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Curly Nikki

Understanding Silicones- Natural Hair

By January 27th, 202129 Comments
Understanding Silicones- Natural Hair

 via Good Hair Diaries 

Silicones are ingredients in many hair conditionersshampoos, and hair gel products. They usually have hard to pronounce names like phenyltrimethicones or amodimethicones.
Too make things easier, just remember that most ingredients ending in “cone”,
“col”, “conol” or “zane” are more than likely a silicone. Silicones will produce a
 build-up on the hair and scalp because they are often not water-
soluble. This is why clarifying shampoos are so important to those of us that use “cone” filled products.

is one exception to this rule though. If the abbreviation “PPG” or
“PEG” is in front of the silicone, this means that it was
specially developed to be water-soluble and will not leave a build-up
like other silicones. It’s also important to note that some people don’t experience build-up with any of the silicones.  As with everything, you must experiment and see what works (or doesn’t) for you and your curls.

Silicones Likely to Build-up

  1. Dimethicone
  2. Cetyl Dimethicone
  3. Cetearyl Methicone
  4. Dimethiconol
  5. Stearyl Dimethicone
you’re someone like myself, silicones help me detangle my hair and keep
frizz at bay, so I have no intention of letting them go completely. So what
does a girl do in this situation? Luckily, it’s not all gloom and doom- – there are some silicones that slow down the build-up process and others that are

Deposit Repelling Silicones

  1. Trimethylsilylamodimethicone
  2. Amodimethicone
  3. Cyclopentasiloxane
  4. Cyclomethicone

Water Soluble Silicones

  1. Stearoxy Dimethicone 
  2. Behenoxy Dimethicone

Getting Rid Of Silicone Build-up

a quality clarifying or chelating shampoo will remove the product
build-up. Some women still swear by mixing baking soda into their normal
shampoo to convert it to a clarifying shampoo. Whichever method you
choose, be sure to follow-up with a apple cider vinegar rinse to
regulate the pH balance of your hair. You should find that your products
take better to freshly clarified hair.


CN Says:


When I first jumped off the Curly Girl (CG) Bandwagon, I fell right into a vat of amodimethicone.  The old DevaCare formulation contained this silicone and it did amazing things for my hair.  What was once dry was now soft, and what was once tangled… smooth.  No longer avoiding silicones like the plague, I began experimenting with great success.  I’ve found that my fine strands require some silicone action for less stressful detangling sessions and more productive styling sessions… they protect my hair from some of the wear and tear of detangling, help my highly porous strands stand up to humidity and keep the moisture from wash day in much longer.  After extended use, I found fewer single strand knots, fewer split ends and less breakage.  As far as build-up goes, I’ve found that shampoos containing the gentler surfactant ‘cocamidopropylbetaine’ effectively rid my strands of all traces of silicone, but once every couple of months, I’ll use an SLS containing shampoo for good measure.  The only ingredients that I’ve experienced build-up from are mineral oil, petroleum and the like. I don’t seem to run into issues with silicones. 

I love this chart by chemist, Tonya McKay, which at a glance, will inform you whether or not the silicone is water soluble or not and what form of cleansing agent can be used to effectively remove it.

Water soluble?
Recommended cleansing agents
SLS, SLES, cocamidopropyl betaine, cocobetaine, ALS, or ALES
SLS, SLES, cocamidopropyl betaine, cocobetaine, ALS, or ALES
Phenyl Trimethicone
SLS, SLES, cocamidopropyl betaine, cocobetaine, ALS, or ALES
SLS, SLES, cocamidopropyl betaine, cocobetaine, ALS, or ALES

cocamidopropyl betaine, cocobetaine, other mild surfactants, or conditioner washing
PEG-modified dimethicone
cocamidopropyl betaine, cocobetaine, other mild surfactants, or conditioner washing
Dimethicone copolyol
cocamidopropyl betaine, cocobetaine, other mild surfactants, or conditioner washing

As with everything in my life, I’m either on the wagon or off. 
Currently, many of the products I’m using actually would be classified
as CG (no silicones, mineral oil, or petroleum, etc.).  I’m not avoiding
silicones, I’m just trying some new curl creams, many of which are
boutique brands that abide by the ‘natural’ rules of the community. 
I’ll keep you posted!

What about you? Do you play with silicones?


  • kandi says:

    everyone's hair is different, some respond good or bad to silicone. Do what works for you. People love to label certain ingredients as negative thing.

  • Jazz says:

    Great information. This is one of the best articles on Silicones. Thank you.

  • Patty says:

    Very good information…….Thx!

  • Jessica Coletrain says:

    After going natural I try to stay away from products with 'cones' in them. I just can't, I feel so guilty for even picking them up. Too worried how it will affect my very fine, thin hair.

  • tiffany says:

    and i bet ALL yall's hair look like shit! lmao
    i'm SO proud that i don't need to rely on that plastic "fake slip" shit yall put in yalls heads 😛

  • Derika says:

    I have no idea what to do. I have dry hair but my hair gets product build up easily. I don't use silicones because of build up and if I were to use a harsh cleansing agent, my hair would become super dry. I may try the baking soda in a shampoo. My low porosity hair would probably love the high akaline of baking soda anyway.

  • Angie B. says:

    Silicones work well in my hair although I TRY to avoid them. I use a gel and conditioner with silicones and make sure to clarify one a month.

  • Sydney says:

    I love silicones!!! The argan oil I use "One N Only" has I'm pretty sure, loads of them an my hair loves it. The slip and smoothness of my hair bring a smile to my face. Love cones!

