Fatty alcohols are valuable ingredients in the formulators toolbox. Let’s take a closer look at the case of cetyl alcohol.
Cetyl alcohol belongs to the large family of fatty alcohols, these alcohol-function based substances having a rather marked hydrophobic character and in fact insoluble in water. Often referred in the past as “Lanettes Wax”, they find back this name in the DIY applications. They are not really waxes but often mixtures of natural or synthetic fatty alcohols. Cetyl alcohol is one of the main representatives of this class.
Historically made from spermaceti, then palm oil or synthetically from petrol, the different varieties exhibit pretty similar properties.
A very interesting update published in Cosmetics and Toileries from November-December 2018 will allow those it concerns to specify the details of the use of this ubiquitous ingredient. A very good explanation of the formation of crystalline structures and its consequences in formualtion is proposed.
Last but not least, it is a very safe ingredient.