Silicone-loaded shampoos, serums and hair styling products are great for the temporary illusion of soft, shiny hair, but these products, often masquerading as miracle workers can actually be weighing hair down and drying it out.
Over-using silicone-based products could mean bad hair days are just around the corner. Silicones are synthetic ingredients that give products that silky slip. It’s the ‘luxurious’ feel you’re fooled into believing is good for your hair. Here are a few layman reasons why it’s not such a miracle worker…
Silicones – especially non-water soluble ones – can stop deep conditioners and hair treatments from reaching the hair shaft so after spending your money on an expensive hair mask, it’s rendered useless with layers of silicone in the way. Not ideal!
Silicone is also thought to act as a barrier to hair dye (which most of us spend a fortune on too) because, again, it seals up the hair strands and can block hair from retaining other ingredients such as colour pigments. Again, so far, not good.
What about Sulphates? These are synthetic detergents that can irritate sensitive scalps but also strip hair of essential oils and moisture – in the same way as over-use of soaps and shower gels can strip skin of its natural oils. So expect dry, damaged hair in the long-run too.
Annoyingly these ingredients are not always easy to identify as they come under all sorts of chemical names but non-water soluble silicones are worse because, as the name suggests, they do not wash out so keep an eagle-eye out for:
- Phenyl trimethicone
My hair care regime: For the past few years I’ve stuck to shampoos that are a little off the beaten track but are genuinely worth seeking out. Hair doesn’t feel as loaded with gunk and it stays fresher and cleaner for longer. You also need to use far less product.
The shampoos feel a little bit different – less foamy and creamy – but that’s because there are less synthetic foaming ingredients in the formulas. I’ve pulled together my list of current silicone and sulphate-free favourites below.
Australian Native Botanicals
Discovered at the launch of Marks & Spencer’s new beauty department in Marble Arch – where you can shop for niche brands, usually restricted to online retailers – this clear shampoo feels good and smells so fresh and uplifting. I love the pump dispenser too.
Reasonably priced at £7.50 I would easily choose this as my daily shampoo especially as the ingredients are organically grown, formulas are boosted with essential oils and it looks pretty good too. Buy it here.
Alterna Professional Caviar Repair X Re-Texturising Protein Cream
Ideal for dry and mature hair, this Caviar Repair X range contains caviar oil so I’m guessing it’s not vegetarian (but I will check). The shampoo and conditioner, however, are free from silicones, sulphates, parabens and sodium chloride which makes me trust the brand as one that genuinely cares about hair’s condition.
Re-Texturising Protein Cream has become my hair hero – it literally looks like I’ve just stepped out of a salon after I blow-dry with it. Hair is bouncy, soft and looking healthy – you would never guess I have an inch of dry, ugly split ends! Buy it from January, stockist number: 01925 578000.
Organic Surge Volume Boost Shampoo
Great for small budgets (at a brilliant £5.10) this shampoo is large in size and makes hair look full of life. It contains plant extracts to scent and nourish with no synthetic foaming ingredients. It’s also suitable for vegetarians and vegans, hoorah! Buy it here.
Kae Argatherapie Repairing Shampoo
Just love this French brand with products based on organic argan oil. An impressive list of natural ingredients caught my eye in the Repairing Shampoo: coconut, nettle, argan, rosewood and ylang ylang – sounds delish! There’s also a serum oil which looks divine and would treat hair far more naturally than a certain brand’s frizz eaze. Buy here.
Green People Sun & Sports Shampoo
Get this on your beauty shopping list if you’re embarking on a winter sun or ski holiday. Sulphate, alcohol (ethyl alcohol, ethanol), paraben, phthalate and artificial fragrance-free you would never need to worry about drying hair out. Organic avocado, plant proteins, jojoba and artichoke act as great natural conditioners too – sounds good enough to eat. It’s also veggie and vegan. A trusted, fail-proof choice.
Last but not least is Ojon – fantastic shampoos on the higher end of price scale (£18-£20) but they last a really long time because a 20p-sized amount is plenty for a head of (shoulder length) hair. The Volume Advance and Colour Sustain are ones I’ve tried and loved so definitely worth considering the latter if you’re looking for colour-care. Check them out here.
What natural shampoos have you tried? I’m always on the look out for new ones so let me know…