Alcohol free hygiene care?
March 1, 2008 12:41 PM   Subscribe

What are some hair conditioners and body lotions that do not contain any alcohol?

I am looking for hair conditioners, hair shine serums (and/or anti-frizz hair lotions), body lotions, facial moisturizers, liquid hand soaps, and other hygiene products that do not contain any alcohol. It is necessary that the products are completely alcohol free. I'd prefer not to spend an arm and a leg on a bottle of lotion but due to lack of options, am willing to pay more than average. Also, non-online options are a definite plus as there is some urgency to this request.

What are your suggestions? Thanks.
posted by fiasco to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Are you in an area with an Arab or Muslim population? I'd try a shop that caters to that demographic. Failing that, an organic food store.
posted by desjardins at 12:47 PM on March 1, 2008

Jojoba oil is a great moisturizer.... It's a yellow oil. (And before you knock it for being oil--I use it specifically because I have oily, acne-prone skin--it apparently "fools" your skin into thinking it's sebum.... Kind of counter-intuitive to rub yourself in oil to get rid of oily skin.)
posted by fogster at 12:54 PM on March 1, 2008

I know that Tom's of Maine's mouthwash and toothpaste contain no alcohol. I think their other products (soap, deodorant, shaving foam) do not, but I'm not sure about those.
posted by textilephile at 12:55 PM on March 1, 2008

i would imagine that burt's bees products would not contain alcohol. you can get mainstream nonalcoholic mouthwash (i think tom's of maine tastes terrible)...i can't remember what the chemical is, though. but, like, it's crest or listerine. anyplace will have it.

dr. bronner's soaps probably don't have alcohol. you can get the baby mild if you don't like any of the fragrances. ditto good ol' ivory soap. neutrogena is also alcohol-free, i believe.

if you're in a hurry, your best bet will probably be to go to the ol' megamart and just start reading labels, i hate to say.
posted by thinkingwoman at 1:04 PM on March 1, 2008

This is a great question. Of course you can read labels, but there are a bunch of ingredients on there that may or may not be an "alcohol". OK, I was a chemistry major for all of one year, but I seem to remember than anything ending in '-ol' was an alcohol. But is this true for hair products? Is the rule to "avoid products containing alcohol" intended to mean avoiding all '-ol'-ended chemicals? Or does it just mean to avoid ingredients labeled ______ alcohol?

Is "Panthenol" an alcohol, here?

If the more liberal interpretation is at play, then yes, they're very rare. Otherwise, I think it's not too difficult to find shampoos and conditioners, at least, that don't contain anything called "alcohol".

Please, some chemist somewhere let us know.
posted by amtho at 1:13 PM on March 1, 2008

By alcohol, do you mean isopropyl alcohol, the clear, pungent liquid that is in a lot of skin care stuff and that is drying to the skin? Or do you mean anything with the word "alcohol?" Something like cetyl alcohol, an ingredient in many, many lotions and conditioners, is a different thing altogether. I don't perfectly understand the chemistry of it, but I know it's a fatty alcohol (related, I think, to fatty acids like omega-3), moisturizer, and lubricant that does very different things to your skin than isopropyl. When people (like Paula Begoun) talk about alcohol free cosmetics, they generally refer to isopropyl, and there are lots of products that don't contain it, but it sort of sounds like you're thinking of the other definition.
posted by mostlymartha at 1:53 PM on March 1, 2008

Mostlymartha, I think they mean *any* alcohol. If it is a Muslim law thing, then even cetyl, etc alcohols are no-nos, I think. There was a big article about how, because certain alcohols are used in the production of Doritos, there was an upset because it wasn't disclosed on the ingredients list.
posted by disillusioned at 2:10 PM on March 1, 2008

Disillusioned, the it crossed my mind that it might be a Muslim law, which is partially why I asked. Now of course, the opinion of the Muslim friend I asked for clarification is certainly not the end all be all answer to that, but she had been taught that the word 'alcohol' in English is used for ethanol (an intoxicant), but also any carbon with a hydroxyl group. She believes that cetyl alcohol in hair conditioner or xylitol in sugar free gum are not forbidden based on their chemical properties.

Obviously, there are no doubt other opinions in other schools of Muslim thought, but since the question wasn't in line with my (certainly limited) understanding of the subject, that was why I wondered if maybe it had to do with isopropyl, Muslim law, or something else entirely.
posted by mostlymartha at 2:35 PM on March 1, 2008

I believe Kiss My Face products are all natural and alcohol free.
posted by anniepants at 3:36 PM on March 1, 2008

You could do an advanced search on the Cosmetics Database, excluding the ingredient "alcohol". (You may have to click the No, thanks" link before it takes you to the Advanced Search page.)
posted by Houstonian at 4:27 PM on March 1, 2008

If you go into the "black" section of the drugstore (if your drugstore has one), you can usually find sticks of plain cocoa butter. The containers look like big fat chapsticks, or used to.

This is one.
posted by dilettante at 5:34 PM on March 1, 2008

Or you could use some home recipes to insure you know what is in the stuff you slather all over your body. Avocado, yogurt, honey, eggs. Search for homemade beauty recipes.
posted by rhapsodie at 8:03 PM on March 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Pure Organic Shea Butter from L'Occitane en Provence can be used both as a skin conditioner and as a hair conditioner.
posted by iviken at 4:01 AM on March 2, 2008

mostlymartha, your friend is right on. The prohibition is specific in addressing alcohol as an intoxicant. Any other use would be kosher... so to speak.
posted by omarr at 9:40 PM on March 2, 2008

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