Why can’t organic skin care be alcohol-free?

alcohol in skincare products

I have a major gripe!  Over the weekend, I was looking to get a milk cleanser and checked those new organic brands at Watsons.  All of them contain alcohol and some had the ingredient listed second on the list!  This really bothers me and it doesn’t matter if they use plant-based alcohol or that the ingredient is certified as organic.  Why can’t organic and natural skin care products be alcohol-free?

Mild alcohol may not be so mild
Alcohol is used in skin care products most often to act as a delivery vehicle or carrier and aid in better penetration.  I am aware that plant derived alcohol is unlike alcohol denat or ethyl alcohol derived from petroleum and are often said to be milder.  Examples include cetyl, stearyl and benzyl alcohol as well as phenoxyethanol.  However, based on my experience, most products containing even these mild alcohols can be drying to the skin and this is why I’ve increasingly become less tolerant of such ingredients.  They are not as benign as most prefer to believe and in fact, they could be irritating to those with conditions such as rosacea. 

Not acceptable as a base ingredient
I don’t care if experts say that alcohol isn’t drying when mixed with water or other emollients.  To me, if a skin care product is said to be organic or of natural formulation, I really expect it to be alcohol-free as far as possible.  But having said that, some of the products I use now do contain some of these alcohols but they’re listed near or at the bottom.  I used to accept some of these mild alcohols in my products but I’m getting more frustrated these days when I see them listed right at the top as one of the main base ingredients or a few of them in combination in a single product.  And if the alcohol percentage is low in some of these products as claimed, then why don’t the companies just remove that ingredient entirely and make it alcohol-free? 

Alcohol-free may still contain some form of alcohol
Perhaps I’m just painting myself into a corner by avoiding such common ingredients as it doesn’t leave me with much choices.  But well, it’s my skin and I have a responsibility to feed it better don’t I?  Oh by the way, cosmetic manufacturers are permitted to claim alcohol-free on their product label as long as the product does not contain ethyl alcohol.   So don’t be surprised that the product still contains other forms of alcohol that I’ve listed above.

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  1. Raelynn says

    but cetyl alcohol is not an alcohol, isnt it? it’s not in the form of liquid that has a low boilin point like regular alcohol, and instead is more like a white wax that is used to stabilize emulsions, a fatty alcohol. that goes the same for stearyl alcohol, another fatty alcohol, where their purpose is to stabilze/secondary emulsify the formulation. that already does distinguish it from the regular “alcohol”. but low percentages of alcohol is sometimes necessary to enable essential oils to dissolve in water/hydrosols/aloe vera. and from the amount that i experimented, since you cant add too much essential oils to the product anyway or it’ll be too harsh on skins, the alcohol used for that purpose is really little. armed with the internet and wikipedia on the other forms of alcohol, i feel quite safe to say that indeed as long as it’s not etyl alcohol, i’ll accept it as an alcohol-free formulation.

    • sesame says

      Yes, you’re right that these are fatty alcohol and aren’t the same as alcohol denat or sd alcohol. They’re always said to be mild and non-drying but this is something I’m not sure about cos everytime I use a product where these are listed at the top or a few of them are included in the same product, I do find it drying.

      It’s not an issue of safety for me but more of a personal threshold that I cannot cross regarding alcohol in general – whether regular or fatty ones. I used to be more accepting until I came across products that do not use these and work well for me. But they do cost more because of the special technology/delivery system they use to make their products more effective.

      On the whole, I am not being very realistic because like you mentioned, some alcohol is sometimes necessary to stablize the formulation. But I wish it’s not too much – like 2nd on the list or a few of them used together! I suspect in some of these organic and natural formulations, they sort of over use these ingredients to compensate for the lack of parabens and other synthetic preservatives. I could be wrong.

      Anyway, I was quite annoyed at not getting my milk cleanser in the end cos both I spotted had those alcohol listed as 2nd ingredient. :(

  2. pf1123 says

    Yes, you’re right. I don’t think plant based alcohol is any different from non plant based ones.

