Silicones or Silican’t: Which Cones are OK for Natural Hair?

If you’ve been natural at any point in your life, I’m sure you’ve spent quite some time in a hair care aisle just reading. The back of this product, the back of that product; searching for the product you can take home that won’t leave your hair bogged down or scalp itchy from left over product that builds up. The culprit causing these natural hair woes are cones or silicones.

Cones are used as not only sealants but also insulators. Additionally, silicones are used to resist heat, which is why you’ll notice so many hair products for heat protection contain cones. Some believe that they can damage the hair while others think that with modest use, natural hair can benefit from polishers, serums and other cone-based hair care products.

The whole divide is based upon the fact that while cones give natural hair a great appearance, they aren’t generally water soluble, leading to build-up.  Once the buildup is there you’ll need harsh sulfates to get rid of it, or alternatively just a good rinse with apple cider vinegar.  However, upon further investigations, all cones are not created equal. There are actually cones that work well with natural hair, you just have to know which ones are for your hair and which ones to stay away from.

Luckily, I went way back and found a post from Curly Girl on silicones where she divides up the types of cones into how soluble they are:

Not water soluble (Will buildup in hair)
1. Cetearyl methicone
2. Cetyl dimethicone
3. Cyclopentasiloxane
4. Dimethicone
5. Dimethiconol
6. Stearyl dimethicone
7. Trimethylsilylamodimethicone

Slightly soluble (May cause buildup in hair, but some may wash out with co-wash)
1. Amodimethicone
2. Cyclomethicone
3. Behenoxy dimethicone
4. Stearoxy dimethicone

“Curly Girl approved” Water Soluble (Will not buildup)
1. Dimethicone copolyol
2. Hydrolyzed wheat protein hydroxypropyl polysiloxane
3. Lauryl methicone copolyol
4. Silicones with PEG listed before it

Once I read that, I went back and looked over several different products comparing ingredients and finding that there are some cones in a few of my products that I didn’t even realize. For more info on cones, check out the ‘Silicones’ section at for some great articles that talk more in depth about them.

So what’s your cone stance? Are you strictly against or use some moderately?


One thought on “Silicones or Silican’t: Which Cones are OK for Natural Hair?

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