The Top 10 Silicone-Free Shampoos
You invest money in salon visits, shampoos, conditioners, and styling products to keep your hair healthy, but – newsflash – it can all be for nothing if you’re unknowingly using a nasty ingredient that’s hampering your efforts. Much like a recipe, one wrong ingredient in your hair care products can ruin the whole result. And, according to the pros, silicone is often the culprit.
After decades of being used in beauty products, particularly shampoos and conditioners, silicone has recently been dubbed a bit of a bad egg. But what gives?
What’s the real deal with silicone, what is it exactly, and why is it not recommended for healthy hair? We investigate the silicone sitch below, and provide our picks for the best silicone-free shampoos for shiny, happy strands. Read on.
What Is Silicone?
Don’t know a silicone from an ice-cream cone? Buckle up for a simple science lesson. Silicones are human-made polymers or manufactured molecules. They’re found in all kinds of products, even in the caulk you use to seal your shower, under names like Dimethicone, Amodimethicone, and Cyclomethicone. They’re popular in shampoos and conditioners because of their ability to wrap around strands to form a coating.
This helps smooth the cuticle, add volume, and allows your fingers to slip through your hair more easily when you’re washing and rinsing, so it makes you feel like your hair is softer and less tangled. Because they add weight, they’re also credited with helping to control frizz and flyaways. Which all sounds pretty cool – so why, then, has silicone in hair care become so controversial?
Why Is Silicone Bad for Your Hair?
The silicone situation is a bit complicated, as it’s best avoided in shampoos and conditioners, but beneficial in heat protectants and styling products – as long as the right type of silicone is used. The biggest issue with silicone is that your hair doesn’t absorb it. It simply sits on the hair like a plastic coating. This can make your hair appear shinier or even softer, but the silicone isn’t helping to improve the condition of your hair. It has no vitamins or nutrients to offer, and it can prevent your hair from absorbing products that do.
Silicone is a bit of a band-aid fix, like putting coverup on a blemish. It might make your locks look better in the short term, but it doesn’t fix the root problem. If your hair is dry, frizzy, or lacks shine, those are issues that need to be addressed, not covered up.
The other problem is that silicone builds up on your strands. Over time, this weighs them down and can make them look dull and lifeless. While curlier, more textured locks can get away with this for a little while, straight tresses won’t make it far before losing lustre. What’s more, to get rid of silicones you typically have to use a clarifying shampoo or one with harsh sulfates, both of which can be a bit hard on your hair. That’s why many pros recommend saying goodbye to silicone shampoos and finding products that truly nourish and protect without creating a barrier or buildup.
Another plus when you choose a silicone-free shampoo is that you won’t have to wash your hair as often. With less buildup coating and weighing down your strands, you can go longer between washes, saving you time. stretching your products further, and keeping more of those precious dollars in your bank account.
Silicone-Free Shampoo Options
Thankfully, with how controversial silicone has become in recent years, there are loads of formulators creating excellent, silicone-free shampoo options that leave hair clean and healthy. If you’re ready to ditch this ingredient, here are our top picks!
1. Coco & Eve | Super Hydrating Shampoo
Call us biased, but our Super Hydrating Shampoo is our top silicone-free pick. From the first wash, you’ll notice the difference, thanks to ResistHyal™ Hyaluronic Acid technology delivering 26 times more hydration. The 7-in-1 formula also delivers when it comes to shine, softness, strength, and volume, leaving you with no sign of split ends or hints of frizz.
Another perk? Zero silicone. No silicone means no buildup weighing down your hair. The formula is also free of sulfates and parabens, plus it’s vegan, cruelty-free, ethically sourced, and PETA-approved. This shampoo is ideal for normal to dry hair, and our fans go bananas for the delicious coconut and fig scent.
2. Bumble and bumble | Curl Moisturizing Shampoo
Those with curly locks rejoice over Bumble and bumble’s silicone-free shampoo, which is made to keep curls nourished and tamed. Created for wavy, curly, or coily hair, this shampoo is formulated with a rich blend of avocado, coconut, and jojoba oils, plus shea and cocoa butter. Deeply hydrating to reduce frizz and add shine, it’s also colour-safe and is free of sulfates and silicone. Expect tangle-free curls and the right kind of body.
3. Living Proof | Full Shampoo
Living Proof’s Full Shampoo offers a gentle but thorough clean. A great choice for anyone with fine or flat hair, it cleans away any buildup that’s weighing strands down without stripping away hydration and health. Fans say it helps their normally lifeless hair look full, thick, and happy. Paraben, phthalate, sulfate, gluten, and cruelty-free, it’s powered by Living Proof’s patented Healthy Hair Molecule, which not only removes hair-flattening residue but repels dirt and oil to keep it cleaner longer. It’s also safe for coloured or chemically treated tresses. The proof is in the washing!
