IAGirl: question for you about 'cone molecule size

IAGirl, I'm relying on your chemistry knowledge. My hairdresser said not all silicones are bad; it depends on the size of the molecule. According to him if the molecule is smaller, it penetrates the hair more easily and doesn't coat it, and is therefore less trouble to remove with shampoos. Does his theory fly with you?
Knightess Firmus Aurum, Maid of the Mitten, Slayer of Dissertation Dragons in the Order of the Curly Crusaders
2b/medium; CG 5/20/09
Wash, co-wash, co: Queen Helene Royal Curl Shampoo / Conditioner, Kiehl's Amino Acid Shampoo / Conditioner, Redken Fresh Curls Shampoo, CJ Daily Fix,
Tigi MM
Stylers: Sally's Neutral Protein Filler as spray, Queen Helene Royal Curl Creme, LALSG
Techniques: Plop and Diffuse
Hair bio: http://www.naturallycurly.com/curlta...4&postcount=97

IAGirl, I'm relying on your chemistry knowledge. My hairdresser said not all silicones are bad; it depends on the size of the molecule. According to him if the molecule is smaller, it penetrates the hair more easily and doesn't coat it, and is therefore less trouble to remove with shampoos. Does his theory fly with you?
Originally Posted by solidgold
Um, no. Silicones are too big to be absorbed by skin or hair.

No matter how hard you try.

If they were absorbed by hair, then silicones would be useless because the whole point of silicones is to be on to the outside of the hair shaft and stay on the outside, providing slipperiness and shine.

Water-soluble silicones (with a PEG or attached to other things that actually do dissolve in water) are not as annoying/tenacious as regular ones because they have been altered to have polarity as part of the molecule (water is polar - and polar things dissolve other polar things), but that is not an issue of smaller size.

He was spot-on about smaller molecule size and penetration into the hair shaft, even though it doesn't apply to silicones. So let's give him full credit for that because he gave you a darling 'do. That's why coconut oil penetrates hair (small molecule) to soften and wonderful-ize dry, porous or kinky hair and to make mine flat and limp - but coconutty.
http://science-yhairblog.blogspot.com/
Thanks for the information!

Now, a personal preference question, if you don't mind sharing: my hairdresser recommended products with silicones. I'm tempted to use his recommendations and eliminate some of my general anxiety around which products to try today, will it make my hair look good, etc. My question is, from your scientific perspective, is it (it being 2 years' worth of CG with its concomitant struggles) worth going to products with silicones if it means good hair?
Knightess Firmus Aurum, Maid of the Mitten, Slayer of Dissertation Dragons in the Order of the Curly Crusaders
2b/medium; CG 5/20/09
Wash, co-wash, co: Queen Helene Royal Curl Shampoo / Conditioner, Kiehl's Amino Acid Shampoo / Conditioner, Redken Fresh Curls Shampoo, CJ Daily Fix,
Tigi MM
Stylers: Sally's Neutral Protein Filler as spray, Queen Helene Royal Curl Creme, LALSG
Techniques: Plop and Diffuse
Hair bio: http://www.naturallycurly.com/curlta...4&postcount=97

My take on silicones is purely personal preference as well. I stopped using products with them inadvertently because I was avoiding allergens and the products I ended up with just happened to be silicone-free. Without the heavier silicone oils (like dimethicone) my hair feels lighter and I like that. I also liked silicone products because of their detangling ability.
Silicones are not petroleum-based. They do not tend to cause skin reactions. They do bind to hair and need to be washed off from time to time to avoid build-up (and to some extent, they just "wear off"). SIlicones offer slip and shine and some are rather lightweight. They help hold moisture (like oils do) and help products spread through your hair well.

If you aren't using silicone in shampoo, conditioner, and styling products, it's not likely to be too much.

If a silicone-containing product works for you and you like the results, whereas the silicone free (CG) products provideed you with 2 years of frustration - I'd totally go for the one that worked and get rid of those struggles and be happier.
CG is a little dogmatic. Dogmatism doesn't leave much room for pragmatism. As you know, stylists are not chemists. To say silicones are "all bad" is too simplistic. They do not suffocate hair or skin (no more than oil does) - hair doesn't "breathe" or excrete wastes like skin does anyhow. The only problem with silicones IMO is the potential for build-up or weighing-down and the solution for both is to wash them out. They're not easy to wash out completely, but neither are the cationic conditioning agents and polyquats which are considered "CG." In fact, some of those are even more tenaciously bound to hair.

My husband has a silicone-y conditioner that he uses about 1-2 times per week and it makes his hair look fantastic.

Seriously, if a product you just discovered gives you great results, you can afford it, get it easily, and it eliminates daily anxiety, the rational thing to to is to give it a try for a period of time. Don't be bound by arbitrary rules. Do what works for you and don't even feel a twinge of CG guilt. Nobody should judge a person based on their choice of haircare products! (Duh).

Bottom line: I don't think struggling to remain CG is worth it if you have options that work better for you.

