I need to add one fatty alcohol to the bench....which one?

I make somewhat natural lotions...(hehhe)… and when I first started this journey 6-8 months ago, in my head I had a negative perception towards anything with the word alcohol in the name...(yes... huge misconception...I don't need the lecture!).  Therefore other than the emulsifier, I relied on Xanthan gum and stearic acid as my thickeners.  I now know that I have left some really good products off the bench.
Because I live in Hawaii, ALL ingredients are a bit tougher to get, and shipping is crazy expensive.... So in my search for a fatty alcohol, I would prefer to stay with just one.  Here is what I am looking for.

1) Thickening agent (top priority)..... however, I like my ingredients to multi-task....you know....thicken, moisturize, enhance skin feel etc....
2) Plays well with others.... does not make the emulsion more difficult, but maybe enhances the stability of the emulsion.
3) Always looking to enhance the skin feel....and if possible...I hate the soaping effect some combinations of ingredients/emulsifiers can create.

I am fascinated by the chemistry of the whole process, so if you can also explain why you made a certain recommendation....I am all ears...here to learn.

Thanx in advance.
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Comments

  • While we are at it....lets include: Cetyl Esters in the conversation.

  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    Cetearyl (a mixture of cetyl and stearyl alcohols) and pure cetyl alcohol are very common and probably the grandfathers and go-to standards of fatty alcohols. For your climate, behenyl alcohol might be more suitable due to its higher melting point???
    Since whales are no longer hunted down for spermaceti, cetyl palmitate is the prototype of fatty alcohol esters. Historywise, this wax is pretty similar to cetyl alcohol. I like it but now tend to myristyl myristate which might be too soft for hot climates.
    For traditional pharmaceutical as well as minimalist formulations, cetyl or cetearyl alcohol and cetyl palmitate are 'must haves'.
  • @Pharma I've seen you and another member recommending cetyl palmitate in the past and it sounds interesting. I wondered if you would be kind enough to answer some questions about it...

    For the dry emollient effect (which is what it sounds like cetyl palmitate is known for), do you replace some oil with it, or do you simply add it while leaving the original level of oils unchanged? 

    Also, how much is needed to make a difference? Would 1% cetyl palmitate in an emulsion with a high level of oil (around 20%) have any effect?

    Is cetyl palmitate problematic in terms of increasing a draggy effect and whitening/soaping on rub-in?

    Thanks so much, and sorry @Graillotion for hijacking this thread! 
  • Cetearyl alcohol is not my favourite, but if you can only get one, it's the most versatile. 
  • GraillotionGraillotion Member
    edited March 27

    Is cetyl palmitate problematic in terms of increasing a draggy effect and whitening/soaping on rub-in?

    Thanks so much, and sorry @Graillotion for hijacking this thread! 
    No worries...I am here to learn....and look forward to seeing the answers to your Q's....as I had similar ones. :)
  • I see a lot of people suggesting that you use cetearyl alcohol, and while I agree that it is a good choice, I personally have never seen any benefit of using it over cetyl alcohol alone.

    If cetyl alcohol is cheaper or more widely available in your region, then you may want to just go with that. 

  • If cetyl alcohol is cheaper or more widely available in your region, then you may want to just go with that. 
     I was leaning towards cetyl...and haven't read much to dissuade me, so will probably go that way.  I'll get the ester version as well...and compare them in formula.  Hehehe...in Hawaii....none of the products are available....just whatever can be sent from the mainland.  I'll look again at behenyl alcohol, as melting point is a concern.
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    ...do you replace some oil with it, or do you simply add it while leaving the original level of oils unchanged? 

    Also, how much is needed to make a difference? Would 1% cetyl palmitate in an emulsion with a high level of oil (around 20%) have any effect?

    Is cetyl palmitate problematic in terms of increasing a draggy effect and whitening/soaping on rub-in?
    ...
    I use it at about 1-2%. Hence, no real need to replace anything. I, for no particular reason, tend to subtract such additives from my fall guy water LoL. As a pharmacist, I works more often with older pharmaceutical formulations which often lack aesthetics/haptics of 'modern' cosmetics. Cetyl palmitate is a good starting point to try to render them smoother/softer if beeswax is proportionally swapped for it and less greasy/tacky if it's used to replace some hydrogenated peanut oil (pretty common traditional ingredient here in Switzerland).
    The effect is not super strong/evident, it just feels nicer/silkier somehow. I really appreciate that dry-ish silkiness whilst my wife doesn't share the same opinion.
    Can't comment on soaping... I haven't paid much heed to that.
  • Pharma said:
     For your climate, behenyl alcohol might be more suitable due to its higher melting point???

