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INCI of cosmetics, you know what you are applying on skin Part 2, the silicones

June 20, 2018
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INCI of cosmetics, you know what you are applying on skin Part 2, the silicones

How to understand the ingredients of a cosmetic product by reading the INCI, the list of all the substances used in the cream, serum, lotion or conditioner, in this post we will see the silicones, smoothing substances that don’t have any real benefit for skin and hair

  1. Silicones

INCI is the list of all the ingredients of a cosmetic products and, by law in several countries in the world, should be reported on the label of the pack of creams, shampoos, serum, lip gloss and conditioners. It is not easy to read the INCI because the names are reported in Latin or English and often are not very clear for non-expert people. But it is really important to learn the substances in a cosmetic, that may be irritating, comedogenic, dangerous or beneficial. In the previous post we have seen the mineral oils, how to detect them in INCI and how they act on skin by suffocating it and clogging up the pores. In this post we will see in detail another type of substances that we find in cosmetics, the silicones.


Silicones are very common ingredients in cosmetic products, such as creams, conditioners and makeup because they play a role in making pleasant and soft the texture of the product. Silicones are inorganic polymers, very versatile, resistant and stable.

Moreover, they have also an aesthetic effect on skin and hair and therefore the interest in these substances. When the silicones are applied on hair indeed, through shampoo, masks or conditioners, they coat the hair and make it very glossy while, if applied on skin with creams or serum, they create a film and make the skin smooth. However, these are just apparent benefits, but let’s try to understand better. These substances are like a cover for the hair that under this film becomes damaged and loses vitality, it isn’t nourished nor healed, split ends form while the scalp becomes oily. The hair requires more frequent washings. And what about skin? Silicones cover the skin with a layer, the skin seems smooth, like porcelain, but in the long term this layer removes nutrition to skin, clogs up the pores, acne and black heads occur. Silicones don’t bring any real benefit on skin but just a temporary effect of smoothness.

In addition to this, silicones are also polluting, in fact, once they are in the environment, hundreds of years are needed in order to let them degrade. For this reason it is better to avoid cosmetics that contain silicones and in fact a lot of brands are launching products without these substances. How we can recognize the silicones in INCI? The names of silicones end always with the suffixes .thicone, -siloxane or .silanol. Here some examples, dimethicone, cyclohexasiloxane, amodimethicone, cyclomethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane.

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