Silicone in my shampoo – good or bad?

If you have a greasy scalp and dry ends, there could be an easy fix.

Have you ever tried a new shampoo that at first gave you sleek, shiny hair, but after a few weeks made your hair limp and lifeless, both greasy and dry at the same time? Many people think that this is normal, that you have to change shampoo every few months, because it “stops working”. There is, however, a more likely explanation: silicone.    

What is silicone?

Silicone is a cosmetic ingredient that gives your hair the appearance of flexibility and shine. It works like a raincoat for your hair, creating a shiny barrier that stops it from getting frizzy in humid weather. However, depending on the type of silicone, it can also cause problems. 

 

Some hair products, especially the less expensive ones found in supermarkets, contain simpler silicones that are not water soluble. This makes them difficult to wash out of your hair, which creates a greasy build-up at your roots. This also prevents your hair from becoming properly moisturized, making it dry and brittle, especially at the ends.      

What is silicone?

Silicone is a purely cosmetic ingredient that gives your hair the appearance of flexibility and shine. It works like a raincoat for your hair, creating a shiny barrier that stops it from getting frizzy in humid weather. However, depending on the type of silicone, it can also cause problems.


Many hair products, especially the less expensive ones found in supermarkets, contain simpler silicones that are not water soluble. This makes them difficult to wash out of your hair, which creates a greasy build-up at your roots. This also prevents your hair from becoming properly moisturized, making it dry and brittle, especially at the ends.    

So is the solution to stop using shampoo with silicones? It could be. If your hair is generally healthy and not very dry or curly/frizzy, you should probably avoid all silicones in your hair products.

  

When you stop using hair products with silicone, you may experience that your hair suddenly feels tangled and hard to comb through. This is because you are removing the “raincoat”. What you are now feeling is your actual hair, that has been prevented from getting properly hydrated and nourished. A good, moisturizing conditioner without silicone will fix this problem, although it may take a week or two before your hair is fully restored. 

  

For certain hair types that are very dry and curly/frizzy it can be hard to get the same sleek and controlled results without silicones. Luckily there are water soluble silicones without the negative effects. 

  

To check your product for silicones is quite easy: just check the ingredient list. Any component that ends in cone is a silicone.   

How do you find products with good silicones that are water-soluble?

The easiest way is to check if the product is recommended by  Green Salon. This is a non-profit organisation that controls the ingredients of hair products for their member salons. You can find their lists of approved and prohibited products here.

Conclusion

In general, if you have healthy hair that isn't very wiry or dry, you can avoid hair products with silicone, especially your shampoo and conditioner. If your hair type requires the added sleekness and anti-frizz that sometimes only a silicone can offer, try using it in a styling product instead, so that you still keep your hair clean when washing. Also, make sure that any silicone you use is water-soluble. A quick Google search can usually give you the answer.

Catrin Sköld

Lead Stylist, Lyko Concept, Stockholm
Education Manager, Martinsson King

Catrin Sköld

Lead Stylist, Lyko Concept, Stockholm
Education Manager, Martinsson King
hello@martinssonking.com

The shampoos and conditioners from Martinsson King contain no silicones. Our Smoothing Infusion serum is a blend of Japanese camellia oil with an environmentally friendly silicone that is 100% water soluble. It can be blended into our shampoos and conditioners for intense softness (especially on very thick, dry hair) and applied as a leave-in blow drying serum for a shiny, smooth finish. All products from Martinsson King are vegan and sustainably formulated, recommended by Green Salon.

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