You might have read about how silicone is really bad for your hair. There is no shortage of information online about how shampoos and conditions that contain silicone can be extremely damaging, especially to curly hair.
You will hear many curly hair experts strongly recommend that you avoid silicone-containing hair care products. While you could take what they say at face value, it’s always good to do your own research and come to your own conclusions.
In this article, we’ve going to give you the low down on exactly what silicone does and whether or not it’s bad for your curly hair.
Why is Silicone Used in Hair Care Products?
Silicones have been a common ingredient in hair care products since the 1970s because they do have some benefits for your hair health and strength.
Silicones can help to lock moisture into your hair and maintain a hydrated state. They can help to give your hair a lovely shine and a silky feel
They are particularly helpful for curly-haired people who want to control frizz or people whose hair doesn’t respond well to humidity.
If you have coloured hair, using a silicone-containing shampoo or conditioner may help to reduce damage and protect the colours from fading.
As you can, silicone does have a number of benefits for your hair. So, why do so many experts tell us to avoid hair care products that contain silicone?
Why Should You Avoid Using Silicone-Containing Hair Care Products?
While silicone clearly has a bunch of benefits, there are some downsides. It’s not toxic but it isn’t always the best ingredient for your hair.
Because silicone helps to lock moisture into your hair, this can block other nourishing ingredients from entering your hair follicles.
Silicone can also very quickly build up on your hair, causing it to feel dry and look dull. It may also lead to increased brittleness and lots of breakages.
Depending on the type of silicone in the hair care products, it can be difficult to wash away too. Certain silicones are much harder to wash away in the shower, even if you are using very warm water.
To reduce the potentially damaging effects of silicones on your hair, try using a very small amount of product when you are in the shower. You can also look out for alternative ingredients in your shampoos and conditioners.
What Should You Look Out For in Your Hair Care Products?
Many shampoos and conditioners that are labelled as sulphate-free and silicone-free actually contain modified versions of silicones. The silicones in these products are more water-soluble than traditional alternatives, such as dimethicone.
Many shampoos and conditioners that are labelled as silicone free aren’t actually 100% free of silicones. Instead, they are free of ‘bad’ silicones.
Most manufacturers use the chemical names for different silicones on the ingredients lists of their products. This can make it very difficult to identify whether or not a hair care product is silicone free.
Generally, any chemical ingredient that ends in ‘cone’ is likely to be a silicone. Ingredients are listed according to concentration, so if a silicone is named near to the start of the ingredients list, it forms a higher percentage of the product.
Not all silicones will cut your hair in the same way. Some are less likely to build up on your hair than others.
When you are searching through the ingredients label, look out for more lightweight, water-soluble silicones, such as cyclomethicone. This type of silicone will be easier to wash away, so you can avoid getting unwanted dryness and dullness.
Avoid heavier silicones, such as dimethicone. These thicker silicones will be much harder to wash away and may even need a clarifying shampoo to remove from your hair.
Surfactants that are obtained from coconut oil, such as coco betaine, have been shown to remove silicones from your hair just as effectively as sulphates.
You can also look out for products that contain plant-based oils, such as avocado oil, coconut oil, or argan oil. Each of these is known to hydrate the hair and add moisture to your curly locks just as much as silicones.
So, silicones aren’t necessarily good or bad. They have their advantages and they have their disadvantages.
Ultimately, silicones are not the only hair care ingredient that can build up and cause potential damage to your hair. However, avoiding silicones wherever possible may help you to control the frizz and maintain luscious, shiny locks.
Remember that not all silicones are the same and some are better for your hair than others. Just because a hair care product contains one or more silicones, don’t immediately dismiss it!
A lot of the time, it’s worth trying different shampoos and conditioners to see which one works best for your particular hair type.