Silicones are polymers containing silicon and oxygen atoms. They have been widely used in hair care products since the 1970s. Silicones have a range of properties that make them excellent components in beauty product formulas. And even though they are quite popular for their use in skin products, they also feature in shampoos, conditioners and other hair styling products.
Dimethicone is the most widely used silicone in cosmetics and is known for its ability to protect the hair shaft from abrasive damage.
Silicones are multifunctional ingredients used for the following:
1. to condition hair.
2. to add shine.
3. to make detangling and combing easier.
4. to provide colour protection.
5. to guard against damage from heat styling,
6. to enhance hair strength, temporarily repair damaged hair, and help to prevent further damage caused by either physical or environmental factors.
7. to create a protective layer around your hair, thereby keeping your hair moisturized, and leaving it feeling softer and much smoother.
8. to aid curl retention, minimize hair frizz and even add volume by bulking up the density of your hair strands.
According to research on silicones by Judy Zhu et al., fibre treated with silicones exhibited higher load resistance (strength) compared to untreated fibre, demonstrating hair-strengthening benefits in leave-in applications.
In the afro hair community, silicones are mostly dreaded and avoided because of the misconception that they will cause product buildup in your hair, but the truth is that any product will cause buildup, if not washed out properly!
I have spoken to many cosmetic scientists who insist that for afro-textured hair in particular, silicones can be beneficial, because of its ability to aid detangling and prevent breakage.
I hope this blog helps you make better informed decisions.
Do you have any questions? Let us know in the comments!