Silicones have been widely used in personal care products for years. Most of the silicones used in professional hair care products, specifically shampoos and conditioners, act as emulsifiers because one end of a silicone molecule is attracted to water and the other end is attracted to oil. This makes silicones the perfect ingredient to effectively disperse oils, such as Argan Oil, Peppermint Oil and Almond Oil throughout water-based liquids. Most importantly, silicones also condition hair, reduce frizz and are great thermal protectants when using hot styling tools, such as flat irons and blow dryers.
First and foremost, silicones are safe. In fact, the well-respected watchdog site from Environmental Working Group called SKIN DEEP®, rates silicones the best possible rating of “0”. This means silicones are very safe. Recently, there have been some mixed reviews circulated around the web and in professional circles about silicones.
Let me shed some light on this issue.
There are two main classifications of silicones, water-soluble and non-soluble. Water-soluble silicones, such as Dimethicone Copolyol, Lauryl Methicone Copolyol or any silicone that includes the letters PEG, do not build up in hair and are easily removed with water. Non-soluble silicones, such as Phenyl Trimethicone, Dimethicone and Dimethiconol require a cleanser, such as shampoo, to be removed.
The main issue surrounding silicones, or any type of styling product that coats the hair, has to do with build up. If you use styling products, as most of us do, a build up can occur on the hair shaft. This build up, if not washed out regularly, can cause the hair to become brittle and break off. This goes for any styling products that may or may not contain silicones. People who wash their hair regularly, such as every couple of days, specifically after using any kind of styling product, will rarely experience breakage.
If you wash your hair weekly or less and use styling products regularly, then you may be at risk of breakage due to build up. In this case, it’s important to use a clarifying shampoo, followed by proper conditioning treatments to ensure your hair remains soft and free from build up. Anything you use on your hair whether it be a gel, cream, pomade or hairspray, will build up over time, so proper maintenance is required.
Remember, just because a product contains silicones, does not make it bad, in fact, it actually makes it better due to the conditioning, smoothing and heat protection benefits this safe ingredient brings to professional-grade products.
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