    I tried the L’occitane Organic Olive range and I really don’t like it. Especially the facial mist! Although it is said to contain plant based alcohol, but when mist on my face, it really feels like its evaporating on my skin and making it drier! I think its 2nd on the list.

    Feels inferior to non organic facial mist like skinfood one.

    • sesame says

      Yeah, that’s my gripe. Why must the ingredient be 2nd on the list? Then some of them will tell me that the ingredient is less than a certain % but if that’s the case, why is it not at the bottom. Doesn’t give me peace of mind.

  3. says

    Oh dear! That is bad news to hear. I am not so well-informed regarding organic products. But like what you say, I too expect it to be alcohol-free.

    In fact, nowadays, non-organic brands like Clinelle are touting less poisonous ingredients as well. So organic should definitely go the more “healthy” way.

    • sesame says

      It’s more of a personal threshold. I used to be less discriminating but as I write more, I find myself discarding more of the ingredients. Not very good there cos it means I have very little choices!!! Haha…

    • sesame says

      Okay, take a look at this resource:

      In the case of Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Isostearyl Alcohol, and others, if the quantity is low, it’s not toxic nor a skin irritant. The only problem is when too much is used. So I’m much less concern if these fatty alcohols are listed at the bottom (though I wish they’re omitted totally.)

      Another one:
      http://www.ikigai.com.au/ingredient/benzyl+alcohol.html states that those with certain skin conditions like rosacea should be careful with such ingredients. So it depends on your skin condition too.

  4. heather says

    i’m using sukin and renew cleansers. not sure whether they contain alcohol though :/ but its difficult to find products that do not contain alcohol. even lots of organic products contained it. and then even if you find something that is alcohol-free, it will probably contain some nasty chemical or preservative :/

    • sesame says

      Yes, that’s why I say I’m painting myself into a corner. Maybe an expensive corner too! Most products like Raelynn highlighted, would use some form of fatty alcohols to stablize the formulation. It’s not all bad really…as long as they’re in low %. I cannot remember Sukin’s ingredients – I think some of their products do use some of the fatty alcohol but maybe not across for all.

  5. Mon says

    Hi sesame,
    I’ve been using this organic brand for a few months now and it’s called dr. alkaitis. He has alcohol formulation in some of his products but I find it not drying at all, instead i find it really hydrating!

    Here’s what he said about alcohol
    “Dr Alkaitis uses a high quality and skin-sensitive, certified organic witch hazel as well as certified organic grape alcohol. The difference between commercial denatured alcohol and organic grape alcohol is that denatured alcohol is very inexpensive. They only use organic grape that is high quality, expensive and ‘drinkable’.

    There are two roles of alcohol in their formulas: 1. It is critical to keep certain components of herbal extracts in the solution, thereby acting as a preservative; 2. Witch hazel and/or organic alcohol will accelerate the absorption of materials by the skin. Non-organic, denatured or 100% (undiluted) alcohol will indeed dry your skin.

    When used in specified formulas and quantities, such as in the Organic Replenishing Serum and Organic Soothing Gel, witch hazel and certified organic alcohol facilitate the therapeutic properties of these ingredients. In fact, they act as a hydrating tonic for oily skin. ”

    Maybe not all alcohol is bad??

    • sesame says

      Hi Mon: Yes, you’re right that not all alcohol are bad but most pple are told that the plant-based or derived ones are mild and non-irritating when it isn’t always the case. I think it all depends on the formulation.

      Perhaps I’m being difficult (hehe) but if you find that the product works for you, then it’s great. I think I’m just spoilt by products that uses technology or their unique delivery system to accelerate the delivery of ingredients into the skin and I’m nitpicking here. But realistically, there may need to be some level of compromise. I still use products with fatty / plant derived alcohols as long as it’s just one of them and they’re listed at/near the bottom. Those listed right on top are not acceptable to me anymore.

  6. says

    I agree, like a certain brand which claims its products are organic & alcohol-free. Then it was discovered that its tone contains a high amount of alcohol by accident.

