Are silicones bad for your hair?

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    Silicones are a very popular ingredient that is found in a huge number of products. It is mainly used for its smoothing properties and gives a lasting result. Silicones work very well in base make-up as the skin becomes smooth and even in the face without clogging the skin (it does not go into the skin at all but only lies on the surface). On the hair, it makes your hair feel soft, smooth and look healthy and well-groomed.

    I have no problem with silicones in makeup and some hair styling products, but in my skin and hair care I prefer not to have it. Skin care is there to give moisture and nourishment to the skin, then I do not want to spend expensive money on a cream that contains almost the most silicone (is very often one of the first ingredients in the table of contents) just to make the skin feel smooth.

    And now I was going to tell you why I do not want it in my hair care! :)

    Are silicones bad for your hair?

    What is silicone?

    Silicones are a type of synthetic polymer and there are lots of variants, there is never silicone on the table of contents but there are words that end in "cone" or "oxane" e.g. cyclopentasiloxane and dimethicone.

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    It can be said that silicones are like cosmetics for the hair, it does not make the hair more well-groomed but only makes it see more well-groomed out.

    Silicones in shampoo, hair wrap and conditioner

    Almost all conditioners and hair wraps, and very many shampoos as well, contain silicones. But to have it in the hair care products you have in the shower / wet hair, I prefer to skip.

    Why? When you wet the hair, the scalp layer (outermost layer) on the hair strands opens and is open until you apply conditioner that closes the hair strands again. And while it is open, all the nutrients (and silicones) penetrate into the other layers of the hair. If you have silicones in your shampoo and hair wrap, there is a risk that you lock them inside the hair when you apply your conditioner.

    If you have silicone in your make-up, you wash it off every day, but if you have it in your hair care in the shower, it is only built in layers, in layers, in layers, in layers, and in the end you have a lot of silicone both inside and on the outside of the hair.

    If you have frizzy hair and split ends, it can be good with a little silicone (eg a hair oil with silicone) in the tops in dry hair so that it settles as a small protection that "holds" the tops together a bit so that they are not split even more :)

    Also read: Good cheap dry shampoo and how I use it

    Disadvantages of silicones in the hair

    And why is it not good to have many layers of silicone in your hair then?

    1. It can make chemical treatments not as effective - That the hair color does not adhere properly to the hair and if you have gray hair, they will appear very quickly again. That the curls in your permanent hair fall down and shave. Have you bleached your hair and got it yellow despite shade and silver products? It can also be the fault of the silicones, that the bleaching does not take as effectively.

    2. In addition, not all the nutrients in your hair wrap / conditioner get to the hair properly if there is a lot of silicone in the way, it is like buying an expensive, nice hand cream and then lubricate it while wearing plastic gloves. Not literally but you get the point :)

    As I said, in makeup I like to have silicones for it is just cosmetics. But in products that I spend expensive money on to actually care for my skin or my hair, there I do not want to pay for mostly silicones. It is absolutely no dealbreaker if it contains a little, but many are called words like "repair" and "moisture boost" but contain mostly silicone and then I feel almost a little cheated?

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    So I am not completely against silicones, I want to be careful to say it, but it is such a heavenly overconsumption of it. If you have it in hair care, skin care and in a body lotion, you are covered in silicone from head to toe 24/7.

    Can you use products with silicones in your hair styling?

    Silicones in styling products are good if you use it in dry hair and if you have a shampoo / product that can wash off the silicones. Then the silicones are not built on high and styling products are also cosmetic products - nothing that is there to care for / build up the hair. But in the shower products, I recommend skipping silicones completely.

    As a last resort, I also add that I am not a chemist or hairdresser, just a product nerd who has studied a lot about how hair works and even gone a hairology education. When it comes to ingredients in the beauty industry, everyone says different and you get to read on and form your own opinion and then make your decisions based on it :)

    Also need tips on my other hair posts:

    1. Is Olaplex good or bad for your hair?
    2. Tips for green shifts in the hair
    3. Blonde hair at home

    Shout out if you have any questions! ♥

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    Helena Amiley
    Helena Amiley
    I write mostly about beauty but also offer glimpses from the entrepreneurial life and the construction of our own camper van. Vanlife here we come!


