You'd have to have been living under a rock to never have used products containing silicone. Having curly hair that I blow dry straight, I used to love those silicone based products that essentially smoothed my hair after styling. Then they started adding silicone to shampoos and conditioners and suddenly it was everywhere - and unavoidable.
WHAT'S WRONG WITH SILICONE?
Basically, it coats each strand of hair similar to a slippery plastic/rubber. It seals the hair from the air and water and also any nutrients you put into your hair, so nothing actually enters the hair shaft. It makes it shiny, but it's a fake shine from the plastic, rather than a real shine from sealing the cuticle layer and having light reflect off that.
So over time, your hair actually becomes more dull. Sealing the cuticle only happens when hair is hydrated and healthy. Silicone doesn't wash out without a clarifying shampoo, causing buildup which then makes you wash and style your hair more often, most likely causing more damage. You get into a silicone-overstyling-cycle which actually just makes you use more product and leaves hair worse off.
“Silicone will weigh the hair down, making it limp, lifeless, and, with time, very dull. It prevents moisture from penetrating the hair shaft and becomes like a magnet for dirt and other ingredients. So in essence, we get a good shine for a couple of days, but over time it will attract more buildup on the hair. With time it will dry the hair out because it won’t allow in the conditioner and it ends up sitting on the surface. Due to lack of moisture, the hair will become very brittle and could lead to frizz and breakage.” —Shai Amiel, Celebrity Hairstylist & Owner, CAPELLA Salon
It's even worse for curly hair as the silicone hangs onto the curls. It can slip off straight hair but will stick to curls, making them drier over time.
If you say to yourself, 'I don't care if it's making my hair look bad in the long term, I need it to look good now!'
Just know that it's exactly like saying 'I don't care if eating whipped cream straight from the can into my mouth is bad for me long term, it's making me feel better right now'. Exactly. The. Same.
WHAT INGREDIENTS TO LOOK OUT FOR
Names for silicone include: cyclomethicone, dimethicone, methicone, amodimethicone, dimethiconol, cyclomethicone/ cyclopentasiloxane
WHAT TO USE INSTEAD
Look for silicone-free products, especially in your shampoo and conditioner. Give your hair a break from silicone by using a clarifying shampoo and then not using silicone for a month to see what happens and how your hair reacts. If you must use a silicone product, try to use one with water-soluble silicone which does wash out: cyclomethicone is a water soluble silicone.
I don't use any silicone-based products anymore after being completely hooked for years. I now just use the RECREATION Glow Queen Glow body + hair oil and my hair has never looked healthier or more shiny. I pop a pea sized amount into my palm and rub through hair before blow-drying straight, and then once it's dry, I'll add a tiny smidge to the ends of my hair for extra shine without weight.
And if they're this bad for your hair, imagine what they are doing to your skin! To be explored on this blog very soon.
Photo: Chris Mohen
H&M: Melanie Burnicle at Twenty2 Group
Model: Charlotte Barge at Wink
Swimsuit: Fella Swim