Silicone hair products and silicates both affect curly hair in different ways. It is very important to be aware of the main differences and similarities whenever you are choosing hair products containing these ingredients. Being aware of the effects of these ingredients will make you aware of what they can to your hair, both in the long run and in the short run. You’ll be fully prepared to make the best hair care choices for your curly locks, and help you to achieve your best curls yet!

Silicone Hair Products

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Whenever silicones are added to hair care products, you can typically find them in the ingredient list by identifying ingredients ending in a “cone,” “conol,” “col,” or “xane.” Whenever they have a “PEG” or “PPG,” it means that they are safe to use on your curly tresses.

Silicone hair products characteristically are not water soluble, which will cause build-up in your hair over time. In order to get rid of the build-up that silicone hair products can create, you will have to use a shampoo that is surfactant-based. If using products that include silicones, it is highly advised to use the surfactant-based shampoo on a regular rotation to make sure that your hair is always looking its best, and to ensure that you are ridding your locks of the products that can steal away shine and weigh your curls down. Adding this surfactant-based shampoo to your weekly hair care routine will help maintain the luster and wellbeing that you want your hair to maintain for the long run.

Silicate Hair Products

Worse Than Silicones?

Silicates are another type of ingredient that are well known for being added into hair care products. There are many different types of silicates, such as aluminum silicate, calcium silicate and zirconium silicate. Depending on the type of silicate that is included in the product you are using, they may or may not be more abrasive than silicones. According to Cosmeticsinfo, however, “CIR Expert Panel concluded that these ingredients were safe as currently used in cosmetic and personal care formulations.”

The Conclusion

What Does Your Hair Need?

Silicone hair products have seemed to take the stage in the popularity contest between these two ingredients, due to how well known the products that contain them have become over the years. In addition, products containing silicone ingredients have promised many different attributes to their customers such as shiny hair, enhancing curl retention, and increased amounts of all-over gloss.

Silicones can be found in both shampoos and conditioners. Due to the molecular structure of the silicone molecule, the silicone hair products are able to spread consistently over the strand of hair, making their entire head of hair feel lightweight and silky, at least for a short period of time.

Overall, in this debate between silicone hair products vs. silicate hair products, it all comes down to what works best for your hair. Each type of ingredient has a different reaction when used on your beloved curls, and you have to find out what works best for you. Sometimes this takes a period of trial and error, studying ingredient lists for hours at drugstores, and possibly some bad hair days. But, once you come to the conclusion of the products and ingredients that work best for you, the wait will have been well worth it.

Hard and Fast Differences

  • Silicones are synthetic compounds that are usually heat-resistent and are most often non-water soluble. This insolubility causes build up in your hair, weighing it down and creating a dull look.
  • Using silicones requires that you use a shampoo that will strip the hair of the ingredients.
  • Silicates do not boast the shine adding and curl defining results that silicones do, but silicates are water-soluble.
  • Silicates are not synthetic, but naturally occurring, and result in a softer hair finish.

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Allison Cooper


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