Although fatty alcohols might be a useful addition to skincare products, for some skin types they’re not well-tolerated.

Some people experience irritations, allergic reactions, and other discomforts due to fatty alcohol in their products.

At the same time, the compounds are commonly used in skincare products like moisturizers.

So how can you avoid them if your skin doesn’t react well to fatty alcohol?

I’m here to assist with a list of moisturizers without fatty alcohol.

Benton Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel

Benton - fatty alcohol free moisturizer oily skin

The Benton Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel is the first fatty alcohol-free moisturizer that I’d like to introduce to you. Infused with aloe vera leaf juice, propolis extract, and grapefruit extract, it’s a moisturizing cocktail of botanical ingredients.

It hydrates and soothes irritated skin, but at the same time, it tackles oxidative stress and protects the skin barrier.

It’s my favorite for oily, acne-prone skin because it is extremely light, yet hydrating enough, it’s healing and helps my skin recover faster after a burst of acne.

The moisturizer absorbs easily by the skin and hydrates your skin for the entire day. It’s vegan and suitable for all skin types, especially for acne-prone skin as it doesn’t contain any fragrance, essential oils, or colors, which could cause irritation. It’s oil-free too!

Ingredient list:
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water, Butylene Glycol, Aqua (Water), Pentylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Glycerin, Propolis Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Betaine, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Allantoin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Zanthoxylum Piperitum Fruit Extract, Pulsatilla Koreana Extract, Usnea Barbata (Lichen) Extract, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Arginine

Price and quantity:
The gel comes in a bottle of 100ml/3.38oz and sells for around USD $16, which is pretty affordable when compared to other alternatives. A tube of it can last you for 1-3 months, depending on how often you use it.

Benton Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel is Available on Amazon, YesStyle and Stylevana.

Sebamed Clear Face Care Gel

Sebamed moisturizer without cetyl alcohol

Designed for skin prone to acne breakouts, this moisturizer without cetyl alcohol can help you prevent pimples, blemishes, and blackheads.

It’s enriched with valuable ingredients, like hyaluronic acid (locks in moisture) and natural aloe barbadensis leaf extract (hydrates and calms irritated skin). It also has panthenol and allantoin, which make the skin supple and soft.

The moisturizer helps to balance out the skin’s pH level and protects against harmful bacteria that could lead to acne. It strengthens and supports the natural skin barrier.

Ingredient list:
Water (Aqua), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Sorbitol, Panthenol (Vitamin B5), Sodium Hyaluronate, Allantoin, Sodium Carbomer, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol

Price and quantity:
The Sebamed Clear Face Care Gel is sold for under USD $20 for a bottle of 50ml/1.69oz. It can last you anywhere from two weeks up to a month and a half, depending on how often you use it and how much you apply.

Sebamed Clear Face Care Gel is Available on Amazon and FeelUnique.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel

Neutrogena moisturizers without cetearyl alcohol for oily acne-prone skin

Next up on the list is Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Water Gel. A product suitable for morning and evening skincare routines, it’s one of the lotions without cetyl alcohol that I simply love, and you can rely on it for good moisture throughout the day.

Its non-comedogenic formula makes it ideal for acne-prone skin, but it’s also suitable for dry skin types, too (although I recommend the gel-cream version of it for that skin type).

The moisturizer is free from oils, and dye, and contains hyaluronic acid, which is one of the most widely used hydrating agents in the skincare world.

Using the gel, you’ll notice the skin-quenching abilities and a glowy, well-moisturized look. The product is quickly absorbed into the skin and offers longer-lasting hydration when compared to traditional moisturizers on the market.

Because of its gel texture, you can easily wear it alone or as a base for makeup.

Ingredient list:
Water, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Polyacrylamide, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Dimethiconol, C13-14 Isoparafin, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Chlorphenesin, Carbomer, Laureth-7, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Fragrance, C12-14 Pareth-12, Sodium Hydroxide, Blue 1

Price and quantity:
The product costs around $20 for 50ml/1.69 fl. oz, but you can also find it in smaller sizes of 15ml for $8.79 if you want to test it first, before investing your money. A jar lasts about a month or so if you use it twice a day.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel is Available at Amazon, FeelUnique and YesStyle.

Moisturizers Without Fatty Alcohols For Dry Skin

Next up, I’ve selected a high-quality moisturizing product that doesn’t contain fatty alcohol for dry skin.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream

Neutrogena moisturizers without fatty alcohols

This moisturizer is specifically designed for extra dry skin.

