Silicone and Mineral Oil are Good for Hair

Here is an excerpt from Carla's email to me, 'I have just found your blog and spent hours reading it over the past week. I find it very fascinating. My only issue is with the articles on mineral oil and silicone which are at times contradictory (to be specific you say that sometimes they are not ideal  but can also be good). I have eliminated these two ingredients from my hair care and found that my hair thrived. Can I ask what is your stand point on these ingredients?'

I do realise that I often play the devil's advocate and but it is with good reason:
1. Often times, ingredients are used for a reason and generally that reason is the consumer likes it, so how bad can it really be? This leads me to point number 2
2. The blog is based on looking at scientific research and finding out facts. Science does not always have one answer, most times you get contradictions. Plenty of people report half a story based on their personal view. I try not to be biased in my reporting and give all the research good, bad or indifferent.

Ultimate Myth and Fact : Mineral Oil and Silicones prevent water from getting into your hair

The purpose of any oil including castor oil, shea butter, coconut oil is to block water. Mineral oil and silicones do the same. So in essence this statement is a fact but I could happily substitute that phrase with Coconut oil prevents water from getting into your hair.

However the same statement is a myth because
1. There really isn't any oil which can fully resist water passage into hair. With sufficient time, water will get through the layer. All the oil does is delay water entry.
2. Sealing with oil is actually helpful in retaining moisture. Preventing water loss is actually a way to increase water levels in the hair.

So what is my stand point on mineral oil and silicones.
1. There are some terrible products out there which have terrible formulations. The ingredients are not to blame but rather the poor mixing by the manufacturer.
2. Some people can use mineral oil and silicones without problems and others can't.
3. Mineral oil and silicones do have plus points and negative points - this is true for most things!
4. Mineral oil - I personally do not use it on hair as research has shown coconut oil to be more effective in preventing hygral fatigue and coconut oil smells lovely (to me!). I do have facial products with mineral oil.
5. Silicones - My hair loves loves silicones in shampoo and conditioner (Herbal Essences!).I do not use any styling serums but would if I was flat ironing (which I don't do).

However, what works for me is not what works for you. We are all individuals and we all have different hair types, diets and environments. Following anyone's method to the letter is not guaranteed to bring you the same results. However taking facts into consideration, testing with your own hair and developing your own method is the way forward.

In light of this, I will ask, what is YOUR stand point on mineral oil and silicones?

For more reading
Mineral oil is Evil or maybe not?
(Use the search function for silicones - I promise I'll do a compilation post...soon..maybe lol)


  1. My hair is okay with silicones. I've done the research but in the end it's my hair that tells me what not to do. My hair never really thrived off products containing mineral oil. It just seemed to get weighed down and gunky. I supposed it also has to do with my knowledge of products. When I was using products containing mineral oil, they were horrible products (i:e) blue magic.

  2. Kingsmomma - lol there is a girl with fab hair on fotki who loves blue magic. I had it applied to my hair once a longgg time ago and my hair seemed to instantly start begging for mercy. It is funny how one thing can work for one but not the other

  3. Thank you for this...and thank you, Carla, for asking the question!

    I went natural long before all this information was available online (or anywhere really). Back then, I used mineral oil-based hair lotions on my damp hair on a fairly regular basis and never experienced the kind of dryness that a lot of new 4b/4c naturals complain about. Little did I know that this would later come to be known as "moisturizing and sealing"!

    The main reason why I quit using mineral oil-based products was because I can no longer tolerate the smell of mineral oil...and when it's in the top 5 of the ingredients, you can't help but smell it. Also, it can be hard to wash out...but no harder than, say, washing out shea butter that's been layered on repeatedly. I've never bought into the notion that mineral oil "clogs pores" or "stunts growth"...neither were the case for me.

    As for silicones, I think it depends on the silicone as well as where it appears in the ingredients list. Hello Hydration conditioner is my hair's all-time favorite conditioner and it has dimethicone near the bottom of the list. GF Sleek and Shine leave-in works surprisingly well and it has amodimethicone near the top of the list. Just like everything else, some form of trial and error is involved.

  4. I used mineral oil products on my hair for years and never had any problems with it. I always applied it to wet hair and my hair stayed moisturized and I didn't experience any adverse affects from using it. The reason why i prefer not to use it is it makes my natural hair feel heavy and I have grown accustomed to my hair not feeling weighted down.

    As fair as silicones are concerned I try not to get caught up in fads or what is in at the moment. I used Vo5 conditioners the first three times i was natural. (that was before I even knew about reading labels and stuff I bought it because it was cheap i also used it on my relaxed hair.) This time around (my fourth time being natural) I use whatever conditioner is around, (which is mostly conditioners with silicones) my natural hair this time does feel different from the other times I was natural but I don't attribute that to using conditioners with cones I think that has more to do with using heat. I didn't use heat on my hair at all the first three times I was natural.

    But i said all of that to say We have to pay attention to what our hair is telling us and not what we read in magazines, forums or YT (etc...). If a product is working for you continue to use it regardless of what the ingredients list look like.

