Let's talk silicones - they're everywhere in the shampoo & conditioner market and sometimes they're hiding in plain sight.
- Silicone can give your hair that sleek and shiny, frizz-free gloss.
- It's great at straightening and even better at giving your hair a soft and conditioned feel. It does this by filling in the prosperity of your strands and masking those flyaways.
- It's waterproof and can protect your hair from the elements by adding a layer of protection.
- When wet, it's able to coat your strands and give that slippery, soft feel which helps to remove tangles.
- It has great conditioning benefits as it's able to lock in moisture.
Sounds amazing right? We'll we'd have to agree. In short, it will give you the hair that you've always wanted. But with every PRO comes a CON.
- Silicone is like plastic/rubber and it's waterproofing properties make it a great sealant against water and air.
- These waterproof properties are able to give us the shine we want but at the cost of coating our strands like a plastic wrap, thus giving us a synthetic shine.
- This coating can help to hide the real condition of your hair.
- Continuous use of silicone-based products will leave to build upon the strands and often weigh the hair down.
- Continued build-up and repelling of moisture can actually work against your strands and cause them to dry out, leaving your hair more prone to breakage.
- Hair may become greasy quicker, and require more washing.
- Silicone build-up will require a product like a clarifying shampoo to strip the hair of the buildup. Which will also require deep conditioning to restore moisture. It's an endless cycle of continued damage.
- Silicone is particularly bad for curly hair as the structure of curls makes silicone harder be removed and lead to heavy dull curls.
The next trick is trying to spot them in your haircare products. They're often hiding in plain sight, some names for silicones include Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethiconol, Dimethicone Copolyol, Amodimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Methicone and others.
Each of the different silicones has different properties which allow them to dissolve in different ways. Some are water-soluble which are easy to wash out, and some are non-water soluble which will require a strong product to remove their buildup. Sometimes the price of them will dictate how often they are used and of course, non-water-soluble silicones are cheaper to use and more prevalent.
But what do silicones have to do with natural haircare?
We're glad you asked. Having used a product with silicones prior to making the switch to natural haircare can adversely affect the time it takes to transition through to the benefits of natural haircare. The silicone will do its job by repelling moisture and locking you into that deep oily/greasy feeling. To put it simply, natural haircare is not strong enough to remove silicones from your hair and neither is an acid rinse. Natural products can not fight the power of silicone.
So what should I do?
If you're experiencing a strong transition phase and you can't seem to shake the buildup and oily feeling - it's time to get something stronger.
We'd recommend getting yourself a clarifying shampoo to strip your hair of product buildup and give you the best opportunity to achieve the natural haircare benefits.
There are plenty of great Vegan, SLS, silicone-free clarifying shampoos on the market. However, we've not found one plastic-free (yet) and not one that is completely natural. (Because again natural clarifying products are otherwise known as acid rinses and they're not strong enough). If this is you, you will need something strong to cut through the silicones.
As with everything we do, we'd love to hear your feedback on your experience to natural haircare. Please feel free to join the conversation in our Facebook group - The Solibar Society.