Silicone Surprise: Penetration into hair

While investigating a reader's question (Yvonne from Germany - your question will be coming up shortly!!), I stumbled upon a very interesting paper. The paper was discussing the use of silicones to help protect bleached hair when it is subsequently dyed (Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, pg 231-245, 1995).

The type of silicone used
A version of amodimethicone with a high content of nitrogen groups. This silicone type is known as trimethylsilylamodimethicone. It is different from amodimethicone.

The surprise (for me!)
The silicone used penetrated into the bleached hair

The theory
-The silicone penetrated because the hair was bleached.
-The silicone's high content of nitrogen allows it to bind to hair
-The silicone was of a small size and therefore could penetrate into the hair

I think the important thing about this is to note that the type of silicone used is not the conventional silicone used in hair AND the hair was bleached (which raises the cuticle to an extent allowing the hair dye, and possibly the silicone in). However, this makes me curious to find out if any other silicones can penetrate into hair.


  1. Does this mean that it can block moisture from penetrating as well? If it binds will this prevent it from being removed? I guess I'm asking what this could mean on a practical level for day to day haircare.

  2. I don't know the answer to that Moni. This is a different type of silicone from the conventional types of silicone that are normally used.

    In this particular study, the silicone was useful for maintaining hair colour and helped protect the cuticle structure. Whether the silicone can get in and out of the hair easily was not investigated. Also whether it changes moisture or associated properties like hair strength was not investigated.

    I'm going to look up some of the more conventional silicones (like dimethicone/dimethylsiloxane etc) and see what those do since those are probably the ones most companies use.

  3. Now this is new!

    I don't think I've ever seen that "cone" before and I read the bottles of my products to see what all of my ingredients are. Even the ones I can't pronounce no matter how slowly I sound it out LOL

    Can't wait to read the rest of this, you're busting what I preach about how to avoid the usage of cones. :-)

  4. I will be following your findings closely;-). Some of my current favourite products contain cones (Amodimethicone) and so far so good. To be safe I 'poo once a month. I have been at the two extremes - using whatever I wanted then cutting out all cones, mineral oil, sulfates, etc. Now I hope I have found a happy medium.
    I wonder if some oils or heavy butters such as shea butter also contribute to build-up...?

  5. Hello,

    so sorry for the oh so late comment...but, could you give some info and or research on Bis-Aminopropyl dimethicone..This ingredient is in my new BFF herbal essences Hello Hydration...I love, love this little number I found this conditioner to work better and have happier results on my hair than any of the high end products I have used. But, I would like to know a little more on this cone the affects on the hair.
    Thank you for your time, take care.

  6. I use Giovanni Smooth as Silk shampoo. It contains amodimethicone lower in the ingredient list and it also contains cocamidopropyl betaine slightly above. I have read that cocamidopropyl betaine washes amodimethcione out. Does the cocamidopropyl betaine in the shampoo counteract the amodimethicone or do I still need to clarify to get rid of the amodimethicone build up?


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