    I do understand that little amount of alcohol & paraben are needed to prolong products’ shelf life, but at least use a disclaimer.

    • sesame says

      Now you got me curious which brand this is… I do have this problem of buying products without reading all the ingredients thoroughly and then discovering something I don’t like later. The list is usually in fine print and sometimes, I don’t even know the ingredients due to the names…

  7. Serene says

    I was looking to get a milk cleanser couple of days ago and found the one from L’Occitane its the Ultra Comforting Cleasning Milk, its sans alcohol according to the packaging. You might like to try that (:

    Anyway, very interesting article about the alcohol content in skincare products. I’m quite anal about that too cos most skincare products with alcohol causes my skin to peel.

  8. eliza says

    yea for me alcohol on top of the list is a big no no. if its at the bottom then probably ok? being organic the product can’t last long and would have to rely on alcohol to make it last longer

    • sesame says

      It depends…there are organic/natural products that do not rely on any form of alcohol as preservative. Those I currently use doesn’t.

  9. raelynn says

    in this case.. indeed there’s somthing wrong, why must it be such a major ingredient that it’s on the second item. i’m with you on this, a milk cleanser definately shouldnt have so much alcohol, especially when milk cleansers are frequently used on dry/dehydrated skins.

    i do think that the excessive use of alcohol is used sometimes because the side effect is rather universal, ie drying. unlike using other preservatives where research might just suddenly suggest that it causes way too much harm than the good it does.

    i recall that a certain region (not sure if i was dreaming), they insist that companies are not to put on the shelves for public sale products that do not contain preservatives of any form, this includes organic products. not sure if it’s true though.

    • sesame says

      No, you were not dreaming…I remember reading that too. If I recall correctly, might be in US that the FDA disallow companies to sell products without any preservatives.

      I think over the years, some of my perspectives about these ingredients have changed with the changes in my skin. I remember writing something good about these fatty alcohols but now, I have 2nd thoughts using them cos my skin is getting drier and also more sensitive.

  10. says

    Organic farming methods offer several benefits for the environment and human health as a whole, but unfortunately, there are many misconceptions and falsehoods being spread regarding organic food and farming methods, both by proponents and detractors. Here are the facts about what organic methods can do for us and what they can’t.


  11. says

    Thanks for posting this article. I’ve always asked myself the same question. I have both oily and very dry skin and I end up just washing with warm water.

    • sesame says

      Your skin sounds like mind…mine is combination and yet the cheeks can feel dry if the wrong product is used.

  12. says

    I think you are not giving enough credit to the details!

    1. Natural alcohol that is not denatured (ie. not processed) with synthetic chemicals are considered drinkable and there is no risk of contamination with synthetic chemicals. A lot of companies may avoid using drinkable (natural) alcohol because of taxes issues. A lot of skin reactions related to alcohol are possibly due to denatured alcohols having synthetic chemical agents that causes reactions. In organic skincare, if alcohol needs to be denatured, it would be done with essential oils and still be considered safe (to consume if one chooses).
    2. Alcohol is one of the mildest preservative there are. It is also one of the best extracting agents for plants and herbs. While pure alcohol or extrement high amounts (>20%) could be drying skin, one should consider the individual formulation of the product. Careful formulation including limiting the quantity used and thoughtfully selecting accompanying ingredients plays a big part.
    3. There are some alcohols which are not alcohols. Fatty alcohols eg. lauric acid are derived from coconut fat put under high pressure. The result is a waxy substance that is not like any alcohol we commonly known. It does not have the same qualities as pure alcohol.

    I would agree with you that a milk cleanser should probably not have alcohol as the main ingredient – does not make sense! However, it’s quite a broad stroke to say all products that has alcohol is bad! I have sensitive skin myself and find that organic products using alcohol as preservative is actually less irritating that those using essential oils. And I have not found those products to be drying at all. At the end of the day, I really do think that the formulation makes all the difference between a good product and otherwise!

