Silicone in hair products always sparks debates. Is it a good ingredient for your hair? Does it damage hair and scalp? There are way too many questions about silicone and its effect on our hair.
There's a short answer to this question, and there's a long answer. The short answer is that silicone may not be bad for everyone, but long-term use of products with silicone can cause hair and skin problems. We'll discuss the long answer in the course of this blog post.
Let's find out whether silicone is really bad for you and burst some myths.
Table of Contents:
- What Is Silicone?
- Why Is Silicone Used in Hair Products?
- Is Silicone Dangerous for Your Hair?
- Verdict: Should You Use Hair Products with Silicone?
What Is Silicone?
Silicone is an artificial substance made from crystal quartz. Silicone is very common in all kinds of cosmetic products. You can also find silicone in products that have nothing to do with hair or skin.
Silicones are of three types: water-soluble, water non-soluble, and evaporating. The terms are self-explanatory. You can wash water-soluble silicone with water alone. For non-soluble silicone, you need mild shampoo, at least. Evaporating silicone evaporates by itself within a span of 10 minutes to one hour from the time of application.
Stearoxy dimethicone, dimethicone PEG-8 phosphate, dimethicone copolyol, and PEG-7 amodimethicone are examples of water-soluble silicones. You can find these names on shampoo and conditioner bottles.
Dimethiconol, cetyl dimethicone, stearyl dimethicone, dimethicone, Cetearyl dimethicone, and amodimethicone are some common non-soluble silicones used in hair products.
Evaporating silicones go by three names: Cyclomethicone, Cyclomethicone, and Cyclopentasiloxane.
As you can guess, it is easier to wash off water-soluble silicones. If you insist on using silicone in your hair products, try to stick with water-soluble ones. But the functions that non-soluble silicone offers are not accomplished by water-soluble ones. For example, water-soluble silicone cannot trap moisture and hydration in your hair.
Why Is Silicone Used in Hair Products?
Silicone is used in skin care products for roughly the same reasons. Since this ingredient can trap hydration and moisture, it has a range of use cases in skin and hair care. However, for all its benefits, silicone does have a few downsides.
One of the benefits of silicone is purely cosmetic. When silicone is added to a hair product, it becomes richer and more luxurious. In other words, the texture of the product becomes smoother and creamier.
Silicone can be helpful for people with dry hair. Since it locks moisture, it can add hydration to dry and dull hair.
It creates a protective film over your strands. As a result, your hair becomes visibly shinier and bouncier. While much of it is at the surface level, it does provide a quick fix.
Silicone is safe to use. There are no immediate dangers associated with it. Even if you are using products with non-soluble silicones, the negative effects will show up much later.
Is Silicone Dangerous for Your Hair?
Yes and no. Silicone is dangerous for your hair when you use it for a long time and do not wash it off properly. It's not inherently dangerous, that is, there is nothing immediately harmful about silicones.
There are several downsides to using silicone. Let's go through them one by one:
Silicone can deposit on your scalp if you use it for a long time. When there's too much silicone build-up on your scalp, it can lead to a lot of problems. First, it can lead to rashes and bumps on your scalp. Second, silicone deposits can run onto the rest of your body (face, especially) and lead to acne and pimples.
- By locking moisture and hydration in your hair, silicone can make it too dry in some cases. That's because your hair becomes incapable of absorbing moisture from its surroundings.
- Long-term use of silicone is associated with hair breakage.
- The protective layer created by silicone can prevent other nutrients from getting absorbed. That means when you are using a hydrating shampoo or conditioner, it will not work as well.
- Silicone can dry your hair out, which can then lead to a host of hair problems.
Having said these, it's important to note that silicone is not an absolute evil. If you have to use silicone, it's always better to use water-soluble silicones. Since you can wash it off with water alone, the chances of build-up decrease.
Now, let us look at some of the benefits of silicone.
Verdict: Should You Use Hair Products with Silicone?
You can use hair products with silicone. However, it is not without any risks.
With amazing silicone-free hair products readily available, there are fewer reasons than ever to continue using products with silicone. Hydrating shampoos without silicone use natural moisturizing agents like coconut milk, argan oil, and almond oil. Unlike silicone, these ingredients have no side effects.
Similarly, hair conditioners without silicone incorporate ingredients like coconut oil, sweet almond oil, castor oil, jojoba oil, and argan oil. If you would rather be safe than sorry, it's always a good idea to use silicone-free hair products.
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