Do you wonder why your stylist warned you about using silicone for your curly hair? Though silicone is present in most hair care products, it is not suitable for all hair types.
So, is silicone bad for curly hair? Read on to learn more!
Can Silicone Cause Damage to Your Curly Hair?
Yes. Heavy, non-water-soluble silicones weigh down curly hair and harm the strands, making them unsuitable for your curly hair.
Silicone can have a negative impact on your curly hair; however, it is not just silicone but the usage method that matters. Silicone is a human-made compound that serves several purposes in the hair care industry. There are different types of silicones present.
The impact of silicone (positive or negative) on curly hair depends on multiple factors, including:
- Amount of silicone applied
- Type of silicone used
- Interaction/ presence of other ingredients in the product
Some silicones provide robust protection against heat damage and frizz, but several silicones can lead to losing the curls. Continued use of bad silicones can also prove to have negative impacts on curly hair.
What Silicone Does to Your Curly Hair?
Silicones are present in shampoos and conditioners to lock moisture in the hair shaft. The compounds are divided into water-soluble and non-water-soluble silicones. The non-water-soluble type adheres well to the hair, but removing them is tough.
A coating of silicone on the hair reduces frizz and helps impart a silky, soft feel to your hair. Research shows that silicones change the macroscopic behavior of hair assembly, thus altering your visual appearance.
The covering of silicone on the hair can also lead to unwanted consequences. The coating also potentially weakens the hair follicle by preventing nourishing ingredients from penetrating deep inside.
Moreover, silicone can accumulate in the hair strands, leading to hair dryness. The overtime buildup dries your hair and makes it prone to breakage.
Why Is Silicone Bad for Curly Hair?
The non-water soluble silicones are known as “bad silicones”, and there are multiple reasons for it, including:
Conditioners containing silicones like dimethicone increase hair smoothness and luster. However, the increase in smoothness is inversely proportional to hair volume.
Bad silicones have high molecular weights and can weigh your curls down. That way, you may lose your curls over time.
Research shows that silicone treatment changes the alignment of hair fibers. This realignment can remove the curls and make hair straightening easier.
The non-water soluble silicones strongly adhere to the hair surface, and washing them off can be difficult.
The shape of curly hair makes it prone to breaking. The uneven shape of the fiber gives rise to high spots in the cuticle. The hair strand can break at this point.
If you have curly hair, you should avoid non-water soluble silicones. The list of buildup-prone silicones includes:
- Stearyl dimethicone
So, can you use silicone hair products if your hair is curly?
In short, yes, you can use silicone products for your curly hair. There is a limited number of water-soluble silicones that you can use without any fear. The list of “good” silicones for curly hair includes:
- Stearoxy dimethicone
- Behenoxy dimethicone
- Dimethicone copolyol
Dimethicone silicones are safe to use in cosmetic products. Cyclomethicone is safe to use for curly and wavy hair because it is a lightweight silicone. The breathable silicone will not weigh your hair down. So, there will be no impact on your curls.
Plus, silicone is water-soluble and can wash off easily. So, you can expect minimal accumulation over time.
Water-soluble silicones are easy to remove. Any regular shampoo can help wash off adhered silicone. If you are habitual in washing your hair every couple of days, there are fewer chances of silicone buildup.
However, removing non-water soluble silicones from hair (especially curly hair) is hard. For that, you will need to expose your hair to surfactant-rich shampoos.
Surfactants like ammonium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) may be harsh on the scalp but can effectively strip off any accumulated silicone.
Pros and Cons of Silicone for Curly Hair
Pros of Silicones for Hair
- Provide protection during heat styling, particularly products containing dimethicone.
- Lubricate and coat hair shafts, making detangling and combing easier.
- Light silicones can aid nutrient absorption into the hair shaft by evaporating.
- Soften hair and add volume by coating hair strands.
- Help in sealing in moisture, reducing frizz, and enhancing shine and smoothness.
- Give the appearance of healthier and shinier hair.
Cons of Silicones for Hair
- Heavyweight silicones can weigh down hair, leading to a loss of volume.
- May give a greasy appearance to some hair types, particularly straight or slightly wavy hair.
- Build-up of non-soluble silicones can cause damage and hair breakage unless regularly washed out.
Silicones are added to hair products to make the hair silky and soft and prevent frizzing. Heavy, non-water-soluble silicones are not a good choice for curly hair. Heavy silicones such as amodimethicone and Cyclopentasiloxane can weigh down your hair and cause you to lose your curls.
Over time buildup of silicone (in hair strands) makes the hair prone to breaking. Washing off deposited silicone from curly hair is also a difficult task. Only water-soluble silicones (like stearoxy dimethicone) are suitable for curly hair.