SkinBiz says: I am a little confused re. the use of alcohol in skincare [and haircare] products, can anyone help me with which ones are not good for the skin [and hair] and which ones are beneficial? Also what does it mean when a product range is certified halal?
The Left Brain responds:
Alcohol in cosmetics
There are two kinds of alcohol used in cosmetics that can be drying to skin and hair:
- Ethyl alcohol (also listed as Ethanol, Alcohol Denat or SD Alcohol)
- Isopropyl alcohol (also listed as isopropanol).
These are drying to skin and hair because they are short chain alcohols (very few carbon atoms in their backbone) which means they are liquids and can act as solvents. They can dissolve the natural protective oils in your skin and hair.
Other kinds of alcohols can actually be good for your skin and hair because they are long chain fatty alcohols which means they act like an oily moisturizer. The most common ones include:
- Cetyl Alcohol
- Stearyl Alcohol.
Essentially “halal” means the product is lawful according to The Islamic Food and Nutriition Council. In the case of foods you must avoid the following:
- Pork and pork by-products.
- Improper slaughter techniques for animals.
- Ingredients made from carnivorous animals.
- Intoxicants like alcohol.
You can learn more about halal products here: http://www.ifanca.org/halal/
Ladies, were you familiar with the distinction between good and bad alcohols?