Why Is Silicone Bad For Your Hair?

Why Is Silicone Bad For Your Hair

Why is silicon bad for hair, have you ever given it a thought? 

We all go above and beyond to care for our hair and do what is best to make it healthy and strong. In the quest, we buy products that seem to work best for our hair type. However, it is important to understand that we should not believe everything written on hair product labels that often mention them being safe and healthy.

Silicone is one such controversial ingredient in our beauty or hair products. However, it is still a trendy component in personal care products, beauty products, and mainly hair products.

Why does Silicon have such a bad reputation with personal care products? What makes its presence in the products so harmful? Should we use silicone-free hair products, or is it ok to use occasionally?

Let’s discuss the benefits and downsides of silicone-based products and know for ourselves if the hair products we use are safe or should be discontinued, and the different kinds of silicone that should be used or avoided in the hair products.

What is Silicone?

Silicone is a synthetic substance made of silicon, oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen and is an alternative to toxic plastic (1). Usually, it is used in many day-to-day life products, such as kitchenware, dining ware, rubber hand gloves used for cleaning, cosmetics, the nipples of baby bottles, baby toys, and personal care products.

Why Is Silicone In Hair Products And Why Is It Used?

When it comes to soft, shiny and lustrous hair, silicone becomes the favorite ingredient of many brands that manufacture hair products. It is mainly because silicone contributes to making hair glossy and shiny. However, it comes with certain drawbacks too.  

Here’s why brands often use silicone on their products-

Shiny And Smooth Hair

Shiny and smooth hair

Silicon in hair care products is the synthetic ingredient that can instantly give the hair a glossy and shiny appearance. While using hair conditioner, the synthetic compound in silicone coats the hair strands, locking in the moisture to leave the hair softer.


It also helps the hair to detangle easily, that makes it easy to comb without much hair breakage, and protects against the heat damage of the hair styling tools.

Frizz Reduction

Silicone is most likely to be found in anti-frizz products because it covers the hair strand, giving it a protective layer to block out the humidity that causes fizziness to the hair and helps make hair more manageable.

But it is also found in a published study that the silicone-based hair care products that we use to smoothen your hair produce emissions that might also impact our health. Research has found that the hair serum, gel, and sprays that we use contain siloxanes, which can harm human health, and heating hair styling tools could worsen it (2).

Few products where silicon is found as one of the major ingredients are:

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Hair spray
  • Hair serum
  • Hair oil
  • Hair gel
  • Hair mask

Types of Silicone

Silicone is available in different forms and used by brands in different hair products in its diverse formulae. It helps the brand match their usability because not all silicones are created equally and not one type fits all products’ demands.

There are three types of Silicone used in hair products:

Water Soluble Silicone

Water soluble silicone is the one that dissolves with the water and washes off quickly. The good thing about this product is that it does not cause any build-up because they are easy to remove. Water-soluble silicone-based products allow the moisture to penetrate the hair shaft and protect hair from hair damage from hair styling tools such as straighteners, curlers, or hair dryers.

Non-soluble silicone

As the name suggests, this kind of silicone does not dissolve in water. Instead, it gets stuck to the hair strand. This kind of product creates a water-resistant layer on the hair shaft that can increase the risk of build-up of residue in the hair as it can accumulate over use over an extended period. This kind of polymer stuck to the hair shaft can be removed by washing it with a sulfate-free clarifying shampoo to prevent the hair from getting dry and damaged.

Evaporating Silicone

The third type of silicone present in hair products is evaporating silicone, sometimes known as volatile silicone. This kind of silicone evaporates within minutes of applying the hair product to the hair and does not need any water or additional substance to remove these compounds. The volatile compound in this kind of silicone adds volume to the hair and help give a good texture to curly or wavy hair. 

Effects Of Silicon On Hair

Effects of silicon on hair

It has always been a debatable question whether silicone-based hair products should be used or not. While some people feel free to recommend using silicon products, saying that it is not toxic and physically harmful to use (3), others say that the build-up harms the hair heath, making hair dry, frizzy, and causes hair breakage. But in the end, it all comes down to personal use and experience.


There is always an option of going silicon-free with the hair care product, but it is mainly hard to choose among the products. Usually, what we read in the product description is only sometimes valid; it is not always silicon, even if it is mentioned. 

However, what we can do is cut down the usage of the product once or twice a week and that too in a small amount. It has been seen that water-soluble silicone products are better than non-soluble silicone products (4).

If you are not comfortable using silicone-based hair products, there are always natural DIY home remedies to deeply condition and nourish the hair, which can easily be found. So, when it comes to silicone use for hair, be mindful of your decision and make the right choice based on your hair type. 


  1. Silicone in Dermatology- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10298615/
  2. Siloxane Emissions and Exposures during the Use of Hair Care Products in Buildings-https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.est.3c05156 
  3. Use of silicon for skin and hair care: – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4938278/ 
  4. Why Use Silicones in Personal Care Products Part 2 – Water Soluble Silicone Polymers-https://www.researchgate.net/publication/308785642

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