I probably mess about with my hair colour more than I should, and since deciding to grow it out I've been on the look out for ways to keep my hair in good condition. As a result, I have been using a whole host of special products that claim to hydrate, protect and repair my hair, and feeling quite pleased with myself for being so good to my locks - that is, until I made a slightly alarming discovery.
Long story short, was looking up reviews of Colour B4, a home stripping kit to remove dye from your hair (anyone used it? Please pop a comment below if you have), and I found an interesting statement from Scott Cornwall, the product's inventor. Basically, Scott was explaining why some people may find Colour B4 less effective on their hair - the main reason being silicone build up.
Silicone is present in the majority of hair products, and coats the hair leaving it looking shiny and feeling soft. However, since all the silicone is actually doing is COATING your hair, it is actually doing nothing to improve its condition, it simply disguises the damage. In the long term silicone actually leaves your hair dry and lifeless, meaning that most people will unwittingly chuck a load more silicone based products on top to sort it out, resulting in a nasty vicious cycle.
Perhaps the scariest part of what Scott had to say, however, was what happens when people add straightening irons and curling tongs into the mix with silicone products. Once your hair becomes coated in silicone, applying the 200 degree heat of straighteners etc seals the silicone into the hair shaft and eventually fuses the two together, which results in your hair essentially becoming synthetic. This is why over treated hair is so prone to snapping and burning off - it is behaving as synthetic hair would do as your hair has far too much silicone enclosed within it.
Pretty much every shampoo, conditioner, hair treatment or colourant will contain silicone, unless it is specifically advertised as being silicone free or using natural ingredients. Using silicone is the cheapest way for companies to create a product that appears to have a positive effect on hair, so generally speaking the less you pay for your products, the more silicone you can expect to find. Check the labels of your hair products: any ingredients ending in -one or -cone will be a form of silicone.
The worst offenders in terms of silicone tend to be damaging hair dyes such as the Schwartzkopf XXL range, as they use the silicones to appear to cancel out the damage of adding such a harsh colour to your hair. Once your hair is packed full of silicone it is nigh on impossible to get out, so if you're having trouble removing certain colour pigments from your hair then it is probably because the colour has been sealed inside a fat layer of silicone (laaavely). For this reason, products such as Colour B4 do not tend to work on silicone-abused hair, and in extreme cases even bleach can't get rid of the colour.
Having been through all of my hair products and searched the labels, I can vouch for the fact that it is very tricky to find products that don't contain any silicone. I'm not going to chuck out every silicone containing product I own since as I'd have next to nothing left, but once I run out I will be careful to only purchase silicone free products. Here are a couple of purse-friendly shampoos and conditioners are that completely silicone-free: TRESemme Naturals Collection and anything Organic Root Stimulator's range, such as the Olive Oil & Aloe shampoo displayed to the right.
If you're worried about excess silicone build up in your hair, try rising your hair with apple cider vinegar once a week to cleanse some of the build up, and avoid using heat styling products at all costs.
Are you concerned about silicone? Do you plan to switch to natural products? Let me know down below!