It offers long-lasting hydration and makes the skin look healthy and glowy. The product contains hyaluronic acid, which seals the skin’s moisture. I personally love the texture of this cream. It’s easily absorbed and feels light on your skin, yet has all of the capabilities of a substantial cream.

Like the first Neutrogena product I recommended in this article, this gel cream is widely recommended by dermatologists. It doesn’t contain any oils, dye, or fragrance and it’s non-comedogenic. You can use it in your morning and evening routine.

Ingredient list:
Water, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Cetearyl Olivate, Polyacrylamide, Sorbitan Olivate, Phenoxyethanol, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Synthetic Beeswax, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Dimethiconol, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Chlorphenesin, Laureth-7, Carbomer, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ethylhexylglycerin, C12-14 Pareth-12, Sodium Hydroxide

Price and quantity:
The Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream sells for around $20 and comes in a stylish jar of 50ml/1.69 fl. oz. Again, it will last you between a month and 8 weeks, depending on how often and how much you use it.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream is Available at Amazon and FeelUnique

Moisturizers Without Fatty Alcohols For Sensitive Skin

Choosing a moisturizer for sensitive skin is a challenge on its own. But when it comes to the contents of fatty alcohols, the task becomes even more difficult.

Below, you’ll find two top-rated products that can put your search to an end.

Avene Cicalfate Repair Cream

Avene face lotion without cetyl alcohol

Avene is a highly reliable choice for sensitive skin. This moisturizer in particular offers a deep level of hydration and at the same time speeds up the recovery process of the skin.

As a result, you’ll be able to enjoy an improved complexion and healthy-looking skin. The product boasts a minimalist ingredient list and relies on glycerin, which is one of the safest natural moisturizers used in skincare.

At the same time, the moisturizer is based on the signature Avene thermal spring water, which is super rich in skin-loving minerals and beneficial elements.

It’s easily absorbed, hypoallergenic, and free from parabens and fragrances.

Ingredient list:
Avene Thermal Spring Water (Avene Aqua), Caprylic/​Capric Triglyceride, Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum), Glycerin, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Zinc Oxide, Propylene Glycol, Polyglyceryl-2 Sesquiisostearate, PEG-22/​Dodecyl Glycol Copolymer, Aluminum Sucrose Octasulfate, Aluminum Stearate, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Copper Sulfate, Magnesium Stearate, Magnesium Sulphate, Microcrystalline Wax (Cera Microcristallina), Zinc Sulfate

Price and quantity:
You can find the product in tubes of 100ml/3.38 fl. oz and sells for around USD $20-$40. A tube can last you between 1-3 months of consistent use.

Avene Cicalfate Repair Cream is Available on Amazon and SkinStore.

SkinFix Triple Lipid Peptide Cream

Skinfix moisturizers without fatty alcohols

The SkinFix Triple Lipid Peptide Cream stands out with a complex formula. It boasts a diverse range of ingredients, which combined together work perfectly well to moisturize your sensitive skin and protect the skin barrier, reduce redness and calm everything down.

The moisturizer uses many nutrients that make it a top choice for a lot of skincare enthusiasts.

Some of the most notable ingredients include seaweed hyaluronate and lily root, which hydrate the skin. In addition, it’s enriched with active ingredients like Hydrating Triple-Lipid Complex – lipid fillers similar to the natural ones found in the skin that restore the levels of fatty acids and ceramide. Plus, the presence of shea butter provides extra hydration and makes the cream anti-inflammatory.

The moisturizer is completely vegan, free from gluten, fragrances, parabens, sulfates, formaldehyde, phthalates, silicone, lanolin, petrolatum, propylene glycol, PEGs, and other, considered “harmful” chemicals.

This is another widely-recommended product by dermatologists.

Ingredient list:
Water/Eau/Aqua, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Vegetable Oil, Cetyl Lactate, C12-16 Alcohols, Caprylyl Caprylate/Caprate, Propanediol, Jojoba Oil/Macadamia Seed Oil Esters, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Palmitic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Dilinoleic Acid/Propanediol Copolymer, Squalane, Ophiopogon Japonicus Root Extract, Xanthan Gum, Phytosteryl Sunflowerseedate, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Extract, Pentylene Glycol, Potassium Sorbate, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Chondrus Crispus Extract, Hydrogenated Vegetable Glycerides, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin, Citric Acid, Phytosteryl Macadamiate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Tocopherol, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Phytosterols, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Gluconolactone, Phenethyl Alcohol, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ceramide NP, Ceramide AP, Phytosphingosine, Cholesterol, Carbomer, Ceramide EOP.