    • sesame says

      Yes, you’re right that I’m being too lopsided in my post here because of my personal preference. But I wasn’t saying that all products with alcohol are bad. Just that if the product is organic/natural, then alcohol shouldn’t be expected – at least in my perception. And I don’t agree on the mild bit though…even if used in certain limited quantities in products, there’s the cumulative effect over long term usage.

      I used to think better of fatty alcohols too. But now, while I don’t think badly of them, I try to avoid them if they’re listed up on the ingredient list. I still find formulations with too much of these drying for my skin despite their said benefits. There are other choices of ingredients which can act as emollients. Also, fatty alcohols like propylene glycol are said to be irritating and drying too…so it depends.

      I will say I understand why some of these alcohols are required. I prefer not to see them in my natural/organic products though. But if they’re listed nearer or at the bottom, I’m likely use them if I really like the product.

  13. says

    The inclusion of plain alcohol in the product pictured is surprising but fatty alcohols are different in nature. They are not only emollients that seal in moisture, they also improve the viscosity and stability of beauty products.

    It’s odd that the milk cleanser you saw had alcohol in it though!

    • sesame says

      Well, this is something, I’m debating. While fatty alcohols do have obvious benefits and are unlike regular alcohol but I suspect that when they’re listed high up the ingredient list, it can be a problem. The only discussion I found closest to what I’m driving at is found here:


      “If humectants can attract moisture from the air, can they also pull it out of your hair or skin” – but it of course depends on the product formulation and may not always be the case. My experience is products listing Cetyl Alcohol (both a humectant and emulisifer) high up on the list can be drying for my skin.

  14. says

    Cetyl alcohol is not a humectant.

    As a fatty alcohol, its emollient nature actually helps to seal in the moisture that humectants draw out from the skin. Without an emollient, a humectant may dry out the skin as the moisture evaporates. Low-grade serums can do this, when they are not paired with a moisturiser after application.

    • sesame says

      It’s not? It’s widely known as an emulsifer but isn’t it also a gentle humectant and even lather booster?

      Anyway, my views about fatty alcohols are pretty obscure and I really do not expect most pple to concur.

  15. says

    😉 I’m currently writing a post about humectants (was talking to my friend about them two days ago).

    By the way, I love your watermarks. Mine look so unrefined compared to yours, heh.

    • sesame says

      Oh great! I’ll get over to read up. Anyway, I read your blog regularly. 😉

      The watermarks? Er…didn’t think of it being refined. I use picnik to edit sizes and so forth and there are options to fade the text.

  16. says

    hi! just started reading this blog…what about sugar cane alcohol? i’m not sure if you’re familiar with it, but here in the Philippines, people ferment sugar cane to make an alcoholic drink called “tuba”. now that the Philippines is getting on the organic hype, manufacturers are using “tuba” or sugar cane alcohol as replacement for alcohol and claims it to be non-drying. let me give you the website leyende.com as a reference.they use sugarcane alcohol for their hand sanitizer.

    • sesame says

      What a coincidence because I was discussing with someone who is adept at DIY skincare formulation about this and she mentioned sugar cane alcohol. According to her, it’s milder but she’s also uncomfortable when too much is used. So I think it’s fine if it’s not listed right at the top of the ingredient list.

  17. Miss Vinny says

    Whoa, what a discussion. Didn’t know that alcohol can be very drying: maybe that explains why all those non-organic products completely irritated and reddened my skin. Or maybe I forgot it can be drying, who knows?

    Thankfully, Skin Blossom’s cleansing milk isn’t drying for my skin at all. Though yeah, it contains alcohol which is at the top of the list. Weird… guess it works very well? Because I never get any burning or stinging sensations that leave my skin flaking or bleeding or leave me tearing. Yeah… that’s what all those products with non-gentle alcohol do for me.

    • sesame says

      Many formulations containing alcohol may not feel drying initially but sometimes, could cause dryness overtime. It also depends on the type of alcohol used. If plant-based, they’re milder and may not be so dry for certain skin type. Anyway, I spoke to someone who is a beauty expert and did Cosmetology and she also confirmed that fatty alcohols can be drying if too much is used in the formulation.

