07 March 2012

Hair care and the shocking truth

 Howdy all,

"My hair is very important to me." I guess a lot of people feel like that. Or maybe let's say "It is very important to me that my hair looks nice". So we brush, blow dry, curl or dye it although it is actually damaging for our hair.

Now, my hair is very important to me but I am no saint. I do all these damaging things to it as well but I try to keep it rare. I am careful when I blow dry it and keep my (just slightly warm) blow dryer at a distance. I use my straightener maybe once a month and always use heat protection. I don't dye my hair anymore (ok within the last 24 months I got highlights once). And I use saloon products when it comes to shampoos and conditioners. I really try to keep my hair healthy without missing out on all the nice things you can do with it.. But even though I am very careful I suffer from dry hair that got more and more damaged over the time. I kept cutting off lengths but it didn't get better. My hair seemed to struggle more and more although I used all those fancy saloon products and did olive oil hair masks every now and then.

So one day not too long ago I went out to buy a hair mask that should end all the struggle and moisturize my hair. A few hours later I returned, singing and listening to music on my mp3 player to lock out my bank account's angry voice for having spent so much money on a tube of...well...cream...basically. But the key point for me was, that I in fact HAD purchased something I really hoped would be a good solution.

Long story short, after just using that hair mask once my hair was shiny and felt perfectly healthy -which got me suspicious. How could my dry and damaged hair look like this within just one hour ?

I suppose most of you will know the answer. So did I, kind of..The key word here was - of course - silicons.

Now, silicons aren't automatically evil. In fact they are used in all sorts of cosmetics and usually don't cause problems like allergic reactions. They make your hair and skin feel and look nice, soft and healthy. However, as much as they lock in the moisture that is already in hair or skin, as much they can lock out all the good ingredients of your hair and skin care products. Silicons can have the same result as if wrapping your hair or skin in plastic film. Nothing can get out, nothing can get in and even though the plastic film looks smooth and shiny, the hair or skin covered by it can "starve".

But here are the good news. If you don't want this to happen you could - for example - invest in shampoos that are free of silicons. You should remove all the silicons from your hair first though. You can do that by either using a special shampoo dedicated to that very purpose (ask for a shampoo to remove build-ups) or you check your kitchen for an essential part in home-made build-up removers: baking soda.

What you will need:

  • Baking soda
  • Silicon free shampoo
  • Warm water
  • A small bottle or similar (you will have to close it)
Take your bottle and mix your baking soda and shampoo in equal parts (i.e. 2 table spoons of baking soda and 2 table spoons of shampoo). Add warm water. Close the bottle and shake well. VoilĂ , your home made build-up remover is ready to use.

Make sure to massage it into the lengths of your hair but try to avoid the scalp. It won't kill you but it can leave your scalp pretty dry. (Also do not - and I repeat this - do not use it too often. Not more than maybe once a month as it can be pretty tough for your hair. If you do not use silicon containing products you should not need to use it at all.)

Don't forget to use a silicon free hydrating mask on your hair once you washed out the shampoo. Alternatively (and easier to get) use a silicon free conditioner and leave it in your hair for quite a long time. I left mine in for an hour or so but of course less should be alright. Maybe 15 minutes ?

After this treatment your hair can look horrible. That is because you removed the silicons that held them together. Keep using hydrating masks and give them time to adapt.


If you do not want to use silicon free shampoos for whatever reasons but want to take good care of your hair anyway, you can check the ingredients of your desired hair care products. Silicons usually have the following endings: -cone, -conol and -oxane. You can also categorize them into three groups:

Water soluble: Trideceth-12, Dimethicone Copolyo, Dimethicone copolyol/HWP, Hydroxypropyl, Polysiloxane, Lauryl methicone copolyol

Poorly water soluble: Amodimethicone, Behenoxy Dimethicone, Stearoxy Dimethicone

Water-insoluble: Cetearyl methicone, Cetyl Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Dimethiconol, Stearyl Dimethicone, Trimethylsilylamodimethicone 

You will want to avoid the water-insoluble silicons. Just imagine you use a shampoo containing them every day... You can imagine how much "plastic" you "wrap" around your hair in just one month.

Also their position in the list of ingredients will give you an indicator of the amount of silicon used in a product. If an ingredient is quite at the beginning of the list it means there is a lot of it in the product. Therefore, the further towards the end it is, the better.


Now, what did I do with my poor damaged hair ? I used baking soda shampoo, a silicon free hair mask and will continue treating it with organic shampoos, conditioners and natural hair masks. I will try to film a few tutorials to keep you up to date and informed :)

If you have stories or experiences you would like to share, please do so :)

So long,

Sasu





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