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Are Silicones Harmful To Your Hair?

The American Chemistry Council has this to say about silicones:

“Silicones are a family of specialty, high performance materials. Silicones are produced by reacting silicon—one of the earth’s most common elements- with methyl chloride and further reaction with water which removes the chlorine atom. This reaction produces polymers that are resistant to high and low temperatures and find applications in thousands of products in applications including health care, transportation (e.g., aerospace and automotive), textiles, electronics, and construction.

Due to their molecular structure, silicones can be manufactured in many forms including solids, liquids, semi-viscous pastes, greases, oils and rubber.


Silicones have an exceptional breadth of chemical and physical properties. Silicones are flexible and resist moisture, chemicals, heat, cold and ultraviolet radiation. Products made with silicones take on these and other important properties so they are more stable, more aesthetically pleasing, easier to use or apply, and longer lasting.”

What does this even mean?

This means that the silicones that are in our everyday hair care products are plastics. Think about plastics…How they look and how they feel…What they’re uses are. Plastics are shiny and impenetrable by water and moisture, just like their first cousin silicone.

Silicones are looked to as being a miracle worker in the hair care industry because they are able to take dry and damaged hair and make it to appear to be healthy, shiny, and feel moisturized. They are able to accomplish this falsehood because silicones cover hair up and create an environment that doesn’t exist.

The photo on the left is a normal clean scalp and hair shaft. The photo on the right shows follicle and scalp buildup.

The photo on the left is a normal clean scalp and hair shaft. The photo on the right shows follicle and scalp buildup.

Natural moisturizers and oils are actually absorbed into the hair follicle and the scalp. Because a silicone is synthetic (or a form of a plastic), it cannot be absorbed by either. Instead, silicones sit on the hair and scalp and cause buildup. (see above picture)

As mentioned above, silicones resist moisture. For women that have a lower porosity hair type, a silicone can add even more damage than what may already be there. Having hair of a lower porosity means that your hair, in its natural state, is resistant to moisture. Adding a “conditioner” that has silicones in it will only give the appearance and feel of your hair being moisturized.

Take a look at the products in your stash and see if any of them contain silicones. If so, try the #nosilicone challenge by committing to use products that don’t contain them. Your hair will thrive and love you for it!

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