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The Science of Silicone: An Experiment!

For those that are on a journey of avoiding the use of products that contain chemicals that strip and weigh down the hair, words like sulfate and anything ending in -cone are turn offs when reading labels.

Silicones are used in commonly used shampoos and conditioners for its ability to form a film around the surface of the hair, which increases slip and provides protection against heat. These properties also render silicones insoluble in water…which leads to buildup and possible breakage/damage.


Manufacturers are aware that consumers are getting wiser about ingredients, and we want to turn a  ‘buyer beware’ situation into a ‘buyer aware’ environment, so we have a test that you can try at home if you want to see if your shampoo could be a silicone suspect before using it. The only tools you need are a bowl and some water.

We used two shampoos from our stash, the first shampoo (A) is a tear-free, detangling shampoo that is gentle, reduces split ends and leaves hair “feeling extra soft”. The second shampoo (B) states that it “cleans, moisturizes and hydrates hair.

How can you “see” if your shampoo contains hidden cones? Pour a bit of shampoo into a bowl of water….and wait.


Shampoo A         VS.          Shampoo B


After 30 minutes……



After one hour:


Notice any difference?? Shampoo A did not dilute as much as Shampoo B (remember the non-water soluble characteristic of silicones?) Let’s take a look at the ingredients:


Shampoo A ingredient label:



Shampoo B ingredient label:


Even though there are no obvious ‘-cones’ listed on the label, Shampoo A  does contain “dimethiconol”, which is assumed to be a combination of dimethicone and a type of ethylene glycol to help it become water soluble.

Without a doubt there are visual benefits to using cone-containing products; shine, less frizz, heat protectant and better color penetration. The important thing to remember that these benefits are temporary, damaged hair that appears shiny after a shampoo is still damaged.

If you find that silicones make for a better hair day for you, just remember that it is important to clarify regularly to remove damage-inducing buildup.


Tell us, are you a cone-head or do you abstain??


One thought on “The Science of Silicone: An Experiment!

  1. […] ingredients before you buy. Learn about sulfates and other chemicals, and you can read this blog post about why cones are […]

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