Dimethicone is a silicone that’s caused a bit of a scare within the hair care community. It’s hard to not be affected when you go online and find people talking about dimethicone hair loss.
But as with all rumors, it’s important to boil things down to the base facts. This guide will help you understand exactly what dimethicone is and what it can do for you.
What is Dimethicone?
Dimethicone or Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) is a synthetic substance that’s derived from silica or sand. Dimethicone is incredible at conditioning hair, being able to untangle even the frizziest of hair, and giving unrivaled smoothing power. As such, this substance is commonly found in hair care products.
Dimethicone is most commonly used as a hair conditioner. Most conditioners contain a small amount of dimethicone, which gives them powerful taming and soothing properties.
How does it work?
Dimethicone works by forming a barrier on your skin and hair. This shield traps moisture and minimizes water loss, thus keeping your hair soft, smooth, and shiny.
While dimethicone is the most common silicone used in hair care products, there are other silicones too. Cyclomethicone and amodimethicone also see common use in hair care products.
Silicone Use in Hair Care
All silicones work by creating barriers that prevent your hair and skin from losing moisture. By trapping moisture in your skin and hair, silicones ensure that you remain hydrated and that your hair remains soft and manageable instead of dry and frizzy.
Is dimethicone bad for hair?
Dimethicone by itself isn’t bad for hair, and there’s no data to suggest that dimethicone can cause problems by itself. That said, it’s still possible to trigger an allergic reaction, which can cause:
- red, itchy, and irritated skin
- a burning sensation accompanied by swelling
Can dimethicone cause hair loss?
Studies that have tried to find direct links between dimethicone use and hair loss have proved inconclusive. With so many variables to factor in, it’s difficult to say whether or not dimethicone causes hair loss.
However, experts say that hair loss is not caused so much by dimethicone itself but by the long-term damage that comes with careless hair treatments. Too much silicones in your hair can lead to blockage and can eventually harm your hair. It’s important to always rinse your hair thoroughly when washing out a product.
How to remove dimethicone from hair?
As dimethicone isn’t water-soluble, getting it out of your hair requires a deep cleansing. I recommend using sulfate-free shampoos (if you aren’t allergic or averse to them) or natural deep cleansers or clarifying shampoos.
What can be used instead of dimethicone?
While there are no true substitutes for silicone, you can use natural products that have conditioning properties. Good examples of this are jojoba oil, aloe vera, shea butter, argan oil, and coconut oil.
Best Dimethicone-Free Shampoo & Conditioner
Now that you know what dimethicones can do for you, you can make a more informed decision when buying silicone-free hair care products. Here are our picks for some of the best dimethicone-free shampoos and conditioners.
Best Dimethicone-free Clarifying Shampoo
Nexxus Clean and Pure Clarifying Shampoo
- Zero silicones, parabens, and dyes
- Powerful yet gentle deep cleanse
- Protein fusion mixture with elastin protein and marine minerals for stronger hair
Pros: No fragrance, great for sensitive skin, very light, washes away easily
Cons: Contains SLES
Nexxus Clean and Pure Clarifying Shampoo Review
Nexxus Clean and Pure Clarifying Shampoo aren’t just free of dimethicone and other silicones, but it’s also free of parabens and dyes. This makes this clarifying shampoo a fantastic pick for anyone looking to reset their hair and scour any and all foreign objects from their scalps.
Nexxus Clean and Pure Clarifying Shampoo offer a powerful yet gentle deep cleanse. Coconut oil and wheat protein allow Nexxus Clean and Pure Clarifying Shampoo to not only provide a thorough cleanse but also nourish your hair. A unique protein infusion mixture helps fortify your hair with elastin protein and marine minerals, making your hair stronger and more resistant to damage.
Unfortunately, Nexxus Clean and Pure Clarifying Shampoo do contain sodium laureth sulfate. As a deep cleanser, it needs some punch, and the best way to get that oomph is via sulfates. If you’re not sensitive to sulfates, this is a good pick.
Best Dimethicone and Sulfate-free Shampoo
Pantene Sulfate & Silicone Free Shampoo
- Infused with baobab for maximum hydration
- Very gentle cleanse
- Contains antioxidants and vitamin B5
Pros: No sulfates, parabens, or silicones, has antioxidants and vitamin B5 for nourishing hair
Cons: Not a clarifying shampoo
Pantene Sulfate & Silicone Free Shampoo Review
Pantene Sulfate & Silicone Free Shampoo is for people who don’t need to reset their hair with a powerful cleanse. This dimethicone-free shampoo is more of a daily-use product and contains powerful components to build and maintain healthy hair.
Baobab extract is not only a great substitute for dimethicone, but it’s also got fantastic hydrating properties. By adding antioxidants and vitamin B5 to the mix, Pantene Sulfate & Silicone Free Shampoo keeps your skin and hair safe from further damage and reinforces its structure to keep it strong and sturdy.
While Pantene Sulfate & Silicone Free Shampoo is great for everyday use, it’s not a clarifying shampoo. If you want to wash out all silicones from your hair, this isn’t the product you want. If, however, you just want to replace your dimethicone shampoo with a silicone-free one, Pantene Sulfate & Silicone Free Shampoo is a solid choice.
