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Haircare Trend: Non-Silicone Shampoo

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One of the strangest things for me in Japan beauty-wise is understanding haircare products here. It’s quite a departure from how things are in Singapore where you can easily find a solution to your scalp/hair type. Here, there is “shiny” (さらさら)and “moisturizing” (しっとり)which confounds me no end but I usually choose “shiny” for shampoos and “moisturizing” for conditioners, thinking that “shiny” is not as moisturizing as “moisturizing” and thus by deduction not for those with dry hair.

But to be honest, shampoos for “shiny” hair types are still pretty rich for my tropical scalp which needs heavy-duty action most days. Though in non-summer weather, it’s not so bad.

Then my fave magazine, Biteki, came to the rescue with this AWESOME article on non-silicone shampoos in its November issue, that gave the low down on what silicone does to your hair and a list of non-silicone haircare products on the market.

What does it have to do with my oily scalp, pray tell? Well, to my own logic, using a non-silicone shampoo can prevent build up and thus leaves the scalp/hair less bogged down and shinier as a result. And it opened my eyes up to brands I wouldn’t even have looked at twice.

Actually, non-silicone shampoo has made an appearance on drugstore shelves last year with Nudy Aura which I wrote about here. I loved it when I started using it and have been loving it ever since — it is truly a great brand. But, I still sort of didn’t believe it was that great (the shampoo is non-silicone but the conditioner still has silicones like dimethicone etc.) because it didn’t make sense that the conditioner has a chock-full of silicones so it felt like a bit gimmicky and I stopped purchasing the conditioner and continued with the shampoo (but I didn’t know much about this so on hindsight this was unnecessary; more on this later in the post).

Since then there has been a slew of non-silicone haircare products filling up the shelves in Japanese drugstores.

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The advice given by some hair and beauty experts in the article is pretty much the same as what I’ve read elsewhere — you can only have healthy hair if you have a healthy scalp, i.e. unclogged, well-hydrated, and clean; silicones leave a coating on your hair which prevents much-needed moisture from being absorbed even if you use a moisturizing shampoo/conditioner to subsequently combat dull-looking hair.

Other tips I gleaned from the article: if your scalp has redness, it also means your hair is damaged, so ideally your scalp should be white, which means it’s healthy; you should rinse your hair for three minutes (that’s a really long time!) before you shampoo your hair and you should also take the time to massage the shampoo into your scalp; thus non-silicone shampoos will promote healthy hair and scalp.

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So let me list the non-silicone haircare brands and I’ll link them to their official websites here (starting clockwise from left):

+ Gift
+ Nudy Aura
+ Playback
+ Difresca
+ Playback Mineral Moist (same site as Playback above)
+ La Pudeur
+ Salon Deaprès

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In the end, I bought the green Playback set because it is the cheapest among all these brands but only by 300JPY per product. Generally, most of these non-silicone shampoos are around the 1900JPY price range which is really not bad though higher than the below 1,000JPY range for silicone shampoos.

I didn’t like the scent of La Pudeur because it had a really sickly sweet fragrance though the packaging looks quite pretty. I haven’t seen Gift or Difresca in my part of town. I’ve tried Nudy Aura and it smells amazing so this would remain a repeat in my shower stall. For the rest, I am curious about Salon Deaprès (which is also around the 1600-1700JPY price point) and especially the Playback Mineral Moist as it has 32 types of herbs and sea minerals like coral, pearl, collagen, keratin, amino acids etc.

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As part of my non-silicone obsession, I also bought the non-silicone Honeysuckle Rose conditioner from Aubrey Organics for dry hair. I just want to try it out to see if it really makes a difference to my hair.

I have read that water-soluble silicones in conditioners are better than insoluble ones and I do spy silicones in the conditioners from the Japanese brands above. From my limited understanding, I would assume the ones they put in these products are water soluble silicones and though you can see insoluble silicones like dimethicone, they become soluble if tagged together with a soluble silicone or PEGs (comprehensive list on the Beauty Brains here). And I found a great list of non-silicone conditioners here if you are interested to try one.

