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Cetearyl Alcohol: Ingredient Spotlight

Author: Erianne Gibson, Pharm. D

October 23, 2022


Cetearyl alcohol is a fatty alcohol commonly used to soften the skin and hair. Many beauty products contain both

water and oil ingredients which do not mix

together naturally. Cetearyl alcohol can help to stabilize these ingredients.

Many people associate “alcohol” as being a drying ingredient. Cetearyl alcohol however, is a fatty alcohol. Drying effects are often seen in astringent alcohols like isopropyl alcohol or ethyl alcohol.


Cetearyl alcohol poses little to no risk to humans. However, there have been limited reports of some people having skin irritation to products containing cetearyl alcohol. People who have experienced this reaction in the past should avoid all other products with Cetearyl alcohol.

According to the EWG Skin Deep Website Cetearyl Alcohol has a rating of 1 which is the best score a product can have in their database. Follow the link below to learn more.


Cetearyl alcohol is biodegradable, according to SAAPedia. It is important to note that the Environmental Working Group states that it is a suspected environmental toxin. You can look into this more here:

Apothecary 1863 Products Containing Cetearyl Alcohol

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