Alcohol in conditioners?

Unknown Member
edited February 2014 in Hair

Have any of you used alcohol in conditioners and have any tips for me? How about stability?
My aim is to make a copy of a wonderful conditioner, ingredients are:
Aqua (Water), Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine,
Arachis Hypogaea (Peanut) Oil, Betula Alba Leaf Extract, Arctium Lappa
Root Extract, Panthenol, Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate, Sodium Lauroyl
Sarcosinate, Glycerin, Sodium Lactate, Lactic Acid, Parfum (Essential


  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    Please write the correct name for alcohol, whether its alcohol denat or isopropyl alcohol, sometimes conditioners have alcohols as the vehicle instead of water and maybe because of that it has been included in the ing list. I use one ftom Lonza which is 50% dispersion in IPA, mine is a pretty much stable product though the salt is cetrimonium chloride.
    Or it might be a carrier of one of the extracts put up wrongly in the ing list (very remote chance though).
    Or I might be wrong in my evaluation, so discretion advised.
  • chemicalmattchemicalmatt Member, Professional Chemist
    Merit, there's absolutely no good reason to have ethanol in that formula, assuming SDA is what they are referring to.  Unless you smell it in there, sonsider it one of the many typos we see in INCI abel listings. I would disregard it.
  • It is an actual hair conditioner product for the European, American, etc. market. The second ingredient is indeed alcohol; maybe part of the name is missing?
  • BobzchemistBobzchemist Member, PCF student
    A slavish copy of a product's ingredient list is rarely useful, unless you are deliberately making a generic/store-brand version of that product. 

    Really look at each ingredient in the ingredient declaration, and then find out/figure out why it's there. Only then should you include it in your formula. I suspect that the alcohol came in as a mixture with the extracts.

    Knowing what I do about conditioners, it's possible that the alcohol and everything following it are below the 1% line, which would mean that the order of the ingredients is actually random and/or deliberately misleading. 
    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • The hair conditioner is thick and in plastic tube.
  • pmapma Member
    edited February 2014
    I know in Japan many shampoos have alcohol as the second ingredient because consumers there like shampoos with a very low viscosity while they must to foam up a lot! Alcohol is the best way to low the viscosity of a shampoo without diminish the amount of surfactants.

    But in a conditioner I really don't see any logical reason. 
  • DavidWDavidW Member, PCF student
    A lot of alcohol in a shampoo will cut down foaming.

    The alcohol is either a typo or a lie.  No reason for it to be in there.  The only thing I can think of is one of the conditioning agents has alcohol in the INCI name too.  Something like the behentrimonium products.
  • MakingSkincareMakingSkincare Member, Professional formulator
    It could also be in there to help preserve but you'd need a lot (20-25%) but then they'd be issues with stability, ostwalt ripening.

    But I agree it's unnecessary in a conditioner.
    Jane Barber (free online course)
    Formulation discussion forum (18,000 members):
  • I am so sorry my answer took a while.
    First of all, thank you all for your answers!
    The product I used as an example is Sante's Brilliant Care Conditioner (considered to be eco-product from Germany).
    They are using ingredient "alcohol" in their other conditioners too, marked on products as well as on their home-page always on 2nd place on the list so that is why it made me wonder, why so. Can they make such a typo for all their conditioners and on their legal home-page?
    Really weird... Maybe should call them and ask :) Or it would be funny to ask my local officials - they tend to be really strict with manufactors, ingredients and European Union's laws for labels.

    Chemicalmatt - hmm, I wonder how to smell it? I guess, the smell is a bit weird in my opinion.
    Their conditioners are actually great to hair and sell well in my country.

    Bobzchemist - sorry, what to you mean by that "A slavish copy of a product's ingredient list is rarely useful"? Thanks, I will check the ingredient declaration.

    pma - thank you! But yes, the conditioner I mentoined is thick... It doesn't foam much.

  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    edited March 2014
    Seems like they forgot to add the name of the carbon chain before Alcohol :-)
    On a serious note if it has ethanol then it must smell sharp the moment you open the cap and smell it. Ethanol at such a high position reduces the intensity of the fragrance also. 
  • I guess it can't be ethanol, the smell isn't that sharp really :) I couldn't help but wrote them.
  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    Then I suppose they forgot to put the name of carbon chain before alcohol as in cetyl, behenyl, myristyl and so on and so forth :-)
  • It won't smell sharp right after opening because it's on a tube and there's no space between the product and the cap. The free space where alcohol would be in vapor is the bottom of packaging where the tube is sealed.

    As far as I know ethanol helps the conditioner solubility in water. I've worked with it in a past project a couple of years ago. And it may be there also for preservative purposes considering there's no preservative declared.

    What amazes me after all is not alcohol is the declared anionic surfactants. They seem out of place for me.
    Research & Development Manager Brazil at Alfaparf Milano.
    Owner and Content Director at Cosmetica em Foco.
  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    @Gustavo As you pointed out that probably the alcohol is added to help in keeping the conditioner solubilized. So don't you think that the presence of alcohol would be uniform throughout the tube otherwise if it is concentrated at the bottom then the solubility of the conditioner at the top wouldn't be uniform, also since it's a tube I don't expect a 'shake well before use' direction.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    It really doesn't seem like the Alcohol is needed in this formula (or the anionic surfactants for that matter).  I wonder what the formula feels like.
  • As I presumed, there has been no answer from the company manufacturing the conditioner. I pretended to be worried customer, who wants to know, why is there alcohol in my conditioner :)
    The formula feels nice and slick, it's white and thick, but not too much. True, the smell is a bit funny (a bit unpleasant).
    It can't be disastrous to hair, I have long hair, use hairdrier lot, have used the product for couple of years and according to my hairdresser, my hair is in great shape.
    So, still a mystery. I decided not to duplicate it though.
  • Unknown Member

    I finally received answer from Sante. Thought it may be great to share with you:

    "thank you for taking time to contact us. We are sorry for the late reply.


    obtained by fermentation of starch or sugar-containing plant is
    needed as a solvent for the extraction of high-quality active
    ingredients from plants. Thus, we use alcohol in our natural personal
    care products already, but he has no drying effect. Without the use of
    alcohol, we could not offer such a rich in active ingredients,
    high quality natural cosmetics. Incidentally, the most important of
    over 40 different plant extracts produced in our own production, most
    plants are certified organic.
    Alcohol  has tonic, refreshing, astringent and blood circulation promoting properties.

    We hope we could help you with our information and gladly provide you
    with further questions.

  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    @merit87 Congrats, finally you got the reply. But for a dumbhead like me the clarification is more confusing than the original puzzle ;-)
  • Unknown Member
    @milliachemist, I agree, another great example of fantastic demagogy, seems useful at some point to learn some to promote oneself.
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