Price and quantity:
The SkinFix fatty alcohol-free moisturizer is one of the pricier options on this list and costs between USD $50-$60 for 50ml/1.69 fl oz. You can also purchase it in larger or smaller quantities as it’s available in sizes of 90ml/3.04 fl oz and 15ml/0.5 fl oz, so give the small package a go before purchasing the bigger one.

SkinFix Triple Lipid Peptide Cream is Available on Amazon and FeelUnique.

Moisturizers Without Fatty Alcohols For Combination Skin

So what about people with combo skin?

Here is my top pick for fatty alcohol-free moisturizing products for combination skin.

Innisfree Green Tea Moisture Balancing Emulsion

Innisfree moisturizers without cetearyl alcohol

The Innisfree Green Tea Moisture Balancing Emulsion is an outstanding moisturizer with 16 hydrating amino acids thanks to the use of green tea.

It’s lightweight and very hydrating. A lot of people fall in love with its gentle, refreshing scent. It doesn’t leave a greasy residue, so you’re able to use it even on your oily T-zone.

The product is formulated without mineral oils, polyacrylamides, parabens, PEGs, silicones, colorants, triethanolamine, and other “harmful” chemicals and ingredients. It’s suitable for both the face and the body.

Ingredient list:
Water/​Aqua/​Eau, Propanediol, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Hydrogenated Poly(C6-14 Olefin), C14-22 Alcohols, Carbomer, Tromethamine, C12-20 Alkyl Glucoside, Fragrance/​Parfum, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium EDTA, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Glucose, Althaea Officinalis Root Extract

Price and quantity:
The moisturizer is very affordable and costs around USD $17 for a bottle of 160ml/5.4 fl oz. It will last you for ages (2-3 months 🙂

Moisturizers Without Fatty Alcohols For All Skin Types

Lastly, I have a few suggestions for products suitable for all skin types that can moisturize, yet don’t contain fatty alcohols. These are perfect as a gift or use them yourself if you’re not sure what your skin type is.

EltaMD PM Therapy Facial Moisturizer

Elta MD moisturizer without cetyl alcohol for all skin types

The EltaMD PM therapy moisturizer is another great moisturizer without fatty alcohol.

It’s marketed for all skin types but I would say that people with normal to dry skin will enjoy it the most.

Apart from being highly hydrating, it also helps restore and repair the skin. It’s rich in ceramides, which work to protect the skin’s natural moisture barrier. The presence of niacinamide in the ingredient list improves skin tone and together with antioxidants – repairs the skin throughout the night.

This facial moisturizer is infused with protein peptides, which help with cell and collagen production, improving the elasticity of the skin with consistent use. There’s also thiocyanic acid in the ingredients – it protects the skin from free radicals, while hyaluronic acid locks in moisture, providing a reliable level of hydration.

Some of the other valuable ingredients worth mentioning include Vitamin E and Linoleic acid, which slow down aging.

This recommendation is oil-free, fragrance-free, and non-comedogenic.

Ingredient list:
Water, Ethylhexyl Isononanoate, Niacinamide, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Glycerin, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Butylene Glycol, Glycereth-26, C10-30 Cholesterol/Lanosterol Esters, Isomerized Safflower Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Hydroxypropyl Bispalmitamide MEA, Xanthan Gum, Cetearyl Glucoside, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hydrolyzed Caesalpinia Spinosa Gum, Oleth-3 Phosphate, Oleic Acid, Polysorbate 60, Sorbitan Isostearate, Caesalpinia Spinosa Gum, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Disodium EDTA, Thioctic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Bisulfite, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate.

Price and quantity:
You can purchase this moisturizer for USD $39 for a bottle of 50ml/1.69 fl oz.

EltaMD PM Therapy Facial Moisturizer is Available at Amazon and SkinStore.

Versed Dew Point Moisturizing Gel-Cream

Versed fatty alcohol free moisturizer

My final recommendation for a fatty alcohol-free moisturizer for all skin types is the Versed Dew Point daily lightweight gel face moisturizer.

It’s the perfect choice for those of you who want bouncy skin that looks well-hydrated and healthy – meaning, everyone 🙂

The texture is a treat – feels a bit like jelly and is instantly absorbed by the skin. The cream doesn’t leave a greasy layer on top and your skin will feel cool and calm after application.

Some of the notable ingredients include hyaluronic acid, green tea extract, and aloe leaf juice.

The formula makes this moisturizer perfect for soothing the skin, protecting against free radicals, and calming down inflammation.

It doesn’t clog pores, which is why you folks with acne-prone skin will love it. However, all skin types will enjoy using it.

