The truth about silicones in hair care products
If you have fine, thinning or compromised hair you know how important it is to be mindful of what you put on your scalp and how you treat your hair. So it’s important to be informed about the latest ingredients on both the good and the naughty list. One of the latest ingredients to hit the spotlight is silicone. Should we avoid it? Or is it actually a benefit for fine and thinning hair?
Silicones are not all created equal, and understanding what they do and which are good for your hair type, can make all the difference.
What are Silicones?
Silicone is a synthetic polymer that have been a mainstay in hair care products for decades. They've been used in personal care products since the 1950's. And it's easy to see why they're so popular because of the range of benefits that they produce:
- Smooth hair and help treat frizz
- Act as an emollient, lubricating hair and seal in moisture
- Provide targeted repair to damaged hair
- Coat the strands of hair, adding protection and shine
- Increase colour retention
- Add a protective barrier for heat treatments
They are some of the most helpful ingredients for treating damaged hair, frizz, locking in moisture, adding shine and protecting your hair.
So if they have so many benefits, why do they get a bad rap?
Why the bad rap?
Silicones have the ability to create a coating on the hair strands, adding protection and shine. However it is this coating itself that can sometimes cause the issue with fine hair in particular. The majority of silicones are not water soluble. Dimethicone is one of the most commonly used. It is hydrophobic, which means it actively repels water. Naturally this can make the products harder to wash out, leading to excessive build up over time. Your hair may start out feeling soft and shiny, and quickly turn limp and greasy after a while using some products.
This is particularly the case with cheaper formulation shampoos and conditioners that have a higher proportion of silicones, with minimal other nurturing ingredients. Silicones provide a quick bang for your buck in terms of an instant appearance fix. However, excessive use of all these products leads to a build up of product that is difficult to properly cleanse.
Not all silicones are created equal
But it’s not all bad news. Some silicones can do great things for the health of your hair. They are vegan, and highly stable, unlikely to cause an allergic reaction, don’t clog the hair follicles, and fantastic for helping to nourish and protect your hair.
If you have course, thick, curly or dense hair then silicone can be your friend. The ability to grow hair to the waist and to have strong, shiny, curly locks is almost always dependent on the use of a silicone. Washing out the silicone build up would be unthinkable for some. It is completely safe to use every day and can have an amazingly positive effect on healthy hair.
But when it comes to hair that is thinning or compromised it’s important to use products that are formulated specifically for fine and thinning hair. Shampoos and conditioners that contain a type of silicone called amodimethicone are perfect.
Amodimethicone is a water soluble silicone when combined in formulation with cetrimonium chloride and trideceth-12. The combination of these three ingredients ensures that the amodimethicone is dispersed within the formulation, making it lightweight and easily depositied onto the hair. Once the amodimethicone is on the hair, it provides all the nourishing and smoothing benefits of the heavier silicones - but without the heaviness and without the tendency for build up.
Amodimethicone is great for building healthy hair
Amodimethicone is a pretty clever ingredient, and has the ability to attract and attach to damaged sections of your hair. Healthy hair is covered in a protective, water repellant layer, but as hair ages or becomes compromised due to other factors, this layer is damaged, which exposes the water attacking proteins beneath.
Hair care products that contain a formulation of healthy, natural ingredients in combination with a controlled amount of amodimethicone, along with cetrimonium chloride and trideceth-12 offers compromised hair the best of both worlds.
Damaged sections of hair are protected, the hair and scalp are naturally cleansed and your hair can enjoy the thermal protection and volume that thinning hair needs - withouth the build up and without weighing hair down.
Silicone Free Products
Women with thinning, fine or compromised hair often think that fully silicone free formulas will help create volume in their hair by minimising the risk of build up, and not weighing the hair down. But that is not always the case.
There is a growing range of silicone free products out there on the market, that a lot of women with thinning, or damaged hair find disappointing. Depending on your hair type it can be hard to achieve the benefits you’re looking for in a formulation that doesn't contain at least a small amount of a light silicone. Silicone-free hair products may not appear to be nourishing, which can lead to to dry and frizzy hair, which is often the last thing women with thinning or damaged hair are looking for.
Healthy hair and a healthy scalp
The Boost & Be hair care range combines the best of both worlds.
The Growth Boost shampoo is silicone free so perfect if you tend to stay away from silicones. The Growth Boost conditioner contains the perfect combination of ingredients including a small amount of a lightweight amodimethicone.
If volume is what you are looking for then the Boost & Be Volume Boost shampoo and conditioner offers a superior level of healthy volume and shine, retoring the hair's natural oil balance without weighing it down. Packed full of hair thickening ingredients to give weightless volume. The range contains Provitamin B5 – a weightless volumiser that lifts hair and makes it look fuller and softer. Panthenol is one of the few vitamins that is able to penetrate the hair so deeply that its nourishing effects are deposited deep into the cortex as well as the scalp. The Volume Boost range contains a very minimal quantity of amodimethicone producing healthy locks with lightweight volume.
The Boost & Be Shine Boost range contains a range of essential oils designed to be kind to hair and ensure nourishing shine for curly hair and super long hair too.
When your hair is thinning, or compromised you really want products that are packed full of ingredients that are going to help nourish, volumize and support healthy hair growth. The Boost & Be range of shampoos, conditioners and treatments is packed full of #kindtohair ingredients that are all designed to nourish your hair, support a healthy scalp and healthy hair growth.
 Disapio A, Fridd P. Silicones: use of substantive properties on skin and hair. Int J Cosmet Sci. 1988 Apr;10(2):75-89. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-2494.1988.tb00004.x. PMID: 19456912.