I will now step down off my soapbox. HTH!
http://science-yhairblog.blogspot.com/

Last edited by IAgirl; 07-23-2011 at 12:08 PM.
You mentioned polyquats & cationic ...etc, that r in CG friendly conditioners being very difficult to remove, can you give an examples of common ones that are difficult to remove?? Thx in advance.
You mentioned polyquats & cationic ...etc, that r in CG friendly conditioners being very difficult to remove, can you give an examples of common ones that are difficult to remove?? Thx in advance.
Originally Posted by Malx
Mmm, many of them in conditioner (quaternary cationic surfactants) like Cetrimonium chloride/bromide, Behentrimonium chloride/methosulfate, Dicetyldimonium chloride. Polyquaternium-4 and 10 are thought to be easier to remove than most of the others. Polyquats are also "cationic."
Which isn't to say they're bad - I don't want to give the wrong impression. Everything has its place. Polyquats don't tend to give you that sugary-crunchy-tangly feeling that some gels do. If these things did not bond to the hair, they wouldn't remain to provide slip and softness or hold and help make your hair feel smooth and silky and add definition. It just means that fine-haired people may want to go light on the conditioner to avoid getting flat, flyaway hair.
They don't completely rinse off and don't even wash off very well because they bond so tenaciously to the negatively-charged hair (especially the damaged parts).

But again, that isn't necessarily a bad thing unless you're getting conditioner-build-up ("producty frizz" hair that seems to repel itself like a balloon rubbed on your head, limp, flat hair, wimpy curls). If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

There is an ingredient (sodium polystyrene sulfonate) which removes some of the cationic buildup. Here's a link to some shampoos with this in it: Shampoo Products Containing: SODIUM POLYSTYRENE SULFONATE || Skin Deep Cosmetics Database | Environmental Working Group
http://science-yhairblog.blogspot.com/
Ha! Sometimes I know what I'm talking about even when I have no idea what I'm talking about. When I started CG I cowashed exclusively. I used no polyquats (except the occasional -4), silicones (except water sol.), mineral oil, or castor oil. I was totally confused when my hair was nowhere near moisturized, but it needed a low poo. I finally realized it was build up, even though I "wasn't using anything that would build up". I was jokingly calling it "conditioner cling". Looks like that was exactly what it was. I blame my beloved behentrimonium methosulfate.

ETA:
I think the no cone dogma in CG is because. 1. If you actually do cowash exclusively, avoiding cones is more of a big deal. (I am sort of surprised that the list hasn't been changed to add polyquats.) 2. If you make the rules even more complicated (I.E separate rules for low pooers), people will perceive it as being too hard.
http://pedaheh.blogspot.com/ (a blog to help new wavies, go to the how do I get started page)
2a (nc.com) 2bFi (Fia), very fine, thin, low/normal elasticity, porous, CG, doesn't get weighed down
Cowash: Tresemme naturals
Rinse out/leave in: Renpure Organics (red)
Curl enhancer: FSG
Gel: BRHG, Salon care aloe, Ecostyler Krystal (normal dews)
PT: ION effective care, IAgirl's gelatin PT
Low Poo: renpure (red), Ion swimmers

Last edited by pedaheh; 07-23-2011 at 05:00 PM.
I think the no cone dogma in CG is because. 1. If you actually do cowash exclusively, avoiding cones is more of a big deal. (I am sort of surprised that the list hasn't been changed to add polyquats.) 2. If you make the rules even more complicated (I.E separate rules for low pooers), people will perceive it as being too hard.
Originally Posted by pedaheh
Good point.
At least we've been made aware of the fact that some things weigh the hair down or do whatever we don't want.
I used to buy shampoo/conditioner based on about 3 criteria - scent, price, and does it make my hair go totally flat. Life was simpler then.
http://science-yhairblog.blogspot.com/
Life was simpler then.
Originally Posted by IAgirl
http://pedaheh.blogspot.com/ (a blog to help new wavies, go to the how do I get started page)
2a (nc.com) 2bFi (Fia), very fine, thin, low/normal elasticity, porous, CG, doesn't get weighed down
Cowash: Tresemme naturals
Rinse out/leave in: Renpure Organics (red)
Curl enhancer: FSG
Gel: BRHG, Salon care aloe, Ecostyler Krystal (normal dews)
PT: ION effective care, IAgirl's gelatin PT
Low Poo: renpure (red), Ion swimmers
Thanks for the thoughtful responses! I follow the "I'll try it and see how it goes" philosophy, so I can always go back to no silicones after this experiment. I guess I just wish there were some guarantees in life, like "if I just follow these rules, I'll have good hair." But as we all know, what works one day for one person may not hold true the next day or for any other person. Oh well. More experimentation, and it's the journey, not the destination, blah blah blah! Thanks for the input!
Knightess Firmus Aurum, Maid of the Mitten, Slayer of Dissertation Dragons in the Order of the Curly Crusaders
2b/medium; CG 5/20/09
Wash, co-wash, co: Queen Helene Royal Curl Shampoo / Conditioner, Kiehl's Amino Acid Shampoo / Conditioner, Redken Fresh Curls Shampoo, CJ Daily Fix,
Tigi MM
Stylers: Sally's Neutral Protein Filler as spray, Queen Helene Royal Curl Creme, LALSG
Techniques: Plop and Diffuse
Hair bio: http://www.naturallycurly.com/curlta...4&postcount=97

...it's the journey, not the destination, blah blah blah!
Originally Posted by solidgold
The quotable Solidgold! Love it.
http://science-yhairblog.blogspot.com/

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