Ingredient list:
WaterGlycerinPropylene GlycolSqualaneAloe Barbadensis Leaf JuiceCamellia Sinensis Leaf ExtractSimmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil1,2hexanediolPhenoxyethanolCarbomerPolyacrylamideTriticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ OilC13-14 IsoparaffinSodium HydroxideSambucus Nigra Flower ExtractLaureth-7Trisodium Ethylenediamine DisuccinateSodium HyaluronatePotassium SorbateSodium BenzoateCitric Acid

Price and quantity:
The Versed Dew Point daily gel moisturizer can be found at the price of $15 for a tube of 60ml/2.02 fl oz. It usually lasts me for about a month and a half of consistent use twice daily, because a small amount of the product is enough for your entire face.

What are fatty alcohols?

I laid out my recommendations, but I also feel like it will be useful to explain fatty alcohols in more detail. If you haven’t paid much attention to them before, you may be wondering why they’re so avoided by some people.

Most fatty alcohols are extracted from plant-based fatty acids and act like emulsifiers. Although most types of alcohol are associated with irritations in skincare, fatty alcohols won’t usually irritate you.

Most often, they’re used both as emulsifiers and as emollients in skincare products. Emulsifiers are vital for the creation of products that contain both water and oils (like most creams, lotions, and moisturizers), while emollients are used to soften and smooth out the skin.

Fatty alcohols, in their nature, are non-sensitizing and non-comedogenic. They completely transform the texture of certain products by adding an extra level of thickness. This makes them ideal for products for dry skin.

There are different types of fatty alcohol. Some of the more used in skin care include:

  • Ethanol – the most popular type of alcohol and the one used in alcoholic beverages, too. In skincare products, it offers antimicrobial, product-thinning, anti-foaming, and solvent properties. However, it can also damage the skin barrier, dry out the skin, and trigger acne breakouts.
  • Denatured Alcohol – types of alcohol that have gone through the process of denaturing or making alcohol inedible. Skincare companies use this process to avoid paying alcohol taxes for the creation of skincare products.
  • Isopropyl Alcohol – also known as rubbing alcohol, is the type used to disinfect the skin.
  • Benzyl Alcohol – often used to add scent to cosmetic products. It’s also used as a solvent and can act as a preservative. Although considered generally safe, sensitive skin types can experience irritation from it.
  • Methanol – a toxic ingredient that isn’t used in skincare as it can cause long-term skin damage. I’m only mentioning it for information exhaustion.
  • Cetyl Alcohol – used in skincare products as an emollient, thickener, and emulsifier. Mostly utilized to achieve a spreadable consistency in skincare.
  • Oleyl Alcohol – an alcohol derived from olive oil, fish oil, or beef tallow.
  • Lanolin Alcohol – extracted from sheep wool, it’s a thick fatty alcohol suitable for dry skin types, but not recommended for oily skin.
  • Lauryl Alcohol – extracted from coconut oils and comes with a nice floral scent.

Why do some people avoid fatty alcohols in their skincare?

Although fatty alcohols are generally considered safe to use in skincare, some people get adverse reactions to them.

For starters, not all fatty alcohols are the same.

Some may cause problems for sensitive skin or could lead to dryness in oily skin. In addition, fatty alcohols behave differently at different room temperatures and when combined with different ingredients. As a result, it’s hard to predict how your skin will react.

What to have in mind when purchasing a fatty alcohol-free moisturizer?

If you’re considering trying a fatty alcohol-free moisturizer, keep in mind the following key questions.

Is the product suitable for your skin type?

Always start by checking if the product is designed for your skin type – check both the description of a product and the reviews by others.

Most brands will explicitly inform you if a product is not recommended for a particular skin type.

Are there other irritants in the ingredient list?

Different types of alcohol are not the only potential irritants in skincare products. Perhaps there’s something else that causes a bad reaction on your skin?

Some of the most commonly used irritants include sulfates, petroleum, fragrance, alpha hydroxy acids, essential oils, botanical compounds, just to name a few.

I strongly recommend checking the ingredient list to spot any of these. If you know your skin reacts to any specific ingredient, do avoid it.

Are there any other beneficial ingredients in the product?

Last but not least, check what the product has to offer in terms of good ingredients for your skin.

If you have a specific skin concern or condition, you will get the most benefit from your moisturizer if you select such that can help you treat your skin issues.

I hope the information in this article helps you approach fatty alcohols with more confidence and an informed mindset.

Do you have any experience with skincare products containing fatty alcohol and have you got a reaction to them? Share in the comments below!

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