Pros and Cons of Silicones in Hair Products! Uncover the truth about silicones in hair products with our comprehensive guide. Delve into the Pros and Cons of Silicones to make informed choices for your haircare routine. Learn how silicones can provide a smooth, glossy finish but may also have downsides like build-up and potential weight.
There are a few ingredients found in hair care products which are rather controversial, because while they are beneficial to the hair, they can also be disadvantageous to the hair in some ways.
Well, one such ingredient is silicones. Silicones are often found in hair care products like shampoos and conditioners, in serums etc. This ingredient in question helps make the hair feel soft and smoothens out the hair too, making it more manageable.
But on the other hand, prolonged usage of products that contain silicones can cause buildup on the scalp and hair. It can clog the hair follicles and can prevent growth of new hair.
So what we need to consider is do we continue to use products that contain silicones or not?
Will using products that contain silicones benefit us more than it can cause damage to our hair?
Well, let’s discuss the pros and cons of silicones in hair products, how to identify them on product labels and much more.
Pros and Cons of Silicones in Hair Products
Here are the details!
What Is Silicones in Hair Products
Silicones are those ingredients found in hair care products that are synthetic polymers. They are used in hair products to smoothen the hair, reduce frizz and help make the hair more manageable. It can also help condition the hair and make it softer and more voluminous.
Silicones come in different types – evaporating silicones, water-soluble silicones and non-soluble silicones.
Water soluble silicones can be washed off easily when it comes in contact with water, while non-soluble silicones do not get washed off easily with water (and this type of silicones in products lead to buildup on the scalp and hair shaft).
Evaporating silicones (volatile silicones) once applied on the hair, evaporate within a span of 10 to 15 minutes. Evaporating silicones are those that are not very likely to cause hair buildup because they evaporate very quickly and do not remain on the hair. Nevertheless, they can cause a certain amount of dryness to the hair and are most often used in hair styling products.
So, most often non-soluble silicones are considered the worst type of silicones for the hair because they do not wash off with water and can accumulate on the hair causing buildup and it can further weigh down the hair over time make it stand limp.
But the good thing you should know is that in general, silicones are not toxic, they are not toxic chemicals. Therefore, using it on your hair is perfectly safe. But of course, you do need to consider its advantages and disadvantages when you use products which contain silicones.
The Pros of Using Silicones in Hair Products
Using products that contain silicones are often considered advantageous because they can benefit your hair in many ways.
Let’s look into some of the pros of using silicones in hair products.
1. It can protect the hair from extensive damage
When you use products that contain silicones, the silicones tend to create a film-like coating over the hair strands.
This can help prevent the hair from getting extensively damaged by factors like heat tools, sun damage etc.
2. Helps reduce frizziness
Frizz is often created when the hair is dry and the cuticles on the hair shaft get raised. Thus, the hair becomes frizzy and coarse.
Therefore, when you use products that contain silicones, the silicones coat the hair shaft and smoothen out the opened cuticles, thereby giving the hair a smoothened look and a shiny/glossy finish.
3. Can make the hair easier to manage
Using products that contain silicones means that your hair will improve in its texture and overall quality.
You will notice that your hair is much smoother than before and devoid of frizz and flyaways. Thus, it will be much easier to manage your hair.
4. Gives the hair a smooth and shiny look
Silicones have the ability to coat each hair strand forming a film-like structure on them. This helps close up the open hair cuticles and this film-like coating gives the hair a very shiny and smooth look.
5. Can help lock in moisture in the hair strands
Using products that contain silicones can help lock moisture in the hair strands. This is because the film-like coating created by the silicones on the hair, help smoothen out the opened cuticles, thus leaving no space for moisture to escape.
6. Can make hair detangling easy
When the hair is smooth and non-frizzy, the hair doesn’t get entangled easily and thereby, it makes it so much easier to detangle the hair without much effort.
It can also help prevent hair loss due to breakage while detangling the hair as well.
7. It is a non-toxic chemical which is safe for the hair
Silicones aren’t toxic chemicals. They just coat the hair strands, but do not get absorbed into the hair and therefore, it is completely safe to use on the hair.
