CurlChemist Tonya McKay of NaturallyCurly writes;
We always get lots of questions about silicones, as they are in so many products and are of ongoing concern to many curly-haired consumers. I thought this month we could tackle a couple of those questions in a quick, practical manner (hopefully) to aid in the seemingly never-ending process of ingredient scrutiny and product selection.
Q: Is there any way to rank silicones in order of their water solubility and also recommend the best surfactants to remove each category?
A: It is difficult to actually rank the silicones in order of water solubility, simply because they are usually either soluble or not. Most silicones are water insoluble due to being non-polar, but there are a few that are chemically modified in order to render them more compatible with water. The following table lists the main types of silicones found in hair care formulations. It also indicates whether or not they are water soluble and includes which surfactants can be used to ensure good removal of the silicone from the hair. Studies done by Dow Corning have found that the water-insoluble silicones show no appreciable buildup when a shampoo containing one of the recommended surfactants was used.