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Skincare and alcohol

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There's a lot of debate going on at the moment about alcohol and it's use in skincare. We've certainly been reading up on the different opinions about its use here at Handsome Fella. 

Well, first of all. Not all alcohols are created equally. As anyone who has taken a chemistry course at college will know, alcohols make up a broad range of different types of chemicals not just the stuff you drink down the pub on a Friday night. An alcohol is simply any organic compound in which the hydroxyl functional group (–OH) is bound to a carbon and will be almost any ingredient ending in 'ol'. Many of these types of alcohol are actually very good for your skin and have no negative side effects at all. These are 'fatty' alcohols and come from natural sources such as coconut oil. 

The alcohol that is slightly more contentious is actually the alcohol that you do drink down the pub on a Friday night and that's Ethanol. Yes, that alcohol is used in your skincare and grooming products too! Often, as an ingredient it will be listed as denatured alcohol or alcohol denat (this is just because ethanol must be denatured first I.e. made undrinkable for health and tax purposes).

Some brands that we love choose not to use denatured alcohol in their products because they believe it can cause dryness of skin and over the long term can actually cause the skin to age faster as opposed to slowing down the ageing process. Other brands, that we believe also care deeply about creating natural and health boosting products, continue to use denatured alcohol, however. They believe that denatured alcohol actually creates a better quality product for you to use and doesn't have the negative side effects that others claim (when used in the correct quantities, of course). Denatured alcohol is actually brilliant at making skincare products, such as moisturisers, rub and dry into your skin quickly. While also helping your skin absorb ingredients that are really good for you and your skin. 

Just to clarify, the debate here isn't over the safety of using denatured alcohol. European and US regulators agree that Ethanol/ denatured alcohol is perfectly safe to use in skincare products. The debate here is about whether that denatured alcohol can have any unwanted side effects, whether that be dryer skin or ageing effects in the long run. And it must be said, that even critics of denatured alcohol say that if used in low enough quantities in a product then it is unlikely to cause any of the potential negative side effects they talk about. So if you see denatured alcohol/ alcohol denat/ DRF alcohol listed lower than the fifth or sixth ingredient then it is probably fine to use anyway (its critics say). 

Useful tip: skincare and beauty products don't usually give a percentage of how much an ingredient makes up of a product but you can tell how much is in there by how far up the list of ingredients a specific ingredient is. 

While the debate is still ongoing and different brands we love and respect make different choices, here at Handsome Fella we have chosen to take a balanced approach. While many of our products will not contain denatured alcohol occasionally some might. The makers we work with care deeply and passionately about creating high quality, natural and ethical products. And we trust in their values and passion. Since the debate continues, we will allow our customers to choose whether or not they use a product containing denatured alcohol. So if you want to see if a product contains denatured alcohol take a look on the ingredient list for: alcohol denat/ denatured alcohol/ DRF alcohol.

We want to be able to supply guys with amazing products that are packed full of natural ingredients and are of a high quality, that stand out from the crowd of the usual stuff you can find. And we'd encourage guys to experiment with using different types of grooming products and see whether they prefer a product containing denatured alcohol or not. Every individual is different and a product that works well for one person might feel different to another. It's all about personal preference, after all. 

At Handsome Fella we are keeping up with the (many) debates that go on within the beauty and grooming world, whether that be around the use of denatured alcohol, environmentally sustainable ingredients or the health impacts of different ingredients. Simply put, it isn't always black and white. Opinions change and occasionally so do the facts. However, be sure to know when the facts do change we will always be unafraid to change our decisions too. 

But for now we'd love for you to try our different products and always be sure to tell us how you found your experience of using them.