A very useful additive in formulations that need just a bit more body, or stabilizing in regards to the products finished texture. Cetearyl alcohol is not a main emulsifier but rather an ingredient that backs up and supports the core emulsion system. It will also lend its emollient texture to your finished product.
We are often asked why the word "alcohol" appears as an ingredient inside natural lotion formulations. The short answer is, you need an emulsifier to be able to blend oil and water together. All forms of cosmetic emulsifiers are a version of alcohol which make emulsions happen. These types of "alcohols" are not the same as distilled or rubbing alcohol which wouldn't be a suitable emulsion between oil and water for lotion making.