Friday, August 20, 2010

Esters: Cetyl esters

Cetyl esters are an interesting ingredient indeed! Composed of a number of esters of saturated fatty alcohols and saturated fatty acids, they can contain a number of different esters in one product, including cetyl stearate, cetyl myristate, cetyl palmitate, myristyl myristate, and myristyl stearate. They are derived from vegetables, and you know you have cetyl esters when you see the cetyl esters NF INCI name. Cetyl esters can be used anywhere you might use cetyl alcohol, although they will offer different qualities from the fatty alcohol.

Cetyl esters have an HLB of 10 - whereas cetyl alcohol has an HLB of 15.5 - and they can take up to 2 days to full thicken your lotion or cream. They're often called a replacement for spermacetti or "synthetic spermacetti", but this is kinda irrelevant to us because spermacetti hasn't been used in years, especially by homecrafters! It has a faint odour and bland taste, and is incredibly resistant to rancidity with a shelf life of almost 5 years. Like all the esters we've met so far, they're insoluble in water but soluble in oils. Interestingly enough, cetyl esters are soluble in boiling alcohol, so they might be a suitable ingredient in alcohol based deodorants. They have a melting point of 43˚C to 47˚C. They may or may not be incompatible with strong acids or bases (I found contradictions in this piece of information) and the suggested usage is a 1% to 7% in your oil phase.

You might find cetyl esters under the trade names Crodamol SS, Ritaceti, and Liponate SPS.

Cetyl esters are used a lot in formulating anti-perspirant and lip balms commercially because of that bland taste and anti-tack properties. They can be used in place of cetyl alcohol in conditioners - they offer slightly less conditioning but they will make the conditioners thinner, which is kind of a bonus if you're using 7% BTMS-50!

Using cetyl esters in a lotion or cream in the place of cetyl alcohol will give you a glidier, silkier feeling and a thinner product.

An important note: In products where I've combined cetearyl ethylhexanoate and cetyl esters, I got a weird synthetic smell from vanilla based fragrances. I have tested both the cetearyl ethylhexanoate and the cetyl esters and have come to the conclusion that it's the cetyl esters. (I don't know why this is!) So please use caution when using these esters with anything that contains vanilla!

Join me tomorrow for formulating fun with cetyl esters!


TheSoapGallery said...

was wondering if you had any ideas for a deodorant? :)

David said...

Thanks for answering my request and delving into Cetyl Esters!

Mich said...

Okay, I want very badly to make a joke about "bland taste" and "spermacetti".

But I'm trying to be very polite and not reduce myself to that knee-jerk crass humor...

Thank goodness for the faint odor!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info.

Susie said...

Hi Susan,
Firstly thank you so much for your Blog, the time and effort that you put into it is really amazing and very much appreciated.
Next I have a question: Does Cetyl alcohol also cause the synthetic smell with Vanilla based fragrances? If so what can I substitute for Cetyl alcohol in my body butter? Do you need the emulsifier ingredients?

Jo Somebody said...

LOL @Mich

Punta Coco Soaps said...

Does anyone have any experience with Jeequat NDCS. I just started formulating with this? I need to be able to make conditioner as well as lotion.

Camirra Williamson said...

OMG I love cetyl esters in my leave in at 2%. it gives the boost to the btms and other cationic ingredients with out the heaviness. I have african hair so it isnt too heavy, but it has a powdery feel that I love. I feel like my leave in feels so professional