Cetyl esters are an interesting ingredient indeed! Composed of a number of esters derived from naturated fatty alcohols and saturated fatty acids, they can contain a number of different esters in one product, including cetyl stearate, cetyl myristate, cetyl palmitate, myristyl myristate, and myristyl stearate. They are derived from vegetables, and you know you have cetyl esters when you see the cetyl esters NF INCI name. Cetyl esters can be used anywhere you might use cetyl alcohol, although they will offer different qualities from the fatty alcohol.
Cetyl esters have an HLB of 10 – whereas cetyl alcohol has an HLB of 15.5 – and they can take up to 2 days to full thicken your lotion or cream. They have a melting point of 43˚C to 47˚C.