      Personally, my skin is strange – dry on the outside, oily on the insider – so I need to be more careful with such ingredients.

  18. tinywingz says

    I think it’s quite impossible for LIQUID organic products not to have any alcohol and at the same time maintain shelf life. Commercial products require all the those chemical preservatives to keep the product from spoiling. Organic products can probably only rely on alcohol and antioxidants like vitamin E to stay fresh. Vitamin E in large amount will make the product very oily though.

    The only way for organic products to stay fresh without alcohol is for it to be in solid form, like bar soaps. Once water enters the picture, it is very hard for the product to have a shelf life of longer than a month, or even shorter.

    • sesame says

      I have used a number of products that do not use alcohol at all. My sunscreen does not contain any alcohol. The ones that contain alcohol essentially use the large amount to hold their products together. They don’t really need so much for preservative.

  19. Nitasha Buldeo says

    Great blog,and a great topic. Alcohol even organic grain and fruit alcohols are dehydrating to the skin. That’s the reason why all Organic Apoteke products are totally alcohol free. We don’t even use ceteryl alcohols or other fatty alcohols, just certified organic plant oils and extracts. Companies that say it can’t be done – are just making excuses. Consumers need to demand higher standards for cosmetics and better labelling guidelines as well. I shall be happy to answer any questions on the subject of alcohol in skincare..

    • sesame says

      Hi Dr Buldeo! I’m honored to have your comments here! :) And I’m happy that you share the same view about gran and fruit alcohols. I have a hard time explaining my rationale because some some think that as long as the source is natural, it is good and not harmful.

      I agree about the excuse part because I’ve seen products like yours and a few others formulated without alcohol and delivering excellent results!

  20. says

    Hi Sesame
    This is a great blog. I love the topics that you cover. This one is close to my heart. Inspired by your article I decided to write one up for the Organic Apoteke blog. http://www.organicapoteke.com/blog/2009/11/organic-skincare-can-be-alcohol-free/
    I have linked your article. I am in the midst of writing another focusing on what alcohol does to the skin. Will let you know when its posted.

  21. Ranjitt says

    Hi guys

    I live in the UK and I have been searching for alcohol free skin care for a long time and I’ve finally found a few brands that are 100% natural, contain no alcohol and over 90% organic ingredients as well.
    The brands are
    Spiezia organics 100% organic.
    Inlight skin care 100% organic.
    Dr Alkaitis products, the toner and gel do contain alcohol but the rest of range doesn’t.
    Saaf skin care.
    And my personal favourite Live Native raw skin foods. My mom uses it and I pinch some whenever I can! every product is raw blended and over 90% organic and they don’t contain water. The essential woman moisturiser is best!

    Google them!



    • sesame says

      Oh great! Thanks for highlighting the brands that are alcohol free. Apart from Dr Alkaitis, I haven’t come across the rest. Will check them out.

    • sesame says

      It’s still alcohol and does have drying effect. But it depends on the formulation…they may have other emollients in there to counteract the alcohol. I think it’s listed high to help the ingredients penetrate the skin and also to stabilize the formulation.

  22. Michelle says

    If you are looking for a good cleanser, have you considered the difference between PH Correct vs. PH Balanced? It feels like you are putting lotion on your face!

    I found a cleanser that is 100% all-natural that includes ingredients such as algae extract (supports collagen), Sea Buckthorn Oil (rich in beta carotene) and Stabilized Vitamin C. And…it’s PH Correct with NO alcohol.

    If you email me, I will be happy to email you a document of all the ingredients which are all-natural. And the cost is pretty reasonable considering what is in it.

