Frequently Asked Questions: Hair Care

Hair Products

Some of your new formulas contain Silicones such as Dimethicone, why?

Conditioners nourish and give shine and fullness to the hair creating a layer on top of the hair shaft. A component called Dimethicone present in most conditioners is responsible for hair shine and luster.

Dimethicone is a silicone based polymer which works by covering hair with a thin hydrophobic (water-proof) coating. This coating helps reduce the porosity of the hair which makes it less likely to absorb humidity; helps reduce moisture loss from the inside of the hair; and lubricates the surface of the hair so it feel smoother and combs easier.

Dimethicone, a mid-weight silicone provides the most smoothing effect but can also be hard to wash out. Silicone-based products are great for smoothing the hair’s cuticle and leaving the hair smooth, shiny and silky but can leave a residue which builds up and can make the hair flat and limp. Silicone works by coating the shaft of the hair and “sealing” the cuticle layer. This can lock-in moisture and smooth the cuticles to make the hair smoother and shinier. However, if the residue builds up, the hair gets weighed down, and becomes flat and limp and may be harder to style. This may not be as big a problem for someone who has coarse, thick curly hair with lots of body, but it can mean that someone whose hair is fine and thin and straight finds this problematic. This build-up can usually be combated by the occasional use of a clarifying shampoo and conditioner such as our Sweet Orange and Rose Geranium and Citrus which are silicone free.

Some women will find silicones too heavy for their hair while others will love the soft, conditioned feel they provide. Experimentation will help to determine what’s right for your hair type. Our French Lavender, Rosemary & Mint, and Rose Geranium and Citrus Conditioners contain no Dimethicone and hence no silicones and can be used by those who have concerns about silicones in their hair care.

EO Hair Care contains glycerin, which has been rumored to strip hair color, should I be concerned?

Glycerin is a water-soluble conditioning alcohol and is an extremely effective moisturizer and humectant for skin and hair. It is an effective curl-definer and frizz minimizer (in the right climate). Its viscosity and clarity make it a great ingredient to give definition to curls and to smooth the fly-away hair.

One of the biggest concerns about glycerin is that it might remove or strip color from the hair. Many people with chemically dyed hair avoid it almost unilaterally. The truth of the matter is that glycerin is a reasonably good solvent for many types of molecules. It can dissolve and grab unbound dye molecules that are easily accessible near the exterior of the hair.

Users of permanent chemical dyes should wait prior to washing hair following processing. Hair that has been freshly colored with a permanent chemical dye is susceptible to loss of some colorant molecules because the cuticle may not have completely re-sealed. However, it is not cause for concern after the first washing because the colorant molecules have penetrated into the cortex of the hair shaft, the cuticle is sealed, and any excess on the surface is washed away.

Semi-permanent dyes or colors are notorious for being short-lived and as such users should take care when using shampoos with glycerin. This is because these types of dye molecules are too large to penetrate the hair and reside predominantly on the exterior of the hair shaft. Glycerin can easily dissolve and remove these colors and accelerate the inevitable fading process.

Use it in combination with another conditioning agent if planning to use heat-styling methods. Do not use glycerin right after using a permanent dye which shouldn’t be an issue as most stylists wash hair immediately after applying color and recommend that you wait 48 to 72 hours before washing again.