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Are Silicones in Hair Products Always Bad?

April 19, 2018


Verna Meachum

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 We treat our blog with a curious, open-minded, and customer-focused attitude. We ask lots of questions about everything.

We think that people should take what information they need and leave what they don't. We suggest things we enjoy and believe are worth your attention.

Above all, we value your trust above anything else. We're so glad you’re here!

Hi,I'm Verna

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Last Updated on August 27, 2022 by Verna Meachum

Although silicones in hair products are not without their cons, they can be extremely beneficial when used properly.

Ultimately it is up to you to decide what 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! I’ve reviewed the best silicone free shampoos and conditioners, and have provided you with my top 4 choices, so you can pick the best one for you.

Kinky Curly Come Clean Shampoo

If you’re looking for a shampoo that can help soften hard water and prevent buildup, then this shampoo is perfect. I highly recommend this shampoo if you live in an area with hard water, or if you just want to make sure your hair is getting the best possible clean.

Suave Naturals Clarifying Shampoo

I really like this shampoo because it deeply cleanses my hair. I also find that it helps to bring out my hair’s natural beauty and shine. I would definitely recommend this shampoo to anyone looking for a good, basic option!

Curl Junkie Beauticurls Daily Hair Conditioner

I am in love with this conditioner! It smells amazing and leaves my hair feeling so soft and hydrated. It detangles my hair effortlessly and doesn’t leave it feeling weighed down. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a great daily conditioner!

Righteous Roots 2 in 1 Conditioner & Leave In

If you’re looking for a conditioner that will detangle and moisturize your hair, this conditioner is the one to do the job! It’s infused with natural oils like baobab, grapefruit, jojoba and peppermint, which all work together to leave your hair soft, shiny and knot-free.

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 (especially if you have low porosity hair), 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.”

Sciencey Hair Blog

Identifying Silicones

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

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

  • Amothethicone
  • Behenoxy Dimethicone Cetearyl methicone
  • Bis-Phenylpropyl Dimethicone
  • C30-45 Alkyl Cetearyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer Cyclohexasiloxane
  • Cyclomethicone
  • Cyclopentasiloxane
  • Dimethicone
  • Dimethiconol
  • Disiloxane
  • Phenyl Trimethicone
  • Trisiloxane
  • Trimethylsilylamodimethicone
  • Trimethylsiloxysilicate

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.

Sciencey Hair Blog

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

Aveda Be Curly Shampoo

Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-exfoliating Scalp Scrub Shampoo

Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt

dpHUE Apple Cider Vinegar Soothing Shampoo

Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Shampoo

Kinky Curly Come Clean Shampoo

Pureology Strength Cure Shampoo

Suave Naturals Clarifying Shampoo

Silicone Free Conditioner

Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner

Aveda Rosemary Mint Conditioner

Curls Coconut Sublime Moisturizing Conditioner

Curl Junkie Beauticurls Daily Hair Conditioner

Bouncecurl Smooth Cream Conditioner

10/01/2022 08:33 am GMT

Eden BodyWorks Peppermint Tea Tree Conditioner

Jessicurl Too Shea! Extra Moisturizing Conditioner

Mop Top Daily Conditioner

NYC Curls The Curl Conditioner

Oyin Handmade Honey Hemp Conditioner

10/01/2022 12:06 am GMT

Righteous Roots 2 in 1 Conditioner & Leave In

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.

Curl care

 We treat our blog with a curious, open-minded, and customer-focused attitude. We ask lots of questions about everything.

We think that people should take what information they need and leave what they don't. We suggest things we enjoy and believe are worth your attention.

Above all, we value your trust above anything else. We're so glad you’re here!

Hi,I'm Verna

product reviews

Comments +

  1. Lelia Vasquez says:

    This is a fantastic post Verna. I really enjoyed it and I love the "fact", that you base your opinions about silicones on facts backed up by science. I rarely share that I use them on a regular basis on my shampoo and conditioner because I’m always wary of "product choice shaming" so I simply don’t mention it, but you have motivated me to maybe share my wash days that include silicones in the future.

  2. Verna says:

    Hi Lelia! Yeah I hear ya on the product shaming. But you know your hair best and shouldn’t be bothered by other people’s opinions just because it doesn’t work well in their hair. They have no clue what you deal with so be proud to share what you use. I bet there’s many who feel the same way.

