Best slimmifying, smoothing non-silicone hair products?
January 13, 2014 12:57 PM   Subscribe

A few years ago I stopped using sulphate shampoo, which also meant all my favorite leave-in styling products (with silicone) had to go. I still haven't found anything to replace them. I have thick, shoulder length hair and after it is dry, I like to put something in to smooth it out and tame it down some. Any suggestions?
posted by nanook to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (26 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
I'm also in the no sulphates/silicone camp, and have very thick, very crazy hair. This Serum from the L'oreal Eversleek line is one of my favorite things. I use a little while my hair is damp to help get a comb through it, then a little more after it is dry to tame frizzies.
posted by Requiax at 1:08 PM on January 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Back when I had long (SUPER THICK) hair, I melted some cocoa butter into my hands and smoothed that through my hair. It worked for me and I liked it, but when I recommended it to someone with finer hair than me she hated it. YMMV.
posted by phunniemee at 1:12 PM on January 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've used Morrocan Oil (a bit when it is still damp, and just a drop if it's still frizzy/unruly after I dry it). I have very thick, somewhat coarse shoulder-length hair. I actually switched over to Marrakesh Oil, which is slightly cheaper and I like it better so far.
posted by kelrae3 at 1:14 PM on January 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have hair like yours and I also use sulphate-free shampoos. I use Phyto's Secret de Nuit - it's expensive but does such a great job!
posted by ukdanae at 1:21 PM on January 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Look into the Living Proof products. I prefer the styling cream (which goes in pre-blowdry rather than after) but they've got a whole range.
posted by mostlymartha at 1:23 PM on January 13, 2014 [4 favorites]

I've had good results with LA Looks Sport gel. Giant bottle for a couple bucks, and it's silicone-free. Here's a list with more options.
posted by asperity at 1:36 PM on January 13, 2014

I used to love Morrocan Oil as a pre-styling treatment but it actually contains a LOT of silicones. Now I just use pure argan oil. Currently I'm using the Pura d'Or brand, which is organic and vegan.

Also, your choice of shampoo/conditioner will impact how much smoothing product you need. Try to minimize your shampooing and look for a conditioner that is free of silicones and sulfates. My favorite is the Pureology line (I know for sure the stuff in the red bottle is free of both of these, and even though it says it's for color-treated red hair it isn't color depositing or anything).
posted by joan_holloway at 1:37 PM on January 13, 2014 [3 favorites]

I use sulfate-free shampoo and swore off silicones for a long time, but then I got a sample of some siliconey serum and, well, the stuff works. As long as I use it sparingly, it washes out just fine for me. YMMV depending on your hair and what shampoo you use.

As for non-silicone products, I like Living Proof (though I'm reluctant to pay $36 for it) and have had some success with Kinky-Curly Spiral Spritz.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:59 PM on January 13, 2014

Seconding Kinky-Curly--I use the styling custard. Maybe I am not recognizing some ingredient in it as being part of the silicone family, but it looks okay to me.

I will touch up my fuzzy tips with jojoba oil some mornings. It's very light, and has a light smell. I like to mix it with coconut and olive oil and let it all sit on my color-damaged hair once a week. Makes it more manageable (read: less bushy) throughout the week for me.
posted by Lardmitten at 3:09 PM on January 13, 2014

I also use plain argan oil for this purpose, or sometimes a little coconut oil.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 3:19 PM on January 13, 2014

This stuff is awesome, although I'm not sure you can get it in the US (if that's where you are). I picked it up in Britain and haven't tried to find it in North America yet because the bottle lasts forever (you only use a tiny bit). It has shea butter and argan oil, which help create a really lush and smooth look that isn't too limp or stringy (at least on my hair!). It also has hydrolyzed vegetable protein to strengthen. I don't *think* it has silicones, but someone more well-versed in cosmetic ingredients might want to verify that there are none masquerading as something else. I use a pea-sized amount on wet hair from ears down.
posted by ClaireBear at 3:30 PM on January 13, 2014

Nthing pure argan works great with no silicones.
posted by barnoley at 3:49 PM on January 13, 2014

Phytodefrisant. I recently trialed several different smoothing/straightening/defrizzing products from Sephora to find a new one, and this was my favorite. I wasn't looking specifically for silicone-free, but it is, so - bonus!
posted by ella wren at 4:06 PM on January 13, 2014

Sephora has argon oil for like $14. Lasts forever, works as well as silicone or better
posted by fshgrl at 4:45 PM on January 13, 2014

Like Metroid Baby, I find that I can still use small amounts of silicone product without ill effects. I use the Kendi Oil Mist , which has Phenyl Trimethicone way down the list. I only use it because the true oils are all waay too heavy and make my hair look greasy.

