Hair Silicones are types of ingredients that coat the hair; they can be found in hair oils, shampoos, and conditioners. This coating can give the hair a sleek and shiny look. Our hair has a rather complicated relationship with silicones. On the one hand, they can lock in moisture; but, once applied, they can prevent additional moisture from penetrating the hair. Silicones essentially act as a barrier. Most silicones can be difficult to wash out of hair because they are not water-soluble. This can lead to build up and weight the hair down, and thanks to the unique properties of not allowing in moisture, this can lead to excessively dry hair.

Bad Silicones

“Bad silicones” are silicones that are not water-soluble and will stubbornly cling to your hair regardless of how much you rinse they can also leave your roots feeling greasy (our scalp produces natural oils and the silicones hold them in without allowing them to effectively travel down the strands of our hair, resulting in greasy roots with dry strands). A few silicon types to look out for are dimethicone, cetyl dimethicone, and cetearyl methicone (but there are more). So the question becomes, how do you remove such silicones? The answer is using a clarifying shampoo, however many shampoos that can remove a build-up of silicones do so by utilizing sulfates. This is a problem because sulfates strip not only silicone build-up but also natural oils, and if you color your hair, they will remove hair dye as well. Following up with a deep conditioner may seem like the ideal answer; however, some deep conditioners also contain “bad” silicones.

Good Silicones

Good silicones are water-soluble, so that doesn’t result in build-up. Some examples of good silicones are dimethicone copolyol, stearoxy dimethicone, and behenoxy dimethicone. These silicones don’t actually coat the hair, but they do provide shine and conditioning to the hair. These silicones can be easily removed using shampoo.

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