How To Remove Silicone Build-Up on Hair

BY Kiku Chaudhuri

A simple guide to get rid of silicone build-up on hair. Plus, a few Ayurvedic alternatives to try for softer and hydrated tresses.

What are silicones?

Silicones are made from silica, which is derived from sand. The silica derivatives are commonly used in hair products. They are known for providing lubrication and a protective coating. Used in hair care products since the 1970s, silicone has faced heavy criticism in recent times. Silicone chemicals are found in conditioners, as they lessen frizz, and improve the softness, and the feeling of your hair. While they are known to seal split ends and smooth out cuticles, too much of it can cause silicone build-up on hair. If you’re wondering about how to identify them, most silicones on the ingredient list will end in ‘-col’, ‘-cone’ or ‘-conol’.

Why are silicones bad for hair?

Here are four reasons why you should switch to a safer alternative for frizz-free hair: 

  1. Silicones have a temporary softening effect on hair. They make it look shiny for a short period of time. Eventually, though, the silicone build up on hair can weaken the follicles—leaving the hair dry, dull and prone to breakage.
  2. Silicones also form a coating that protects the hair from sun and heat damage. However, this layer of coating can prevent moisture and other beneficial compounds from getting in.
  3. Moreover, because of their sticky quality, silicones can also attract dirt and dust. This can once again cause silicone hair build-up that leaves the hair looking dull and makes it weaker over a period of time.
  4.  Some cheap hair products that contain silicone which isn’t water-soluble can be very hard to remove with a regular wash.

How to remove silicone build-up on hair?

While shampoos containing sulfates are known to strip silicone build-up on hair right off, they can do more harm than good in the longer run. Therefore, naturally-derived cleansers, like those rooted in Ayurveda can be a safer alternative to chemical-infused shampoos. 

Here a few natural ingredients you can try to get rid of silicone build-up on hair:

  1. Tulsi - Rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc, iron, and chlorophyll, Tulsi is a natural cleanser for skin and scalp. It helps in removing dirt, impurities, excess oil, and build-up.
  2. Tamarind - Rich in vitamin B, vitamin C, carotenes, potassium, tartaric acid, magnesium, AHA (alpha hydroxyl acids), it exfoliates skin and helps fight free radical damage.
  3. Shikakai - Packed with the goodness of antioxidants, vitamin C, D, E, and K, Shikakai is a natural cleanser that deeply nourishes the scalp. It also helps relieve itchiness and dryness that may come as a result of silicone build-up on hair.
  4. Kaolin - This natural ingredient contains minerals that clean scalp and skin, remove grime, excess oil, dead skin cells, and product buildup.
  5. Reetha - High in saponin, these nuts are nature's soap that clean away excess oil, grime and build-up.
  6. Multani mitti - Multani Mitti gently absorbs excess oil, build-up and dirt, while keeping your natural oils intact. Multani Mitti has been used for over 2,000 years in the Indian subcontinent to clean and nourish the entire hair ecosystem. 

Try these Ayurvedic products that contain all the above ingredients and more to help you get rid of silicone build-up on hair: 

  1. Unearth Yourself Balancing Clay Hair Cleanser - The buttery shampoo contains a combination of moisturizing glycerin, oil-absorbing kaolin clay, and coconut cleansers that help get rid of product and silicone build-up on hair, dirt and excess oil while leaving your hair and scalp soft and hydrated.
  2. Scalp+Hair Pre Wash - It is a creamy hair mask that contains nutrient-rich natural scalp cleansers like kaolin, shikakai, tamarind and reetha. It also works to reduce frizz and promote shiny locks, thus reducing your dependence on silicone-based products.

Why should you choose silicone-free hair products?

Silicone build-up on hair is one common outcome of using silicone-based hair care products. Moreover, you would also need to use harsh shampoos to get rid of silicones as they are harder to wash off. The solution lies in choosing shampoos and conditioners that are free of this harmful ingredient. You can embark on a silicone-free hair care routine without losing the hydration and the softening effect. Certain natural ingredients like jojoba oil, shea butter, and aloe vera contain conditioning and nourishing properties. This will make your switch to clean and harmless hair products easy, without having to compromise on smooth and shiny tresses.

Opt for beauty brands that provide safe and effective alternatives to treating your scalp and hair. Shaz & Kiks is an earth-friendly brand that provides premium clean products which are free of sulfates, silicones, parabens, phthalates, synthetic dyes & fragrances. It is based in ancient Indian Ayurvedic science and uses natural ingredients that have scientific studies backing up their efficacy to treat a number of hair issues including silicone build-up on hair.

Your Healthiest Hair Harnessing the Power of Ayurveda