So I’m back to looking at the ingredients on the back of hair products. Which alcohols are good for your hair and which ones are bad? And yes, there is such a thing as alcohols that are good for your hair. The good alcohols are fatty alcohols that are derived from animals, plants, or oils. They are used as emulsifiers in many products (mixes oil and water in hair products, so the oil doesn’t separate from the other ingredients). The good alcohols are beneficial for hair; they add moisture by drawing water to the hair, are used to add slip for detangling, and add thickness to the product.

Good Alcohols:

Cetyl alcohol
Stearyl alcohol
Myristyl alcohol
Lauryl alcohol
Behenyl alcohol
Cetearyl alcohol

Neutral Alcohols:

Benzyl alcohol (mostly used as preservative & has no effect on how hair looks and feels)
Propylene Glycol (This type is often used as humectants in products)

Bad Alcohols: (They are usually the short chain alcohols and are very drying. Used to help products evaporate quickly)

SD Alcohol 40
Ethanol
SD Alcohol
Propyl
Porpanol
Isopropyl

Which alcohol does your hair love?