You might have often seen the term 'alcohol-free' on your skincare and haircare products. We have been told that alcohol can be drying for your skin, so steer clear of alcohol-based products. So it is really bad to have alcohol in your cosmetic products? If you google it, you may probably find the answer to be yes. In reality, not every alcohol is made equal.
According to experts, not all alcohols are bad for your hair. Some alcohol has a drying effect, while the others have a hydrating, conditioning, and smoothing effect on your hair. The carbon chains attached to the alcohol group contribute to the molecular structure of the alcohol. You can classify alcohols into short-chain and long-chain fatty alcohols based on their chemical structure.
Short Chain Alcohol: Due to its low molecular weight, it evaporates quickly. It dries out your skin and hair. It is mainly used in hair sprays and other styling products to help the formula dry quickly. Using these alcohol-based products regularly can make your hair dry, dull, brittle, and frizzy. You should avoid short chain alcohol such as ethanol, isopropyl alcohol, and propanol in your hair care products, especially curly-haired ones, as the curls are more prone to dryness.
Long Chain Fatty Alcohol: Its high molecular weight and high carbon content have a hydrating and conditioning effect on your hair. Due to its hydrating and conditioning effect, fatty alcohols such as lauryl alcohol, myristyl alcohol, and cetyl alcohol are used in many shampoos, conditioners, deep conditioners, and hair masks.
In this blog, we will talk about the beneficial properties of one such fatty alcohol, i.e., Myristyl alcohol is readily used in hair care products because of its hydrating and conditioning effect.
What is myristyl alcohol?
Myristyl alcohol is a 14-carbon, straight-chain, fatty alcohol made through the hydrogenation of Myristic Acid. Myristic acids are found in palm kernel oil, nutmeg, and coconut oil. It helps with major hair concerns such as dry, frizzy, dull hair and itchy scalp. This waxy, white crystalline solid is insoluble in water but readily dissolves in ethanol and diethyl ether. Myristic Acid is derived from nutmeg (Myristica Fragrans), from which its name is derived. It is also found in coconut oil and palm kernel oil. Myristyl Alcohol is used in various hair care products because of its emollient properties and emulsion stabilizer properties. It is used to moisturize the skin and keep the soluble ingredients together in some skincare products.
Benefits of myristyl alcohol in haircare
This light-weight fatty alcohol functions as a thickener, emulsion, emollient, texture enhancer, and stabilizer in your product formula. It is used in hair care products to improve the texture and manageability of your hair.
In addition to binding water and oil together, myristyl alcohol prevents the ingredients in the formula from separating. An emulsifier plays a crucial role in keeping the ingredients in the product formula from becoming clumpy.
This plant-derived fatty alcohol exhibits a moisturizing and smoothening effect on your hair. Unlike short chain alcohols, they won't dry out your hair. Myristyl alcohol keeps your hair soft, smooth, and hydrated.
It acts as a natural surfactant in hair care products by binding with dirt, oil, and other impurities and effectively eliminating it from your hair and scalp. It gently cleanses your scalp and hair without disturbing your scalp's pH balance. It prevents buildup, making your scalp clean and well hydrated. It reduces the surface tension between two liquids, making it easier to wash off dirt, dust, and grime from the hair and scalp.
4. Foam boasting
Its foam boasting property helps create rich, thick lather, improving the product's efficacy. Getting rid of the gunk becomes much easier, leaving you feeling clean and refreshed.
5. Viscosity controlling agents
It enhances the viscosity of haircare products by thickening them. It improves the consistency of your hair care product by giving the product a rich, thick, and creamy texture.
6. Maintains healthy scalp
As an emollient, myristyl alcohol maintains the moisture of your scalp and hair. It improves the hydration level of your scalp by locking the moisture inside, keeping your scalp hydrated for a longer time. It has a soothing effect on your dry, itchy, and flaky scalp. Regular use improves the scalp's barrier function, thus maintaining scalp health.
How to use myristyl alcohol in haircare?
It reduces moisture loss by forming a thin film over the surface and trapping the moisture inside your hair. It conditions your hair, making your hair look smooth and glossy. It gives the slip to the product, allowing it to glide through your hair, thus improving its spreadability. Myristyl alcohol has a conditioning and detangling effect on your hair. It gives bounce and volume to your hair. As a thickening agent, it improves the consistency of your hair care product, making it look more appealing to your senses. As an emulsifying agent, it gives stability to the product by preventing the ingredients in the formula from separating, thus prolonging the product's shelf life.
How to choose myristyl alcohol in haircare?
Myristyl alcohol is also known as tetradecyl alcohol, tetradecan-1-ol, 1-Tetradecanol, 1-Hydroxytetradecane. When choosing hair care products look for these terms on the label.
Other ingredients it is compatible with
It works well with other cationic, anionic, and nonionic surfactants.
Side effects of myristyl alcohol
This ingredient is non-toxic and considered safe to use externally. This long-chain fatty alcohol is at low risk when used in cosmetic products. According to experts, it may trigger an allergic reaction in people with sensitive skin and those suffering from dry skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. Myristyl alcohol can cause itchy, inflamed, red, or swollen skin and rashes. If the symptoms persist, immediately consult a doctor.
Myristyl alcohol is used in hair care products to improve the efficacy and integrity of the ingredients in the product formula. If you are better informed about the ingredients in your hair care product, you can choose a product designed to target your hair concerns specifically.
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