Cetostearyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol or cetylstearyl alcohol is a mixture of fatty alcohols, consisting predominantly of cetyl (16 C) and stearyl alcohols (18 C) and is classified as a fatty alcohol. It is used as an emulsion stabilizer, opacifying agent, and foam boosting surfactant, as well as an aqueous and nonaqueous viscosity-increasing agent. It imparts an emollient feel to the skin and can be used in water-in-oil emulsions, oil-in-water emulsions, and anhydrous formulations. It is commonly used in hair conditioners and other hair products.
Avg. Molecular Weight, g/mol 256
Total Alcohol, wt. % 96.8 min.
Homolog Distribution, wt. %
Water, wt. % 0.1 max.
Hydroxyl Number, mg KOH/g 210 – 223
Carbonyl, ppm 180 max.
Iodine Number, mg I2/100 mg 1.5 max.
Saponification Number 1 max.
Color, APHA 40 max.
Density, g/mL @ 70°C / 158°F 0.805
Flash Point, °C (°F) 162 (325)
Melting Range, °C (°F) 43 – 49 (110 – 120)
Boiling Range, °C (°F) 331 – 350 (628 – 662)
Viscosity, cSt @ 70°C / 158°F 7.8 – 8.5
Appearance, room temperature white solid
Vapor Pressure, mmHg @ 20°C 0.01 max.
Vapor Density, air=1 7.4