Here it is, the much anticipated
GEEKED out hair session. Today’s chat is…ALCOHOLS (Sorry to all my alkys who assumed this would be more of a drinking game). Speaking from the end of being a Nubian natural one of the first things that I did when I first made the decision to take a different approach to my hair was erase alcohol based products from my hair diet. Why? Well for one I had a tendency to believe everything I heard or read and just took their words for it. I have a chemistry background so why couldn’t I just find this information out for myself. So I did.
How can you tell which is good for you and which aren’t? Quite easy actually because for alcohols you are looking for two factors: LONG and FAT
To all who may have despised chemistry let me break this down for you Barney style. Alcohols are recognized as the carbon compounds with a hydroxyl (OH) group attached to a carbon atom. When you hear “short or long” alcohols it is referring to how many carbons are attached to that hydroxyl group.
Short (Bad) Chained Alcohols
An alcohol is normally considered a short chained compound if it has 3 carbons or less. Small carbon chains are structured in a way that is not beneficial to our hair. They are usually flammable, volatile and evaporate quickly. THESE alcohols will cause your hair to dry out which is usually the sensation you get when you use certain alcohol based gels, styling sprays, and spritz. If the alcohol based product you are putting on your hair evaporates quickly then it is going to take the moisture from your hair with it. Some examples of your bad alcohols are:
Other Names: Ethyl alcohol; Alcohol; Alcohol anhydrous; Algrain; Anhydrol; Denatured ethanol; Ethyl hydrate; Ethyl hydroxide; Jaysol; Jaysol S; Methylcarbinol; SD Alchol 23-hydrogen; Tecsol; C2H5OH; Absolute ethanol; Cologne spirit; Fermentation alcohol; Grain alcohol; Molasses alcohol; Potato alcohol; Aethanol; Aethylalkohol; Alcohol, dehydrated; Alcool ethylique; Alcool etilico; Alkohol; Cologne spirits; Denatured alcohol CD-10; Denatured alcohol CD-5; Denatured alcohol CD-5a; Denatured alcohol SD-1; Denatured alcohol SD-13a; Denatured alcohol SD-17; Denatured alcohol SD-23a; Denatured alcohol SD-28; Denatured alcohol SD-3a; Denatured alcohol SD-30; Denatured alcohol SD-39b; Denatured alcohol SD-39c; Denatured alcohol SD-40m; Etanolo; Ethanol 200 proof; Ethyl alc; Etylowy alkohol; EtOH; NCI-C03134; Spirits of wine; Spirt; Alkoholu etylowego; Ethyl alcohol anhydrous; SD alcohol 23-hydrogen; UN 1170; Tecsol C; Alcare Hand Degermer; Absolute alcohol; Denatured alcohol; Ethanol, silent spirit; Ethylol; Punctilious ethyl alcohol; SD 3A
Other names: Propyl alcohol; n-Propan-1-ol; n-Propanol; n-Propyl alcohol; Ethylcarbinol; Optal; Osmosol extra; Propanol; Propylic alcohol; 1-Propyl alcohol; n-C3H7OH; 1-Hydroxypropane; Propanol-1; Propan-1-ol; n-Propyl alkohol; Alcool propilico; Alcool propylique; Propanole; Propanolen; Propanoli; Propylowy alkohol; UN 1274; Propylan-propyl alcohol; NSC 30300; Alcohol, propyl
Other names: 2-Propanol; sec-Propyl Alcohol; Alcojel; Alcosolve 2; Avantin; Avantine; Combi-Schutz; Dimethylcarbinol; Hartosol; Imsol A; Isohol; Isopropanol; Lutosol; Petrohol; Propol; PRO; Takineocol; 1-Methylethyl Alcohol; iso-C3H7OH; 2-Hydroxypropane; Propane, 2-hydroxy-; sec-Propanol; Propan-2-ol; i-Propylalkohol; Alcolo; Alcool isopropilico; Alcool isopropylique; Alkolave; Arquad DMCB; iso-Propylalkohol; Isopropyl alcohol, rubbing; IPA; Lavacol; Visco 1152; Alcosolve; i-Propanol; 2-Propyl alcohol; Spectrar; Sterisol hand disinfectant; UN 1219; n-Propan-2-ol; 1-methylethanol; Propanol-2; Virahol; IPS 1
Long (Good) Fat Chained Alcohol
Longer chained alcohols are what you would find in your conditioners, leave ins, and moisturizers. They can be used as an emollient which has the ability of softening and moisturizing your hair. You will find long fat chained alcohols in Hair Masque as well. A general rule of thumb is if you see ingredients such as the ones being discussed in this section claiming to condition your hair…it may be correct. So here are some good alcohols for your lovely locs:
1-Hexadecanol (most commonly known as Cetyl Alcohol):
Other names: n-Cetyl alcohol; n-Hexadecan-1-ol; n-Hexadecanol; n-1-Hexadecanol; Adol 52; Adol 52 NF; Adol 54; Aldol 54; Alfol 16; Atalco C; Cachalot C-51; Cachalot C-52; Cetaffine; Cetal; Cetalol CA; Cetanol; Cetylic alcohol; Cetylol; Crodacol C; Crodacol-CAS; Crodacol-CAT; Elfacos C; Ethal; Ethol; Hexadecanol; Hexadecyl alcohol; Hyfatol 16; Lanol C; Lorol 24; Loxanol K; Loxanol K extra; Loxanwachs SK; Palmityl alcohol; Product 308; Siponol wax-A; Siponol CC; 1-Hexadecyl alcohol; Alcohol c-16; Hexadecan-1-ol; n-Hexadecyl alcohol; 1-Hydroxyhexadecane; Adol 520; Cachalot C-50; CO-1670; CO-1695; Dytol F-11; Cachalot C-50 NF; Cetyl alcohol NF; Crodacol C70; Crodacol C95 NF; Epal 16NF; Fancol CA; Lanette 16; Lipocol C; Lorol C16; LorolL 24; Philcohol 1600; Rita CA; Cetyl alcohol; 1-Hexanedecanol; 1-Cetanol; Epal 16; Hyfatol 16-95; Laurex 16; Alfol 16RD; Kalcol 6098; Palmitic alcohol; 19141-82-3
Cetyl alcohol is a fatty, straight-chain alcohol derived from animals and plants. You will normally see this as an ingredient in conditioners. When used in conditioners it has the ability to give a creamy texture to your hair to allow for even product distribution. Cetyl alcohol can also be used a lubricant and increase slick for detangling and it is said to soften the skin of the scalp. Since cetyl alcohol is a fatty alcohol is works to aid in water retention thus providing more moisture to our strands.
