I was watching a video last week from one of my favorite Youtubers last week (beauty channel, of course), on hair care. She said something that struck me: “Silicones aren’t bad for your hair. They just aren’t.” If you’re up on beauty debates, silicone is one of those ingredients that’s been on the poopoo list of organic fanatics (like myself), and pretty much all conventional hair products, from conditioner to shampoo, are full of silicones. While I think my Youtube friend’s comment is largely true, silicones certainly aren’t a worthwhile ingredient in your hair care routine, and here’s why.
(Disclaimer: I’m definitely not a scientist, so please don’t judge me on the technical terms!) Silicones are synthetic polymers and are used as lubricants in many industries. The effect on your hair is kind of like coating it with a plasticky film, and this is why they’re used in many cosmetics. They add lots of slip and weigh down your hair to make it soft and less frizzy. Silicones are inert (i.e., they’re not going to bind to other chemicals to make some new substance), and nontoxic.
While that’s all very benign, if you hair is fine and straight like mine, silicones, especially over time, will build up on your hair and lead to your hair being flat, limp, and stringy most of the time. I’ve been off silicone products for about 3 years now and no longer have the problem of limp hair a few hours after washing it. It’s not a miracle; it’s not like it won’t get greasy. But even if it is greasy two or three days later, it still looks like hair, not a stringy mess. I recently used one of my old Aveda shampoos and noticed the difference right away; my hair was totally flat within a couple hours of washing it. So, for someone like me, who doesn’t want to have to wash her hair every day, silicone-free is the way to go.
Also, silicones provide no true benefit to your hair. Hair is part of your body, so just like eating healthy things that provide your body building blocks, hair care should also provide nutritional value for your hair. Conventional hair products contain ingredients like detergents and silicones, and maybe a drop of plant oil here and there, but largely they are like McDonald’s for your hair. What you want is that whole grain sandwich with sprouts and hummus. That’s brands like Acure and Rahua (my favorite) that have vitamin and protein-rich formulas, with ingredients like aloe vera, plant oils, and quinoa extract, from top of the ingredient list to bottom.
So make like Janis, and maybe set your hairs free.