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


CAS Number 36653-82-4
Chem/IUPAC Name: Hexadecan-1-ol
EINECS/ELINCS No: 253-149-0
COSING REF No: 32596
Cetyl alcohol is one of the most common ingredients found in cosmetic, skin care, and hair care products. It is a white and waxy ingredient that acts as a thickening agent in products. Cetyl alcohol also binds the ingredients together and prevents them from separating. Apart from this, Cetyl alcohol has moisturizing properties and is non-comedogenic, that is, it does not clog pores. The chemical formula of Cetyl alcohol is C16H34O.

What is CETYL ALCOHOL used for?

Cetyl alcohol is found in numerous cosmetic and skin care products - moisturizers, makeup, shampoos, soap, etc. This is owing to the variety of benefits offered:
  • For Skin, Cetyl alcohol acts as a moisturizing agent and an opacifier. It makes the skin hydrated and soft without clogging the pores or causing acne. Cetyl alcohol is good for the skin and is used in a range of products
  • For Hair, it acts as a thickening agent and allows hair care products to be applied easily on the shafts without the product being too flowy. Moreover, it is an emollient that keeps the ingredient from separating in a formulation
  • In Cosmetics, since it is a waxy ingredient, it greatly enhances the texture of cosmetic products and improves the spreadability of the formulations. In products like lipsticks, Cetyl alcohol is the ingredient that helps the color adhere to the lips


Cetyl alcohol is a natural ingredient that is extracted from vegetable, coconut, or palm oil. It was first discovered by a French chemist - Michael Chevreul - in 1817. He obtained this thick and waxy ingredient from sperm whale oil but today Cetyl alcohol is mainly produced by many other natural sources.

What does CETYL ALCOHOL do in a formulation?

  • Emollient
  • Moisturising
  • Opacifying
  • Viscosity controlling

Safety profile

Cetyl alcohol is largely safe for use in cosmetic and skin care products. However, some people might experience allergies such as inflamed or red skin. Therefore, a patch test is recommended prior to full usage. Cetyl alcohol is safe for pregnant women too.

CETYL ALCOHOL Alternatives

Technical profile

Property Values
Boiling Point 344°C
Melting Point 49.3°C
Solubility Insoluble in water
Viscosity 53 cP

Commercial Selection : Grades containing solely CETYL ALCOHOL

Back to Top