Last updated on 1/04/22
Although silicones in hair products are not without their cons, they can be extremely beneficial when used properly. Ultimately it is up to you what you choose to put in your hair, but do your research and make an informed decision!
Every day a new chemical comes under fire or is canceled and labeled for being the ‘worst thing ever’ since the previous equally bad thing we just got told about. We hear about the potential dangers of parabens, phthalates, and now it’s silicones.
Silicones are a polarizing topic for curly-haired girls.
Some say they make their hair feel great and give it incredible shine, while others say that they cause dryness and breakage.
What’s the truth?
In this blog post, we’ll examine all of the pros and cons of silicones in hair products so you can decide if it’s right for you!
What Are Silicones?
Silicones are a type of ingredient that is often used in haircare products. They’re usually found in conditioners, serums, and hair oils.
They’re called silicones because they’re made up of molecules that contain silicon atoms. Silicon is the second most abundant element on Earth, so it’s no surprise that these ingredients are popular in haircare!
What are the benefits of silicones?
The main benefit of using silicones in hair products is their ability to form a protective barrier around the hair strand and prevent moisture from entering or leaving.
This means that they can help to reduce frizz, make your hair more manageable, and give it a glossy shine.
Silicones can also be helpful for people with coarse, curly hair because they can make the individual strands of your curls smoother and softer.
This is great if you have a lot of frizz or flyaways that you want to calm down. They also provide great slip in conditioners and have the ability to help seal in moisture, preventing frizz in high humidity.
Some silicones, such as dimethicone copolyol, are also able to form a protective film on top of the hair strand which helps seal in moisture and locks it into place.
Are Silicones Ever Bad For Your Hair?
No, silicones in hair products are not bad for your hair.
They may, on the other hand, weigh down some hair due to their lubricating qualities, making certain textures (i.e. wavy or curly) limp or flat.
If you use many silicone-based goods, you might notice that they leave your hair dry and you may experience some build-up, which can become difficult to remove.
If you do experience any negative side effects from using silicones in your haircare routine, then you may want to consider switching it up.
Silicones should also be avoided if your locks tend to get weighed down easily, you don’t use a shampoo in your regimen, and you don’t like how it makes your hair feel.
Just because something doesn’t work for you does not make it terrible for everyone else.
“These silicones don’t exist alone – they are accompanied by other ingredients in hair products. Some ingredients in a product are going to stick to your hair no matter what. It may not be the water-soluble silicone that is to blame, but all the ingredients in a formula together.”
Silicones are a common additive in many personal care and have been used since the 1950s. They can be found under different names such as cyclopentasiloxane, dimethicone or trimethylsilylamodimethicone.
Silicones are usually identified by their general chemical structure which is Si – O – Si – O – Si.
Silicones generally end in;
Water-soluble silicones are a type of silicone that is soluble in water. This means that it can be dissolved in water and exist in a homogenous solution.
Water-soluble silicones are often used as co-emulsifiers, which means that they help to stabilize emulsions. In particular, they help to prevent the separation of oil and water.
Water-soluble silicones are also used as thickeners and emollients. They help to improve the texture of products and make them feel smoother on the skin and hair.
They are also a good choice for products that are meant to be rinsed off, such as shampoos and body washes. They help to create a luxurious texture and provide a feeling of hydration.
Below are some examples of water-soluble and water-insoluble silicones you may have seen on a haircare product ingredient list.
Examples of water-soluble silicones
If any silicone name has the abbreviation “PEG” or “PPG” in front of it, it is a water-soluble silicone and will not build-up on the hair.
- PEG-7 Amodimethicone
- PEG-12 Dimethicone
- Dimethicone copolyol
- Dimethicone PEG-8 Phosphate
- Hydrolyzed Silk PG-Propyl Methylsilanediol Crosspolymer
- Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG-Silanetriol
- PEG-12 Dimethicone
- Silicone Quaternium-8
Examples of water-insoluble silicones
- Behenoxy Dimethicone Cetearyl methicone
- Bis-Phenylpropyl Dimethicone
- C30-45 Alkyl Cetearyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer Cyclohexasiloxane
- Phenyl Trimethicone
Silicone myths: “It suffocates your hair.” “Silicones prevent water from getting into your hair, so it gets dehydrated.” To which I say: A) Hair doesn’t breathe, suffocation is not an issue. B) Silicones do keep water out, but they also keep water in.
How to Remove Silicone Build-Up in Hair
Contrary to popular belief, silicones don’t accumulate on the hair permanently since there is only so much surface area on the hair for them to bind to.
To remove silicones from your hair you’re going to need to clarify your hair.
Look for shampoos that contain:
- Ammonium lauryl
- Ammonium laureth sulfate
- Cocamidopropyl betaine
- Sodium lauryl
- Sodium laureth sulfate
- Sodium cocoyl isethionate
- TEA-lauryl sulfate
- TEA-dodecylbenzene sulfonate
If you are looking to remove silicone build-up from your scalp, a shampoo with salicylic acid may help.
Silicone Free Shampoos
Silicone Free Conditioner
The list goes on. You can find a number of other silicone free shampoos and silicone free conditioners by using the lists above to help you or asking your hairstylist for recommendations.
It’s important not to use too much silicone when styling curly hair because they have a tendency to build up.
Whether you choose to use silicone-based products or not, it’s critical to be informed and follow the necessary usage instructions to avoid build-up and greasy limp hair.
We hope this blog answered your questions regarding silicones in hair products.
Always do your own research as sometimes all of the facts are not presented.