Alcohol for our Natural Hair

One of the biggest issues we face with our natural hair is DRYNESS. As we get serious about our hair care we start to search for products that will leave our hair moisturized. I get so many questions from people asking how can they prevent their hair from too drying. Dryness and breakage could result from so many things. There are two responses I tend to give people: be sure to drink plenty of water and deep condition your hair often. It’s literally the best advice I can give in such a short amount of time. However, the products we use can have a lot to do with why our hair is dry.


To ensure our hair gains and maintains the most moisture it’s always best to make our own products. But making our own hair products isn’t realistic sometimes. For those of you who don’t have the desire nor the time to make your own products keep on reading. If you don’t mind making your own products, I will start to feature DIYs on this blog in the future.


Above I stated making our own hair products is always the best option. This is because DIY products don’t usually include preservatives like ALCOHOLS. Alcohols are used in natural hair products as a thickener and as a preservative (like preventing bacteria). What I just said sounds like a good reason to buy a product containing alcohol. However, there is a such thing as good and bad alcohol. Not to bore you with the science, but just know that alcohol is not a single chemical. Because alcohols are made up of different atoms, this causes different types of alcohols. Let’s break down the difference between Drying Alcohols and Fatty Alcohols.


Drying Alcohols


Drying alcohols are bad because they dry our hair out.  Alcohols that are drying, evaporate as soon as they hit the air.  The problem with this evaporation thing is as the alcohol evaporates it takes the natural oils from the hair (or the skin) along with it.  Another problem is the evaporation decreases the time it takes for a product to dry. Therefore, our hair will quickly feel dry and decrease the amount of time before our next wash day.  For an example, when I try to use a foaming product to do my wash and gos, my hair is left dry and brittle, and I have to wash my hair sooner to restore my hair’s moisture.  This happens because many foaming products contain drying alcohols.


If you are experiencing dry brittle hair, try to avoid products containing these types of alcohols: ethanol (or ethyl alcohol), SD alcohol, SD alcohol 40, denatured alcohol, propanol, propyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol.


Fatty Alcohols


Fatty Alcohols are derived from natural plant resources.  When you think of the word “fatty,” you think of something that is oily and nourished.  That’s exactly what fatty alcohols represent.  These alcohols add so many benefits to hair products like encouraging hair to absorb moisture and to keep the moisture locked into the hair cuticles.  These are the types of alcohol we should prefer to obtain optimal moisture for our natural hair.


Try sticking with products containing only these types of alcohols:  auryl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, myristyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol and behenyl alcohol.




You don’t have to completely avoid products that contain drying alcohols, just make sure you have a great foundation before using them.  For an example, if you use products containing only fatty alcohols to wash, condition, and moisturize your hair, it could be fine to use eco-styler gel as the last step in styling.  But I will say that if you stick to using products only containing fatty alcohols, you’ll have more success turning your dry brittle hair into shiny moisturized hair.


As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please feel free to comment below.


Thanks for reading!

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