  23. Ashley says

    Plain and simple, alcohol is used to keep your organic bodycare product from going bad. No that’s not an excuse, I’ve had sensitive skin my whole life, thus inspiring me to create my own organic bodycare line and I have to say, I’ve read for years about every single option for preservatives and THEE most natural is organic alcohol. If there is water in your product, then it MUST have a preservative or it WILL go bad within a week.
    The next option is “potassium sorbate”. Which I’ve noticed Organic Apoteke incorporates in their products as a preservative. Which CAN be derived from natural sources but in most cases, it is not. There are endless warnings out there about potassium sorbate. Just google and you’ll be sure to find information. Several people have adverse reactions to it that can be fatal. And anything that can POSSIBLY be threatening, I will not use. That’s just how I am. To me the possibility of getting dry skin, is better than developing cancer.

    I’ve been trying for years to find an option to alcohol or potassium sorbate, but EVERY single preservative out there is dangerous. Why? Because to preserve water it has to be strong, and able to kill bacteria and mold.. And anything that has the ability to do that can also do a load of damage to you.

    Also, just because alcohol is listed second on an ingredient list does NOT mean there’s a large amount in the product, for some of my products I use 15%, which is NOT drying to the skin. But necessary to keep the water in the product preserved. Tried and true on my insanely sensitive skin. But even at 15% it can occur second on the ingredients list, it’s just how it works. It’s because the other ingredients in the product are all needed to be distributed in much smaller amounts. If there are lots of ingredients listed on a product, and alcohol is at the top, that does NOT automatically mean there is a large amount of alcohol in the product. Organic companies use JUST the necessary amount of organic alcohol needed to preserve their water portion in their recipe. They wouldn’t use more than necessary, that would be pointless and unnecessarily costly.
    The only way to avoid alcohol..or in other choices, a dangerous preservative… is to NOT include water in your products. Water is so darn hard to keep bacteria and mold from growing in, but it is a source of life.. makes sense. But that is impossible with lotion, because lotion is by definition an emulsion of water, oil, and an emulsifier to bind the two together.
    The other option to buying a lotion would be to buy a solid lotion bar, or a body butter without water, but those can be very greasy. Water is what cuts away the greasiness of oil and butters.
    So, in conclusion, if you find a product that does NOT use organic alcohol as a preservative, it either:
    A. Does not contain water, and there for doesn’t require the use of a preservative.
    B. Contains another form of preservative, and there are associated health risks of EVERY OTHER SINGLE preservative option besides organic alcohol out there. THAT IS WHY every top organic company uses alcohol to preserve their products, they are choosing the safest choice of preservative. Like Dr. Bronners for example. Or Nourish, the first USDA certified lotion in the states. They know what they’re doing. Now I will assure you there will be MANY that will tell you there are safe preservative options besides organic alcohol, but I, through extensive research over the years, will not use anything in my products or on my body that has an possible health concerns. And that omits any preservative for water besides organic alcohol. (I’ll mention that vitamin E, grapefruit seed extract, and rosemary extract are meant for preserving OILS, they don’t work for preserving water.)
    The biggest possibility of alcohol harming your body, (IF used in too large of a quantity,) would be dry skin. Every other preservative option has INSANELY worse possibilities, and all, I believe, contribute to mutations of some sort, which means, cancer. Like I said, my opinion, you’ll have many tell you differently, but all of the top caring organic companies would agree with me.
    So, that’s my beliefs. Thought I’d share them with you. I’m very passionate about this stuff as you can tell. It’s been a huge part of my life for at least 10 years. So this is definitely coming from someone who cares, and someone born with very sensitive skin and due to that has exhaustively tried and tested it all, and confidently come to my firm opinions.

  24. Paulo says

    I speak here as a organic cosmetic producer:

    1) Alcohol is used as preservative, 7% is necessary to make bacteria not grow, 15% is necessary so that molds do not grow. Synthetic non-organic alcohol is drying yes. Organic distilled alcohol is less drying.
    2) Potassium sorbate, another preservative, creates allergies, it is synthetically made (no one extracts it from the sorbus berries nowadays which is a pity). Other preservatives are even more chemical and toxic.
    3) Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) at 3%, if certified organic (only glycerin used in extraction), is a weak preservative. Molds can grow, shelf-life is short. Its good but not enough to garantee safety.
    4) Certain essential oils and extracts (thyme, oregano…) also preserve your product but are not 100% effective against bacteria and molds. And some people are allergic to essential oils (likewise for the alcohol).
    5) Lactoperoxidase and glucose oxidase could be two other “natural” options, but I dont know how effective these are, and how safe.

