Cetyl vs Cetearyl Alcohol in Formulation

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Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2013
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I would like to make a foray in crafting my own lotion/cream and have done some research to this end. For my first recipe, I wanted to attempt the body butter recipe provided on Swifty Crafty Monkey's blog. To this end, I added some emulsifiers and preservative into my shopping cart with my last Bramble Berry order. However, Bramble Berry carries cetaryl alcohol rather than cetyl. I understand that they are not the same thing, but serve similar functions in a formula.

My information (https://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-body-tutorials/lotion/how-to-create-homemade-lotion-recipes/) is that cetyl may be used at 3-5% of the total recipe weight while cetaryl can be used at anywhere from 2-30%. The recipe on Swifty Crafty Monkey (http://swiftcraftymonkey.blogspot.com/2009/04/lotions-body-butter-creams.html) specifies 3% of cetyl alcohol.

In the interest of not forcing you to click over to Susan's blog, the recipe is:

60% water
2% sodium lactate or glycerin

10% oils (4% light, 4% medium, 2% heavy, or just 10% of the oil of your choice)
15% shea butter (or butter of choice)
6% emulsifier*
3% cetyl alcohol

0.5 to 1% preservative
1% fragrance or essential oil blend

Is it possible and/or advisable to substitute cetearyl for cetyl alcohol?

If so, is there a recommended ratio at which to do so...meaning can I simply swap out one for the other at a 1:1 ratio in the recipe?

As mentioned, I have not made multi-phase formulas with water and emulsifiers before. I can certainly follow instructions but was unaware of how persnickety (or not) the recipes can be. It was not my intention to deviate from the directions, but I think we ALL hate to pay additional shipping fees. If I really need to stick with cetyl alcohol, I can certainly suck it up and place an order for it elsewhere
...which will force me to load up my cart to justify the shipping
...and send me another $100 or so down the supply wormhole that I am oh so familiar with :crazy:

My version of DIY is not so cost-effective:rolleyes:
Here is what Susan says about it. I think your answer is yes. Tho it might change the way your lotion feels. It will probably thicken more as it is cetyl and stearyl alcohols.


"So why use it instead of cetyl alcohol? I'm not completely sure, to be honest. It is supposed to be more emollient than cetyl alcohol, so that's a bonus, and it definitely feels more occlusive to me than cetyl alcohol alone."
I haven't made the substitution myself yet, but I'm about to. My plan (after about 10 minutes of sleepy googling the other day) was to do a 1:1 substitution using cetyl alcohol instead of cetearyl. I'm in the same boat as you... there's a recipe I want to try, but I do not want to talk myself into buying anything else.