Ever since I started seeking information online for a “healthy hair journey” I have heard the do’s and BIG DON’TS of growing beautiful healthy hair. No more hair grease, petroleum jelly (Vaseline), pink lotion, mineral oil or CONES. If this natural hair thing is new to you then you might not know what “cones” are. There are many different kinds of cones but, of course these cones to the left are not the kinds of cones that we are talking about- although some people do wear pine cones in their hair. Cones is short for silicones in most cases. Silicones are used in many products from conditioners to leave ins and moisturizers to heat protectants. They have a makeup somewhat similar to plastic. They basically cover the hair strands and seal them rendering them smooth and silky. Why would soft, smooth silky hair be a bad thing you ask? (I heard you.) It isn’t, kinda. Well for people with fine and/or high porosity hair, cones can be a lifesaver. I spent so much time staying away from them only to find out that my hair likes them. They provide a little extra durability to my individual fine strands and it makes my hair feel like silk.
How are cones bad for your hair?
Well that is a matter of opinion. Cones smooth the cuticles of the hair down effectively sealing in moisture. Sealing in moisture is a good thing. The problem is some forms do a better job than others. The issue becomes build up. If cones are allowed to accumulate on the hair they can hold moisture out as much as they held moisture in. When the original moisture dries up you won’t be able to moisturize your hair again because of the silicone barrier/build up. Not being able to moisturize leads to dryness and breakage. Its a vicious cycle. There is a solution though. You can use only water soluble cones as they will probably come off with a sulfate free shampoo or even co-washing. This includes Bis-PEG-8 and PEG-8 Dimethicone amongst others.
For non water-soluble silicones it can be a vicious cycle. There is a solution though. Clarifying shampoo and sulfate shampoos can remove product buildup including even the most harsh cones like dimethicone.
If you decide to try the “Curly Girl Method” then you will probably be avoiding cones all together but if not then you don’t have to avoid them like the plague, especially if they work for you and your hair’s needs. Just know how to handle any issues that may arise.
Do you still use silicones? Let me know in the comments below.