    1. Silicones do not form a drying film on the hair, it is a myth. If that were the case, your hair would not dry out when you washed it with shampoo containing silicone, right? And if you have in silicones when the hair is dry, it would not get wet in the shower, because there is a film that prevents moisture from entering… This is not the case, hair dries, and gets wet even with silicones in it. Silicones have a structure with large molecules and let substances into the hair that have smaller molecules. Think of silicone as a chicken net, a hen cannot get in or out but a fly can. Silicones make the hair surface smooth, and the better the glide of a hair, the less damage occurs when combing, brushing, blow-drying and styling. Usually you do not want the hair to be damaged when you are doing a lot with the hair. You can always wash out silicones with shampoo, that they are not water soluble just means that clean water does not remove it completely. And why would you want it to flow out of the hair so easily, then even the slightest rain would wash away the product. Shampoo, on the other hand, removes them. Silicones help the hair to cope with the stresses we expose it to better, there is nothing wrong with that. I think. If you have very oily or thin hair, silicones can make the hair oily faster and make it look a little thinner because it becomes very smooth and "flat", but silicones are nothing to be afraid of at all. There are many different types of silicone, the waterproof used in joints and bathrooms is something completely different, they are completely waterproof on the other hand. Hope I have explained in an understandable way.

      • I understand what you are saying but nowhere in my post do I claim that silicones form a drying membrane on the hair :) What I mean by the post is that if you use hair washing products that are stuffed with silicones, it builds layer upon layer inside the hair (because it has been used when the hair is wet = open mountain layer) and even layers of chicken wire eventually become like a denser wall. Then how easily they are washed off, we have different opinions about then, I am not a chemist so can only start from what I learned and my experiences but as I experience it, it is really not easy to wash off products with a lot of silicone, it can I also like when I have to wash off some silicone-based foundations as well. It is a good property of silicone when it comes to makeup, that it becomes very durable, but when it comes inside the hairs, it is much harder to wash off and I do not want that in my hair :)

    2. Giggles here a bit to myself as "dimethicone" sounds like my medicine "dimethicone" which actually looks like a small silicone drop type .. But it is probably not made on silicone but on gelatin, which is lucky;)

    3. In professional hair care, ie the products and brands that you can buy at hair salons, there are only water-soluble silicones. The silicones are therefore not so bad for the hair, but what you should take care of are mainly silicones in hair care products that you can find at, for example, Kicks, Åhléns and grocery stores. Then there are also brands, for example the Swedish brand Maria Nila, which uses a very small amount of silicone. Maria Nila's products contain silicone under 1 % and are used there to help introduce other nourishing, moisturizing and nourishing substances into the hair, without this small amount of silicone the products would not be as good. So yes, there are two sides of the "silicone story" as well :-) Super good post by the way and fun that you got to go to a hair care training. Hugs to you!

      • I am not a chemist but in the training we learned that there is no such thing as water-soluble silicones, plastic can not be dissolved with water. Then there are silicones that release more easily than others, that's right :) But then you should still be careful with heating tongs, if you constantly have silicones except for the short time you wash them off in the shower and put on new ones immediately (if there are in the shower products I think). Then I can just go after my education, everyone will always say differently. The same thing more researchers :) But it is incredibly difficult to understand why the good substances would go in better thanks to silicone, however, I can understand that they are retained thanks to silicone because the nutrients are "locked in" - but it is in such cases also just proof that the silicone stays inside the straw. The last thing is just my own theory, will meet our course leader again tomorrow will ask her then what she says about what you write :) Hugs!

        • I'm not a chemist either, hehe, and I go after what I learned in training with sales and developers for all the brands we have in the store / salon. Then we have trained hairdressers who also contributed a lot of info, but I think this is very different depending on who you talk to :-) We have many brands in the store / salon that have removed silicones, sulfates and parabens from their products and therefore we talk a lot about it and ask a lot to the brands that have not yet done so. So we have heard from the brands themselves why they chose to keep certain substances and what I wrote above is what the brands themselves told us about their products :-) Then I myself am not for sulfates, parabens or silicones and I both believe and hope that all brands have removed these substances from their products in a few years. But there are also two sides to the story, as I said, and if the silicones were really that bad for the hair and could not contribute anything good, then they would not be allowed in professional hair care. After all, hairdressing products go through a lot of tests before they can start to be sold :-) Hugs again!

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