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All about Silicones

by Jeffery Kufalk August 25, 2016

Silicones are a very common item found in shampoos and conditioners.  Do you know what they are or what they do to your hair?  We took some time to help clarify things for you.

What is Silicone?

Silicones are polymers comprised of synthetic materials used as plastics or resins.  They are found in everyday life in many many places such as bathtub caulk, silicone breast implants, automotive components, cookware, electronics, lubricants, personal care items etc. 

Common names for silicones are Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone, Methicone, Amodimethicone, Dimethiconol, Cyclomethicone/Cyclopentasiloxane.  Well known water soluble silicones you can find are Cyclomethicone & Dimethicone Copolyol.

Why are Silicones added to hair products?

Silicones are added to hair products for a number of reasons.  Primarily:

  • Generally recognized as safe/non-toxic, low instances of negative reaction
  • Can make dry hair appear and feel healthy
  • Can make brushing easier
  • Reduces frizz
  • Can make split ends less visible
  • Heat resistant/protectant

What do Silicones do to your hair?

Silicones work on hair by coating each shaft/strand of hair in a layer of silicone which basically seals the hair strand off from the elements (water, air, oils, contaminants).  During initial use, the hair will appear to be shiny & healthy, but the key word here is APPEAR.  While your hair appears to be healthy, is it?  We don't necessarily think so.

Over time, silicones (especially non-water soluble silicones) can build up on your hair causing it to weigh down, become limp, dull and lifeless.  Part of the reason for this is because the silicone buildup becomes damaged over time which shows in the appearance of your hair.  Think about it like waxing a floor EVERY DAY.

Another potential issue with silicones is that when your hair is completely coated and sealed, it cannot receive adequate hydration or any nourishing natural oils, ultimately affecting the overall health of your hair and look of your style.  This is especially damaging in "Curly Gurls" or tight textured ethnic hair which is naturally difficult to hydrate.

Additionally, silicone can eventually become sticky which will attract environmental contaminants (dirt, dust, etc) which further dulls your hair and is overall undesirable.

When these things happen, people generally are inclined to wash more frequently, more vigorously and use more styling products all of which simply compound the issue in a viscous cycle.

Why we don't use silicones: 

There are some very valid and good uses for silicone in hair care products.  For instance, if your hair is extremely dry/dull and you have a photo shoot, a water soluble silicone could get you through the day.  Likewise, if you were straightening your hair for an occasion, a water soluble silicone could provide good heat protection to your hair.

However, at ManeLine, we are of the opinion that silicones simply provide a short term solution/look, while fostering long term damage & frustration.

We believe that your hair can actually BE healthy vs just appearing healthy through limited ingredient, sulfate and silicone free hair care routines.  The natural oils from your scalp can provide the shine you desire without introducing potential long-term problems to your hair, look and style.



photo credit: I Hate Bad Hair Days - Day 257 of Project 365 via photopin (license)


Jeffery Kufalk
Jeffery Kufalk


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