Is Silicone Bad for Hair?

June 24, 2021 3 min read

Is Silicone Bad for Hair?

If you’re even the slightest bit hair care-aware, you’ve probably already started to avoid several controversial ingredients from your hair care regimen. Phthalates, parabens and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) are just a handful of potentially harmful ingredients on the “no-go” list. But what about silicone? The word alone seems to spark a fierce debate amongst beauty enthusiasts.

For every person who loves silicones in their hair care products, there’s another who actively avoids them at all costs. So, who is right? Is silicone bad for hair, or is that just an overblown myth? Read on for everything you need to know.

What Are Silicones?

In hair care products, silicones are the ingredients that make hair sleek, shiny and frizz-free. Silicones are naturally derived from silica (basic sand), but are then mixed with chemicals in a lab, so the final product is synthetic.

Silicones are found in many conventional shampoos and conditioners, and it’s not difficult to see why: they coat the hair shaft, sealing in moisture and giving hair a soft, silky feel. Silicones can also help reduce damage caused by heat styling tools.

Is Silicone Bad for Hair?

Silicones might make your hair look shiny and frizz-free, but this glossy appearance can come at a cost. The seal that locks in moisture can block other nourishing ingredients and nutrients from penetrating deep down, resulting in dehydrated strands.

Another problem with silicones is that they’re fairly difficult to wash out of your hair. This can lead to buildup on the scalp that weighs hair down and makes it feel super greasy (which isn’t great for curly locks or fine hair). To combat the problem, you might need to wash your hair more frequently. Cue the start of a never-ending cycle.

Shop Our Silicone-Free Shampoo Bars

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Is Silicone Dangerous to Human Health?

Although there are many downsides to silicone-based hair products, there is currently no scientific evidence to suggest that silicones are dangerous to our health. In fact, they’re commonly used by dermatologists to help improve the look of surgical, hypertrophic and traumatic scars.

There are many reasons to avoid silicones, but their potential toxicity (or lack thereof) isn’t one of them. In short, they don’t really deserve to be on the same “no” list as parabens, phthalates, SLS and other known endocrine disruptors.

Should I Avoid Silicones?

Some people choose to avoid non-water soluble silicones — aka, the “bad” silicones — since they’re notoriously tricky to wash out of hair. Others prefer to avoid all silicones in their hair products.

Ultimately, it’s your call, but here are a few reasons why you may want to avoid silicones altogether:

  • Silicones don’t wash off easily, which means you’ll probably need to use a sulfate shampoo to get rid of the buildup. Sulfates are harsh cleansing agents that can strip the natural oils from your hair, leaving it dry and damaged. So, if you prefer to avoid sulfates in your hair care products, you’re better off going silicone-free as well.
  • Silicones don’t improve hair health. That soft, silky feeling you get after using a silicone-based product? It’s all just a façade. Once you finally manage to wash away the silicones from your hair, the luster and softness will vanish.
  • Silicones in hair products aren’t eco-friendly. Silicones don’t readily break down in water, so when you wash them off your hair, they go down the drain and start building up in our water supply.

Natural Alternatives to Silicones 

a woman using a shampoo bar on her hair

If you don’t want to use silicone-based hair products, don’t worry! You aren’t doomed to dull, frizzy hair. All you need to do is get your hands (or your hair, rather) on one of our solid shampoo bars

Our shampoo bars are packed with nourishing ingredients — like cocoa seed butter, coconut oil and glycerin — that can give your hair the same, silky texture and frizz-free shine without the unwanted side effects. 

For even smoother strands and frizz control, pair your shampoo bar with one of our silicone-free conditioner bars. With hydrating ingredients like jojoba oil and sunflower seed oil, our conditioner bars will give your hair the hydration it needs without weighing it down.

Shop Our Conditioner Bars

Treat Your Hair to Silicone-Free Goodness

Silicones might not be toxic, but that doesn’t mean they’re good for hair — or the environment. If you want more than just the illusion of healthy hair, make the switch to silicone-free hair care products from The Earthling Co. Our plastic-free shampoo and conditioner is good for you, your hair and the planet!

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