Have you flipped to the back of the bottle of your fave styling product, read through the ingredients, seen “silicone” and thought, “What’s that”? Well, here’s all you need to know about this common hair care ingredient, and why it may or may not be good for you, courtesy of TreasuredLocks.com.

What are silicones, and why are they in hair care products?

Silicones are ingredients that coat the hair with a thin waterproof covering. This covering prevents the hair from absorbing humidity (and frizzing); it locks in natural moisture and makes hair easier to comb and softer to touch; plus, it protects hair during heat styling and makes it shinier. Manufacturers use it in products because it’s cheap and effective.

Are all silicones the same?

Nope. Some are heavier, and some are lighter. One of the heaviest silicones is dimethicone or simethicone. These give hair a very smooth look, but they’re hard to wash out and easy to build up. One of the lightest is cyclomethicone. This silicone gives the hair a slippery feeling when it’s wet but is easy to rinse out.

Can silicones damage hair?

Too much of anything is bad for you. To make sure your hair stays healthy, avoid using silicone products too often. Switch up your shampoos, conditioners and hair products so you’re not using silicones more than once a week.

How can I get rid of silicone build-up and repair damaged hair?

Since most silicones are not water soluble, simply rinsing hair won’t work. Look for a shampoo with sodium laurel sulfate and ammonium lauryl ether sulfate. These ingredients are strong enough to penetrate build-up and clean the hair. And once a month, try a clay mask for a deep cleanse.

Should I avoid silicones?

It’s up to you! Always know what you’re putting on your hair and scalp and develop a routine that works for your beauty and health lifestyle.

Silicone’s not the only chemical manufactures place in hair products. Click here to learn more about the top five ingredients used in hair products.