Recently, there have been a number of articles and discussions comparing and contrasting silicate and silicone hair care products. The similar sounding names have led to some understandable confusion regarding the nature and purpose of these ingredients in shampoos and conditioners. Clip In Both are common ingredients found in a variety of products such as skin cleansers, shampoos, creams, masques, and hair Synthetic Hair Wigs conditioners. Many curly-haired consumers avoid silicones or attempt to minimize or restrict their use in their hair care routine. However, the use of silicate-containing products is occasionally advocated based on the premise that they are “natural alternatives” to synthetic silicones. Unfortunately, this information is not entirely accurate and stems from a misunderstanding of the chemical nature and structure of these two very different types of materials. A closer examination of the chemical and physical properties of each category should be useful for anyone who is curious about the molecular nature of these ingredients and what function they perform when included in hair care products. Silicone hair products have been discussed extensively on this website and others, so this will be a quick review rather than an exhaustive treatise. They are a diverse family of synthetic inorganic polymers based upon polydimethylsiloxane that can be prepared and modified in numerous ways in order to produce materials suitable for a wide range of applications. Silicones used in hair care products are typically long, Lace Closure flexible molecules with a backbone comprised of thousands of repeat units of some variation of –(O-Si-O)- linkages with differing organic (carbon-containing) pendant groups attached to the central silicone atom. These are typically liquid at room temperature and are oily in their consistency. They are most often insoluble in water, but are sometimes modified with ethylene glycol groups or other atoms to render them water-soluble. The physical properties of silicones cause them to adsorb onto the surface of hair and to spread out, forming a smooth film, which increases slip along and between hair strands and decreases combing forces. This renders them superior conditioner agents and detanglers. Additionally, they provide thermal protection, which reduces structural damage incurred from the use of heated styling tools. They have also been found to increase the longevity of color in dyed hair. Silicone polymers have a high refractive index, which allows them to impart an extraordinary level of gloss to the hair, which gives the appearance of shiny, glamorous tresses. Clearly, despite their reputation in the curly community, silicone polymers provide many direct benefits to hair when used in shampoos, conditioners and styling products.