Most people are surprised to find alcohol in their favourite hair and skin care products, but this ingredient gets a bad rep because it’s widely misunderstood. There are actually two main groups of alcohols that are used in the health and beauty industry, each with vastly different impacts to the well-being of your hair and skin. So, let’s unpack the different alcohols and learn to spot the good from the bad.
Also known as: Isopropyl Alcohol, Alcohol Denat, Ethanol and Methanol.
We all want our favourite skin and hair care products to last longer than a few weeks, right? Well, this is one of the main functions of preservative alcohols – extending the shelf life of ingredients. Preservative alcohols also change the way a product is absorbed into the skin, helping it to penetrate deeper.
But, it’s not all good news for preservative alcohols, because they can also irritate dry skin, leading to dryness and inflammation. And, for those with oily skin, this same stripping action can trigger more oil production, resulting in breakouts.
Despite still being included in the majority of high-street products, consumers are beginning to shift away from harsh preservative alcohols in favour of gentler alternatives.
Also known as: Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol and Behenyl Alcohol.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, fatty alcohols are vegetable-derived compounds that are used as an emollient in skincare. Unlike preservative alcohols, which dry the skin, fatty alcohols create a layer above the skin which helps to protect against shaving irritation and prevent the loss of moisture.
Emulsifiers also help to bring together the oil and water-based ingredients in a product, preventing them from splitting.
You can find Cetyl Alcohol in Pure Shave Shaving Cream, where its’ emollient properties help keep our ingredients blended, and the protective element keeps your skin looking its best.
Not All Alcohols Are Created Equal
When browsing the ingredients list of skincare products, it’s important to remember that there is a big difference between a preservative alcohol and a fatty alcohol. By learning the difference between the two groups, you will be in a better position to make a choice that’s right for your skin.
Next time you’re in your bathroom, take a look at how your current skincare products stack up. Is it time to make the shift away from drying preservatives? Browse our range.