Dimethicone is a very popular silicone found in a lot of hair products. It is added to conditioners and styling products as it is said to help control frizz and provide extra slip. Like most silicones, dimethicone helps products to become easily spreadable. This silicone is not water soluble, meaning water alone is not enough to rid it from the hair. Usually a shampoo with sulfates is required to remove 100% of dimethicone build up but some mild, sulfate free cleansers are said to slow or stop build up as well but not remove it.
The Pros and Cons
There is great debate among the curly community regarding silicones such as Dimethicone, and whether they are actually good for the hair or not.
Dimethicone forms a barrier on the outer layer of the hair which helps to smooth the cuticle.
- This can make the hair appear to be frizz-free and have extra shine. It is also added to many heat protectants as it can help protect the hair from damage against thermal styling.
- Dimethicone does create a water barrier on the hair but it does not fully prevent water from exiting or entering.
If you follow "The Curly Girl Method" by Lorraine Massey, she states that because silicones are made to repel water and forms a seal around the cuticle, it will:
- Prevent the absorption of water, ultimately drying out the hair since the hair can't be properly moisturized.
- Weigh the hair down and prevent the natural curl shape from forming. Because silicones like Dimethicone do require harsh sulfates for full removal, sulfates also dry out the hair and can ultimately cause hair damage.
I strongly suggest seeing what your hair likes personally. Some curlies I know find not using products with dimethicone gives them their best hair days with enhanced curl definition, while others tried the curly girl method and found their hair performs better with less frizz and more shine when dimethicone is present in their hair products. I personally tend to avoid products containing dimethicone as an ingredient because I find while my hair might look okay temporarily, over time and consistant use my hair becomes more dry and frizzy. Again, that is just my hair. It is all about trial and error and making your own informed decisions on your hair care routine and ingredients.