • Exfoliative Scalp and Skin Therapy
  • Colour Shield Treatment
  • Volume Conditioner
  • Moisture Conditioner
  • Everyday Conditioner
  • Pure Silver Conditioner
  • Anti Hair-Loss Conditioner