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Chemical structure of ceteareth-n, where n is variable from 2 to 100 and m is 15 or 17

The INCI names ceteareth-n (where n is a number) refer to polyoxyethylene ethers of a mixture of high molecular mass saturated fatty alcohols, mainly cetyl alcohol (m = 15) and stearyl alcohol (m = 17). The number n indicates the average number of ethylene oxide residues in the polyoxyethylene chain.

These compounds are non-ionic surfactants work by attracting both water and oil at the same time, frequently used as emulsifiers in soaps and cosmetics.[1]

List of ceteareth compounds[edit]


  1. ^ "Emulsifying Wax: What is it and how does it work?" (Web). Teach Soap.com. Retrieved 2007-12-02.