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Chemistry Working For Us
Cosmetics and Alcohols
Cosmetics contain a large amount of chemicals- some will be active ingredients whereas others will
be solvents used to dissolve the different components.
The commonest solvent in cosmetics is water, but this cannot dissolve oil, so sometimes alcohol is
Alcohol means carbon compounds which contain a OH(hydroxyl group). A group of atoms like this is
called a functional group.
FUNCTIONAL GROUP- a group of atoms in an organic compound which have a particular set of
All alcohols have the functional group of OH bound to a carbon atom
Alcohols allow products to be miscible which means they do not separate out into layers when mixed
with oils or water
Oil and water are immiscible which means they separate out into layers
All alcohols have names ending in OL
MONKEYS-Methanol-1 carbon atom
EAT Ethanol-2 carbon atoms
PEELED-Propanol- 3 carbon atoms
BANANAS- Buteanol- 4 carbon atoms
The shorter the carbon chain, the more likely it will mix with water
Glycerol is particularly useful because it has three carbon atoms and three hydroxide groups. This
means it mixes very well.