Monday, August 10, 2015

When Your Curls LIKE 'Cones: How To Use Silicones and Still Have Great Hair

Posted by Jen Lennox at 7:16 PM
Hello,  curly friends!  My job here at Jen's Curly Mess is to pull from the hundreds of thousands of resources about curly hair and bring the most useful and pertinent information to you as I can. If the Internet is your newspaper,  I'm your highlight reel,  so to speak.

Many of you know that for well over a decade I flat ironed my hair almost exclusively.  Many of my closest friends didn't even know I HAD curly hair underneath my perfectly flattened tresses.
When I discovered the CG method a few years ago,  I went all in: No sulfates,  No silicones,  No poo,  the works. I used only Devacurl products. My hair started looking really good.

My husband and I at a CBJ game during my flat-iron era. It was a long era and this look took up a lot of my time and fried the heck out of my hair.

I've thrown myself into figuring out my own curls and so much of the information I've found is because of great folks willing to share their knowledge and experiences. Through countless hours of research (you cannot imagine how many hours I spend reading about hair,  it's ridiculous, my husband will vouch for the absurdity of it, but I can't help it!)  I have realized that there is an entire world out there filled with great products for curly hair. However,  for those of us trying to live the CG lifestyle, navigating the do's and don'ts of the method can be exhausting and frustrating.

I come to you today because I inadvertently purchased a styling product a couple of weeks ago that I read the ingredient list of at least 4 times in the store,  only to find out AFTER I put it in my hair that it contains a dreaded 'cone called Cyclopentasiloxane. Even worse?  I'm in love with this product. The Curly Girl,  Lorraine Massey-loving part of me immediately started to panic:

How am I gonna get this stuff out?

I don't want to  use sulfate shampoo,  gosh darn it. What have I done?

Am I going to have to stop Cowashing if I use this again?


Dear Lord,  no.... NOOOO! *shakes fists at the heavens*

*grabs paper bag and starts breathing heavily *

You laugh,  but I swear this is the stuff that was running through my mind. So,  I did what I do: started researching. I read article after article after forum thread after forum thread.
Folks,  what I'm about to share with you is going to make your ingredient-reading, silicone-fearing brains explode.

A very well-respected curl chemist has this to say about Cyclopentasiloxane (a derivative of Cyclomethicone, which is found in a ton of curl products we have sworn off because of the CG method):

"Cyclomethicone IS cyclopentasiloxane, and also cyclotetrasiloxane (just a smaller molecule). It's just another name for the same thing! Neither will build up on your hair, although they are not water soluble. The reason for this is that they evaporate. They do not remain on your hair. You need nothing to remove them because they do not remain on your hair. I know I have addressed this in an article, but it is still a huge point of confusion for folks.
The reason some find it makes their hair feel bad is that when it evaporates it can make your hair a tad dry and maybe mess with your cuticle layer a bit, just like alcohols that evaporate.
Also, according to all the research I have seen, all of the silicones can be removed just as efficiently by products containing cocamidopropyl betaine or coco betaine as by SLS (Sodium Laurel Sulfate) or SLES."

What does this mean? That Cyclomethicone AND it's derivatives, and pretty much ALL silicones in general, can be washed out with most sulfate-free shampoos on the market. That those products you loved that you had to toss because they were not CG friendly can actually be used again. That an entire world of stuff we used to fear no longer has to be feared. Look for the ingredients cocamidopropyl betaine or cocobetaine on the ingredients list of a sulfate-free shampoo. They are surfactants that are gentle enough not to strip hair but strong enough to get rid of non-water soluble silicones. Here are a few of the best-sellers out there right now:

DevaCurl Low-Poo

Mixed Chicks Sulfate-Free Shampoo

Giovanni Tea Tree Shampoo

What I'm beginning to realize is that,  if Lorraine Massey's Curly Girl handbook is the Constitution of Curly Hair,  there are some pretty cool amendments made that make it possible to have great curls and not sacrifice hair health, curl pattern, OR have a need to use harsh sulfates. Though many of us will still stick to the original CG rules,  know that there is some wiggle room available that you may not have known about before. Every single person reacts differently to different ingredients,  so it's a matter of what works or doesn't for YOU. 

If you'd like to know more about which silicones are which and how to wash them out, click here. This particular article is written by a real curl chemist who knows all the technical stuff about which molecules are which and what sulfate-free chemicals wash out which silicones. It's brilliant.

Now, as for the product in question, the amazing stuff that launched me into this whole maddening game of "DID I JUST KILL MY HAIR?"..... it is the TIGI Curls Rock Amplifier.

If you read my review of TIGI Strong Hold Mousse, you know I'm crazy about the stuff, and it's CG safe. I love its strength, but I wanted just a TEENY bit more definition. I used about a nickel-sized amount of Curls Rock Amplifier on top of the mousse and the results were incredible. My hair has a lot more volume and definition than with any product I've yet tried.



Michelle Frenz said...

This is my holy grail! I use it alone, through all seasons. It's amazing.

Post a Comment


Jen's Curly Mess Template by Ipietoon Blogger Template | Gift Idea