The Cons of Using Silicone in Hair Products
Most often we consider silicones in products as a good thing because of its multiple benefits for the hair.
But what most of us do not realize is that silicones in products do have a few disadvantages for the hair too (just like everything else of course!).
Here are some of the cons of using silicones in hair products:
1. Can lead to product buildup on the scalp and hair
Silicones coat the hair shaft and also form a film on the scalp. This, over time, accumulates and leads to product buildup. This is because silicones (especially the non-soluble type) do not wash off easily with water and remain on the hair and scalp.
2. Can accumulate on the hair and weigh it down
When products that contain silicones are used on the hair, they tend to leave behind product buildup and over time when this buildup collects, it can weigh down the hair making it stand limp and lifeless.
3. Can hinder hair growth by clogging the hair follicles
Silicones cause product buildup on the scalp and thus can clog the hair follicles. When the hair follicles are blocked, there is no nutrition that can penetrate through to them and eventually, it will lead to hindered hair growth.
How to Identify Silicones in Hair Products
Whenever you buy a product, it is always essential that you personally take a look at the product label to check for the ingredients used in the product you’re going to be using on your hair.
In this case, we’re discussing about silicones and here I’ll let you in on some details on how to identify silicones in hair products.
Here is a list of common names you can find on product labels to identify silicones and their types.
Water soluble silicones
1. Dimethicone copolyol
2. PEG – 8 Dimethicone
3. PEG – 12 Dimethicone
4. Lauryl methicone copolyol
5. Dimethicone PEG – 8 succinate
3. Phenyl Trimethicone
Evaporating silicones (volatile silicones)
3. Dimethicone Crosspolymer
4. Tetrahydrofurfuryl Methacrylate
5. Trimethylsiloxysilicate Copolymer
Can Silicones Prevent Hair Growth
While silicones will not directly prevent hair growth, they can definitely do so indirectly. So, yes, silicones can be a cause of restricted or lack of hair growth. Want to know how? Well, this is because silicones can accumulate on the scalp and cause a clogging in the hair follicles.
When the hair follicles are blocked, there is no way hair can grow out of it and that prevents new hair from growing.
Is Silicone Bad for Curly Hair
Well, this topic is rather debatable and I personally think that it is an individual choice whether they’d wish to use products that contain silicones or not.
Being someone with curly hair myself, I have used products that contain silicones for years now and I am still using them.
Yes, I do agree that buildup does collect, but the good part is that with using a clarifying shampoo once in a few months and deep conditioning thereafter, does the trick of getting my scalp and hair cleaned.
Nevertheless, I have to admit that using products with silicones do weigh down your curls after prolonged usage and therefore, if you do not believe in cleansing your hair with a clarifying shampoo once in a few months, then choosing a product that doesn’t contain silicones, especially the non-soluble type of silicones, would be a better and more practical option indeed.
The Final Takeaway
Whether or not using products for the hair that contain silicones are good or bad for you, is something only you can decide.This is because this topic is rather controversial.
While some prefer silicone-free products because they find that the silicones in products weigh down their hair and make it stand limp and also cause product buildup on their scalp and hair, there are others who love using products that have silicones for the sole reason that it makes their hair soft, smooth and more manageable.
Using products that contain silicones have many benefits for the hair. It can make the hair look less frizzy and makes it easier to manage, while the disadvantage is that it can cause buildup and weigh down the hair over time.
So, in my opinion, I’d say that using products that contain silicones is worth it, if you choose to clarify your hair once in a couple of months, so that you do not lose out on the benefits of such products!
Why You Should Trust Haireveryday?
The author of this article, Leah Marie Priest has a degree in Cosmetology with years of experience in dealing with hair care, scalp care, and hairstyling. As someone who extensively deals with all kinds of hair textures, products, styling methods and more, hair Leah Marie knows what kind of products and procedures suit each hair type and person. We have also tested these hair products and processes ourselves to provide you an unbiased review about every product. Each of our articles are also reviewed by a team of medical professionals so that you get the most accurate and expert-reviewed information.