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Do silicones really moisturise hair?

My question is about silicones. I have very dry, kinky afro textured hair but I am told to stay away from silicones as they will lock out moisture.  If water is the ultimate moisturiser, why do I need cones?  I feel conflicted in which way to go.  I hear some people talk about water-soluble silicones; how do they  work and do they combat humidity?


  • Water is NOT the ultimate moisturizer - lipids (oils) also play a role in making the hair soft and flexible. Plus water will not smooth the cuticle (thereby reducing shine and roughness) like silicones or other conditioners will.  
  • Oh! I was lead to believe that water was
    the moisturiser, and the oils were used to seal in the moisture to stop the hair drying out, and act as a lubricant, softener, shine etc also that the silicones would block out moisture! It's so confusing sometimes!
  • edited December 2013
    Christine I feel ur pain n I think in the AA hair community we r getting some faulty recycled info. Especially on the silicone and water issue. A person explained to me that the items aren't making ur hair waterproof. When u uses silicones n oil n such ur hair n u stick ur head under running water ur hair still gets wet right. So moisture isnt being blocked out.
  • The term 'moisturization' is a confusing one because it is related to the word 'moisture' which refers to 'water' but what people really mean by 'moisturization' is the condition of the hair after some treatment.  Moisturized hair is soft, flexible, strong and shiny.  Hair that is not properly moisturized is dry, scratchy, and brittle.  

    So, any material that makes the hair more soft, flexible and shiny is considered a moisturizer.  And silicones are better than water at giving hair those characteristics.
  • edited January 2014
    Wow. Go into any beauty supply store in any neighborhood in any black community and you will see a ton of silicone free products because we are being told lately that "cones" are damaging to black hair.
  • Cones seem to get a bad rap everywhere.
  • @Gairuntee: I'm curious - are they telling you exactly HOW 'cones are damaging to black hair? What is the supposed problem?  
  • I'm not African American, but I do have very thick curly hair that I've been growing for years. I've kept up with the natural hair community online because I've gotten tons of great tips from them through the years.I would recommend looking up a woman called Teri LaFlesh. She's bi-racial with very tightly curly hair, but she's also great at cutting through some of the myths in the curly hair community and she takes a very scientific approach to hair care. I found her book very helpful, when I first stopped straightening my hair.

    As for my own opinion on silicones, I'm all for them. I'm also all for water. In fact my cure-all for when my hair looks upset, is to spritz it with a watery leave in conditioning spray and then top with a siliconey Moroccanoil type product, topped with some coconut oil. Always does the job.
  • Thanks BrainyB. You'll hear no arguements from us!
  • My pleasure. Considering how much my hair and wallet has benefited from reading your blog for the past few years, I would consider any contradiction you did have very seriously.
  • Hey, since we've helped out your wallet would you consider returning the favor and reviewing our Podcast on iTunes (if you have an iTunes account) or reviewing our book on 

  • I reviewed your podcast but I didn't review the book on amazon, I bought your first book from my local bookstore and one of these days I'll stop by and get the new one too.

    By the way, please never stop doing books. I get a perverse pleasure out of buying and reading real physical books and beauty science is one of my favorite subjects. You've probably already thought of this idea, but maybe you could pen an easy to use "how to read ingredient lists and save money" guide for the average consumer.
  • Brainybimbo, are you tapping our phones again? Perry and I have had many discussions on doing an ingredient list product of some sort. Hopefully we'll get to that someday. 

    You've also just given me the idea for a new business model: instead of trying to sell an inexpensive book to a whole bunch of people we're just going to try sell one just book to you and charge a lot more.  
  • Your business model just might prove to be one of the most incredibly profitable and innovative ideas in the book market since the Kindle.
    Also, I get a secret thrill out of the idea of guessing things like that...are you really working on something similar? I would gift that to all of my girlfriends who constantly beg me to come cosmetic shopping with them!
  • We're not working on it now but it is a real idea that we've talked about. 
  • I miss Right Brain and Left Brain and Sarah Bellum.
  • So do we! (Although Sarah is still lurking around here somewhere...)
  • RIP Right and Left brain.
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