Organic grain alcohol in cosmetics, what are it's uses and how is it made?

The place for alcohol in cosmetics

Although we do not agree with adding alcohol to general cosmetic products such as face cream and bodycare products, there is a place for the use of alcohol in skincare.

The key areas that alcohol are used is perfume, facial toners and more recently we have seen the importance in hand sanitiser products. We use the Organic grain (ethanol) alcohol in our 60% alcohol hand gel.

Alcohol has an unrivalled antibacterial cleansing effect as well as being excellent at cleansing the skin. However, this does not come without it's downsides... primarily the drying effect.

Therefore when using alcohol in a product, it is important to consider how we are going to add some moistuising ("Refatting") properties to the product in order not to dry out the skin. Simply adding Glycerine can help, but one of our favourite ways is to add Butylene glycol dicaprylate/dicaprate and glyceryl oleate. These a naturally derived refatting agent and skin smoothers, helps retain the moisture and silkiness of your skin during the use of alcohol.

How is Organic grain alcohol made

Organic ethanol (alcohol) is made from Grains, Sugarcane Fruit.

Ethanol is naturally produced by the fermentation of sugars by yeasts and then concentrated using fractional distillation.

The fermentation process is an anaerobic process:

glucose -> ethanol + carbon dioxide

The Yeast is a single-celled fungus that provides the enzymes required for fermentation.

In order for fermentation to take place you require the following conditions:

  • Sugars dissolved in water and mixed with yeast
  • An air lock to allow carbon dioxide out whilst stopping air getting in.
  • Warm temperature, 25 - 35c

The yeast dies when the ethanol concentration reaches about 15%. The fermentation process is a slow reactions and can take several days or weeks to finish. If air is allowed to enter during the process then the ethanol will oxidise to ethanoic acid and will have a vinegar test.

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Our products with Organic alcohol

We use Organic alcohol in a selected range of prodcuts

Buying Organic alcohol

Unfortunately we are not able to sell Organic Alcohol directly for sale as this requires a license with HMRC. If you are looking at obtaining denatured alcohol for cosmetic use, please see the HMRC website.