You’ve probably heard that alcohol is bad for your hair – it’s going to dry your hair out, right? Well, not all alcohols are created equal, and in fact, some forms of alcohol can be beneficial and even hydrating! For hair care purposes, alcohol is divided into two categories:
Short chain alcohols - These have a low molecular weight and evaporate quickly – these alcohols attach to your hair and wick moisture, so they can be drying to your hair. Short chain alcohols like “alcohol denat” are typically found in hair sprays since they are key to securing your hairs in place for that perfect look – and many hair sprays need this alcohol to get that job done! It’s hard work, but somebody’s got to do it! You may want to moderate your hair’s short chain alcohol consumption, so keep this in mind when examining ingredient lists!
Long chain fatty alcohols – These are actually really good for your locks! They are used as thickeners and emulsifiers in formulas to keep oils and water mixed thoroughly. They also have smoothing and moisturizing properties, so don’t be scared if you see “cetearyl alcohol” in your ingredient list because that will be a benefit to your hair health! These types of alcohols also add glide for easier detangling, and they can keep your hair stronger and softer, so if you want to fight frizz and shine on, long chain fatty alcohols are there to support you!