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What Exactly Is a Silicone-Free Shampoo?

May 05, 2021 3 min read

What Exactly Is a Silicone-Free Shampoo?

Take a quick stroll down the beauty aisle at your local grocery store or cosmetics store and odds are you’ll see a variety of shampoos touting their silicone-free status. But what is silicone-free shampoo, and why are more and more people ditching their old shampoos for it? Here, we’ll explain what silicones are, what they’re doing in your shampoo, and why more people are hopping aboard the silicone-free train.

What are Silicones?

Silicones — known scientifically as siloxanes — are synthetic polymers that have the properties of both rubber and plastic. Due to its molecular structure, silicone can take on many different forms, including thick liquids and hard, plastic-like resins. Silicones have become immensely popular in recent years and can now be found in everything from utensils and food containers to medical devices and beauty products.

What is the Purpose of Silicones in Shampoo?

In hair care products, silicones act as emollients, which are moisturizing agents that provide a protective coating to hair. This protective barrier helps lock in moisture, smooth frizz and detangle hair. The result is silky-smooth tresses that look and feel healthier. 

There are two categories of silicones: non-water soluble silicones and water-soluble silicones. Non-water soluble silicones are generally referred to as the “bad silicones” because they’re difficult to rinse out and can cause buildup, while water-soluble silicones are often considered to be the “good silicones” because they tend to cause fewer problems. (Note: fewer problems, not zero!) 

OK, So What’s the Problem with Silicones?

Silicones — whether they be the good or the bad kind — can be problematic in several ways. Here are a few reasons why a person might choose to avoid them altogether:

  • Silicones Are Difficult to Wash Out – Most silicones are not water-soluble, which means they’re incredibly difficult to wash off the hair shaft. As a result, you may find yourself washing your hair more frequently, leading to dry, dehydrated strands.
  • Silicones Don’t Actually Make Your Hair Healthier – While silicone-based shampoos can make hair feel soft and shiny, they don’t actually improve hair health. The silky-smooth look and feel of silicone is only creating the illusion of healthy hair. In reality, silicone’s protective coating could be blocking the absorption of other beneficial ingredients into your hair. Over time, this can cause hair to weaken and break.
  • Silicones Weigh Your Hair Down – One of the biggest gripes about silicone is that it can cause buildup on the scalp. This buildup can weigh hair down throughout the day, making hair feel greasy and curls to go flat.
  • Silicones in Shampoo Aren’t Eco-Friendly – Many silicones are bioaccumulative, which means they build up in the environment after you rinse them out of your hair. By using a silicone-free, plastic-free shampoo bar instead, you can be kind to both Mother Earth and your hair.
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What Is Silicone-Free Shampoo and What Are the Benefits?

Silicone-free shampoos — that is, shampoos free from silicones — have quickly gained traction in the personal care industry. It’s not difficult to see why. Going silicone-free can have big benefits for your hair, the planet, and your wallet.

Here are just a few benefits of silicone-free shampoo:

  • Silicone-free shampoos don’t block out nutrients or moisture from the hair shaft. This means that your hair can absorb its own natural oils, as well as nutrients from any other hair treatments.
  • Silicone-free shampoos don’t weigh your hair down or make it feel greasy. If you have curly hair, get ready to have your bounciest curls yet.
  • Silicone-free shampoos are more likely to contain natural ingredients, some of which can mimic the effects of silicone — minus the long-term consequences. For instance, our silicone-free shampoo bars contain nourishing vitamin E and coconut oil to help moisturize strands and prevent breakage.
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Used Silicone free shampoo bar

  • Silicone-free shampoos can help you go longer in-between washes. For most people, limiting your washes is key to a healthy head of hair. The less you wash your hair, the less often you’ll need to buy shampoo!
  • Silicone-free shampoos tend to have less fillers and more nutrients. At the end of the day, silicone is just another filler — meaning it’s an ingredient that is devoid of nutritional value for your hair. Silicone-free shampoos, on the other hand, are more likely to contain high-quality ingredients that leave hair looking commercial-ready. 

Go Silicone-Free with The Earthling Co.

Just a few decades ago, dodging silicones in your hair care products would have been extremely difficult. But thankfully, the rise of clean beauty has made it much easier to skip the ’cones and treat your hair to some all-natural goodness. No matter what your personal reasons for going silicone-free, The Earthling Co. is here to help you take your hair game to the next level. Check out our plastic-free shampoo and conditioner bars (both are silicone-free!) and give your hair a sustainable upgrade.