When I went natural and started learning about healthy hair care, one of the things that jumped out at me was – avoid products with cones by any means necessary.
At the time, this proved to be a herculean task but over the years, it has become easier to find silicone free products but do you know why silicones are bad for hair?
What Are Silicones?
A silicone is a polymer or oligomer used in hair care products to achieve deep conditioning and detangling effects, and make hair glossier, shinier and softer. Why would something that does so much for the hair be bad then? Unfortunately, this conditioning, glossy, shiny and soft effect is an illusion that leads to chaos for your hair in the long term.
Why Are Silicones in Hair Products Bad for Your Hair?
Silicones are water insoluble making them a tad difficult to wash out from the hair. They form a barrier on hair, coating the hair shaft and preventing moisture from getting to the hair. Long term effects include dryness, dullness, brittleness and breakage. If you have have thinner hair, silicones can also weigh your hair hair and make it appear limp and lifeless over time.
The only way to get silicones out of your hair in the long term would be with a strong clarifying or chelating shampoo, which in turn contain harsh ingredients like sulfates. Sulfates strips all the natural oils and moisture from hair.
As you can see, silicones are a double edged sword. They work wonderfully but only for a while before the usual natural hair enemies comes calling, which can only be cleared by using another drying product thus leading to a vicious cycle.
5 Common Types of Silicones in Hair Products
Silicones can masquerade under many different names with the most common being:
- Cetearyl methicone
- Cetyl dimethicone
- Stearyl dimethicone
Are All Silicones Bad?
Not all of them. There are some water-soluble silicones that don’t cause build up and are easy to wash out of the hair with a mild shampoo. The names to look out for on labels include:
Wow, those those names are a mouthful!
20 Best Selling Silicone Free Conditioners for Curly Hair
While these conditioners are silicone free, sometimes a company changes formulas and sneaks something unfavorable into their ingredients so always check the ingredient label before picking up the conditioner especially if you haven’t bought it in a while.
Final Word on Silicones
Despite the disadvantages of products with silicones, there are some people that still find their hair loves these products and responds very well to them.
However, keep in mind that if you choose to use these conditioners, you will need to clarify your hair with a strong sulfate shampoo like Paul Mitchell Clarifying Shampoo Three, Redkin Hair Cleansing Cream Shampoo, Green People Clarifying Vitamin Shampoo or Joico K-Pak Chelating Shampoo every few weeks depending on how your hair feels to the touch.
You may find that if you space out the use of silicone conditioners, you may not need to clarify as often and may be able to find a balance in their somewhere that doesn’t affect your hair growth goals.
In case you’re wondering what else is commonly included in hair care products, you can print out this handy hair products list next time you go product shopping.
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