Cetyl alcohol

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My supplier put a free sample of cetyl alcohol (ca. 20 g) into my last order. I'm now wondering what it might be good for. So far it seems best-known as an ingredient in various conditioners, lotions, salves etc., but there doesn't seem to be much out there for soap.

What the Suds!? Cetyl Alcohol in Soap | A Quick Guide to Cetyl Alcohol & Liquid Oil Ratios - Humblebee & Me | Jojoba vs Cetyl Alcohol in a CP soap

It seems consensus-ish that it chiefly modifies lather, at a few % TOW it makes it more creamy and longer lasting. Similar to stearic acid, just that it doesn't interfere with lye balance and isn't susceptible to water hardness.

S6404579_m0d.jpg
Melted into M&P base at 8% TOW (right, the left one is pure M&P as comparison), naïve me hoped for some increase in opacity. Well, the cetyl alcohol seemed to remember its close relation to saturated FAs and/or the poly-alcohol solvents, so if at all, transparency increased, if only ever so slightly. The lather hasn't changed much, maybe it was a bit creamer and thicker, but it didn't make much of a difference – not too surprising with that high PKO and stearic acid already.

S6404596_m0d.jpg
Added to liquid soap (my garden-inspired LS, heated to 60°C and let cool for two days) at 2% TOW (0.3% absolute). Again, the left test tube holds a control sample, and right is the one with added cetyl alcohol. On the first and second glance, no difference. It might be suggested or pure coincidence, but the stearic/elaidic “snowflakes” appear a bit larger and more irregular than the ones with cetyl alcohol, that are small and more finely dispersed. But not a particularly impressive effect, given that the cetyl alcohol is water-insoluble by itself.
Again, no impressive impact on lather either. The suds appear a bit whiter than the quite glassy, translucent castile-ish foam of the base soap, but nothing noteworthy or worth an extra preparation step.


Hence, so far, I have no convincing soapy use case for cetyl alcohol. But then, I haven't tried to add it to proper CP/HP soap yet.
You know (or finally want to know about) a soap recipe that can make good use of cetyl alcohol? Give it to me!
 
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I thought I had read all of the older threads here by now, but apparently not the one by Ngian. As for the first link, what is the value of testing suds stability over 45 minutes or 36 hours? Do we want suds to last that long?
 

dibbles

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what is the value of testing suds stability over 45 minutes or 36 hours? Do we want suds to last that long?
My thought is once the testers got to 45 minutes or an hour, they just wanted to see how long it could go. The only time I can think of wanting suds to last for 45 minutes would be in a bubble bath - which isn't bar soap.

But now, I'm interested in testing jojoba oil...
 
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I think lather testing for that long of a period is typical for shave soap. I have only just dabbled in learning about shave soap, so I don’t know if cetyl alcohol is a standard shave soap ingredient like stearic acid seems to be. Maybe some else can chime in about that?

Edited: I just read the link Owl provided to the UG2HP blog post, and it looks like cetyl is used in shave soaps. I agree that 36 hours of lather testing is beyond the point where it has any benefit, so it had to be like Dibbles said - let's just see for the sake of seeing.
 
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But now, I'm interested in testing jojoba oil...

Unless there is a specific use case at which cetyl alcohol can shine above jojoba alcohol (and/or jojoba soap would interfere with), I'd prefer jojoba oil (or similar wax esters), if only for the “sportsmanship”.
It seems my supplier hasn't quite hit my nerve with their “free sample” teasing 😜 I just want to get rid of it with dignity – but maybe I'll restock jojoba from them.
 
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Just found this article by Kevin Dunn and others:
They are referring to hearsay that cetyl alcohol might reduce sweating of M&P soap. They could not confirm this theory. Nor did I – unaware of their work, I've added cetyl alcohol to M&P before, and it didn't find that it makes a difference, but then, my M&P already hasn't terrible sweating issues anyway (as a result of lengthy optimisation of blends of oils and polyols).
 

Kiti Williams

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My supplier put a free sample of cetyl alcohol (ca. 20 g) into my last order. I'm now wondering what it might be good for. So far it seems best-known as an ingredient in various conditioners, lotions, salves etc., but there doesn't seem to be much out there for soap.

