Clean up: Silicones in hair and skin products

Sunday, December 01, 2013

silicones hair products skincare products
When I was in high school, a trend in hair care swept the fashion industry and trickled down to us commoners: sleek hair. It just so happened that I had been born with the shiniest, sleekest hair, and sometime between the ages of 12 and 13, it went all dry, frizzy, and pouffy on me. Ah, puberty. I embraced the "new" hair products, and since frizzy, pouffy hair hasn't exactly come back in style since then, I've been using these hair products that have promised me beautiful, shiny, sleek locks ever since. Most of them haven't worked, but some have, and I've been game to try them all.

But now I know better! Since becoming more aware of the ingredients that go into my beauty regimen, I've noticed that the bulk of my hair (and some of my skin) products contain silicones. Namely dimethicone. I've noticed that for the skin products that contain silicones, my skin has attained a "glow" (shine, more like), but any products applied on top peels off ... or should I say PILLS off. Disconcerting. I've finally faced the fact that there is something wrong, too, with silicones and I need to stop using them, in spite of how much (or little) they've helped keep my frizzies at bay over the years.

While I haven't been able to find a report from an authoritative source, all of the reading I've done on the internet has said the same thing: silicones work like petroleum and glycerin to create a barrier between your skin (or hair) and keep the moisture in. Some say that certain silicone molecules are too large to be absorbed, and rather sit atop the skin to work its magic.

On the hair, silicones at best work to temporarily smooth hair, and can build up quite easily. Apparently there are water-soluble silicones and non-soluble ones, which are the ones which we have to worry about. Silicones, as explained above, create a barrier that keeps moisture locked in. Conversely, it creates a barrier that keeps moisture out. And to wash these non-soluble silicones away, we have to use sulfate-based cleansers, which can be very drying and toxic.

According to the site Pink Sith, common non-soluble silicones include: Amodimethicone, Behenoxy Dimethicone, Cetearyl Methicone, Cetyl Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Dimethiconol, Phenyl Trimethicone, Stearoxy Dimethicone, Stearyl Dimethicone, and Trimethylsilylamodimetheicone. Water-soluble silicones include: silicone with PEG as a prefix, Dimethicone Copolyol, Hydrolyzed wheat protein (Hydroxypropyl Polysiloxane), and Lauryl Methicone Copolyol.

So, all in all, while silicones may not be toxic to us, it's probably not helping us in any sort of permanent way. If it's dry, frizzy hair that you're concerned about, it's probably best to cut your losses now and move onto products with an ingredient that will help your hair maintain its moisture, rather than give it the appearance of health. Though, looking through my cupboard and store shelves, it's going to be a lot easier said than done. I'll take one for the team (once I get through all that I've amassed) and report back on this topic as soon as I can.

Read more ...
+ Pink Sith: Silicones in Hair Care. What You Need To Know
+ Paula's Choice
+ Marie Claire: Does Your Hair Need A Silicone Detox?
+ Best Health Magazine: The truth about silicones
+ Self Magazine: Is Silicone Good For Your Hair?

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