Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Are you killing your hair with kindness?

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!


  1. Hey, for stripping, i absolutely swear by this

    I've used it twice, and it worked really well - follow it up with an aussie 3 minute miracle conditioner and your hair wont feel any different to before.

    Ont thing to remember though is definitely read the intructions - I did it and was a bit surprised to find that all my hair went ginger as opposed to the brown i thought it would. Upon reading the FAQs it says that if you have gingery brown hair (originally my hair was brown with ginger undertones)Then it would take it back to the lightest colour it had ever been - so for me, having lightened it a bit with the red, the lightest shade in my hair was ginger. I was more than happy with the ginge to be honest, but definitely do look into it.

    Also something important to remember is that if you then plan on dying over the stripped hair, then the hair will be more porous and will take the following dye very well - maybe a little too well. I trid to dye over the stripped hair to cover my roots - i went for a light ginger and my hair went back to the red of before. It just took on too much of the pigment. So whatever colour you want to follow it with, buy the lightest shade you can, because it's likely to go a lot darker than you expect.

    1. Ooh thanks for that tip off. I just looked it up and it's only £7.99 at the moment so may have to take the plunge. my concern with stripping my hair is that the ends will probably revert back to blonde because they're covered in bleach, but i have no idea what the roots will do. I've got a good 3-4 inches that were never highlighted, just dyed brown and then dark blonde twice. Even if the roots revert back to my natural colour, I will need to get them highlighted pretty sharpish or I'll have pretty atrocious roots! xx

      ps- I left a comment on your absolutely fabulous post from the other day, but when I went on and reread the post a few days back I couldn't see my own comment - did you ever get it? This was on the protest post. x

  2. Hi Emma!

    I've heard before about the amount of silicone the products we use have. I've been told that majority of the P&G hair products contain silicone.

    Thanks a lot for the advice and keep the posts coming - I love to read them :)


  3. I have just downloaded iStripper, and now I enjoy having the sexiest virtual strippers on my desktop.


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