We got an important task on our agenda: to bust some beauty myths about-- TA-DA! -- SILICONES!
WHAT IS SILICONE?
A lot of people assume that silicone is not a natural ingredient, but guess what? Silicone actually originates from sand! It, however, does undergo a chemical process which turns it into a synthetic polymer made up of silicon, oxygen, and other elements.
Silicone is present in a lot of products across industries and, even, opened up so many opportunities in the medical field. It can be found in implants, contact lenses, and even bandages! Hospitals and other medical practices primarily use silicone-based medical adhesives because silicone has an extremely low occurrence of allergic skin reactions. Read that sentence again. LOW OCCURRENCE. Yup, doctors all around the world will tell you that silicone has little to no adverse effects on the skin.
WHAT DO SILICONES DO?
Cosmetic grade silicones were first introduced in the 1950s, offering a number of unique characteristics that helped to improve the feel, appearance, and performance of cosmetic products.
So what roles do silicones actually play in personal care products?
- Enhancement of spreadability: Silicones allow for lower surface tension, especially with mineral sunscreens such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that have quite a rep for terrible spreadability. These ingredients are incredible at protecting your skin from the sun and silicones allow for an easier application.
- Improvement of consistency: Silicones allow the formulas to feel lighter on the skin and make the application of most products smoother as the product is spread on the skin/hair without any oily or sticky feeling.
- Conditioning effect: You might have spotted some silicones in hair care, and the reason being that they enhance the conditioning effect and help detangle hair! Silicones in hair care can make the hair feel less rough, more hydrated and even improve shine.
- Moisture retention: Yup, silicone improves moisture retention of most products. In fact, they are the most breathable occlusive! They create a very flexible barrier that prevents Transepidermal Water Loss and helps your skin to keep moisture in without clogging or blocking pores. Dimethicone is particularly good at that as it stays on the skin for a long time.
SO… SILICONE-FREE FORMULAS ARE NOT ACTUALLY BETTER FOR THE SKIN?!
Many companies that position themselves as eco-friendly and market their product as “natural” are choosing to create silicone-free formulas. They often substitute silicones for blends of botanical oils and waxes, but this practice does not necessarily make the product you’re using “better”.
While there is certainly a market for these types of formulas, increased use of oils and waxes in formulas could increase the cost of the product, make the formula less acne-prone friendly (as a lot of oils and waxes can clog pores), and in general just feel heavier and more tacky on the skin. Unlike silicones whose molecular size is too large to seep into pores, vegetable and nut oils often have a molecular size that will pass through pores easily and absorb into the skin and in some instances clogging pores.
So yeah. Silicone-free formulas are not necessarily a better option for you and if anyone is telling you otherwise - now you’re equipped with enough knowledge to decide for yourself!
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SILICONES, WATCH LIAH’S LATEST VIDEO:
I’m not concerned with silicones being toxic, but I am concerned with their environmental impact because some either aren’t biodegradable or there seems to be mixed information on whether they are or not. It’s been hard to find an answer on whether or not cosmetic silicones count as micro-plastics, especially as someone who is doesn’t understand all the scientific jargon haha, so I’ve chosen to stay on the safe side. That said, I’m very thankful your products don’t contain silicones, as well as for your company’s focus on environmentalism without maligning everything made in a lab!
Silicones for hair…..not good. It does help with the detangling part, but it’s really not good for your hair, because is creating a cast around each hair and doesn’t let your hair to be hydrated. So while your hair looks shiny and healthy it might not be the case. You might observe that your ends, and in some cases the whole strand of hair is dry, brittle, doesn’t look particularly shiny and isn’t soft after let’s say 2-3 days. I have curly hair and I wash my hair once a week, and I don’t use, ever!, conditioners or stylers that have silicone, any type of silicone, in them, and my hair is healthy, shiny, moisturised, as well as curly hair can be. But everything I said applies to any type of hair, be it curly, straight, wavy or whatever. So in this field, I’m sorry, I don’t want to come across rude or anything, but I think you need to do some more research before putting the info in an article.
As for your products, I hope that someday we’ll be able to get them in Europe too, I’d really like to try them! :)
Silicones are occlusive on the skin and those implications therefore should be noted. There is also zero evidence that petroleum jelly or parabens are harmful and in fact most dermatologists recommend products containing them both. I actually find products with huge natural extract ingredient lists irritates my skin the most (like so many of the K beauty toners and serums I want to love so much)
I love your company, products, and blog! Always so educational. I’ve always known that silicones are basically fine for my skincare, but it’s good that you’re trying to really educate everyone about this and other topics. :) Thanks to Liah Yoo and this company (as well as her YouTube channel), my skin has gotten so much healthier!
I do wish that you would be a little more transparent about the fact that silicones are not friendly to our Earth, however. Credo, for example, is another company that tries to educate their customers about what is actually harmful to the skin vs what is not, but they are also conscious about the impact of the goods they sell on the environment. On their website they say this of silicone: “Silicones do not biodegrade well (or at all); they have a negative impact on the environment.”
I really care a lot about the impact my buying choices are making on the Earth, but I get stuck between companies who market ridiculous things like “no chemicals” (which is a weird thing to say since literally everything in the world is made up of chemicals) or “organic only” (which can be unnecessarily harmful to the environment too, since organic goods have their own pros and cons) or “natural” ingredients (which is such an arbitrary word and has no government regulation — and which also reveals an ignorance about synthetic ingredients that can actually be helpful to our skin and are still friendly to the environment!). And then for companies that I absolutely adore and love for their product formulation and their brand mission… I feel sad because they often leave out the environmental impact in their mission statement or products. I would love if Krave Beauty could play a larger role in the environmental impact its products are making on our Earth as your products continue to experience greater and greater success. Our oceans (that we swim in and eat fish from) in particular would benefit so much from you shedding light on this aspect of the beauty/skincare industry, since so many people look up to this brand and trust it! Including myself. :) That’s all I wanted to share. Thanks!
I’m glad you decided to fall on the side of truth here. Too many companies are benefiting from fear mongering and not too many consumers take the time to find out the truth. The fact that you told the truth about silicones not being the harmful substance some people claim them to be makes me immediately trust your company even more, and I’m glad to try out your products.