I’m Saying Goodbye to Silicones in the Pursuit of Better Hair
We’ve done a real good job at getting everyone on board with Sulfate-Free shampoo. If you’re confused, sulfates are harsh chemical detergents that are known to strip the natural oil and any color or chemical treatments your hair has, but give you that luxurious lather in the shower we all know and love. In the past few years pretty much every brand, both drugstore and premium, have reformulated their signature shampoos and other products excluding the pesky sulfates. Without sulfates our hair is healthier, shinier, and less prone to breakage and damage. This all sounds great, right? Well, it is except there is another chemical that is still hiding in most of our conditioners and styling products that are still causing damage to our hair under the guise of shiny looking hair. Say hello…or hopefully after this blog post, goodbye….to silicones.
What are Silicones and why are they bad for the hair?
Silicones are synthetic chemicals that act as a barrier to water and air. The reason they are so often used in hair products (the most common being Dimethicone) is because they give the hair a conditioned and shiny look and feel. Think about your conditioner, one of the biggest silicone keepers in your bathroom, when you wash it out your hair feels slippery, soft, and once dried it leaves your hair silky, smooth, and shiny. You’re probably thinking, “So why would I want my hair to stop being soft, silky, and shiny?” The problem with silicones is that its all smoke and mirrors. Your hair isn’t actually healthy, shiny, or smooth, the chemical is tricking you into believing it is. The next problem with silicones is they are not water-soluble, meaning they can not be removed with water alone you have to use sulfates to completely remove them. But since we have gotten rid of all the sulfates in our shampoos (which is a good thing) all the silicones that use on a daily basis start to build up on the hair leaving it greasy, weighed down, and dull. No thank you! Once you’ve removed silicones from your daily routine, you’re hair can finally start it’s journey to become smooth, shiny, soft and most importantly actually HEALTHY!
So What Do I do now?
The first step is to go on a scavenger hunt through your bathroom and remove any and all products that contain silicones. Look for anything ending in “-cone” and “-conol.” The few exceptions to the rule is any “-cone” with PEG or PEG-8/12 in front of it. These silicones have been manufactured to be water soluble and will be completely removed from the hair under water and your sulfate-free shampoo! If you find some questionable silicones, just grab your phone and ask trusty Google: “Is X water-soluble?” Once you’ve gathered up the traitors say your goodbyes and toss them in the trash.
Now that you’ve probably gotten rid of every hair product you own — it’s quite appalling to see how many products rely on silicones to do the heavy lifting — you’re wondering how you’re going to do your hair because air drying san products is not your thing (if it is, you are very lucky!). But don’t worry you won’t have to go on a major research project trying to find silicone-free products to take the place of your old favorites, I’ve made a list of tried and true silicone-free conditioners, hair masks, and styling products!
Silicone-Free Conditioners and Masks
Living Proof No Frizz Condioner (all of Living Proof is silicone free!!)
Silicone-Free Styling Products
Living Proof Restore Perfecting Spray (this is my all time favorite — I’m on my 4th bottle!)
Kristin Ess Dry Styling + Finishing Line (my favorites are Beach Wave Spray, Working Texture Spray, and Blow Dry Assist, but many others in her lines are also silicone-free)
Tip: Buy the travel or mini sizes of new products so you can test them out without shelling $$$ for a product you end up not liking. If you end up liking the product, buy the full size and save the mini for when you do travel!
There are tons of silicone-free products on the market but these are the ones I’ve personally tried or know they are well beloved. Hopefully the silicone-free movement will become as strong as the sulfate-free one and we’ll have an easier time navigating through the thousands of products on the market. My parting tip will be that before you embark on your silicone-free hair journey do wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo that has sulfates (my favorites is Paul Mitchell Shampoo Two — smells likes lemons, but you can use any standard sulfate shampoo even cheap ones like Pert or Suave). Shampoo twice to get rid of the silicone buildup your hair has from years of using silicone products and then slather your hair in one of the above deep conditioning masks. Plan to clarify once a month or two months, depending on your hair needs, to get rid of inevitable build up from life (i.e. dirt, pollution, products, ect.). Using a sulfate product a few times a year won’t be detrimental to it’s overall health but will actually aid it!!
I’ve only been silicone-free for about a month and while it hasn’t been the easiest transition, I’m still trying to find the best products for my temperamental hair, I have noticed that my hair doesn’t feel as weighed down which is HUGE for me! From now on any hair products featured on the blog will be silicone-free, so you can add them to your to-try list. Are you ready to join me in the silicone-free movement?