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Why is Alcohol Bad for Your Hair?

Alcohol on hair

Alcohol is widely used in hair and skin products, but have you ever thought how bad it is for your hair? Most people are now aware of the type of ingredients that make up their grooming products. The Internet has proved to be a convenient tool for conducting a search and finding out what is right for you. However, online research is a double-edged sword since one can publish any type of information which is right or wrong. The accuracy, intent or the quality of information cannot be guaranteed. Misinformation about ingredients and products in this free for all climates can be interpreted as facts by unsuspecting people.

True Facts about Alcohol

It is common knowledge that ‘alcohol is drying’. They will say all alcohols are not bad for hair. Some people also mistakenly believe that some types of alcohol ingredients in hair care products have great smoothing and moisturizing properties and therefore are very healthy for hair.

Alcohol is a Family of Chemicals After All

Nonetheless, there is more than one type of alcohol. It is also important to know that it is not a single chemical but an entire family of chemicals having different properties. Depending on these properties some people assume that certain types of alcohol are good for hair. It is not a natural product and therefore cannot be good anyway. Molecular structures of alcohols may be different, but they are chemicals after all which will either be harmful for hair in the short term or in the long run.

Two Major Types of Alcohol

Yes, there are two main types of alcohol, which are used as ingredients in the manufacture of skin and hair care products. Short-chain alcohols or drying alcohols are one and the other is fatty or emulsifying alcohols. But bear in mind both of these are made up of chemicals.

Short-Chain Alcohols

Of the two, short-chain alcohols or drying alcohols are the worst. These are alcohols having less than three carbon atoms in their structure. They also have low molecular weight. Since they quickly evaporate, they are commonly used as an additive in skin and hair care products for decreasing the time the product takes for drying following application. The flip side is that these alcohols also wick moisture from skin and hair. These alcohols cause the cuticles to roughen and leave behind hair, which is frizzy, brittle and dry. It also compromises the fragile water/lipid balance of dry skin while exacerbating the dermis. Most common short-chain alcohols in hair care products include isopropyl alcohol, propyl alcohol, propnol, denatured alcohol, SD alcohol 40, SD alcohol and ethanol.

Fatty Alcohols or Long-Chain Alcohols

Some think these are great, but they are chemicals after all and will not be able to provide the benefits which natural ingredients are able to do so. Fatty alcohols are larger alcohols having 12 carbons per molecule. Some of the most commonly used long-chain alcohols in hair and skin care products include behenyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, myristyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol and lauryl alcohol.

Fatty Alcohols are Okay, if Used in Moderation

Yes, all long chain alcohols are just okay, but not great even if used moderately. It is found that these alcohols are very drying when the composition of the hair care product reflects a sizable amount. Fatty alcohols in the long run make hair feel hard, wiry and extremely dry. With further use these results seem to get amplified. Remember, long-chain alcohols can make her feel good for a while, but they do not add moisture to hair. They do not nourish hair or replenish moisture required by dry hair like natural ingredients are able to do.

The Bottom Line

Avoid using conventional skin and hair care products which contain alcohol, chemicals or artificial fragrances. Use all natural products which do not harm your skin or hair, but nourish them at the same time. All Ristrah products are made of the finest natural ingredients and are also vegan. Ristrah’s Schild Hair Color Stain Protector and Natural Scalp Serum are free of alcohol, animal ingredients, synthetic fragrances, petrochemicals, PEG, SLS/SLES, phthalates and parabens. Go Natural with Ristrah!



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