Demystefying Silicones

Hi ladies! Haaaaaaappppppyyyyy Friday!

Hope you are having a great one.
Cones, cones, cones! Silicones are the main subject today. A very common ingredient on the label, but how much do we know about them? 

What are silicones? 
According to  google, silicones are polymers that chains of alternate silicone and oxygen atoms, with organic groups attached to the silicone atoms. Such compounds are typically resistant to chemical attack and insensitive to temperature changes and are used to make rubber, plastics, polishes, and lubricants.

How do I recognise a silicone on my ingredients list?
They usually end with the suffix "-cone" "-conol" or "-zane"

How do silicones work?
Silicones are widely used by manufacturers because of their hardwearing unique properties. They create a layer over the strand. This layer is an effective lubricant for detangling and slip, creates added shine, reduces frizz and is a great barrier against heat. With all these benefits, you can see the numerous reasons why one would want to use silicones.

However silicones do have a less than reputable side which makes most naturals want to head for the hills. And going from the definition I just gave, i'm it's got you second guessing whether it's an ingredient you really want in your products. However the beauty and cosmetics industry has harnessed them due to their usefulness in products. Some cones are not water soluble. Meaning that the layer they form over the strand cannot be removed with water. This causes build up, and over time can prevent effective moisturisation and product absorption, as well as result in less curl definition. The only effective way to get them out is with a sulfate/clarifying shampoo.

So with the pros and cons set out, how can we use silicones to our benefit without reaping in the negative effects in our weekly regimens? 
The key is in classifying your cones and knowing which ones to use for specific purposes in your regimen.
We can divide them into three categories; water soluble, intermediate, and non-water soluble silicones.

Water soluble silicones
Stearoxy dimethicone
Behenoxy dimethicone
PEG-silicones (basically silicones which start with "PEG")
Hydrolysed wheat protein (hydroxypropyl polysiloxane)

These are water soluble which means that they can easily be removed by water. The water dissolves the layer created and thus the cone washes away.  What does this mean practically and products-wise? It means you can use products which contain these in your weekly regimen, as a quick co-wash or sulfate free shampoo will remove them. I would recommend that you actively search out leave-ins, stylers, cowash conditioners, moisturisring sprays which have water soluble silicones for daily use.

Intermediate silicones

Whilst not competely water soluble, they do come off with ease. Usually a sulfate free shampoo. You would want them in leave-in, styler and setting lotion - seeing as the silicones combat frizz that means your set style (flexi-rod set,perm rod set, braid out, twist out etc)  will last longer. If you noticed, these are also popular ingredients in heat protectants and hair polishers.

Non-water soluble silicones
Cetyl Dimethicone
Cetearyl methicone
Stearyl Dimethicone

These are the big guns, they don't easily come off your hair unless one uses a sulfate shampoo or one containing cocamidopropylbetaine (say that ten times without skipping a beat and you'll enjoy healthy  long problem free hair forever!). Because they don't easily wash off, they are the perfect ingredients you want in a heat protectant, gel or setting lotion. It will ensure you are protected from the heat, create lasting shine, and help eliminate frizz/ prevent your hair from shrinking up as quickly when your braid or twist out is pappin'

Do you incorporate silicones into your regimen?


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