1-Octadecanol (most commonly known as Stearyl Alcohol)
Other names: n-Octadecanol; n-Octadecyl alcohol; n-1-Octadecanol; Aldol 62; Alfol 18; Atalco S; Cachalot S-43; Crodacol-S; Lanol S; Lorol 28; Octadecan-1-ol; Octadecyl alcohol; Sipol S; Siponol S; Siponol SC; Stearol; Stearyl alcohol; Stenol; Steraffine; Decyl octyl alcohol; Adol 68; Dytol e-46; Octadecanol; Polaax; Usp XIII stearyl alcohol; CO-1895; CO-1897; Kalcohl 80; Conol 30F; 1-Hydroxyoctadecane; C18 Linear alcohol; Cachalot S-56; CO 1895F; Conol 1675; Crodacol S70; Crodacol S95NF; Lanette 18 DEO; Lorol C18; Octadecanol NF; Philcohol 1800; Rita SA; Stearyl alcohol NF; Stearyl alcohol USP; Varonic BG; Octanodecanol; 1-Stearyl alcohol; Stearic alcohol; Rofamol; Kalcohl 8098; Adol 62
Stearyl alcohol is a fatty, long chain alcohol commonly found in conditioners just like cetyl alcohol. This alcohol helps prevent your products from separating into just oil and liquid components. It also helps prevent your products from getting foamy when you shake them.
1-Tetradecanol (More commonly known as Myristyl alcohol)
Other name: n-Tetradecan-1-ol; n-Tetradecanol; n-Tetradecyl alcohol; Alfol 14; Lanette K; Lanette Wax KS; Loxanol V; Myristic alcohol; Myristyl alcohol; Tetradecyl alcohol; n-Tetradecanol-1; 1-Hydroxytetradecane; Dytol R-52; Tetradecanol; Dehydag wax 14; Epal 14; Lanette 14; Lorol C14; Philcohol 1400; Tetradecanol-1; Tetradecan-1-ol; NSC 8549; Fatty alcohol (C14); 150138-88-8; 8032-14-2
When mixed with myristic acid, it produces a co-emulsifier called Myristyl Myristate. Similar to Stearyl alcohol, it thickens and improves the stability of emulsions to within temperature variations and higher oil or butter levels.
1-Dodecanol (Commonly known as Lauryl Alcohol)
Other Names: Dodecyl alcohol; n-Dodecan-1-ol; n-Dodecanol; n-Dodecyl alcohol; Alcohol C-12; Alfol 12; Dodecanol-1; Dytol J-68; Karukoru 20; Lauric Alcohol; Laurinic alcohol; Lauryl alcohol; Lauryl 24; Pisol; S 1298; Sipol L12; Siponol L2; Siponol L5; Siponol 25; 1-Dodecyl Alcohol; Duodecyl alcohol; n-Lauryl alcohol; Dodecan-1-ol; Cachalot l-50; Cachalot l-90; Lorol 11; Lorol 5; Lorol 7; CO-1214; CO-1214N; CO-1214S; Epal 12; n-Lauryl alcohol, primary; MA-1214; Dodecanol; 1-Hydroxydodecane; Hydroxydodecane; Lorol C12; Undecyl carbinol; Adol 10; Adol 12; NAA 42; Nacol 12-96; Hainol 12SS; Conol 20P; Conol 20PP
Other names: 1-Docosanol; Docosyl alcohol; Docosanol-(1); Cachalot BE-22; Loxiol VPG 1451; Docosan-1-ol; Behenyl alcohol; n-Docosanol; Abreva; Docosanol; IK 2; Lanette 22; NAA 422; Nacol 22-97; NSC 8407; Stenol 1822; Stenol 1822A; Tadenan; Dehydag wax 22 (lanette); Emery 3304; N-Eicosanol
O and one more thing! You will see benzyl alcohol and propylene glycol in a lot of your hair products and for simplicity purposes we are just going to call them neutral alcohols and so far I haven’t found anything stating they would be detrimental to hair. In fact propylene glycol is even used as a humectant and if you live in the south, HUMIDITY IS THE DEVIL.
Well this was an extremely long time coming but I am glad I have finally gotten enough information to give an informative hair chat. Is there something else in particular that you would like to know about your hair? Leave it in the comments and I will get right on it.
Until the next burst of thought…Smile!
Thank God for the Internet (My Sources)