The material selection platform
Cosmetics Ingredients
The material selection platform
Cosmetics Ingredients


CAS Number 64-17-5
Chem/IUPAC Name: Ethanol
EINECS/ELINCS No: 200-578-6
COSING REF No: 31401
Alcohol (also known as ethanol in the cosmetic industry) is a clear and colorless liquid that is used in a wide range of beauty products. The ingredient ethanol is commonly listed on products as denatured alcohol. Denatured alcohol or ethanol means that it has been treated with a denaturant that makes the formulation undrinkable. Alcohol helps clean the skin thoroughly and kills any microorganisms that may be lurking on the surface like fungi, bacteria, and viruses. Cosmetic grade ethanol also keeps ingredients together in a formulation and prevents them from separating. The chemical formula of alcohol is C2H5OH and it has a pungent taste with a wine-like odor.

What is ALCOHOL used for?

Alcohol has various functions in the cosmetic industry and therefore can be found in a wide range of products - from foundations to hair sprays.
  • Skin care: It is a great ingredient for deep cleansing the skin and getting rid of the harmful microorganisms that may have found their way on the surface. It feels weightless on the skin and has quick-drying properties
  • Decorative cosmetics: It acts as a preservative to increase the shelf life of the products as well as prevent the other ingredients in the formulation from separating. It has also proven to increase the adhering properties of a product


Denatured alcohol in cosmetics is usually prepared by fermenting the sugar contained in either grains like barley, corn, and sorghum or the sugar in sugar beets and sugar canes. Ethanol can also be made synthetically in the labs.

What does ALCOHOL do in a formulation?

  • Antimicrobial
  • Cleansing
  • Solvent
  • Viscosity controlling

Safety Profile of ALCOHOL

Alcohol can be toxic if it is one of the main ingredients in a formulation. Too much concentration of ethanol in cosmetic or skin care products can strip the skin and hair of their moisture and make them dry and itchy. Moreover, this ingredient should not be used on skin that has been compromised or one can feel a burning sensation. Lower concentrations of alcohol ethanol and a patch test prior to full application are recommended.

ALCOHOL Alternatives

ALCOHOL Technical profile

Property Values
Boiling Point 78.23°C
Melting Point -114.14°C
pH 7.33
Solubility Miscible in water
Viscosity 1.2 cP (at 20°C)

Commercial Selection : Grades containing solely ALCOHOL

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