If you have issues with dry or frizzy hair, you know that what products you use on your hair can have a big impact on how your hair behaves. That said, one ingredient often maligned is alcohol. Although it is absolutely true that certain alcohols can indeed be drying, it is also true that some actually condition the hair! The key is to know the difference.
Fatty alcohols are actually added to hair products to help condition and soften the hair. You can easily remember some of the more common fatty alcohols since they have a “c” or “s” in their name: cetearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol. In addition, other fatty alcohols include lauryl alcohol, myristyl alcohol and SD alcohol 40. None of these alcohols will cause dryness, so no need to be concerned with any product that contains any one of these.
Alcohols That Are Drying
In extreme contrast, alcohols in this category act similarly to rubbing alcohol—they dry on contact and can remove moisture. Most commonly found in styling products like hairspray and mousse, these alcohols can be identified by a “prop” in their name. These include: isopropyl alcohol, propanol and propyl alcohol. If your hair tends to be dry, be careful about using products containing these alcohols too often.
As you can see, reading labels and understanding ingredients can make a big difference!