  • Rhonda says:

    Not all products are the same and we all have diverse hair. I know some people want to throw that 'Cantu Shea Butter' out the durn window, but that stuff work wonders for me to moisturize my hair. My hair is healthy, A lot healthier than it had been when I used hair grease, but some women say that works for them and have great locks.

  • Alwina Oyewoleturner says:

    I like to use what works best for my hair. Sometimes that may be a product that has silicones and sometimes I may not use a product with them. I do what works for me, but I think I mostly use products that don't have silicones, which means I can use natural products like crazy without too much buildup. Great article and great information! Thank you!

  • SavanahRae says:

    My hair loves cones, they provide great slip and make it soft.

  • hunnybun says:

    me too i tried going the all natural condish route and detangling was murder. Then i reintroduced HEHH to my regimen and my hair was like butter. Also a good cone laden leave in acts like a moisturizer and styler in my hair without it being greasy and weighed down. Aussie split end leave in is my new boo and it is laden with cones but it works. CONE USERS UNITE!!

  • hunnybun says:

    Do you boo boo. I learned the hard way not to do what others are doing but to do whats best for my hair. If your hair likes cones then go for it because they were made for a purpose. They do wonders for my ends and the softness of my hair so give them a try

  • Megan M. says:

    I guess I been using silicones forever since some of my conditioners silicones Col, and conol, I did not know they were cones but they gave me slip especially a conditioner I like garnier fruitis triple nutrition conditioner love it has dimethiconol in it.

  • anonymous says:

    @Esther – I have observed how sooooooo many YouTubers with beautiful long hair swear by 'cones. It is the slip in 'cones that help them avoid damaging their tresses during washing and detangling.
    Less damage = retained length.

  • LBell says:

    HE HH has been my HG conditioner for coming up on 10 years now and I'm not giving it up. PERIOD. 🙂 Another good one that works well for slip is HE None of Your Frizzness…the only problem there is that the scent is almost overpoweringly strong. My fine coils need the help that silicones provide and I have no problem using a shampoo every month or so to remove any buildup. This is what works for me…

  • Still Looking says:

    I agree with the posters that 'cones are the best detanglers, but that's where we part ways.
    I NEVER achieved softness and moisture when using 'cones. I started out with HEHH, but nevah-evah got soft touchable hair! o_O

    I ditched the 'cones and I'm still looking for an HG detangler. KCKT is good, but I still struggle to detangle with it.
    I'm sick and tired of having to cut my hair because of mid-strand (needle eye) splits and split ends, which I directly attribute to detangling. Finger detangling is too much for me, expecially with the KCCC in it.

    I've been looking for homemade detangler recipes and will put on my mixtress apron when I find all the ingredients!

  • Hilary B. says:

    lol, I know what you mean. I'm so hesitant to leave my 'natural, only ingredients I can pronounce' comfort zone.

  • Gaye Glasspie says:

    the first year I was like oh I can't use this or that..but my curls don't object to much other than an excessive amount of protein. I say do what works for you

  • Brooke B. says:

    My hair doesn't play well with dimethicone it leaves my hair dry & crispy, but other silicones seem to treat my hair better.

  • Bobby says:

    You cant listen to what others say about a product or in this case an ingredient: Silicones. You got to do-you and try a product because you want to, instead of NOT USING IT cause the natural police say not to!

  • prettyparticular says:

    I go back and forth with this ALL the time. Silicones do not bother my hair at all, but I feel like I've been "programmed" to dislike them. lol I feel like I'm limiting myself from trying some great products b/c they have silicones. I've been slowly trying silicone products, but after this post I'm liberating myself. lol

  • Safarascurls says:

    I have very fine strands as well and I find that silicone detangles my hair so easily that my shedding is almost non-existent. My favorite is HEHH. Because of this site I also know to wash it out with shampoo. I have many non silicone products as well, so I usually just go back in forth depending on my mood. My daughter on the other hand is strictly all natural & is thriving. Shampoo was just to harsh for her. So as we all know different strokes for different folks.

  • Bobby says:

    Me too! Dimethicone products prevent frizz and dropping of my braid outs on my 11 post relaxed hair. Silicones are a must for me to prevent tangles, when I tried silicone free method my hair would tangle, knot and be extremly dry….GIVE ME MY SILICONES!

  • Felicity Rhode says:

    I swear to folks all the time, my hair NEEDS silicones. My detangling sessions are murder without them. They keep my hair soft, moisturized and strong, and my regular sulfate free poo gets rid of build up just fine. I actually look for silicones in my conditioners, lol.

  • Lacquerholic says:

    I'm not silicone free, I just try to avoid the serums and sheen sprays that are all 'cones. I don't mind a leave in or DC with a 'cone or 2. I did recently use a SLS shampoo just to make sure my hair was clarified.I definitely stay away from petrolatum & mineral oil.

  • Esther Komolafe says:

    This always makes me get confused.

  • Davina W. says:

    Great info!

  • Hilary B. says:

    this is right on time! I used a leave-in chock full of cones last night (Garnier Fructis), and my hair is soooo soft. I always use KCKT but I didn't want to 'waste' it this time (Am I the only one who's paranoid about using a product up? lol). I know it's not as moisturizing as the Knot Today, despite the soft hair, because it just sat on top of my hair for a lonnng time, but I think this would be good to use before blow drying as a heat protectant because of all the 'cones it contains. Really informative article!

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