I always find isopropyl myristate and isopropyl palmitate in cosmetics, and I want to know if they have alcohol in them or not. I read that they are composed of alcohol and acid, but they are considered to be conditioning agents, so does that mean that there is no alcohol left in them? So can a finished product be alcohol free while containing isopropyl myristate or isopropyl palmitate?

  • $\begingroup$ If you don't know anything about chemistry, then the first question I think we need to ask is: are you talking about a chemist's definition of "alcohol" or are you taking about ethyl alcohol/ethanol (the one that constitutes alcoholic drinks)? $\endgroup$
    – Zhe
    Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 14:12

1 Answer 1


Isopropyl myristate and palmitate are esters formed from isopropyl alcohol and myristic and palmitic acids. These products will have been purified before being used in the cosmetics to remove any residual isopropyl alcohol. If the labelling does not mention isopropyl alcohol as a component then it will not be present.

Note. I don't know your reason for wanting to know about the presence of isopropyl alcohol but if you are concerned for ethical reasons about the presence of alcohol then you should be aware that what is generally referred to as 'alcohol' is ethanol. Isopropyl alcohol is a different substance.

  • $\begingroup$ I've always been curious, is there an equivalent term to ethanol for the non-drinkable alcohols? In other words, do any other groupings of alcohol exist? $\endgroup$
    – Prometheus
    Commented Apr 9, 2018 at 23:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Hashim Currently, alcohol is defined as an organic compound containing the functional group -OH. At one time, ethanol was probably the only known alcohol, so it became synonymous with alcohol. $\endgroup$
    – LDC3
    Commented Apr 10, 2018 at 2:37

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.