SILICONES: GOOD OR BAD?
Silicones in hair products have gathered a bit of a bad reputation over the years – but do they really deserve it? HAIR magazine have caught up with Jez Barnett, founder of KeraStraight to explain a bit more and – importantly – to bust a few of the old myths around silicones and hair products.
Q: WHAT ARE SILICONES?
A: Silicones are synthetic ingredients which have been researched and used in beauty products since the 1950s. They’re unreactive (meaning they don’t interfere with the way other ingredients work) and they add a thin waterproof layer around the hair cuticle.
There are lots of types of silicones, including ones that you’d definitely not want anywhere near your skin or hair, but the ones used in hair and beauty products have been thoroughly tested and are considered very safe.
Q:WHY ARE SILICONES USED IN HAIR CARE?
A: Silicones are usually included in hair products or treatments to create a smooth finish. The thin coating they add to the hair smooths down the cuticle, helping to detangle, add shine and prevent frizz. It also helps to retain moisture and to protect against heat damage caused by straightening irons or styling tools.
Q:DO SILICONES CAUSE BUILD-UP?
A: Good question, and the answer is yes and no. Helpful, we know. Silicones have come a long way over the years, so the myths around build-up can pretty much trace their origins to older, heavier products. The ones you’ll find in today’s high-quality professional hair products are no longer the heavy types that weigh your hair down. Instead, they’ve been carefully crafted to make sure they work well for the hair.
Like many myths, though, there is a trace of truth in there. The potential for build-up does depend on your hair and on which products you choose. Fine or thin hair could be weighed down more easily than thicker hair, for example, and supermarket shampoos are more likely to include the older, heavier silicones than professional products do.
Q: HOW TO WASH SILICONES AWAY
If a silicone hair care product does cause a problem with build-up, it can be easily washed away with a good clarifying shampoo. You’ll also want to use a clarifying shampoo before a treatment, so that any coating is removed from the hair, allowing the treatment to penetrate fully. That’s why professional salons use our Pre-Treatment Cleanser as the first stage of your KeraStraight Ultimate and Intense Boost treatments. It’s formulated to cleanse hair effectively but gently, so that you get the best results possible.
SO WHAT’S THE VERDICT?
ARE SILICONES IN HAIR PRODUCTS GOOD OR BAD?
Jez comments: “Both! Heavy silicones used in the past (and still used in many more budget buys) aren’t good news for your hair. But new, lighter-weight silicones are great at giving you that healthy shine and smooth finish that we all love, in a way that works with and adds heat protection to your hair.”
DO KERASTRAIGHT PRODUCTS USE SILICONES? “Yes! We love the potential that’s unlocked by pairing nature and science”, continues Jez. “We use the latest silicone developments to power our protein technology so that it delivers maximum performance and results. This means greater strength, shine, smoothness, softness and protection for hair, as well as helping with colour vibrancy and longevity!
“You’ll find Prothermyn in all of our Style products except Ultimate Oil (which contains lightweight silicones and 9 premium oils). And Prothermyn contains a range of incredible protein silicone blends, derived from vegetable, pea, cystine and wheat. These are lightweight silicones that work with proteins to add strength and protection, as well as shine and smoothness, with every use. As they’re not heavy, the products can be layered (used one on top of the other!).
And the best bit? Their heat-activated technology means that, although they build strength and shine however you use them, that effect is maximised when you add heat from a hairdryer or styling tools. This happens whether you’re adding heat straight after applying, as well as if you’re reheating and restyling your hair the next day.”
Pretty cool, huh?
Photograph: Courtesy of Kerastraight