The Silicone Cycle

What are Silicones?

Silicones are synthetic polymers that are commonly found in hair care products such as shampoos, conditioners, and styling products. They are used to add 'slip'- a slippery, lubricated feeling - and to provide a smooth and shiny appearance to hair.

What's the Issue?

Most silicones used in hair products are not water-soluble, making it difficult to remove them from the hair and scalp. This causes buildup

  • Buildup on hair makes it appear dull, feel heavy and greasy, and makes it difficult for other hair care products to penetrate the hair shaft
  • Buildup on the scalp prevents the scalp from breathing and can clog pores resulting in irritation, itching, and dandruff 

A BIGGER Issue for Silvering Women

What is hidden by color-treated hair is exposed on silvers. Silicone buildup is a waxy greasy coating that is yellow-toned.  Like tarnish on sterling silver, the buildup forms a thin yellowing cast on the surface of silvering hair. 

On the scalp, silicone build-up compromises scalp health. Scalp health becomes more important as we age, as poor scalp health is tied to hair thinning and loss. 

Read the Labels

Some examples of silicones that are commonly found in hair care products include:

  • Dimethicone
  • Cyclomethicone
  • Cetearyl methicone
  • Amodimethicone
  • Dimethiconol
  • Cyclopentasiloxane
  • Phenyl trimethicone
  • Trimethylsilylamodimethicone
  • Behenoxy dimethicone

These are often listed as ingredients with the suffix "-cone" or "-xane" in the name. They can be found in most hair care products such as shampoos, conditioners, masks, styling products, and serums. 

Remove the Buildup!

To remove buildup, it is recommended to deeply cleanse hair regularly with a clarifying shampoo. This powerful cleanser will remove buildup, but used too often,  it can strip the hair of its natural oils and cause dryness, brittleness and breakage. 

The Vicious Cycle

Let's review:

  1. Silicone-based hair products like conditioners and shine-enhancers can make hair shiny and smooth, but over time they leave a buildup that coats, dulls, and yellows silver hair and compromises scalp health.
  2. To remove the buildup, clarifying shampoo is needed, but it can strip hair of its natural oils and make it dry and brittle requiring an infusion of moisture with a deep conditioner or shine product… back to 1.

The cycle will ultimately damage hair making it difficult to achieve a naturally healthy shine.

Take Control

You can take control by simply choosing products for your silvering hair that are colorless and silicone-free.

They won't stain or build-up and will easily wash out of hair with the gentlest shampoo and water. 

This simple adjustment will help you gain control of your routine and result in a healthier scalp and strong, radiant, low-maintenance silver hair.

You've earned every one of those silver strands. Let them shine!


Wisdom. Is. Beautiful.

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