Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Hair Alcohol Denat?

  • Alcohol Denat?

    Posted by phillipc421 on May 31, 2020 at 6:30 am

    Hi there. I’m evaluating some different hair products that provide a matte finish and good texture. I have two that work very well but the top ingredient is alcohol denat. Now I have heard these short chain alcohols are “bad” and can dry out the hair. I haven’t noticed an alarming amount of dryness in testing, but who knows. My question is, are these claims true? And if so, to what degree? I’m mainly concerned when it comes to marketing as I can see some people asking the question, especially when it’s the first ingredient listed!


    The products are both sprays. One is basically a sea salt spray but the other gives some hold. Both have alcohol denat as their first ingredient. 
    klangridge replied 3 years, 10 months ago 2 Members · 1 Reply
  • 1 Reply
  • klangridge

    June 1, 2020 at 3:46 pm

    Hi @phillipc421 

    I sort of addressed “dry hair” in the third comment on this post: https://chemistscorner.com/cosmeticsciencetalk/discussion/comment/46537#Comment_46537

    Because of the plasticising ability of water, ethanol (or “alcohol denat.”) is actually better for the hair than water. However there are some questions over ethanol’s drying effect on skin, so application to the hair may have the potential to dry out the scalp if applied near the roots. There was at some point a publicised incident where someone complained of hair loss after applying LOTS of dry shampoo repeatedly, without washing their hair at all, and personally I think this is the most likely explanation!

    However there is a lack of information about how ethanol interacts with hair and skin on the internet, and another discussion (here) seemed to conclude that ethanol is not drying to skin, which I personally disagree with. So even the scientists can’t decide!

    Sorry if that’s even more confusing!

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