Are Silicones Really That Bad for Your Hair?


Although it may sound contradictory, Velazquez caveats, “An exception to this is folks who tend to have more days in between washes because of protective hairstyles.” She adds that these people may want to use products with anti-humidity and non-soluble silicone, to help keep styles in place despite the elements.

Meanwhile, Thomas explains that people with thin, fine, and straight hair should not use silicones, or if they do, products with a water-soluble silicone such as cyclomethicone are the best options. “Thinner hair types generally have more oil that moves from the scalp to the hair shaft,” she says. “So, applying too many products containing silicones can weigh this hair type down, making it look greasy and unkempt.”

Should I use products with silicone?

On the question of whether anyone should really use products containing silicones, the experts are somewhat divided. While some are comfortable recommending silicone products in certain circumstances, others said the risk of build-up, hair breakage, and the continued use of harsher cleansers to remove silicone residue from the hair outweighs any potential benefit. In the end, as Spinnato says, it really comes down to personal preference.

All experts noted the biggest advantages of hair products with silicones are their smoothing and taming capabilities, and the way these formulations protect the hair from heat styling tools. When asked whether he would personally recommend products with silicones, Spinnato said simply, “yes, I would.” Meanwhile, Paul Labrecque, a New York City-based hairstylist, says he regularly recommends products containing water-soluble silicones to clients. His favorites are the Olaplex range; the No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo, No.5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner, and No.7 Bonding Oil all contain soluble silicones.

Olaplex No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner

Dove Nutritive Solutions Shampoo Clarify & Hydrate

It’s also worth noting that product build-up isn’t a permanent condition, so if you prefer styling products that contain silicones, you’re not doomed to endure limp or brittle hair. “When needing to remove build-up from using too much silicone, I always recommend a clarifying shampoo, which will remove heavy oils and cut through any build-up,” says Samaria. This is seconded by Garshick, who suggests a few clarifying shampoos that will effectively remove product build-up, noting that a little bit goes a long way. “Dove Nutritive Solutions Clarify and Hydrate Shampoo helps to deeply cleanse to help eliminate product build-up without leaving the hair feeling dry or stripped,” she tells Allure. “It is charcoal-infused, which helps to gently but effectively remove build-up.”

DevaCurl Buildup Buster Gentle Clarifying Cleanser

Bread Beauty Supply Hair Wash

Another great option, according to Garshick, is the Ouai Detox Shampoo, as it not only helps to eliminate excess oil, dirt, and build-up but can also be used on all hair types and textures. “It combines chelating agents with apple cider vinegar to help remove product and dead skin build-up,” she says. Her final recommendation is the DevaCurl Buildup Buster, which she says is a particularly good option for those with curly hair. “It uses micellar technology to help eliminate product build-up, while also offering hydrating benefits through Abyssinian seed oil and jojoba oil.”

Redoux Turmeric Botanical Bar

Reverie Milk Anti-Frizz Leave-In Nourishing Treatment

As for Samaria, her ideal everyday routine for all hair textures is silicone-free and would include a sulfate-free clarifying shampoo like the Bread Beauty Supply Hair-Wash Gentle Milky Hair Cleanser or the Redoux Turmeric Botanical Bar, followed by a hydrating repairing mask or treatment (she loves the Reverie Milk Anti-Frizz Leave-In Nourishing Treatment, as well as the shampoo and conditioner from the same range) to retain the perfect amount of moisture.


Ready for more ingredient deep dives? Read these next:

Why Tea Tree Oil Is Still Beloved by Dermatologists

These “Mental Health” Supplements Might Actually Mess With Your Meds

Pro-Retinol Smooths Skin Without Any Irritation


On another note, let’s watch Ariana Grande break down some of her best music video looks:

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