Going Sulfate- and Silicone-Free // Healthy Hair

2018 is quickly becoming a year of change for me, and it is only January 8th! If you missed my 2018 Beauty Challenge post, it was all about my ‘no-buy’ plan to simplify my makeup, skincare, and hair care. Be sure to read it if you haven’t already! My goal is to use up every single beauty product I have before purchasing new. However, I cheated already.

Yes, I cheated. But it is for a GOOD cause (I think.) The thing is, I am in the midst of growing my hair. I have been trying all sorts of hair masks, scalp treatments, etc. etc. in an effort to help my hair grow long and strong. However, my ends were terribly dry, and my hair just felt a little weighed down and lifeless. It would also become greasy fairly quickly which lead to me using an absurd amount of dry shampoo. I could just tell my hair wasn’t in its very best shape.

I couldn’t understand why my hair wasn’t looking or feeling great because I recently stopped bleaching it and went back to my natural color. Although this helped, I still wasn’t completely satisfied. I know hair can’t repair itself overnight, but I still felt like there was more I could be doing! So I began researching.

After many, many hours of research, I think I may have found the root of the problem – silicones. Disclaimer: I am not a chemist, cosmetologist, or hair expert. However, I think it is safe to say that I have silicone buildup. If you are unfamiliar, silicone is an ingredient commonly used in hair care. It works as a sealant to protect the hair and smooth down frizz. It is used in conditioners to give hair that slippery/ smooth feel. It is in detangling sprays so hair can be combed through easily. It is in heat protectants and blow-dry creams to prevent heat damage and give the hair a shiny finish. It all sounds great, right? Yeah, I thought so, too!

However, I quickly learned that not all silicones are good. A popular one is Dimethicone. It is known to quickly cause build up and is VERY hard to remove from the hair. To my surprise, I found this particular ingredient in almost every. single. one. of my hair products. My shampoo, conditioner, blow-dry cream, heat protectant, and even my hair oil contained Dimethicone! Although my hair looked healthy and shiny, it really wasn’t. The silicones were creating a barrier on my hair, preventing any actual moisture from getting in. My hair was dry, dry, dry. It wasn’t able to repair itself, and it was breaking.

I have been using sulfate-free shampoo for around a year and a half now, as I learned that sulfates strip the hair from all of its moisture, can cause breakage, and can also damage the color of your hair if you dye it. I have very dry hair to begin with, so that was not a hard decision for me. The problem is that I was putting layers upon layers of silicone on my hair and never using anything to clarify it. Dimethicone is not water-soluble, meaning it doesn’t come off with just water. My shampoo (containing Dimethicone) obviously wasn’t removing the silicone buildup either, being that it contained zero sulfates. WHAT A MESS! I didn’t know where to begin. I didn’t know what to do! I had made a commitment not to buy any beauty products until I finished up what I had, but I owned around 6 months worth of hair products. I didn’t want to continue on the way I was though because I wasn’t sure if my hair would survive!

After doing more research and speaking with my amazing friend Diane Mary, I came up with game plan. Diane is a blogger at Diane Mary’s Take on Beauty and a curly hair expert. She follows the Curly Girl Method and doesn’t use any silicones or sulfates. Her hair has also grown a tremendous amount and is so shiny and healthy! She has sent me some products to try out which will be featured in a future post.

I have made the decision to try going sulfate- and silicone-free in an effort to restore my hair and help it grow as healthy as possible. I will also be attempting to use less heat and go longer between washes. I have put all of my old products in storage and purchased a few things that fit my new lifestyle. This was a really important and necessary change for me, but I now promise to make a better effort in not purchasing any more hair products until I absolutely need to. (No more cheating! 😉 ) I am really looking forward to having a simpler and more natural hair routine. I can’t wait to share it with you all! The first step in my process will be up sometime later this week.

I know this post was quite lengthy and different than the content I normally post, but I hope you enjoyed it! Stay tuned for more update posts! Have any of you tried using sulfate- or silicone-free hair care? Do you have any favorite products? Let me know in the comments below!



Update: May 9, 2019

I found a sulfate- and silicone-free shampoo and conditioner that I LOVE. Find out what it is here. 🙂

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  • Reply mamasmercantile January 8, 2018 at 7:08 pm

    It will be interesting to hear how much difference this will make, looking forward to hearing/seeing the outcomes.

    • Reply Madison Marie January 9, 2018 at 10:01 am

      I am really excited to see how this works and if it worth it! 🙂

  • Reply Billie Jo January 8, 2018 at 11:17 pm

    I think your hair ALWAYS looks beautiful!
    Love you!!

  • Reply Juliana January 9, 2018 at 3:45 am

    I love Briogeo hair products. I use the Rosarco Milk leave-in conditioner and their heat protectant cream. I own the repair shampoo and conditioner but have yet to use it.


    • Reply Madison Marie January 9, 2018 at 10:01 am

      YES! I am so excited to try more of their products when I am back in the U.S. as it is not available here in Denmark 🙁

  • Reply Miss Nev January 9, 2018 at 8:57 am

    Such a great post lovely! Thanks for sharing xx

    Adventures in May | Miss Nev

  • Reply Courtney January 9, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    Wow it’s awesome that you’re going sulfate free, that’s awesome.

  • Reply Madeline January 10, 2018 at 3:38 pm

    I hope you keep us updated with how this process goes. I know your goal was to buy no more beauty products, so it feels like cheating but don’t think of it like that! It’s like when you resolve to work out more, you would have to buy a gym membership, new shoes or a water bottle maybe. You are setting yourself up for success! And healthy hair will ultimately require less products anyhow right?

    • Reply Madison Marie January 10, 2018 at 9:11 pm

      You are sooo sweet! And your comment was so uplifting. 🙂 I will for sure be posting updates! It felt like cheating buying new shampoo and conditioner, but you made such a good point. Healthy hair will require less product in the end!

  • Reply Linda Conley January 10, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    I had no idea any of this existed. I have been using Dove products for a long time. I will have to look at it more closely, smiles.

    BTW, Your hair always looks so pretty, smiles.

    • Reply Madison Marie January 10, 2018 at 9:08 pm

      I was not aware until recently! If you have something that works for you, stick with it! 🙂 I’m just giving this a whirl and seeing what happens. I like to experiment. 🙂 Thank you!!!

  • Reply Tim February 3, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    It seems that lots of people switch to a sulfate free alternative. Chemicals are not good for us. Personally, I switched to a SLS free shampoo a month ago because I had a dandruff problem, now the problem is gone 🙂 Sulfate free products are often more expensive than regular ones, this is a downside.

    Also, I did some research on YouTube and found this video that shares some really interesting information about sulfate free shampoos:

    • Reply Madison Marie February 4, 2018 at 5:48 pm

      Thanks for reading, Tim! I’ll have to check out your video. 🙂

  • Reply Personalized Hair Care // Sulfate- and Silicone Free! | Breakfast at Madisons June 9, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    […] journey has been filled with ups and downs. I went sulfate- and silicone-free (read more on that here) at the beginning of 2018. I began searching for products that would give me the results I wanted […]

  • Reply My Sulfate- and Silicone-Free Starter Kit // Healthy Hair | Breakfast at Madisons June 9, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    […] hair journey! If you want to read about why I decided to go sulfate- and silicone-free, check out this post. It actually wasn’t as scary as I had anticipated. My hair still looks presentable, and I […]

  • Leave a Reply to My Sulfate- and Silicone-Free Starter Kit // Healthy Hair | Breakfast at Madisons Cancel Reply