    Just a question from a novice..... I noticed that behenyl alcohol involves some long chain fatties.... The formula already includes 1% Jojoba and 1% Meadowfoam... Is there a chance I would be getting too much long chains, and hence causeing a problem of some kind.....albeit formulation or skin feel?
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    I doubt you or your consumers are sensitive enough to notice any feel difference between Behenyl (C22) and Cetyl (C16).
  • Cafe33Cafe33 Member
    edited March 27
    natzam44 said:
    I see a lot of people suggesting that you use cetearyl alcohol, and while I agree that it is a good choice, I personally have never seen any benefit of using it over cetyl alcohol alone.

    If cetyl alcohol is cheaper or more widely available in your region, then you may want to just go with that. 
    I agree. I asked myself that question many months ago and after many different formulations and a few small scale knockout experiments, I can say that Cetyl Alcohol has superior skin feel over Cetearyl Alcohol. 

    In terms of thickening, I think a combination of the two is my preferred method.
  • Pharma said:
    I use it at about 1-2%. Hence, no real need to replace anything. I, for no particular reason, tend to subtract such additives from my fall guy water LoL. As a pharmacist, I works more often with older pharmaceutical formulations which often lack aesthetics/haptics of 'modern' cosmetics. Cetyl palmitate is a good starting point to try to render them smoother/softer if beeswax is proportionally swapped for it and less greasy/tacky if it's used to replace some hydrogenated peanut oil (pretty common traditional ingredient here in Switzerland).
    The effect is not super strong/evident, it just feels nicer/silkier somehow. I really appreciate that dry-ish silkiness whilst my wife doesn't share the same opinion.
    Can't comment on soaping... I haven't paid much heed to that.
    Thank you so much @Pharma, that’s really
    helpful. Is the “dry-ish silkiness” a similar effect to using isopropyl myristate?

    And how different is the effect of cetyl palmitate to cetyl alcohol?
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    edited March 28
    ... I noticed that behenyl alcohol involves some long chain fatties.... The formula already includes 1% Jojoba and 1% Meadowfoam... Is there a chance I would be getting too much long chains, and hence causeing a problem of some kind.....albeit formulation or skin feel?
    Behenyl alcohol is one fatty alcohol with one long chain (nitpicking here).
    Jojoba oil is a wax (= ester of a long chain fatty alcohol with a long chain fatty acid) whilst meadowfoam oil is a triglyceride of long chain fatty acids. These are pretty different and there is no obvious reason why adding 1% fatty alcohol would change/hamper anything. Sometimes mixing different chain lengths increases emulsion stability (e.g. cetearyl alcohol is 'better' than cetyl alcohol).
    I don't know if there is a 'feel difference' but behenyl alcohol has a higher melting point and might be more suitable if you're not the person who likes low viscosity products (though there is nothing a bit gelling agent might not correct :) ).
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    ...Is the “dry-ish silkiness” a similar effect to using isopropyl myristate?

    And how different is the effect of cetyl palmitate to cetyl alcohol?
    No, IPM feels different and 'dry' because it spreads easily and penetrates fast whereas cetyl palmitate remains on the skin as something which feels (to me) a bit like powder and turns oils less slippery/greasy.
    Cetyl alcohol and cetyl palmitate are complementary, they cover two different aspects.
    Cetyl alcohol doesn't 'feel' on the skin... well, sure it does but the effect is not very noticeable in a cream IMHO. Cetyl alcohol changes the cream itself which is mostly an effect on viscosity, stability, and optics. Obviously, viscosity is felt upon application but just when scooping the product out of the jar and then for the first seconds of application but then quickly fades away during rubbing in. That's when cetyl palmitate starts showing and excels once the cream has absorbed into the skin, it's the finishing touch that remains. My wife has very fine/sensitive skin and she can feel cetyl palmitate and similar (e.g. waxes) during application. She can't quite put it into words but she complains about the 'dryness'... for her, it probably feels like fine waxy grit, maybe like adding too much beeswax? And then she complains that there is not enough coverage/film remaining on the skin (although you can see that there is, it just doesn't feel like being there). Perception but also expectation are very subjective and individual :) .
  • helenhelenhelenhelen Member
    edited March 28
    Pharma said:
    Cetyl alcohol and cetyl palmitate are complementary, they cover two different aspects.
    Cetyl alcohol doesn't 'feel' on the skin... well, sure it does but the effect is not very noticeable in a cream IMHO. Cetyl alcohol changes the cream itself which is mostly an effect on viscosity, stability, and optics. Obviously, viscosity is felt upon application but just when scooping the product out of the jar and then for the first seconds of application but then quickly fades away during rubbing in. That's when cetyl palmitate starts showing and excels once the cream has absorbed into the skin, it's the finishing touch that remains. My wife has very fine/sensitive skin and she can feel cetyl palmitate and similar (e.g. waxes) during application. She can't quite put it into words but she complains about the 'dryness'... for her, it probably feels like fine waxy grit, maybe like adding too much beeswax? And then she complains that there is not enough coverage/film remaining on the skin (although you can see that there is, it just doesn't feel like being there). Perception but also expectation are very subjective and individual :) .
    @Pharma, thank you, that is really interesting, exactly the kind of information I was looking for. Cetyl Alcohol definitely doesn't sound like what I'm looking for then, as it's more the final and lasting feel I'm interested in enhancing.

