Spreading Clean Beauty

Silicone alternatives and plant-based options for anti-frizz

The search for the best silicone alternative is part of a larger shift in the beauty industry, where evolving consumer preferences for sustainable, natural products are leading the way. 

Silicone has been widely used in hair care for its capacity to provide temporary benefits such as hair smoothing and shine. However, concerns have been raised for its potential detrimental effects on hair health, including product buildup and long-term damage. 

These concerns align with current consumer preferences for natural ingredients in hair care, leading to a prioritization for silicone alternatives.

In this quest for silicone-free hair care products, a plant-based natural ingredient has become a synonym of ingredient efficacy for anti-frizz treatments, providing an alternative to silicone that also promotes hair health.

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What is silicone and what effect does it have on hair?

Silicone is a synthetic polymer, with its main compounds being silicon, oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen atoms. 

While silicone is widely used in various industries, in the context of hair care products it is typically found as a conditioning agent to improve hair texture, appearance, and manageability.

More specifically, silicones like cyclomethicone and dimethicone (which we describe below in the article) are non-volatile high molecular silicones which have conventionally been praised in hair care due to their ability to provide a range of hair benefits, including a long glide during application, enhanced softness, shine, and conditioning effects, all without a greasy feel.

These positive effects arise from the capacity of silicones such as dimethicone to form a barrier around each hair strand, which helps to smooth cuticles and reduce frizz while locking in moisture. On the other hand, cyclomethicone evaporates quickly after application, but leaves behind a silky-smooth texture, providing immediate softness and shine.

However, the search for the best silicone alternative derives from concern about the potential issues derived from the use of this ingredient. 

Why is silicone not good for hair?

The debate of whether silicone is good or bad for hair health is ongoing, with some brands still advocating for the recognized capacities of silicone for softness and conditioning. However, those looking for silicone alternatives cite the following potential issues related to the use of silicon:

  • Silicone buildup may obstruct hair shafts, preventing perspiration of hair follicles
  • A potential silicone barrier can also hinder moisture from penetrating the hair shaft, and may inhibit hair’s access to essential nutrients
  • Silicone might be behind product and residue buildup on the hair and scalp, which in turn may translate into a dull appearance and brittle hair strands, risking hair breakage

What are the long-term effects of silicone on hair? Two common silicones and their impact on hair health 


This type of silicone is widely used in the hair care and cosmetic industry for its versatility. It creates a physical barrier around the hair shaft, which acts as a seal that locks in hydration. Some of its benefits include a smoother texture, easier combing and frizz reduction. At the same time, it makes hair more manageable and less prone to tangling. 

Despite these well-acknowledged benefits, dimethicone has sparked concerns for several reasons, including:

  • Its possible environmental impact, from production to disposal, as it’s non biodegradable and its environmental degradation involves sediments and soils (Stevens C. 1998)
  • The potential product buildup on hair, which could impede airflow to the scalp and follicles and lead to clogged pores and hindered hair growth


This ingredient has been commonly used in hair spray and conditioner products. It presents a lighter and drier feel, which promotes effortless application and imparts a smooth, non-greasy feel to the hair. Additionally, it has been praised for promoting smooth combing and preventing hair breakage.

Recently, cyclomethicone has garnered attention from regulatory bodies due to environmental concerns. For instance, the European Union restricted it in wash-off products from January 2020, so that concentrations equal to or greater than 0.1% by weight are not allowed, aiming to mitigate its environmental footprint.

As such, this regulation is pointing towards the imperative for environmental responsibility in cosmetic brands, which aligns with consumers’ increasing preference for eco-friendly silicone alternatives.

Meet the plant-based silicone alternative for the ultimate anti-frizz treatment

A new candidate has been found for brands’ challenge to find a silicone alternative that is both effective in promoting anti-frizz and hair health while also remaining environmentally friendly.

Embracing the growing demand for sustainable, eco-friendly alternatives,  KERATRIX is a plant-based, bio-based, film-forming product that provides the same anti-frizz finish, while retaining hydration and preventing possible hair breakage. 

This active ingredient allows brands looking for an environmental perspective to focus on anti-frizz and overall hair strength without compromising on efficacy. Some of its properties include: 

  • Based on the carob tree hydrolyzate, it addresses current consumer preferences for natural products
  • Contains biofunctional peptides and amino acids that target hair fibers for increased hair strength and elasticity, improvements in dry and weak hair, and repairs to damage cause by mechanical, thermal and chemical processes. At a chemical level, Keratrix™ contents are able to create bonds with the negatively charged amino acids of keratin, contributing to the stabilization of the peptide chains of the fibers. This is particularly true for cuticles that are damaged or lost, as they translate into hair that is more reactive and increases the affinity to Keratrix™ positive effects. As shown by microscopy images, the active forms a protective film layer that enables tissue repair and isolates hair against external aggressions, as well as improving the elastic properties of hair.
  • Facilitates product retention in the hair fiber thanks to its controlled-release cationix matrix (MatrixPlus), an innovative application mechanism that allows for a sequential release to maximize efficacy. This matrix acts as a multicapillary injection technology, attaching to the hair fiber and increases contact time with the active ingredients it releases (the peptides and amino acids in KERATRIX™), acting at the level of the cuticle and cortex.

All in all, Keratrix™ acts as a plant-based silicone alternative that offers a wide-ranging protection to both healthy and damaged hair. Hair structural integrity is improved, making breakage more difficult, and hair resistance and elasticity are enhanced, making hair deformation more difficult and contributing to hair that is more easily combed and presents a healthier, smoother texture.

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