  3. Curlychickvic says:

    Thanks for this Verna, I’ll be sharing on my blog to encourage more in depth education on Silicones! You’re amazing!

  4. @curly.obsession says:

    Amazing explanation. Thank you so much Verna.

  5. Verna says:

    Thank you so much Ana!!! I appreciate that!

  6. Aura says:

    Great blog! Thank you for all of the information regarding silicones.

  7. Verna says:

    Thank you so much! I really appreciate it Aura’

  8. Kelcey watkins says:

    Very good read! Thanks to you I think I’ve finally decided to just use silicones in moderation which is great because I do have 2 awesome products with silicones that I didn’t want to give up lol besides I wash my hair with a sulfate shampoo every 2-3 months anyways. I do have a question though, you said dimenthicone is water soluble then I read you steps to beginning healthy hair guide and then that say the only water soluble silicones have PEG or PPG in front of it. Am I looking for products that specifically say "PEG dimenthicone"?? Thank you for your time you’re amazing!!!! -@rainescurls

  9. Verna says:

    Hi Kelsey! Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read my blog! So yes, if PEG or PPG is in front of a silicone it is more than likely water soluble. However, Dimethicone is considered water insoluble, however, according to the Journal of Cosmetic Science, Dimethicone is permeable meaning water does not completely block from exiting or entering the hair as we’ve all heard. How did you like the beginner’s guide by the way?

  10. Varuna says:

    Totally agree with this. There is no need to shun anyone for the use of silicones. Ive seen a lot of curlies with gorgeous hair and who have silicones in their routine. To each his own!

    IG handle – varunak_95

  11. Amanda says:

    Great read!! I recently bought a shampoo and conditioner that I later realized had silicones in them! I was worried that I had wasted my money and wouldn’t be able to use them! Now I know I can in moderation. I just have to “listen” to my curls and pay attention to what works and doesn’t work for them! Thank you!
    (IG: @amariehoyos)

  12. Rita caputo says:

    Amazing read! Since I started my healthy hair journey I avoided silicones like the plague because everyone talked about them like they’re evil in a bottle….I’ll try to experiment more and discover what really works for me ❤
    Ig handle: @ritacaputo94

  13. Kimberley Torres says:

    I just subscribed to your blog. I’m so excited about it. I love yout methods of research it makes me feel confident in what I am reading. You are one of the best out there providing facts and valuable resources to us in the community 🤗🤗

    IG Handle:@_kimberleyann

  14. Nina says:

    I didn’t know you opened a blog until just now. It’s wonderful. My low porosity and very protein sensitive curls are a lot healthier since I avoid using silicones. It makes a huge difference in adding moisture to my strands. Greetings from Europe @little_fooly_curl

  15. Melissa says:

    Thank you for sharing this! I just started my curly girl method journey for my daughter and mySelf. I’m loving results so far. I’m so scared to dye my hair because I’m afraid to damage it. Very helpful hints! Thanks again. ❤️
    My ig is ciciscurls

  16. Fatima says:

    Omg i needed to know all of this i really really love your blogs thank u so much!♥️🙏
    IG: @_fatimameush

  17. Curlinsider says:

    Thanks this was something I really needed to know. @curlinsider

  18. Becky Poole says:

    😊 IG handle – bex1808

  19. Yesica leon says:

    I started my natural curly hair journey about 8 years ago. I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance so I can’t use a lot of products because they carry gluten in their products. So thank you for this information. Carmelilmama Instagram Name.

  20. Anette garcja says:

    Very helpful post!! @curlyygee

  21. Dafina says:

    I’ve been so torn on silicone based products because I love the slip they give. The only thing is idk want the moisture levels in my hair to be compromised. I love your scientific research on hair. I’d always have family members ask me for scientific proof for why I need certain products and now I have it! Thank you!
    I subscribed to your blog and my ig handle is dafina_matiku

  22. Jaylyn says:

    My IG name is Jaydizzee. Thanks for the info. I have just started my wavy hair (maybe curly one day 😀 ) journey so it’s good to know as much as possible. I’m going to start with as little ingredients as possible and then maybe add things occasionally and see how my hair reacts. That’s the best way to see what your hair likes, process of elimination, from a clean slate.

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