Also, I've found going Sulfate free, I definitely need to Wash, Rinse, Repeat. But the second wash definitely pulls out all of the gunk.
posted by politikitty at 4:51 PM on January 13, 2014

I still use silicone polisher/smoother as well, also without any ill effects. If I've been a bit too heavy-handed, I shampoo twice, that's all.
posted by desuetude at 5:12 PM on January 13, 2014

I'm unsure based on my thin knowledge of what the items are if the ingredient list for this stuff from DHC does or doesn't include silicone, but it is wonderful for my very curly dry hair.
posted by bearwife at 5:23 PM on January 13, 2014

John Masters organics Dry hair nourishment and defrizzer oil You can only use a couple of drops and it lasts a long time. Found at many health food stores and on the web.
posted by bessiemae at 5:26 PM on January 13, 2014

coconut oil
posted by Sassyfras at 5:54 PM on January 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

I like Kevin Murphy stuff, and jojoba oil for a final gloss.
posted by cotton dress sock at 6:22 PM on January 13, 2014

Also came in to say coconut oil, but I also really really like Eden Body Works Coconut Shea Curl Defining Crème. It seems to hydrate my thick, heavy, dry hair and works well for both curly and straight styles.
posted by runningwithscissors at 7:46 PM on January 13, 2014

You can make homemade gel by boiling linseeds (flax seed) in water - seriously! It's super cheap, a couple tablespoons per cup of water - there's recipes all over the 'net. It works great, and is far far less crusty than commercial gel.... kind of like a silicone smoothing gel, with a little bit of gentle hold.
posted by jrobin276 at 9:25 PM on January 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

I use a few drops of argan oil in my hair when it's damp, and it seems to tame some frizz and give my hair a little bit more sleekness. I have thick hair but it's normal to fine in texture, and the argan oil doesn't weigh it down too much.
posted by MadamM at 9:44 PM on January 13, 2014

I use coconut oil on my dry hair BEFORE i wet it in the shower. IF i do it after washing, i leaves things a bit too greasy for my taste, but doing it before leaves just enough in for good detangling and smoothing action. If you go with coconut oil, argan oil, shea butter, any natural oil type thing, try applying it before washing and after washing to see which works best for you.
posted by WeekendJen at 10:35 AM on January 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you don't mind spending some money, go Phyto. If there's a salon in your area that sells it, find out when the Phyto rep is going to be around and/or ask if there's a stylist who's particularly good with Phyto and can give you a consultation.

I have left Phyto and come back three times already because nothing else works as well for me. FYI, you can find bulk Phyto on amazon.
posted by nosila at 1:07 PM on January 14, 2014

I've got super straight thick dark hair that's prone to flyaways in Memphis humidity and in the winter sad dry ends because I don't use 'cones either. I'm a huge, huge fan of camellia oil (Oshima Tsubaki's available on Amazon; a single bottle will last practically forever). Only a couple drops combed into the bottom half of damp-from-the-shower hair with a nice detangling comb (Mason Pearson's is amazing). Feels like it seals and protects and makes everything smooth and shiny, but doesn't build up or get gummy or weigh my hair down either. It's supposedly one of the oils that does penetrate the hair some, doesn't just sit on top of it.

On etsy, toadstoolsoaps has a leave-in conditioner a lot of folks at the longhaircommunity swear by; many say their hair just drinks it right up at the ends. 'Cone free too, mostly comprised of veggie oils IIRC.
posted by ifjuly at 12:38 PM on March 6, 2014

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