    I think your wife is similar to me in terms of feeling every tiny aspect of a cream, and I can completely imagine what she means by the "dryness". I have dry and sensitive skin and also need to feel coverage/film on the skin for a cream to feel comforting enough. I never understand when people rave about certain brands of products that feel completely insufficient and drying on my own skin (my hands in particular).

    Is there an alternative fatty alcohol that gives the lasting film your wife looks for without adding an oily feel or too much of a silicone-like feel? I guess I'm looking for an ingredient that adds a slight boost of comfort and water repellency to an existing formulation that already moisturises well and has enough slip, but I'd like it to feel more velvety on application and have longer lasting emollience. I might still look into trying cetyl palmitate but I don't want to put all my eggs in one basket!

    Or would increasing the glycerin do what I need as well?
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    I have the impression your mixing up fatty alcohols (e.g. cetyl alcohol) with fatty acid esters (e.g. cetyl palmitate), but anyway...
    Myristyl myristate is softer and shinier, less of that dry silkiness cetyl palmitate has, but else is quite similar. I don't like it that much because of the shine, I like the silicone velvet shimmer more.
    I wouldn't know of any fatty alcohol for your job (they are all very similar), but regarding esters: If you have a hard wax (carnauba or beeswax), about half as much 5-wise is fairly similar to cetyl palmitate in the jar and during application, just a tiny bit more sticky, draggy, and less spreading. The final feeling is more waxy (obvious), again stickier but with better occlusion and not too much shine. On the other hand, the softer candelilla wax comes close to myristyl myristate with the (dis-)advantage of being a wax.
    One fatty alcohol which is different would octyldodecanol. It reduces viscosity in some preparations (i.e. true o/w emulsions, personal observation) whilst increasing it and hence stabilising laminar networks (i.e. most easy formulations). It's oilier but not the kind of sticky oiliness like castor oil, more like a fast absorber. No occlusive effect but better emollience.
    For your demands, I'd swap some of the liquid oils with a partially hydrogenated oil. Gotta run, dinner's ready
  • The best thing to do to understand the difference is to make the same base with say 3% of each thickener (as minimalistic as possible: 5% of mineral oil, 3% of GMS/PEG100 stearate, 3% of a thickener, water qs) and compare. Myristyl Myristate is nice but you would need twice as much of it comparing to cetearyl to get the same viscosity and overall rheology is different (more like beeswax). Behenyl feels dryer and more powdery but depending on other ingredients you can create truly beautiful product with it. I like all of them but for different products. 
  • Pharma said:
    I have the impression your mixing up fatty alcohols (e.g. cetyl alcohol) with fatty acid esters (e.g. cetyl palmitate), but anyway...
    Myristyl myristate is softer and shinier, less of that dry silkiness cetyl palmitate has, but else is quite similar. I don't like it that much because of the shine, I like the silicone velvet shimmer more.
    I wouldn't know of any fatty alcohol for your job (they are all very similar), but regarding esters: If you have a hard wax (carnauba or beeswax), about half as much 5-wise is fairly similar to cetyl palmitate in the jar and during application, just a tiny bit more sticky, draggy, and less spreading. The final feeling is more waxy (obvious), again stickier but with better occlusion and not too much shine. On the other hand, the softer candelilla wax comes close to myristyl myristate with the (dis-)advantage of being a wax.
    One fatty alcohol which is different would octyldodecanol. It reduces viscosity in some preparations (i.e. true o/w emulsions, personal observation) whilst increasing it and hence stabilising laminar networks (i.e. most easy formulations). It's oilier but not the kind of sticky oiliness like castor oil, more like a fast absorber. No occlusive effect but better emollience.
    For your demands, I'd swap some of the liquid oils with a partially hydrogenated oil. Gotta run, dinner's ready
    Yes sorry, I am definitely mixing up fatty alcohols with fatty acid esters (and probably more)!

