Cetearyl alcohol

Cetearyl alcohol

Learn all about cetearyl alcohol, including how it's made, and why Puracy uses cetearyl alcohol in our products.
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  • Derived from: coconut palm tree
  • Pronunciation: (SA-teer-l /al-kuh-hawl/)
  • Type: Naturally-derived

What Is Cetearyl alcohol?

Cetearyl alcohol is a flaky, waxy, white solid that is a combination of cetyl and stearyl alcohols, which occur naturally in plants and animals.[1,2] Cetyl and stearyl alcohols are often derived from coconut, palm, corn, or soy vegetable oil, typically from coconut palm trees, palm trees, corn plants, or soy plants.[3] Cetearyl alcohol is used in hundreds of personal care, cosmetic, and household products, such as makeup, bath soap, detergents, shaving cream, moisturizer, shampoo, and other products.[4]

What Does Cetearyl alcohol Do in Our products?

Cetearyl alcohol acts as a moisturizer in our products by helping bind moisture to the skin. It is a fatty alcohol and can also act as an emulsifier, giving proper texture to our products. In addition, it can be an emollient, keep things from separating, control how thick or runny a product is, act as a coupling agent, and even stabilize foams.[5,6,7,8]

Why Puracy Uses Cetearyl alcohol

We use cetearyl alcohol in our products as a moisturizer. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review has deemed cetearyl alcohol safe in cosmetic ingredients.[12] Whole Foods has deemed the ingredient acceptable in its body care quality standards.[13] At least one study also shows cetearyl alcohol does not irritate eyes or sensitize human skin.[14]

How Cetearyl alcohol Is Made

Cetearyl alcohol is a combination of cetyl and stearyl alcohols. Stearyl alcohol is manufactured by transesterification and distillation of coconut or palm kernel oil using a methanol and a zinc catalyst, followed by hydrogenating the resulting methyl esters using a copper catalyst. The catalysts are removed during the fractional distillation phases, so there are little or no metals in the final product.[9] Cetyl alcohol is manufactured by reducing ethyl palmitate (the waxy ester of palmitic acid) with metallic sodium and alcohol or under acidic conditions with lithium aluminum hydride as a catalyst.[10] The final product melts at a temperature higher than that of the human body, which makes it useful for makeup and other things that are warmed by the skin.[11]



[1] Personal Care Council
[2] Cosmeticsinfo.org
[3] Braux, M.R., GMO 101, A Practical Guide, Alain Braux International Publishing, 2014
[4] Personal Care Council
[5] National Center for Biotechnology Information
[6] Personal Care Council
[7] Cosmeticsinfo.org
[8] Cosmeticsinfo.org
[9] Cosmetic Ingredient Review
[10] Encyclopedia Brittanica
[11] Center for Earth Systems Engineering and Management
[12] Personal Care Council
[13] Whole Foods Market
[14] “5 Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Isostearyl Alcohol, Myristyl Alcohol, and Behenyl Alcohol,” International Journal of Toxicology, May/June 1988 7: 359-413.

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