I haven’t really used these products I bought and wouldn’t be fair to write a review now so will report back if these really are the bomb or not. But I will leave you with one last nugget: Reveur (offical site here) is also an excellent non-silicone haircare brand. Last year, I bought a bunch of their products in sample packs because I was off travelling as they are much easier to pack than even travel-sized bottles. Little did I know they were going to be so good. I remember thinking I had to get a full-sized set when I got back to Japan but I forgot about this brand. Biteki also has a short write-up on their website here — and it smells even better than Nudy Aura!

Do you care if your shampoo and conditioner have silicones? If you do, what brand are you using?

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22 comments

  1. Thank you for this article! I am puzzled by Japanese shampoos just like you I am from Singapore so oily scalp is the norm. I actually resort to lugging shampoos from SIN here to Japan hehe. For conditioner I take any brands really since I avoid the scalp area.
    I did buy Reveur for my partner to try and he did like it (I could understand a little of no silicone). I tried it once but not sure if it makes my hair limp or not (sadly I have fine hair)..will give it a go again!^^
    Great article!!^^

  2. im in the states and cannot find aura nudy anywhere, any chance youd sell it in your store?

  3. Hi Heather, thanks for your comment. I’ve been hesitant to sell haircare because shipping is pricey from Japan to the US and hair products are very heavy. I’m afraid the shipping might be more expensive than the product itself! Would you pay so much for Japanese hair care?

  4. Hi Agnes, gosh I used to lug shampoo from SG to Japan too, but I realized it was just too inconvenient and decided to find haircare products here…I’m so glad for this non-silicone shampoo wave…

  5. haha, well, ive tried so many shampoos/conditioners here that ive given up. im new to your blog but i love it all, thanks for the response.

  6. Actually, I thought Ichikami (which I used in spring to summer 2010 in Japan) was silicone-free, too.
    Anyway, it smells amazing and my hair loved it, so I started using silicone-free hair in Germany, too. Unfortunately, I haven’t found anything as good as Ichikami here (BodyShop is okay, but not great), but the shipping to Germany would really cost me a fortune! >___<

  7. I’ll look out for Ichikami…sounds great! Yeah Body Shop is just okay….I don’t feel like it really truly cleans my hair so well.

  8. I really like the Playback set that you purchased, the packaging is really attractive. I don’t really care about silicones in my shampoo, I mean, I’m using products with silicones on my face… =.=

  9. oh i had no idea why they were so pricey.. it’s because they’re non-silicone! LOL. thanks for the heads up1 I’m using herbal essence and it’s surprisingly good for my think unruly long hair!

  10. @Nic nic: I know right? There are quite a few new shampoo brands on the market, e.g. Dear Jungle, and that’s non-silicone as well but around that price range too. I’ll prob make the rounds of these non-silicone shampoos and see which is the best ;-)

  11. Thanks for this post, babe!

    What about non-sulphate shampoo? What’s the diff between that and non-silicone?

  12. Silicones are the chemicals that give products slip and they coat your hair to make it look shiny and soft. And sulphates refer to chemicals like sodium laureth sulphate and ammonium laureth sulfate which give lather/suds to a product but they are very stripping and drying so lately there have been quite a few non-sulphate shampoos on the market…Not sure about Japanese ones as the only ones I spy are non-silicone ones…

  13. I’m currently shifting to non-silicone shampoos and conditioners, too. I’ve got a really sensitive scalp that is prone to oiliness and dandruff. Staying in hot and humid Singapore doesn’t help either. And oh, my hair is naturally frizzy yet thin/sparse. So it’s quite hard to balance the need for moisture and taming while keeping the hair bouncy and the scalp less oily.

  14. @Vivi: I’m def a non-silicone shampoo fan now…My hair needs much less maintenance and it looks better. Hmm yeah tropical weather makes haircare a whole different ball game. My hair/scalp were def prone to oiliness more in Singapore. Sympathies…

  15. Thanks for writing this article! It was so informative & convinced me that I need to buy better haircare products. I went out today and purchased the Ichikami shampoo & conditioner set. I haven’t tried it, but from reading what Julia wrote on here, I can’t wait to try it.

  16. this was informative~ i love asian beauty products, since they seem to be better for my skin and hair! just wondering though, for the non-silicone haircare products, i always see the shampoo and then a treatment. is that the japanese way of saying it is a conditioner? thanks again!

  17. Pingback: Non-silicone shampoo – Reveur | Asians ♥ Beauty

  18. Hi guys, I personnally use PHYTO shampoos, masks and conditionners, they are all silicone free!

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