You can’t throw a stone down the drug store aisle without hitting a hair product with silicone on its label. But what is silicone and is it bad for your hair or good for it?
We’ll dive into silicones and what they do to hair below so you’re armed with the knowledge to choose hair product ingredients wisely. When you know what we know, it will change the way you see your hair and how you shop to care for it.
What is Silicone?
There are many kinds of silicone, but they can be grouped into the same class of ingredients. For ease, we’ll refer to them all as silicones. If you’re scanning an ingredient label, you can spot a large variety of silicones by looking for any ingredient ending in -cone.
Silicones originate from the natural element silica and then undergo a variety of chemical reactions to become the synthetic ingredient we see in products for both the hair and the skin. They are used because they create a barrier between the hair or skin and air and water. They also create slip and shine, giving the hair or skin a silky finish. Sound familiar?
Silicones are so common in beauty products because of this immediate silky feel and sheen they provide and because they’re inexpensive to use. Just because they’re common, though, doesn’t mean they’re good. They may be cheap, and they may give strands immediate shine, but their effect on hair doesn’t stop there.
What Silicone Does to Hair
Silicone can have an enchanting short-term effect on hair, but in the long run can leave it feeling heavy, greasy, and prone to buildup (and all the negative effects of it). This is where silicones lose their charm. Here are the effects that silicone has on your hair:
Keeps Nutrients Out
A silicone ingredient creates a barrier between the hair and the water and air outside. This barrier may keep water out, preventing frizz, but it also keeps everything else out, including hydrating ingredients your hair needs to retain moisture. Also, because most silicones aren’t water-soluble, meaning they don’t dissolve in water, they don’t easily rinse away when you wash your hair. This barrier may be particularly thick if you are using not only styling products with silicones but also silicone-containing shampoo and conditioner. So, why is silicone bad for hair? Well, if water can’t penetrate the hair follicle because of a layer (or multiple layers) of silicone, then neither can the good ingredients in your shampoo and conditioner. So, even if you’re experiencing dryness and using a nutrient-rich hair repair product such as our Restore Repair Mask, you may not be reaping any of the benefits.Not only does silicone affect hair health by keeping the nutrients your strands need out, but it also…
When silicones are a regular part of your hair care routine and shampooing won’t get rid of them, they tend to build up on the hair. Instead of hair feeling soft and shiny, it will begin to feel heavy and greasy, or dry and brittle, or both (think greasy scalp and dry, broken ends). Additionally, silicone actually attracts dirt, so the longer you use silicone-containing hair care products, the less clean your hair will feel, even fresh from the shower.
Leads To Damage
As your hair begins to feel less and less clean due to silicone buildup, you will feel as though you need to need to wash it more and more.Frequent washing with silicone-containing shampoo, though, will not only continue to cause buildup but also lead to hair damage. The more you wash, dry, and style your hair, the more friction and heat it encounters, and the more prone to breakage, dullness, and dryness it becomes (even if it doesn’t look it). So ensues a hair-harming cycle.
The only true way to rid your hair of the heavy, greasy residue silicones leave behind is to ditch the silicone hair product and embark on a detox. If you’re wondering how to remove silicone from hair, our silicone-free Perfect Hair Day™ Triple Detox Shampoo is a good place to start.
Is Silicone Bad for Hair?
So, what’s the verdict?
Silicones aren’t unhealthy for you to use in hair or skin care products. They don’t carry the same risks as some other ingredients do for your body and skin. However, just because an ingredient is “safe” doesn’t mean it’s fit for use, especially, if you add the environmental impact into the mix. Given most silicones aren’t water-soluble, they don’t break down when they are rinsed down the drain, so they can end up contaminating oceans and waterways.
Silicones aren’t fit for the earth, but they aren’t fit for your hair, either. They offer no health benefits to hair at all. While they may make your hair look nice at the time, they don’t provide any nutritional benefit to the hair strand, whereas other ingredients that offer similar shine and frizz-fighting power do. Additionally, silicone builds up on your hair, which results in the need to wash your hair more often.
As hair experts, we’ve seen our fair share of consequences when it comes to using silicone-containing hair products. So, we say now that you know why silicone is bad for your hair, it’s best to avoid it when you can.
This leads us to the all-important question: how do you avoid silicones?
How To Go Silicone-Free
If you’re used to shopping the shelves for your hair care, silicone is a tricky thing to escape. In fact, when we analyzed hundreds of hair products in our lab, silicone was one of the most prevalent ingredients. With a bit of research, though, avoiding silicone can be done.
Seek Out Silicone Alternatives
We get it: you want shiny, frizz-free hair. But you don’t have to seek out a silicone hair product to achieve this result. There are other ingredients out there that are healthier, more beneficial for your hair, and equally as effective (if not, more so) at taming frizz and adding shine.
At Living Proof, we don’t settle for ingredients that provide little to no value to your hair, which is why all of our hair products are silicone-free, from our dry shampoo to our hair volume spray. We also take results seriously, which is why we create ingredients to combat every hair woe and help your hair be at its best all of the time. Insert our Healthy Hair Molecule, invented by us to provide superior care for your hair, because you shouldn’t have to settle for silicone.
This Healthy Hair molecule evenly polishes, protects, and smoothes hair without weighing it down and is 70% more effective at fighting frizz than the standard silicone-containing product. It also actively repels dirt, rather than attracting it, so hair stays cleaner longer. This means less washing and less damage, not to mention better-looking hair, for longer.
It’s more than a silicone alternative: it’s a better option.
Switch Up Your Routine
Now that you know there are better options than silicone out there, you can feel confident switching to a non-silicone formula for your shampoo, conditioner, and styling products.
Wondering where can you get your hands on the Healthy Hair Molecule? Find our hair products online and simply pick out the Living Proof shampoo and conditioner that contains this powerful ingredient. All of our styling products are silicone-free, so you can bid adieu to your silicone products for good. No excuses.
Being silicone-free may take some getting used to. After all, you’re used to that familiar slip of silicone-containing products, and your hair is likely experiencing a bit of silicone buildup that won’t go away instantly. Trust us, though, after using a silicone and sulfate free shampoo for five washes or so, you’ll experience your best hair yet. Start your detox from silicone today and never look back.