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Most silicones are hydrophobic which means they repel water. In your body, silicone will displace water and push it away. When it does this in hair, the very precious moisture content of just 3% is reduced and the protein bonds that make up 97% of hair become less stable and more liable to break.
This accelerates the wasting away of the hairshaft which people associate with thin hair, lank lifeless hair, dull frizzy hair, faded hair, difficult to manage hair, hair that doesn’t stay in style, hair that snags in the brush or comb. All the things people don’t want. But given this, the quickest cosmetic solution is...you guessed it, more silicone.
This can put a nice shiny cling film sheath around each hairshaft to make you think it’s all better. But it’s actually a very fake better so the destruction of the hairshaft continues, and as the hair thins and dries out it is much more likely to snap and split.
Marketing trickery creates even more confusion. Water is moisture. Silicone is NOT moisture. Silicone can lubricate but NOT moisturise. Car engine oil can lubricate too, but you wouldn’t call that moisturiser. Silicone doesn't nourish. It doesn't repair or rejuvenate, renew, restore, or rehydrate. It does not 'care', it simply varnishes over the cracks.
If hair is made of water and protein, it’s clear that oil (even if it’s Argan Oil from Morocco) or Silicone, even with its frizz-easing promise isn’t going to help care for hair. They are cosmetic, hair make-up, and the downside is that they accelerate the ageing of the hair.
But you’ll rarely see the word silicone on an ingredients list. They go by their scientific names. The most common Silicones in hair and beauty products are: Dimethicone, Cyclopentasyloxane, Methicone, Amodimethicone, Phenyltrimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Divinyldimethicone, Dimethiconol, Dimethicone Copolyol or anything ending in ..cone or ...conol.
All sorts of marketing promises are made on front of packs but if your hair condition isn't improving, check out the back of pack ingredients to see if they're faking it with silicone.
Want to go silicone-free?
Michael Van Clarke
February 04, 2023
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