Silicones have been used in personal care products since the 1950s. Initially limited to skin care products, the use of silicones has spread into hair care products and treatments. They are widely recognized for their lubricating properties and the characteristically soft smooth feel they help create in your hair. So is it true that silicone is good for hair extensions or will damage them? The truth is there isn’t a yes or no answer however it’s more of an answer that requires knowing which type of silicone products to use and what ones not to use. In this blog, we will discuss everything you need to know about silicones. Whether you’re a hair extensions enthusiast or a curious learner, this blog is for you. So, let’s get started!
I. What Is Silicone?
Silicone is a synthetic polymer material that is made up of silicon, oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen atoms. It is widely used in many industries, including cosmetics, automotive, construction, and electronics, due to its unique properties such as heat resistance, water resistance, and flexibility. In cosmetics, we’ve all heard of the ingredient and you’ll find that it’s in many hair care products, especially ones that are designed to make your hair appear shiny and smooth.
You’ll find silicone commonly in shampoos, conditioners to hairspray, and serums to add shine, smoothness, and manageability to hair. Silicone is an essential ingredient in things such as conditioners because silicone is used to deposit onto the hair to help smooth the cuticle. Silicone is one of the most effective ingredients in taming frizzy hair, locking in moisture, and keeping hair shiny and smooth.
II. Silicones For Hair Extensions: Classification
It is important to know that are different types of silicones and this is what determines whether they’re good or bad for not only your hair extensions but your natural hair. There are two types of silicones that are non-water soluble and water-soluble. The difference between the three is simple and easy to remember.
1. Non-Water Soluble Silicones
These are silicones that you cannot remove or penetrate with water, which can inadvertently damage the natural hair and hair extensions. This is because they are thick and heavy on the hair and leave a wax-like texture. Over time products with non-water soluble silicones will cause build-up on the hair. Without regular usage of clarifying shampoo, hair becomes dry and brittle – which leads to damage, breakage, and split ends.
- Some non-soluble silicones that are typically found in hair products: Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Amodimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Ceteraryl Methicone, Dimethiconol, Stearyl Dimethicone, Ingredients ending with “-cone”
2.Water Soluble Silicones
Water-soluble silicones, this is the best type of silicone. Water soluble silicones are the best type because they can be washed away without the use of shampoo or any other product for removable, water alone will wash the silicone from the hair. Water-soluble silicones are lightweight and will make hair feel silky smooth and soft.
- Some of the water-soluble silicones: Dimethicone Copolyol, Lauryl Methicone Copolyol, and any silicone with PEG as a prefix
III. What Does Silicone Do To Your Hair?
Silicone will form a thin coating around the hair cuticle. This coating allows your hair to stay hydrated from within which which prevents strands to absorb water, air, and nutrients. Silicone will protect your hair from damage caused by heated tools such as curling wands and blow dryers, being a lot more efficient in this task than most natural oils. Silicone is what makes your hair slick, has a glossy-like texture, and feels soft. Shampoo and conditioners that are designed to fight frizz will typically have silicone as an ingredient as do softening and straightening serums.
IV. Whether Silicone Good For Hair & Hair Extensions Or Not?
As we said, the answer is black and white. Yes and no, silicones can absolutely be detrimental to your hair extensions if they leave product buildup. This is why when using silicones on hair use water-soluble silicone because they wash right off without a struggle. So the question we think isn’t “WHETHER silicone is bad for hair and hair extensions or not” but more so “WHICH silicones are bad for your hair?”.
When it comes to hair extensions, it’s important to pay close attention to the type of silicone that is being used in the conditioning process of the hair. Generally, it’s recommended to use sulfate-free shampoos on any kind of hair. Whether they are human hair or synthetic, sulfates can shorten their life, and affect their integrity. When using a sulfate-free shampoo with non-water soluble silicone, the shampoo will not budge, however, the silicone will build up over time and this is what is bad for your hair extensions. So, we always recommend always using a sulfate-free shampoo.
For silicones, it can loosen bonds and cause extensions to slip off the hair to which they are attached. Even if you avoid putting silicone-based products directly onto bonds, they build up on your extensions, forming an impenetrable barrier that stops conditioners or treatments from working their magic to nourish and repair. Therefore when conditioning your hair extensions it is imperative that you use a sulfate-free shampoo with a water-soluble silicone conditioner.
V. Who Should Use Silicones? Who Should Avoid Them?
Everyone’s hair is unique and responds differently to things like heat, humidity, and hair care products. There is no need to completely avoid silicone in your hair products, especially since many hair products are formulated with some type of silicone. The key is to figure out what type of hair product, with which type of silicone, works better for you.
- If you have coarse, thick, dry, curly hair:
Most silicone-based products are ideal for people with coarse, thick, dry, or curly hair (or any combination of those). If your hair is dull and lifeless, and you feel like you’re constantly fighting frizz, a silicone-based serum applied to soaking-wet hair will tame your mane, add shine, and infuse your hair with hydration.
- However, if you have straight, fine, thin hair:
People with straight, fine, or thin hair can also benefit from silicone-based products, particularly if they’re formulated with Cyclomethicone, which is one of the lightest forms of silicone commonly found in hair products. Cyclomethicone is water-soluble, which means it washes out easily and leaves behind minimal product buildup. But even heavier, non-water-soluble types of silicones, like amodimethicone and dimethicone, can be washed out over several shampooings. So, it is not as much about avoiding silicone, but using the products in moderation and making sure to thoroughly wash.
In conclusion, silicone can be both beneficial and detrimental to hair extensions depending on how it is used. While it can provide some benefits such as smoothing frizz and protecting the hair from heat damage, overuse can lead to buildup and ultimately damage the extensions. It’s important to choose hair products that contain silicone in moderation and to properly care for your extensions to prevent any potential negative effects. Ultimately, the best way to determine whether silicone is good for your hair extensions is to consult with a professional stylist who can provide personalized advice based on your specific hair type and needs.