  5. I agree ... well said!

    My stance on mineral oil: my hair doesn't like it, but my face does.

    My stance on silicones: use only when heat styling (which is rare).

  6. I haven't revisited mineral oil since before I started educating myself about my hair. At that time, I threw out the only mineral oil products in my stash...ORS Olive Oil Moisturizer & the Sheen Spray.

    Silicones have really helped me though. I know you have mentioned the benefits of silicone in shampoo and conditioner, but I was stuck on "no cones" and couldn't really hear you, haha.

    I have always been a fan of amodimethicone in my conditioner, but I've also started using a conditioning shampoo (dimethicone toward the middle of the list) and a serum with cyclomethicone, dimethiconol and trimethylsilyamodimethicone (1st 3 ingredients). My hair is really fine and that serum has helped when I comb out my hair and/or flat iron.

    I am still focused on low manipulation, but when i do have to "manipulate" silicones have helped me keep hair on my head.

  7. To the person who commented as 'Cancer Prevention Coalition' - Your comment has been rejected since I do not know if you are an actual representative of the CPC.

    I will be happy to repost your comment provided you identify yourself and provide your email address from the above organisation for me to verify.

  8. I used to think that mineral oil was bad when I started reading the hair care boards but I am no longer that strict about it. I still try to avoid it because I prefer coconut oil for not only its sealing ability but conditioning too.

    I don't know how I should really feel about silicone since I don't know much about them. I don't use SLS shampoos because they are too harsh on my scalp so I am weary of silicones simply because I don't know if the shampoo that I use will be effective in rinses the cones away or not.

  9. Mineral oil: Hear it's better at keeping in moisture than coconut oil, but I also hear that it isn't good for the hair shaft and can be an irritant. I have quite sensitive skin, and I don't want it to be triggered (hives), if it's true.

    JC, is mineral oil an irritant? I Hope not.

    Silicones: I do use a conditioner with a cone. Doesn't really bother me. Best, slip, ever!

    Just my two cents.

  10. I am a natural hair stylist/salon here in Houston, TX (Nature's Course) I find that what makes me upset is when u ask clients why they don't use such products they said because they 'heard they were bad for them' Having a strong science background myself I can do nothing but laugh. Thanks for setting the mark straight. I plan on tackling this same blog topic too!

  11. It's funny. Before I read that mineral oil and silicones were "bad", my hair was just fine with them. Lol. My hair grew and stayed moisturized just fine. In my relaxed days, I used BB's Castor Oil Moisturizer hair lotion as a daily moisturizer. It has mineral oil and/or petrolateum in it but it was my joint. It kept my hair moisturized; never any build up, dried out hair or suffocated hair and scalp. I think you're on to something about formulations b/c way back in the day I used to use the dreaded Lusters Pink Lotion which also has mineral oil in it and it made my hair feel like crap. I currently don't use products with mineral oil or silicone b/c I'm ok without them but I'm not strict about it anymore b/c in my hair's experiences, they didn't do wrong by my hair.

    I'm learning, especially after the inception of this blog, to do my own research before I "banish" certain ingredients b/c the blogosphere and hair forums are saying they heard they are bad. I truly do love that this blog encourages you to research why something is good or bad for your hair; don't just go by what you "heard". Get the facts and make a decision for yourself and hair. My concerns these days for hair (and beauty) product ingredients are how "toxic" are different ingredients and if they are eco-friendly.

  12. Does silicone oil help to strengthen the hair shaft. I'm growing my hair & want to protect it from breakage.

  13. I know I am replying sooo late, but I am very sensitive to mineral oil! I have very sensitive skin, and I had dandruff and flaky skin for years until I stopped the mineral oil. I only use natural oils, and I have clear skin and my dermatitis is cleared up.

  14. I have to say i am relieved to read this blog...i have been naturla for little over three yrs now.. and have banished,as Milan put all of my mineral oil laced products. Until recently when my hair began to feel like straw, could have ignited a fire it was so dry...i tried everything natural but to no avail.
    So I began to think back when i was a child what my mother used, and it was the BB coconut hair grease, that contained nothing but mineral oil, so I started using " Thalia Waajid's Afican Healin Oyl", which the number one ingrediant is mineral oil, but my hair feels like a soft eygptian cotton pillow case...i can't keep my hands out of it. Thanks for the format

    1. My story is very similar but instead of using regular hair grease I first applied coconut oil and followed it up with the "laxative type" mineral oil from Wal-Mart. I get the benefits of the coconut oil and the protection of mineral oil, and best of all it last all week! I just mist with water and retwist every other day.

  15. My dad is African American and has always used products that contained mineral oil. I used to, but at the time I had a problem with split ends. Now I am questioning whether mineral oil even had anything to do with it. As a mom and wife who is about to be going on family vacation, I need something that can stay in my hair longer without reapplying. I am done with water based products with or without sealers they have never done me any good. I think I am going to slap some baby oil on my hair. What is the worst that can happen? At that time I did not detangle my hair as often as needed not did I moisturize or care for it like I do today. I doubt it was the mineral oil but I will let you know.


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