    This is why many organic brands use alcohol. However it might be possible (although risky) to use other options above, to preserve your product.

    • Paulo says

      Cetyl alcohol (likewise to stearic acid), is more like a wax. It is synthetic, but from natural origin. It is quite safe in skin but not organic. Producers use it to thicken their creams, otherwise they would be liquid.

      1) Beeswax is an alternative but makes your skin waxy after application. Some people would not like that. Cetyl alcohol makes your skin soft.
      2) Gums, clays and starches are also possible to thicken your cream and can be organic (except clays) but the texture is not as great as creams made with cetyl alcohol. Good for hardcore organics, but most consumers would not like such a gummy texture.

      So far I havent found any replacement to cetyl alcohol, this is why organic brands use it.

      • sesame says

        Hi Paulo: thank you so much for your valuable inputs! I appreciate them. :) It’s good to know these inside info cos some of the suppliers I speak to won’t reveal this info.

        I didn’t know organic distilled alcohol is less drying…very interesting. But compared to alcohol (whether organic or otherwise), would potassium sorbate be less drying?

  25. Ariadna says

    Hi, it happens exactly the same to me and I haven’t been able to find any kind of organic/natural/ moisturer, cleanising soap or mask without alcohol. Which products do you recomment?

    • sesame says

      Marie Veronique Organic’s products are made without alcohol. Perhaps you can check them out. http://www.mvorganics.com/

      • Sisi says

        Hi Sesame,
        Thank you for the great info! I have to say that MV organics uses plant/flowers and other extracts, that are made with grain/cane alcohol, plus some extracts like resveratrol (the major anti-oxidant ) is soluble in alcohol only, and such extracts are usually used 0.5% in the formula, therefore the products are potent. Some companies using Glycerin or rice solution based extract which make the final product/s very sticky.

  26. Andrea says

    And if you look at all conditioners they have those fatty alcohols, cetyl, etc. as they’re 1st and 2nd ingredient. don’t think there’s any way around it with conditioners and supposedly we use those to moisturize/soften the hair. so I don’t think those should be drying. Who knows what the right answer is.

  27. says

    Hey, great blog btw, I’m pretty new to green blogging so I am just now beginning to familiarize myself with the do’s and don’t’s of beauty product ingredients so I have a question about benzyl alcohol. I’ve read on EWG that it is an irritant and that it is a neurotoxin and I’ve been seeing this ingredient in some products like recently Pacifica’s body butters where the benzyl alcohol in it rated a 6 and along with that factor and the fact that the owner stated the products weren’t 100% natural I decided to give them the boot. Are you fond of the Pacifica products? I see many of our fellow green bloggers are so I was wondering if I am I being a bit too harsh if the ingredient is listed more towards the bottom which means its probably not so big of a dose? What if it is plant derived like some other brands note on their packaging? Like you I’d much rather not even have to ponder these things so they should just leave it out like you said. Geesh!
    Audreiana last post is: My Budget Friendly All Natural Product Wishlist Part 1

    • Sesame says

      I haven’t heard of that brand actually. I think Benzyl Alcohol isn’t all that great but if it’s listed at the bottom of the ingredient list, it should not be too bad. It really depends on your personal threshold. I wouldn’t mind it in a body product but with skincare, if I can avoid, I would. But just that sometimes, it can be a bit hard.

  28. Michelle says

    Ok, please disregard my last comment in another post which asked for your thoughts on alcohol in products. Found this post which answers it. :) The question actually started as I’m considering trying a product for the scalp (applied directly in liquid form) which has 60% alcohol v/v. Seems pretty harsh to me??

    • Sesame says

      It can be drying to your scalp and hair over time. However, on the other hand, alcohol is supposed to aid in hair growth.


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