Friday, January 13, 2012
Are Silicones Bad For Your Hair?
There’s a lot of talk lately about silicones (along with a lot of confusion). Silicones (also referred to as “cones” are one of the ingredients that you’ll want to steer clear of if you’re following the Curly Girl Routine. Why? Because silicones create a covering over the hair shaft and create build up. The reason that manufactures put silicones in their hair products is simple; cones smooth the hair—especially while it’s wet. You know that slippery feeling you get when you put conditioner on your hair and run your fingers through it with ease—you guessed it—cone city! The downside of cones for curly hair is that they prevent the hair from absorbing moisture. Most curly girls already battle with dryness, that’s why the cones are such a disaster for curly hair. The cones prevent moisture from penetrating the cortex, and this is what dries out the hair shaft and can lead to damage.
It takes due diligence to avoid cones because, basically, they’re in nearly every hair product! Pick up a bottle of conditioner and read the ingredients; do you see Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone or something that ends in “cone”? Yep, you guessed right, that’s a silicone!
To further complicate matters, not all silicones are created equal. Dimethicone, (also known as simethicone) is the heaviest of all the silicones and is also the hardest to wash out. Cyclomethicone seems to be the one that leaves that slippery feeling and evaporates quickly. And not everyone’s hair reacts to silicones the same. Someone with thin, finely textures hair may have a different experience with certain silicones than someone with thick or coarse hair. While some people get miraculous results when they stop using silicones, other people swear by cones! Like I’ve said before, you have to figure out what works for you and stick with it. I honestly don’t believe there are two heads of hair that are the same.
Many curly girls may decide to modify the CG method and venture outside of the guidelines (for example, using light silicones, straightening hair with a flat iron, clarifying with a sulfate free shampoo, etc.), because it works for them. Different products work better for different types of curly hair. You’ll want to experiment and check out hair forums like naturallycurly.com for products that work for your hair type. If you are going to use hair products that contain silicones, you need to avoid buildup by using a shampoo with sulfates at least once a week.
Listed below are some of the most common silicones found in hair care products:
Not water soluble (i.e, will cause build-up)
· Cetearyl Methicone
· Cetyl Dimethicone
· Stearyl Dimethicone
Slightly soluble (May, or many not, cause build-up)
· Behenoxy Dimethicone
· Stearoxy Dimethicone
Water Soluble (Will not cause build-up)
· Dimethicone copolyol
· Hydrolyzed wheat protein hydroxypropyl polysiloxane
· Lauryl methicone copolyol
· Cones with PEG listed before it