Now that Winter is fully upon us many of us have begun changing our routines and hair care products to better preserve precious moisture. The dry winter air wreaks havoc on our hair by making it more difficult to retain moisture. Unfortunately, some commonly used ‘moisturizers’ and ‘sealers’ actually exacerbate dryness and frizz! Two of the main culprits are petroleum derivatives like mineral oil & liquid paraffins and the overuse of silicones. In this post we’ll focus on the ever controversial silicones. Next week we’ll tackle petroleum derivatives as well as the super helpful group of substances known as humectants!
Though they often get a bad rap, silicones can, in fact, be quite beneficial, providing they are used correctly. In limited quantities, silicones assist in smoothing the hair, preventing breakage, and preserving moisture. Because silicones are ‘occlusive,’ meaning that they form a barrier on the hair and skin, they also protect the hair from heat styling and retain needed moisture. However, silicone serums or products containing silicone as one of the first ingredients create the illusion of moisture without actually penetrating the hair (hint: beware of anything other than pure oil that is labelled as ‘Argan Oil’). Without a significant amount of natural oils and butters, silicone-based products actually create a cycle of dependency that leaves hair chronically dry and dulled by build up.
Our approach blends small amounts of silicone ingredients with natural oils, waxes and water-based ingredients – it is never used as a stand-alone serum or as a primary ingredient. By using products that contain silicones in a minor, supporting role rather than a starring role, silicone is able to provide its beneficial qualities without resulting in dryness or excess build up. The bottom line? Silicones can be extremely helpful in preserving moisture during the winter months, but must be used in moderation as part of a healthy hair regimen that includes penetrating oils and butters, hydration, gentle cleansing, and deep conditioning.