Best Dimethicone-free Shampoo & Conditioner
Pantene Pro-V Shampoo & Conditioner Set
- Powerful yet gentle clarifying shampoo
- Comes with a hair mask ampoule for damage repair
Pros: Contains antioxidants and vitamin B5, hair mask ampoule provides quick and easy damage repair, very light fragrance
Cons: Hard to buy each product individually, has sulfate
Pantene Pro-V Shampoo & Conditioner Set Review
If the gentle cleanse that the previous shampoo offered isn’t enough, have a look at the Pantene Pro-V Shampoo & Conditioner Set. This 3-in-1 package gives you a gentle clarifying shampoo, a conditioner, and a quick fix for dry hair.
Not only is the Pantene Pro-V Shampoo & Conditioner Set dimethicone and silicone-free, it’s also got antioxidants and vitamin B5 to further nourish and protect your hair from further damage.
While the Pantene Pro-V Shampoo & Conditioner Set is a noticeably gentler cleanse than other clarifying shampoos, it still contains sulfates. Bear that in mind if you have sensitive skin.
Best Dimethicone-Free Conditioner for Dry Hair
BIOLAGE Ultra Hydra Source Conditioning Balm
- Powerful conditioning, especially for dry or damaged hair
- An aloe-based formula that optimizes moisture balance
Pros: Suitable for almost all kinds and colors of hair, vegan
Cons: Doesn’t work well on thin hair
BIOLAGE Ultra Hydra Source Conditioning Balm Review
BIOLAGE Ultra Hydra Source Conditioning Balm is one of the best dimethicone-free conditioners for dry or damaged hair. An aloe-based formula guarantees deep and powerful moisturization to make your hair soft and smooth. This conditioner feels great to the touch and doesn’t leave your hair feeling heavy or sticky after application.
However, BIOLAGE Ultra Hydra Source Conditioning Balm doesn’t work as well on thin hair. For those with this hair type, they’ll need to look through BIOLAGE’s other products to find one that suits their needs.
Best Dimethicone-Free Conditioner for Frizz Control:
Love Beauty and Planet Smooth and Serene Dry Hair Conditioner
- Rich argan oil composition for deep moisturization and conditioning
- Provides smooth and glossy hair
Pros: Sulfate and paraben free, safe for colored hair
Cons: Scent isn’t for everyone
Love Beauty and Planet Smooth and Serene Dry Hair Conditioner Review
Love Beauty and Planet Smooth and Serene Dry Hair Conditioner Review is hands-down one of the best dimethicone-free conditioners for frizz control. Made of rich argan oil and coconut oil, Love Beauty and Planet Smooth and Serene Dry Hair Conditioner offer deep cleansing the natural way.
Both argan oil and coconut oil are very fatty liquids, which not only allows them to enter your pores for thorough moisturization but also allows them to serve as a shield against dirt and heat damage. This leads to softer, more manageable hair that’s completely frizz-free.
The smell, on the other hand, is contentious. While it’s marketed as a light lavender scent, some customers have found the scent of Love Beauty and Planet Smooth and Serene Dry Hair Conditioner to be intolerably strong.
FAQs about Dimethicone Hair Loss
Is dimethicone water soluble?
No, it’s not water-soluble. If you want to be sure you’ve gotten rid of all dimethicone in your hair, I recommend using a sulfate-based shampoo or a natural alternative.
Is dimethicone bad for curly hair?
No, it’s not bad for curly hair. In fact, dimethicone is great for this specific hair type, as it protects your hair from damage.
Does dimethicone clog pores?
Yes – if used in excess. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing, and too much dimethicone (among other products) can clog pores if you don’t rinse them out thoroughly, preferably with a sulfate-based shampoo.
Is dimethicone natural?
No. As a silicone, dimethicone is a synthetic substance.
What other uses does dimethicone have?
Aside from its use in hair conditioners, dimethicone is also an effective treatment for head lice.
Should I avoid any and all products with dimethicone?
That’s up to you. Most cosmetics and hair care products contain trace amounts of dimethicone, which is very safe. If you don’t feel comfortable with that, you can opt for silicone-free shampoos and conditioners.
Dimethicone Hair Loss Verdict
In spite of all the panic, dimethicone has been and will continue to be a staple in the hair care industry. It’s been proven safe many times over, and it’s only an excess of the stuff that leads to bad results. That said, if you’re experiencing hair loss from your current shampoo, you should give your hair a break and switch to dimethicone-free shampoos for a while, just to let your hair breathe a bit.
All of the products we’ve listed here are excellent choices whether you’re looking for a deep, powerful cleanse or just want to switch out your shampoo – but I 100% recommend Pantene Sulfate & Silicone Free Shampoo for daily use.
Mel is a licensed Chemist in New Jersey who has worked in several cosmetics companies and has years of experience formulating hair care and beauty products. She uses her knowledge in cosmetics to distinguish and find the best products to recommend to Union Of Barber’s readers. When Mel’s not writing, you can find her walking her dogs or cooking and baking at home!