What the Suds!? Cetyl Alcohol in Soap | A Quick Guide to Cetyl Alcohol & Liquid Oil Ratios - Humblebee & Me | Jojoba vs Cetyl Alcohol in a CP soap

It seems consensus-ish that it chiefly modifies lather, at a few % TOW it makes it more creamy and longer lasting. Similar to stearic acid, just that it doesn't interfere with lye balance and isn't susceptible to water hardness.

View attachment 60171
Melted into M&P base at 8% TOW (right, the left one is pure M&P as comparison), naïve me hoped for some increase in opacity. Well, the cetyl alcohol seemed to remember its close relation to saturated FAs and/or the poly-alcohol solvents, so if at all, transparency increased, if only ever so slightly. The lather hasn't changed much, maybe it was a bit creamer and thicker, but it didn't make much of a difference – not too surprising with that high PKO and stearic acid already.

View attachment 60172
Added to liquid soap (my garden-inspired LS, heated to 60°C and let cool for two days) at 2% TOW (0.3% absolute). Again, the left test tube holds a control sample, and right is the one with added cetyl alcohol. On the first and second glance, no difference. It might be suggested or pure coincidence, but the stearic/elaidic “snowflakes” appear a bit larger and more irregular than the ones with, that are small and more finely dispersed. But not a particularly impressive effect, given that the cetyl alcohol is water-insoluble by itself.
Again, no impressive impact on lather either. The suds appear a bit whiter than the quite glassy, translucent castile-ish foam of the base soap, but nothing noteworthy or worth an extra preparation step.


Hence, so far, I have no convincing soapy use case for cetyl alcohol. But then, I haven't tried to add it to proper CP/HP soap yet.
You know (or finally want to know about) a soap recipe that can make good use of cetyl alcohol? Give it to me!


I use cetyl alcohol in my hair conditioner bars, it makes a wonderful long lasting bar.
 

veron

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I have been using cetyl alcohol in my CP soaps.

I have noticed that it makes the mixture more plastic when it hardens. It must be added together with the oils and not the trace point. I have added it at the trace point, but it clumps together, perhaps being careful with the temperature and more experience ... If someone has experience of the difference between adding it before and after ...

It has served me well to increase the hardness of the soap and intensified the natural color of the mixture.

As for the foam, so far I have noticed that it stabilizes it. In my previous soaps it had a low amount of sodium laurate, so the lather was very creamy, now it is a bit more voluminous with cetyl alcohol.

As for the dirability, I dare say that this depends more on the fatty acid composition of the soap than on the use of cetyl alcohol. If a soap doesn't have enough sodium stearate or sodium palmate, the soap won't last long in the shower.
 

Candybee

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It's an important component for solid hair conditioner bars. Works as a thickener and hardener but also helps with texture (feel) of the bar and stability of the formulation.

Also, just a heads up, unless you have something specific in mind to use it in, save it. I read on ITDF that there is currently a shortage which may last well into 2022.
 

veron

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Most surfactants in shampoo have low water solubility. When I started using cetyl alcohol I started looking for formulas and found almost none that used cetyl alcohol.

It may work to stabilize the lather and to some extent increase it, but does anyone have experience of the effect it has on the durability of soap in the shower?

Now I am just using my non-cetyl alcohol controls and they seem to last longer. Perhaps that is why it is an ingredient that is rarely found in cold process soap.
 

Kiti Williams

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It's an important component for solid hair conditioner bars. Works as a thickener and hardener but also helps with texture (feel) of the bar and stability of the formulation.

Also, just a heads up, unless you have something specific in mind to use it in, save it. I read on ITDF that there is currently a shortage which may last well into 2022.


Good thing I bought 2 pounds of it last year!
 

veron

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Most surfactants in shampoo have low water solubility. When I started using cetyl alcohol I started looking for formulas and found almost none that used cetyl alcohol.

It may work to stabilize the lather and to some extent increase it, but does anyone have experience of the effect it has on the durability of soap in the shower?

Now I am just using my non-cetyl alcohol controls and they seem to last longer. Perhaps that is why it is an ingredient that is rarely found in cold process soap.
Sorry, I tried the control and it lasts in the shower the same, I will continue using cetyl alcohol for my part.
 
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