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What you need to know about alcohol in cosmetics

Ever wonder why is alcohol used in cosmetics? We have all the answers!

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Alcool, Ethanol, Ethyl Alcohol… What is it all about? 

Alcohol is an ingredient that you often see in cosmetics, and you're probably wondering where it comes from. Well, hold on to your hats because the alcohol in Yves Rocher products is produced exclusively by fermentation and distillation of beets!

In your beauty products, it's called ethanol or ethyl alcohol (labeled as “alcohol”) and we use it for a variety of reasons!

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Why is it used in cosmetics?

Alcohol is considered to be "volatile", which means that it quickly evaporates after you apply it, and it makes the formulas work better because it "carries" the active ingredients. That is also why you get that great refreshing feeling (that we love!) when you put on deodorant.

You may already know that water is one of the most commonly used solvent is cosmetics, but it’s not the only one! Alcohol can extract or dissolve certain substances. For example, it's used in perfumes.

Alcohol has the property of  "de-lipidation" which is great for oily skin because it eliminates the excess sebum that collects on the skin’s surface.

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Don't to confuse with fatty alcohols

Perhaps you’ve read names like behenyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol or benzyl alcohol on the back of your products and thought it was the same as ethanol. But think again! These are in fact close cousins called “fatty alcohols”! They are nothing like ethyl alcohol – totally different in appearance and properties. These non-toxic and non-irritant ingredients are beneficial for skincare and haircare. What's their super powers? They're film-forming, emollient, moisturizing, softening and protective.

Why do they have a bad reputation?

Depending on the type of skin, sometimes alcohol works “too well”! For example, its “degreasing” action can dry out or irritate sensitive or dry skin. Rest assured, it's not a instant irritant but it can become a nuisance for some skin types.

But don’t worry, the unwanted side effects can vary by the volume of alcohol and whether the formula contains calming or moisturizing agents (which can also partly or fully balance it out). It's all a matter of dosing and knowing how to formulate a product!

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How does Yves Rocher use it in its products?

How does it work at Yves Rocher? We keep it very simple at Yves Rocher. To ensure perfect tolerance of our products, we don’t use any alcohol (or ethanol) in our formulas for sensitive skin and dry skin to avoid any risks of irritation! 

Now that you know everything about how alcohol works in cosmetics, is it something you consider when choosing a product? Let us know in the comments!

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