Silicones are common hair product ingredients, but they do come with some controversy. With careful use, silicone-based products can be great for controlling frizz and smoothing unruly hair.
What are silicones?
Silicone polymers are synthetic materials that are very popular in cosmetics, especially in haircare. Silicones are often used in serums, hairsprays, shampoos, and conditioners but come under many different names on an ingredients labels.
When applied, silicones latch onto the hair strand and create a barrier around the cuticle for protection. Slippery silicones seal in shine and smoothness. They can help porous hair and split ends appear healthy and give strands a soft feel. It's not surprising that silicone are so popular.
Why are silicones good for those with frizzy hair?
Frizzy hair is caused by an uneven and open cuticle surface, which allows in humidity that causes the hair strands to swell. Silicones are great for fighting frizz, as they help to smooth the cuticle surface and create a barrier against outside moisture.
What are the downsides of using silicones?
It all sounds too good to be true, right? Unfortunately, silicone-based products do have some downsides. By creating a protective barrier against humidity, silicones block other products from penetrating the hair, making for major build-up. This coating can leave hair feeling heavy and limp.
If you have curly hair, you may lose definition in your curls as your hair becomes weighed down. Curly hair is generally a lot drier than straight hair, and the protective barrier of silicone can prevent needed moisture from penetrating. The result is that curly hair feels even drier and more prone to frizz over time.
Should I stop using silicones if I have curly, frizzy hair?
No! Silicones can be highly beneficial, as they make your hair so much more manageable and easier to style. Their ability to fight the appearance of frizz is unparalleled. You'll struggle to find effective products that don't contain silicones.
To reap the benefits of silicones without suffering from the long-term effects, you'll need to change up your haircare routine in a couple of key ways.
Ensure your hair stays as hydrated as possible. Use a hydrating shampoo, conditioner, and regular deep treatments to ensure your hair is well moisturised. We recommend the Shu Uemura Ultimate Remedy range for intense nourishment.
Use a clarifying shampoo. Clarifying shampoos strip your hair of residue as well as natural oils. If used too often, these cleansers will dry your hair out. However, clarifying every few washes helps prevent product build-up from silicones. Use a deep treatment afterwards to avoid dehydration. We recommend Moroccanoil Clarifying Shampoo.
If you ensure your hair stays hydrated and free of product build-up, you can enjoy the smoothing and protective effects of silicones without worrying about drying out your hair. We have plenty of products to choose from in our curly, frizzy hair shop that are geared to your hair type.