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Gleam. Bling. Reflect. Those are some ways to describe what your hair does when you're having a great hair day. One of the ingredients in your styling products that helps you achieve high gloss -- for a while -- is silicone. Your hair will look great with short-term use of silicone-based products. Long-term use can lead to less desirable results.
Silicone is a substance that coats your hair, making it shiny and silky. It's a common ingredient in many shampoos, conditioners and styling aids -- often labeled as dimethicone. It produces high-voltage shine by smoothing down the hair shaft, reducing frizz. The problem with silicone is that it sticks to your hair. A combination of washing hair with silicone-based shampoos and conditioners, then styling with silicone-based serums and creams causes the dreaded product buildup that leaves hair dull and flat.
After a while, no matter how often you use silicone hair products, you can't get back that initial addictive shine and your hair no longer feels moisturized. Because silicone is so effective at coating the hair, it completely blocks out moisture. Unfortunately, it doesn't discriminate between types of moisture. While it blocks frizz-causing water molecules, it also repels the good-for-you hydration that comes from conditioners and moisturizing creams. Eventually, you're left with dehydrated strands and lackluster color.
If your hair is continually deprived of moisture, the final side effect of silicone overuse is breakage. Hydration keeps your hair fluid, elastic and manageable. Without it, your hair becomes brittle and weak. Strands snap off easily and ends split frequently. Silicone hair products build up on top of each other, suffocating the health and vitality out of your hair. Once breakage occurs, there are only a couple things you can do: try to hide the damage with hairstyling or cut your hair into a more flattering style.
Repair Your Hair
There's absolutely nothing wrong with using silicone hair products. The key to maintaining healthy, beautiful hair while incorporating silicone-based products into you hair care regimen is to use them sparingly. Save the glossing serum and smoothing shampoos and conditioners for special occasions and events. For everyday use, switch to a shampoo and conditioner without silicone. Once or twice a month use a clarifying shampoo to remove any residual product buildup and allow your tresses to absorb moisture and breathe.