Benefits of silicones to natural hair
Silicones are beneficial to hair because they:
- Boost shine thereby giving the appearance of healthy glowing hair
- Reduce frizz by coating the hair strand and making it appear smoother and more shiny
- Help to seal in moisture
- Help to add volume to hair by coating the hair strand and giving it more weight
- Soften hair
- Light, evaporating silicones help nutrients enter the hair shaft
- Coat and lubricate the hair shaft making it easier to comb and detangle hair
- Dimethicone-containing serums offer excellent protection when you are heat-styling BUT as I explain below the are not water-soluble and should only be used in exceptional circumstances
Silicones are found in many hair care products including shampoos, conditioners and hair gels. The degree to which a product can perform the above functions depends on the specific silicones in it, their concentration and the state of your hair.
Disadvantage of silicones
- Heavier weight silicones weigh hair down
- Build-up of non-soluble silicones can cause long-term damage to hair.
If you only ever co-wash or use very gentle sulfate-free shampoos these silicones build up on your hair. That coat of silicones prevents moisture, good oils, minerals and proteins from entering the hair shaft leading to drier hair that breaks. So if you only co-wash you need to look for products that only contain water-soluble silicones.
- Make some hair types appear greasy. This will tend to only be a problem for straight or slightly wavy hair not for other hair types like our kinks and curls.