FACT – You Don’t Have to Cleanse Your Hair to Remove Silicones

by West Parsons on November 21, 2011 · 5 comments

in hair care

A few months ago I won Hair Products 101 by Chicoro from Kai over at ManeAndChic (neither pictured above).  This actually is the first hair-related book I’ve truly read and it absolutely has peeked my interest in purchasing similar books.  The information discussed has caused me to reevaluate the products in my arsenal and how they are being used. This book also clarifies some misconceptions, us in the hair world, are not always total sure of.

Although Chicoro is not a professional Chemist, she has educated herself about this subject beyond the average consumer. I say this to say, the information she offers in this book is quite valuable to someone like you and myself.

With permission from Chicoro, below you will find an excerpt from a chapter in this book called
Step 3: Understanding Product Ingredients and Formulations

Silicones & Lubricants

Silicone does not prevent moisture from entering or leaving the hair strand. Although silicones are not occlusive, meaning they do not smoother the hair strand, they can be difficult to remove, even with clarifying shampoos.

There are two kinds of silicones: volatile and substantive. Volatile silicones are formulated for the benefit of wet hair.  They help wet hair to feel smooth.  They are designed to provide lubrication as a middle, or temporary state in the washing and conditioning process.  Once the hair dries, these types of silicones have performed their job.  Substantive silicones are formulated to provide slip and lubrication for dry hair. Unlike volatile silicones, they do not evaporate or disappear. The volatile silicones are transitory or temporary, while the substantive silicones stick around — literally.

If your product suggests that you use the product on wet hair and you see silicones in the list of ingredients, you can assume that the product contains volatile silicones. If the directions suggest that you use the product on dry hair and you see silicones in the list, you can assume that the product contains substantive silicones.

Before reading this excerpt, I was always under the impression that cones, no matter if geared towards wet or dry hair, remain in the hair until removed with a cleanser. While in the hair, silicones blocked moisture from entering the cuticle.  This made me weary of using rinse-out conditioners with silicones (note: ingredients which are silicones are not always obvious, Chicoro spells this out in this book) and fearful that products used in my stretching process will not be able to penetrate and truly moisturize my hair. Based on the information provided above, those conditioners which do contain silicones are not too much of a threat when it comes to preventing moisture from penetrating hair strands when using products which are geared toward wet hair.

What misconceptions about silicones did you have?


nika November 21, 2011 at 6:52 pm

So what about deep conditioners with cone… like the brazilian Karite Nuunat deep treament mask.. the one you tried in your video..?
Would that be bad?

westNDNbeauty November 21, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Hi Nika,

Well based on the information presented, conditioners and meant to be used on wet hair so I would expect the silicones in such products to evaporate as the hair dries. Hope that helps.

nika December 1, 2011 at 3:53 am

Thanks, but the directions never implied what state the hair should be in.
So I’m a little confused. It just says “apply to hair….. :/
So if it is substative..?
If so than it can dry you hair out…. :/

Wanda Renee November 22, 2011 at 3:27 pm

That’s good to know. thanks!

nika May 24, 2012 at 9:48 pm

So how does one cleanse the hair? Don’t know if I missed that.. :/