silicone and natural hair whats okay and what to avoid

Silicone and Natural Hair: What's Okay and What to Avoid

The Good, the Bad, But the Not So Ugly

In 2011 I was working in a salon in Orange, NJ where a stylist used a shampoo and conditioner called the Silicone mix. Silicone Mix is supposed to be the best product to use on clients that have course natural hair. I was curious because so many of her clients were transitioning and I needed to see if this product was worth it. On a Saturday afternoon the stylist pulled me to the side and said " Charlie, I have a client coming in at 1 pm, and I am going to be using the product I told you about" she went on to say " this client has very coarse hair and she wants her hair to look as if she has a relaxer". As the stylist went along, she told me what she'd be doing step by step. Once she was finished with the entire treating and styling process, I noticed that the client's hair was full of life! But what I couldn't wrap my mind around was the amount of heat used to achieve it. So I had a client that was transitioning, and I told her about the new product that a stylist used on her client. She asked if I could use the products that I usually use and declined the Silicone mix! Instead of asking the client why she didn't want to use the Silicone Mix I decided to go to a natural source which is my sister who has been natural for five years. She gave me the good, bad and the not so ugly on the silicone mix.

Convo about The Cones

Before speaking to my sister Sade, I did my research. I read a couple of articles and made some mental notes. Writing this article is personal because I am a woman who wants to transition and maintain healthy hair. What I have to understand is every hair texture is different, and when you decide to become natural it's a commitment that you made to yourself. Sade has been natural for five years, and she said that this was one of the best decisions she has made and seen it through. She was excited that I came to her to get some advice on how being natural can be a task but one of the rules of being natural having patience. I went right into it and asked her about the Silicone mix and if she has ever used it. She said the first shampoo and conditioner she used was shea moisture which can is in Walmart or any local beauty supply store. Her hair responds well to the product. Another product she uses is Mielle Organics. This product is a bit pricey, but she's okay with spending the money if she knows it will work for her hair.

Salon Decision

At the beginning of the article, I mentioned stylists who choose to use the Silicone mix, but I wonder if she knew what was in the product. Some stylist wants to get the job done instead of doing the research. I want to get the job done, but hair care is just as necessary. So I asked my sister how she chose her salon when she decided to transition. Of course, she read the reviews, but she also said that once she gave them a try, she enjoyed their process. The salon that she goes to not only specialize in natural hair but African American curly hair. As for the heat, the stylist didn't use the heat on the highest temperature which she said is a big no-no for her. I asked if the salon used the silicone mix and her response was no. Her stylist doesn't use anything sold over the counter all shampoos and conditioners are sent to the salon by a distributor. So let's break this down. Let's talk about the good bad and the not so ugly silicones and how we can avoid them!

Avoiding Silicones

The first thing I asked Sade was why something that makes the hair looks so healthy is so harmful? Can the ingredients to the shampoo and conditioner do that much harm? Her response was YES! Besides the components, it's the buildup that can be a concern. Most silicones are not water soluble, and it causes build up that will weigh the hair down also known as the "bad silicones." I took a moment to research the good, bad and the worst silicones.

The Good Cone

The cones mentioned below are water soluble cones that will not weigh down the hair. When looking at ingredients if you see these two listed you are good to go!
  • Stearoxy Dimethicone
  • Behenoxy Dimethicone

The Bad Cone

Listed below are the non-water soluble. They can build up if you're not washing your hair once or twice a week.
  • Trimthylsilyamodimethicone
  • Amodimethicone
  • Cyclopentasiloxane
  • Cyclomethicone

The Ugly Cone

Listed below are the worst that build up quickly and hard to remove. Please read the ingredients before purchasing a product for your hair.
  • Dimethicone
  • Cetyl Dimethicone
  • Cetearyl Methicone
  • Dimethiconol
  • Stearyl Dimethicone

Bye-bye Build Up

Clarifying shampoo will do the trick! Clarifying shampoo is a deep cleansing that will remove all the build up in the hair. If you are using the product silicone mix, I suggest you wash your hair once or twice a week.

The Not So Ugly

What did you learn from this article? I learned that Silicone mix isn't the right product for everyone. I also learned more about the ingredients that are in the shampoo and the conditioner could do just as much damage to the hair as the heat can. Most importantly I learned that transitioning to becoming natural isn't easy either. For those of you who are in the process of becoming a natural beauty tell me how your journey is going. What products are you using and what products are the salon using on your hair. I'm interested to know because I can probably learn a trick or two from you!
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