Does Silicone Damage Hair?

With so many ingredients and options available in hair care, it’s hard to know what’s right to put on our curly hair.

Products that contain Silicone—like serums, hairsprays, shampoos, and conditioners—are some of the best defrizzing products.

But we often get asked, Is Silicone good for hair? Truth is, Silicones are a very common hair care ingredient, but they do have a bad rep.

R+Co Foil Frizz + Static Control SprayR+Co Foil Frizz + Static Control Spray

What do Silicones do to your hair?

There’s a reason why Silicones are such a popular ingredient.

Silicones coat the hair to stop frizz, which sounds great. But as with everything in life, moderation is key (except when it comes to chocolate).

Silicone can build up if used too much, leaving the hair dull and weighed down.

That's why it's handy to know if you're using products that contain Silicones, so you don’t overwhelm your hair.

Silicone goes by many different names in hair products:

  • Cyclomethicone

  • Dimethicone (listed in silicon based shampoo)

  • Cetearyl methicone

  • Dimethicone copolyol

  • Phenyl trimethicone

  • Amodimethicone (often one of the silicone names in conditioner)

When Silicone is applied to curly and frizzy hair, it creates a protective barrier around the hair cuticle. This helps porous (dry) hair appear healthy, soft, and sleek.

So why do Silicones get such a bad rap?

Well, by stopping moisture from leaving the hair, over time Silicones can also prevent the hair from receiving moisture and nutrients.

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—not exactly the beautiful, bouncy curls we’re aiming for.

Basically, Silicones are good for sleekness but not for actual hair health

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 moisture from penetrating.

The result is that curly hair feels even drier and more prone to frizz over time.

Glass Hair using ColorWOW Dream CoatGlass Hair using ColorWOW Dream Coat

Now you might be reading this like 'weighed down?!'...'dry hair?!'... - is silicone actually good for hair?

If you have frizz prone hair, you'll be well aware of the terror of humidity.

Frizzy hair is caused by an uneven and open cuticle surface, which invites in humidity that causes the hair strands to swell.

And that’s where Silicones come in.

The barrier formed by silicones stops moisture from leaving the hair, meaning it stops hair from getting frizzy in humidity.

They’re great for fighting frizz, as they help smooth the cuticle surface and create a barrier against outside moisture.

Should I stop using Silicones if I have curly, frizzy hair?

Not necessarily! Silicones can be highly beneficial, as they make your hair so much more manageable and easier to style.

To reap the benefits of Silicones without suffering the long-term effects, you'll need to change up your haircare routine in a couple of key ways: 

1. Cleanse like you mean it

Clarifying shampoos are the key factor in how to get Silicone out of hair. Stronger than a normal shampoo, a clarifying shampoo removes the build-up and residue of Silicones from the products you use.

Remember that, if used too often, these heavy-duty cleansers will dry your hair out. Stick to using a clarifying shampoo every few washes to prevent build-up. And use a deep conditioning treatment afterwards to prevent dehydration.

2. Start strength training for hair

Frizz-prone hair has often been damaged by chemicals or heat. Or frizz may simply be the result of weak hair follicles. Proteins from Wheat, Soy, and other plants are a natural hair defrizzer and help strengthen the hair against breakage. Look for these ingredients in conditioners and hair treatments.

3. Hydrate and don’t deviate

One of the main causes of frizz is dehydration. When hair is dehydrated, the cuticle opens to take in humidity from the air. This moisture swells the hair strands and gives your hair a frizzy finish.

Look for products that have the best ingredients for frizzy hair. Natural oils (like Avocado, Olive, or Coconut) and butters (like Mango or Shea) hydrate and nourish the hair while they seal the cuticle.

If you keep your hair hydrated and free of product build-up, you can enjoy the smoothing and protective effects of Silicones without worrying about drying out your hair.

So now that you (hopefully) understand why Silicones are used in hair care, we've picked out a few of the best defrizzing products that contain Silicone...

Create body and structure without the noticeable crunch of other mousses. Use Oribe Grandiose Hair Plumping Mousse after shampooing to protect against humidity throughout the day. Dying to know how to keep textured hair from frizzing in humidity? This product is an ideal solution. It’s formulated with Sunflower Seed Oil, Glycerine, and Vitamin E to repair, condition, and hydrate even the coarsest curls.

This ultra-lightweight styling treatment forms an invisible coat on the hair, keeping frizz and moisture out while locking in shine and bounce. Apply after washing and leave hair alone or dry with a diffuser. If the humidity is crazy and you know you’ll need all the help you can get, use this spray as a primer. Then add heavier styling products on top. This product is alcohol-free, paraben-free, sulphate-free, and cruelty-free. It really is the secret of how to tame frizzy hair in high humidity.

We asked Color Wow's Giles Robinson to show us how to use ColorWOW's glass hair products for the ultimate anti-frizz, shiny hair tutorial.

Curl-defining cream for frizz-free, flawless hair.

Here’s a great answer to how to make wiry hair smooth. Windle & Moodie Curl Enhancer contains a light Silicone that won’t build up on hair or dry curls out. Designed as a UV filter, this curl cream protects hair from sun damage while hydrating with Sugar Beet Extract. A unique enzyme helps create separation and definition. Free from parabens, propylene glycol, and sulphates. Also vegan, cruelty-free, and gluten-free.

Curl-defining cream for frizz-free, flawless hair.

Formulated with Vitamin E and Argan Oil to nourish and soften the hair, R+Co Foil Frizz + Static Control Spray is great for looking after frizz prone hair. It also contains Thermal Polymer to protect hair from heat damage. Use this vegan and cruelty-free hairspray to control flyaways and help stop hair from getting frizzy.

Want more of best products and tips for frizzy hair? Check out these helpful articles...

Brand and product inclusions are at the sole discretion of Adore Beauty. We do not seek or accept payment from brands or individuals listed in our guides.


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