What You Should Know About Silicone and ‘Silicone-Free’ Shampoo

By Tina Tatarková, Epoch Times
January 8, 2014 Updated: January 8, 2014

Silicone is a petroleum-based substance found in many shampoos and other hair products. 

Silicone is used in hair products because it covers the hair strands, increasing luster, which gives the appearance of health. After using hair products with silicone, people find their hair is less easily tangled, looks shiny, and feels soft.

Silicones come in soluble and nonsoluble forms. The soluble forms can be washed away with plain water, while nonsoluble silicones require shampoos with sulfates to remove them. 

According to many haircare websites, sulphates can be very harsh on your hair, stripping color and natural moisture and leaving your hair dry and more easily broken. Keep this in mind if you like to use other haircare products with silicone.

Using silicone for a long time can also seal the strands in airtight packages that don’t allow moisture to be released. If it is not water soluble, a thin layer of silicone is always left on the hair, making naturally greasy hair even more greasy or weighing down fine hair.

Silicone can also cause hair to dry out and crack in the long run because while sealing some moisture in, it can also prevent moisture and oil from getting to the hair.

Many shampoos labeled “silicone-free,” contain similar substances hiding under names that may not be recognizable to you as silicone. If a shampoo is labeled silicone-free, check the label for siloxane or ingredients with the suffix -cone or -thicone or with the prefix silane-. If you don’t want silicone in your shampoo, you also do not want these ingredients.

The most common silicone-derived ingredient listed on product bottles is dimethicone. Dimethicone is FDA-approved for cosmetics and some foods, but is suspected to be an environmental toxin, according to the Environmental Working Group.

Products with silicone can be used in moderation, but it’s good to use nonsilicone products to give your hair time to breathe.

Some brands that advertise as “silicone-free” and that actually are silicone-free include Tony&Guy, Alverde, Swiss O-Par, Nivea, and Dr. Hauschka. Of course, not all products under these brand names are silicone-free, only the ones labeled as such.