Monday, August 3, 2015
These are a few of my favourite things: Dimethicone
What is dimethicone? Dimethicone is a non-volatile silicone you can add to your hair and body care ingredients. It mixes well with oils, and if you want to add it to something that contains water, you have to add an emulsifier to make it mix well.
In body care products, it works as a barrier ingredient, emollient, lubricant, carrier/diluent detackifier, and and skin protectant (one of three approved by the FDA). You can use it in products as diverse as body lotion and lip balm to offer shine, glide, and protection from the elements.
In hair care, it improves wet and dry combing, helps with shine, improves hair feel (softness), reduces static charge, and works as a humidity resistor. And in colour cosmetics, like foundations, it is a lubricant, spreading agent, emollient, and diluent/carrier ingredient.
Dimethicone tends to migrate to the surface of your hair or skin, forming a nice film that not only protects your skin, but keeps all the good stuff you've put into your lotion or conditioner to your skin or hair.
Dimethicone is rated by c.s. or centistrokes. The higher the c.s., the thicker you'll find your dimethicone. 350 c.s. is considered as thick as mineral oil (so thicker than shampoo, but not as thick as ketchup), whereas dimethicone 1000 c.s. is going to be as thick as motor oil (so thicker than ketchup, but not as thick as molasses). So why should you care about the centistrokes? The lower the centistrokes, the quicker surface coverage...so if you have the 350 c.s., it is going to spread quicker than the 1000 c.s.
How can we use dimethicone in our products? I use it the same way I'd use an oil, meaning it can be mixed with other oil soluble things in an anhydrous product like a lotion bar, or mixed in with an emulsifier for water containing products. I use it in the cool down phase as that's the way I see it used in my textbooks, but I understand it can be used in the heated phase of a product as well. (I plan to continue using it in the cool down phase as it works for me, but you can try it in either!)
Let's take a look at dimethicone over the next few days with a few of my favourite recipes!