Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Silicones for Hair

Last year, for about 6 months, I stopped washing my hair with conventional shampoo and instead used Castille soap and apple cider vinegar rinses (this is somewhat unattractively know as 'no-poo'), to condition I would use coconut oil as a deep conditioner once a week (or at least try to do it once a week). The coconut oil would make my hair really greasy, and to get it out I had to use lots of soap and really hot water - obviously this negated some of the conditioning effects of the oil, and my hair actually started to get quite dry. (Coconut oil works wonders for some and I love it on my skin, but I was wrong in using it as clearly it was too heavy for my hair as it wasn't soaking it in, you gotta listen to what your body/hair tells you!)

Since then, I guess I've been doing what's known as 'lo-poo', basically using shop bought products but only (more expensive) ones that have all natural or nearly all natural ingredients. This has been going well so far... and then a few months ago I saw this Garnier Ultimate Blends hair serum in Boots and decided to give it a go.

The reason I wanted to use this is basically because it works as a heat protector, but then I liked it because it also made my hair really smooth and soft. Why does it matter what I put on my hair in the end really? I thought. Hair is dead protein anyway, so anything you put on it can only improve the condition, not actually change the condition.

Anyyway. My split ends have been getting really bad recently, the appearance of which is really bad on the days I don't wash my hair. I was using the garnier product pretty heavily, so I decided to have a google about some of the silicones that the Garnier product I've been using has, and what do silicones actually do anyway?

So the main silicone in this product is dimethiconol. From reading about dimethoconol I've discovered that it is non water soluble (probably why it suggests applying as a pre wash treatment 'for added suppleness'), this means that it essentially coats and sticks to hair to make it appear glossy and smooth - but also forms a barrier to protect actual nourishment getting into the hair shaft.

So, conclusion, this stuff might work for some people, but I'm going to stop using it for now. Seeing as it's unlikely that any of the other hair products I use contain silicone (unlike L'Oreal and Dove etc), I don't want to risk the Garnier serum stopping the goodness in all my other hair products doing their thing! I've come to the completely non scientific conclusion that the reason my split ends have been getting worse is because my conditioner hasn't been working properly as it was blocked by the silicones.

I've been getting a little obsessed over hair products recently, I don't know why, but it is just really important for me to try and use natural products on my hair and skin. It's mostly for personal reasons, but I also believe that it's better for the environment, and companies (I'm completely obsessed with Lush) that care about what they put into their products also tend to care more about how their products are made, so do not test on animals, source from sustainable suppliers etc.

Looks like I'll be going back to apple cider vinegar rinses to help get the silicone buildup out of my hair!

Incase anyone is wondering...

The Lush shampoo I am using at the moment is here

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