SILICONES…. WHAT ARE THEY AND HOW DO THEY EFFECT MY HAIR?

Silicones are inert, synthetic compounds with a variety of forms and uses. Typically heat-resistant and rubber-like, they are used in sealants, adhesives, lubricants, medical applications (e.g., breast implants), cookware, and insulation. They normally end in -cone, -conol or -xane, and are abundantly found in hair conditioners, and even in many shampoos.

There is no such thing as a bad or good silicone. It is difficult to actually rank the silicones in order of water solubility, simply because they are usually either soluble or not. If any silicone in the ingredients list has ‘PPG’ or ‘PEG’ in front of it, it is soluble in water.  The rest of them, on the other hand, are insoluble in water. With regular usage, they build up on the hair and scalp, leading to dull, lifeless and tired hair. They create a layer on your hair that does not allow any product you use on it to touch the hair strands and actually work. Some common silicones of this kind are dimethicone, dimethiconol, cetyl dimethicone, cetearyl methicone, and stearyl dimethicone.

There are two types of silicones, one is water soluble and the other is not (insoluble). Silicone is known to create an amazingly healthy look to your hair making it very shiny and frizz free.

The advantages of silicone in your hair are the shiny look, frizz free hair smooth feeling.

The disadvantages are quite overwhelming. Everytime you wash your hair with a shampoo that has silicone the coating of the silicone on your hair will build up and make it harder to get it out of your hair.

name                                    water-soluble           recommended cleansing agents

Dimethicone   No SLS, SLES, cocamidopropyl betaine, cocobetaine, ALS, or ALES
Dimethiconol No SLS, SLES, cocamidopropyl betaine, cocobetaine, ALS, or ALES
Phenyl Trimethicone No SLS, SLES, cocamidopropyl betaine, cocobetaine, ALS, or ALES
Amodimethicone No SLS, SLES, cocamidopropyl betaine, cocobetaine, ALS, or ALES
Cyclomethicone No cocamidopropyl betaine, cocobetaine, other mild surfactants, or conditioner washing
PEG-modified dimethicone Yes cocamidopropyl betaine, cocobetaine, other mild surfactants, or conditioner washing
Dimethicone copolyol Yes cocamidopropyl betaine, cocobetaine, other mild surfactants, or conditioner washing

Silicones by themselves do not harm hair. They make hair easier to comb, making it shinier and smoother all the while. Over time, silicones build up on the hair shaft and seal out moisture, leading to hair that is non-eceptive to any products you may use further.

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