Silicones have gotten a bad rap from the natural hair community for years. A number of hair care books, product reviews and articles warn those with natural hair about the use of silicones; noting that they cause build up, fail to nourish the hair strand and can eventually dry hair out. These critiques are not without merit, yet silicones can still be found in products everywhere. Unless you make a valiant effort, it can be difficult to completely avoid them. There have been times when I’ve quickly skimmed ingredients in the store before purchasing a product only to realize that I missed a silicone later. It’s almost like they creep up on you and slide into your hair regimen.
But is there ever a time when using a silicone is considered good? I say yes! It’s all about how you use them and what you do to your hair before and after. Sometimes silicones can do your hair some good.
To Hold a Style
When I straighten my hair, I always use a conditioner or heat protectant with a silicone. Since silicones coat your hair, they can help block moisture from penetrating your hair strand and ruining your style. This is especially helpful if you’re trying a style when it’s humid outside, but note, they aren’t miracle workers! They also help protect your hair from heat damage.
To Protect Your Hair from Heat
Keeping with the theme of heat styling, silicones also help protect your hair and lessen your chance of getting heat damage. They coat the hair better than natural oils and do not break down even if you’re styling with higher temperatures.
To Decrease Breakage and Split Ends
If your ends are prone to breakage or split ends, using a product that contains silicone can help protect your hair from mechanical damage. However, you need to make sure your hair is properly moisturized before applying the silicone product, and cleanse your hair properly to prevent build up and dryness. Most silicones can be removed without sulfates, but at least use a shampoo or cleansing conditioner that contains a good cleansing agent, like coco betaine.
To Decrease Frizz
If your hair is prone to frizz, silicones can help keep your strands smooth and minimize flyaways. Again, just make sure you cleanse your hair properly, or they could begin having the opposite effect.
I personally see nothing wrong with a little silicone use here and there, but like always, make sure you listen to your hair. If you see it getting frizzier, drier or feeling coated, it’s definitely time for a thorough cleanse.
Do you use silicones on your natural hair, or do you avoid them?