Is Silicone Good For Your Hair?
Who doesn’t fantasize about pulling their fingers through a soft, luscious head of hair? Some people appear blessed with that movie star luster, but don’t let them fool you. Most of the time, that sheen is all thanks to great hair products—and one of the most popular hair products for shine is silicone.
Though silicone does make the hair appear happier and healthier, this popular additive also gets significant negative press. The argument is that, although this mineral initially does help the hair’s texture and appearance, it actually causes more harm than good in the long run. There are even reports of silicone use increasing hair loss.
So, what’s the truth? Can a product that makes our hair feel so good eventually lead to severe and long-term damage?
What Is Silicone?
Silicone is a group of synthetic polymers that are considered stable, durable, waterproof and incredibly versatile. There’s a good chance you use silicone in some capacity countless times a day from electronics to the kitchen to hair and beauty products.
In hair care, silicone is an incredibly popular ingredient used mostly for styling and conditioning. Its slick, water-resistant texture bonds with your strands to create a smooth look that lasts.
How Do Silicone Hair Products Work?
When applied to the hair, silicone works as a thin, slippery substance that covers your strands with a nonporous coating. There are many immediate benefits to using a conditioner or other silicone-based product including:
Smoother, Shinier Hair
Thanks to its slick, lubricating properties, hair products with silicone will make anyone’s locks gleam. The silicone’s coating also seals your conditioner into the hair allowing its effects to last longer after you step out of the shower.
Defrizzing Your Hair
By filling cracks along your cuticle, hair receives more benefits than shine alone. The silicone also prevents excess moisture from seeping into your strands. Frizzy hair often occurs due to humidity. Water (H20) penetrates your hair shaft in humid weather and causes extra hydrogen bonds form between the keratin proteins that make up your hair fiber. Essentially the strand swells up and shortens creating frizz, however, the moisture-blocking elements within silicone keeps the wetness out and the poof at bay.
By coating each hair with a thin, silicone layer, each strand is better sealed. This shell strengthens and protects the hair which decreases breakage, heat damage, fraying and split ends. It also lessens friction between individual hairs causing fewer broken strands.
Why Is Silicone Bad for Your Hair?
Silicone is a resilient material. That’s ideal for effective, long-lasting wear—but it also quickly creates build-up as remaining bits of silicone sticks to hair despite regular washings.
The adverse effects of silicone building up might not be initially apparent. However, if extra silicone builds up, it will weigh down your strands, which can ultimately create a limp look while leftover bits cause a flat, dull appearance.
Also, though silicone helps hair look and feel amazing, the benefits are mostly superficial. Nothing within the silicone solution itself repairs or strengthens hair once it’s washed out. Healthy hair growth comes from your roots and is affected by your general health and diet, in other words, healthy hair starts from the inside out.
Lastly, if you’re experiencing hair loss, the extra weight may contribute to loose hairs falling out faster. However, silicone doesn’t cause hair loss itself. Instead, balding is most often due to hair miniaturization from genetic processes.
Are All Silicone Products Bad For Hair?
Some say all silicones have the potential to wreak hair havoc. However, there are different kinds of silicone-based compounds, each of which may increase or decrease damage.
When searching for a silicone hair product with lower chances build up or other negative effects, look for water-soluble and lightweight silicones. This means that the product will wash out relatively easily in the shower and without heavily weighing down the hair. Some silicone build-up will likely remain, but far less than if you choose non-water-soluble silicones.
Popular water-soluble silicones used in hair care products include Dimethicone copolyol and Cyclomethicone.
Non-water-soluble silicones are more commonly used in leave-in conditioners and hair serums. As the name implies, they are not as easily removed with water and may require a good scrubbing, or even a repeat shampoo to remove silicone remnants and prevent build-up. These are particularly good for drier curly to kinky hair, or when you’re trying to maintain a sleek flat-ironed look.
Popular kinds of non-water-soluble silicones to avoid include Dimethicone and Amodimethicone.
Should I Stop Using Silicone Hair Products?
Ultimately it’s up to you. After witnessing all the trauma our patients subject their hair to, e.g. dying, drying, curling, straightening, bleaching, etc., we know your hair needs protection! There are some high-quality hair care products without silicone that exist on the market so you do have a choice. But we believe silicone ingredients are safe and effective and should be part of your hair care routine.
As long as you thoroughly and regularly wash your hair, using a silicone-based product is unlikely to cause significant damage or hair loss—and there’s no denying it makes hair look and feel incredible.
Still, to ensure a lifetime of happy, healthy hair, occasionally skip hair products altogether and let your beloved locks dry naturally and breathe silicone free.
If you’re noticing significant hair loss, isn’t it time to do more than searching for the right ingredients in your conditioner? Trust the experts at Limmer HTC in San Antonio for the best treatments available so you can have the amazing head of hair you deserve. Call us at (210) 496-9992 or set up an appointment online anytime.