Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Hair Effect of using silicones, SLS, SLES on ethnic hair, and what do you think of the co-washing trend?

  • Effect of using silicones, SLS, SLES on ethnic hair, and what do you think of the co-washing trend?

    Posted by Rahma on January 22, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    Many consumers believe that using products that contain the above ingredients is detrimental to ethnic hair and there is a growing trend where by consumers especially with natural hair use co-washing method (i.e not using only conditioner in between shampoos to cleanse hair).

    What are your thoughts?!
    Polymergirl replied 10 years, 4 months ago 6 Members · 16 Replies
  • 16 Replies
  • Rahma

    Member
    January 22, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    I meant using only conditioner in between shampooing .

  • Gustavo

    Member
    January 23, 2014 at 4:47 am

    Since it got to my knowledge, I’ve been testing co-washing ant talking to women who use this technique. It’s really helpful. And the best of all: I’ve found out there’s no need to avoid silicones or most of the forbidden ingredients.

    IMHO (there’s still no scientific evidence) sulfates are excellent detergents and that’s why they “damage” ethnic hair. Because it’s a hair type already lacking natural lubricity and if we remove all the natural oils it will be necessary to “re-lubrify” these shafts. Then, if we use milder surfactants like any sulfate free they’ll remove less grease and then time after time the hair will look better because it won’t lose it’s natural moisture (oils are film formers and their emolliency help keeping water inside the hair).
    I tried to summarize in a single paragraph. I hope it is somewhat clear what I meant. And my statement is: “yes, co-washing do work for ethnic hair”.
  • Rahma

    Member
    January 23, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Great comment Gustavo, 

    Yes I agree however, there seems to a general consensus among most natural haired women who believe silicone based products are harmful to their hair however none can back it up with research?
  • OldPerry

    Member
    January 23, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Co-washing works fine if you don’t mind the way it makes your hair feel.  It definitely feels different than if you washed it with shampoo.  And @Gustavo is correct SLS is one of the better cleansing detergents out there. 

    I don’t really see much need to avoid SLS or ingredients like it however, as it depends more on the formulation and less on the specific ingredients used.  You can make a perfectly gentle formula using SLS.
  • Rahma

    Member
    January 23, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Thanks Perry, that is how I feel myself regarding SLS however I am confused when it comes to silicones? what is your take?

  • OldPerry

    Member
    January 23, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Silicone (at least the non-volatile and water insoluble ones) do have the potential to build up on hair.  This isn’t a problem per se but it could be if you don’t use a strong enough shampoo to remove them.

    But things like Dimethiconol or Cyclomethicone can give you the benefits of silicones without the worry of build-up.
  • vitalys

    Member
    January 24, 2014 at 12:37 am

    There is only concern I have regarding this method. Almost all conditioners contain fatty alcohols along with other lipophilic ingredients. All of them are great for the hair shaft, but they may be adsorbed around the hair follicles mixing with sebum. This may lead to inflammation of the follicles and hair loss. I think it would be less risky if customers use some liquid, leave-on conditioners in a spray form for this method.

  • Chemist77

    Member
    January 24, 2014 at 1:21 am

    @Vitalys you mean a light spray like we have body milks, effective but not heavy.

  • vitalys

    Member
    January 24, 2014 at 1:26 am

    @melliachemist, yes, something like that - light and liquid. I suppose the form of spray let a customer to apply the product even and it prevents occlusion of the hair follicle area

  • vitalys

    Member
    January 24, 2014 at 1:39 am

    Well, I see another option for this hair type - the product based on Ceteareth-20 ( for instance) - it may serve as a very mild surfactant for hair washing.

    There is one interesting formulation which contains Ceteareth-20 along with hair fixative. The final product looks like clear styling wax (gel). The customer could use it as a styling product and wash it off in the end of the day without shampoo leaving the hair as well as clean and conditioned. In combination with very low % of surfactants it will work even better.

  • Chemist77

    Member
    January 24, 2014 at 2:29 am

    @vitalys yes I have seen few products in the form of light and transparent waxes and most of them have ceteareth 25, easy to wash off after styling. Maybe a related concept that you have mentioned.

  • vitalys

    Member
    January 24, 2014 at 2:49 am

    @melliachemist, I don’t know why, but these kind of products are usually marketed only as styling products while they may yeild additional nice properties especially for some hair types. But, as we all know marketing people are often so blind, so they don’t see the additional advantages of the formulations. :) :) :)

  • Chemist77

    Member
    January 24, 2014 at 5:04 am

    @vitalys they sell back the fantasies of customers to them, simple. :-)

  • Polymergirl

    Member
    February 1, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Most of the hubbub in that community regarding the use of silicones on curly hair being horrible came from one hair stylist (Lorraine Massey), who wrote a book entitieled Curly Girl, in which she sanctioned use of any and all silicones.  (And then included amodimethicone in her products for sale later..)  To be fair, thsi book came out at atime when curly hair was being drenched by salaon products that were 100% silicone oils, to be used as gloss agents and frizz controllers.  They looked great on first use, and then over time  hair became frizzy, weird, and dry and couldn’t even be removed with typical shampoos on the market..  (shudder, I was a victim of this horribel trend).  So sure, those were not a great idea.

    I think the main concern for silicones now on curly or ethnic hair is if the person is not using an adequate cleanser to remove them.  If a person only conditioner washes their hair, then certainly the non-water soluble silicones will be more prone to accumulation on the surface of the hair.

    As far as sulfates go, there is some evidence that they can dissolve the naturally-occurring fatty acids in the cuticle layer, which could cause problems. This may be more likely in curly and African hair, as they tend to be more dry and fragile anyway.  In general, curly hair does better if not washed daily anyway.  But, as Perry noted, a gentle shampoo can be formulated, using SLS or SLES as the primary surfactant.  Interestingly, some of the shampoos formulated with supposedly more gentle surfactants and cleansing agents have been reported by users to be the most drying and harsh.

  • Rahma

    Member
    February 5, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Polymergirl, merci!

    Interesting points you raised, just wondering which shampoos with gentle surfactants have users found more drying?, if not name, what sort of formulation would it have?
  • Polymergirl

    Member
    February 6, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    One example among many has been one of the Burt’s Bees shampoos.  I know that isn’t super helpful, as I can’t remember which it was now, but it was reported as extremely drying by many users.  I think surfactant concentration plays a role, as does the inclusion of conditioning agents in the formula. pH matters as well.

     

     

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