    Yes, I would be put off by the shine of myristyl myristate. I like skin to look and feel like skin after applying a product, without any shine or glisten.

    Good idea on the hydrogenated oils, thanks, I'll have a look into them. I've had success with Hydrogenated Ethylhexyl Olivate and Hydrogenated Olive Oil Unsaponifiables, but it gets a bit too siliconey and greasy at too high a percentage.
  • helenhelen  I've had success with Hydrogenated Ethylhexyl Olivate and Hydrogenated Olive Oil Unsaponifiables, but it gets a bit too siliconey and greasy at too high a percentage.
    Where is the sweet spot on this product....have some on the way.... What is too high? :) 
  • helenhelen  I've had success with Hydrogenated Ethylhexyl Olivate and Hydrogenated Olive Oil Unsaponifiables, but it gets a bit too siliconey and greasy at too high a percentage.
    Where is the sweet spot on this product....have some on the way.... What is too high? :) 
    It will depend on the rest of your formula but 2% is a good place to start.
  • Pharma said:
    ...Is the “dry-ish silkiness” a similar effect to using isopropyl myristate?

    And how different is the effect of cetyl palmitate to cetyl alcohol?
     cetyl palmitate remains on the skin as something which feels (to me) a bit like powder and turns oils less slippery/greasy.
    Cetyl alcohol and cetyl palmitate are complementary, they cover two different aspects.
    Cetyl alcohol doesn't 'feel' on the skin... well, sure it does but the effect is not very noticeable in a cream IMHO. Cetyl alcohol changes the cream itself which is mostly an effect on viscosity, stability, and optics. Obviously, viscosity is felt upon application but just when scooping the product out of the jar and then for the first seconds of application but then quickly fades away during rubbing in. That's when cetyl palmitate starts showing and excels once the cream has absorbed into the skin
    OMG...finally got around to subbing in just cetyl alcohol instead of cetyl palmitate.... YUCK!!!  Made if feel oily like Vaseline. I suppose it is formula specific. :) (And of course....all points of view are skewed by personal preference!).

    Thanx for the tips....still waiting for sample of MM.
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    How many % did you use?
  • GuntherGunther Member
    Perry said:
    I doubt you or your consumers are sensitive enough to notice any feel difference between Behenyl (C22) and Cetyl (C16).
    Interesting because you can clearly tell the difference between cetyl and cetearyl (I haven't tried Behenyl alcohol myself).
    I believe the cetyl/cetearyl difference is that the former is more homogeneous than the later, so the crystal emulsion structure, hence the feel is different.
  • GraillotionGraillotion Member
    edited May 12
    Pharma said:
    How many % did you use?
    Only 1.75%

    Just made a batch with MM (arrived today)...another different feel....I am still ruminating on it....I'll let you know my thoughts....tomorrow.

    I am a little shocked....how different the product becomes....just exchanging the fatty alcohol.


  • GraillotionGraillotion Member
    edited May 12
    Gunther said:

    Interesting because you can clearly tell the difference between cetyl and cetearyl (I haven't tried Behenyl alcohol myself).
    I believe the cetyl/cetearyl difference is that the former is more homogeneous than the later, so the crystal emulsion structure, hence the feel is different.
    Just curious....which feel do you prefer....between cetyl and cetearyl?
  • GuntherGunther Member
    Gunther said:

    Interesting because you can clearly tell the difference between cetyl and cetearyl (I haven't tried Behenyl alcohol myself).
    I believe the cetyl/cetearyl difference is that the former is more homogeneous than the later, so the crystal emulsion structure, hence the feel is different.
    Just curious....which feel do you prefer....between cetyl and cetearyl?
    I prefer cetyl as it has a more smooth feel.
    But cetearyl emulsions are reportedly more stable.

    You definitely need to buy small amounts of each one and try them both for yourself.
    Experimenting is key to succeeding in cosmetic chemistry (and any chemistry field too). You can only get so far by reading without experimenting yourself.
  • Gunther said:
    Gunther said:




    You definitely need to buy small amounts of each one and try them both for yourself.
    Experimenting is key to succeeding in cosmetic chemistry (and any chemistry field too). You can only get so far by reading without experimenting yourself.
    Thank you for your comment...Yes I agree.... I have tried Cetyl, Cetrl Palmitate, and MM, in the same formula, and definitely preferred the Cetyl Palmitate to the other two! :) 
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