4. Puracy | Natural Shampoo
This plant-based shampoo is fortified with vitamins and is safe and gentle enough for daily use for all hair types. The formula was made by doctors and salon professionals to be the best of its kind. It includes olive oil-based squalene, beet sugar extract, coconut, bergamot, peppermint, eucalyptus, Himalayan sea salt, and other botanical extracts to improve the condition of your hair, not just mask damage.
Vitamin E and Vitamin B5 work to strengthen your strands and keep your scalp healthy, while the minerals encourage growth. And there’s none of the synthetic stuff. Instead of getting its rich lather from sulfates, Puracy uses coconut-based cleansers to give you a luxurious foam. There are also no parabens, phosphates, dyes, synthetic fragrances, palm oil, formaldehyde, MEA, DEA, TEA, petroleum, or animal by-products.
5. Shea Moisture | Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Shampoo
Black castor oil is said to do wonders for damaged, brittle hair. Combined with shea butter, it’s meant to help hair grow stronger and longer. According to Shea Moisture, this sulfate and silicone-free shampoo is designed to equally clean and hydrate for locks that are healthy from root to end. The formula is also great for hair in need of some TLC, especially in those who regularly colour, straighten, perm, or heat-style their locks.
6. Pacifica | Rosemary Purify Invigorating Shampoo
Need a hair and scalp pick-me-up? That’s exactly what Pacifica’s Rosemary Purify Invigorating shampoo promises to do. If your hair and scalp are feeling congested, with signs of dryness, flakiness, or oiliness, this shampoo is said to reboot the system. It’s formulated without sulfates, SLS, parabens, phthalates, or mineral oil, and uses only the best globally sourced ingredients. It also smells like fresh mint and gives you a light-and-airy refresh. Where do we sign up?
7. Live Clean | Coconut Milk Moisturizing Shampoo
Live Clean’s Coconut Milk Moisturizing shampoo is also great for dry, damaged hair. It’s formulated to help strengthen and rejuvenate stressed-out tresses. Made with Vitamins C and E, rice protein, and of course coconut, Live Clean promises hair that’s left feeling softer, silkier, and smoother. The shampoo contains 98% plant and naturally derived ingredients, with no parabens, SLS, phthalates, silicones, or dyes. It’s also hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested, and vegan with no animal testing. How’s that for a clean sweep?
8. Shea Moisture | Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo
Shea Moisture makes the list again, this time with its Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine shampoo that’s made for serious repair. This is another one designed for curly, kinky, or wavy hair. If you’re working with these hair types or your tresses are thick, dry, and full of split ends, the shea butter in this will work wonders to hydrate and tame your mane. The coconut oil also replenishes lost oils and adds moisture and shine, while reducing the risk of breakage. Hibiscus flower extract improves elasticity, and Neem oil repairs weak strands.
9. Nexxus | Therappe Ultimate Moisture Shampoo for Dry Hair
No pun intended, you’re going to love this smoothing shampoo. With a soft, creamy foaming formula, it’s perfect for frizzy, dry, coarse or otherwise unruly hair. Its key ingredient is a moisturising Minuta olive extract, found in the rare Minuta olive – rich in fatty acids and harvested within the small commune of Ficarra in Messina, Italy. With a light lavender scent and lots of vitamin E, this shampoo restores your hair’s shine and elasticity while preventing any future frizz or breakage.
10. Pureology | Hydrate Sheer Shampoo
Rounding out our list is an essential nourishing shampoo for damaged and healthy hair types alike! This Kérastase hydrating shampoo removes build-up while providing a deep, comprehensive clean. Created with iris root extract for smoothing rough hair fibres, ceramides for moisture retention and benzoin resin for forming a protective layer around the strands, it’s no wonder this award-winning product is dubbed one of the best shampoos for dry hair!
The Final Word
Getting a deep clean doesn’t have to mean stripping your hair and scalp of their essential oils. These shampoos are meant to clean and nourish without disrupting your scalp’s natural ecosystem or weighing strands down with questionable ingredients like silicone. While using silicone in hair care isn’t always a no-no, the general consensus is that it’s best left out of your regular shampoo and conditioner. So, if you’re ready to give silicone-free shampoo a shot, these 10 choices are a great place to start!
And if your hair could still use some love, check out our post on the Top 10 Best Hydrating Shampoos for Dry Hair.
Edited by: Vidhya