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Why doesn't Typology use silicones?

Silicones are synthetic polymers that are widely used in skin and hair care products to enhance spreadability and softness to the touch. They have been criticised due to their environmental impact, and some are suspected of being harmful to health. In light of this, Typology has decided to exclude these substances from its products.

Silicones in Cosmetics.

Silicones belong to a family of polymers derived from silicon, a compound that naturally exists in sand. Introduced in the 1950s and widely used since the 1970s, they were chosen to replace petroleum substitutes such as paraffin within cosmetic products. Their sensory qualities, difficult to match, have made them widely used ingredients in the cosmetic market. Indeed, they provide a silky and shiny appearance to hair, a soft texture with a non-greasy finish to makeup formulas such as foundations or lipsticks. They are stable, easy to formulate and well tolerated by the skin.

The silicone family is divided into several categories. Those that generate the most controversy in the cosmetic industry are volatile silicones such as octamethylcyclotetrasiloxanes (INCI: Cyclotetrasiloxane - D4) and decamethylcyclopentasiloxanes (INCI: Cyclopentasiloxane - D5). They have a bad reputation today, as they are substances that accumulate in the environment and are non-biodegradable due to their significant stability.

Silicones: Are they harmful to health?

Firstly, it is important to note that silicones are substances belonging to a large family of polymers, not all of which have detrimental effects on health and some are completely safe to use. For those that could present toxicity at high doses such as octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (D4) and decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5), European regulations limit their concentrations in a cosmetic product to ensure its safety for human health.

According to studies, siloxane (D4) can be reprotoxic at certain concentrations and stimulate ovulation. As for D5, it has recently been shown that it can be harmful to humans when present in high concentrations in body lotions or hair sprays.

The European Cosmetic Regulation 2018/35 of 10th January 2018, published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 11th January, has amended Annex XVII of the REACH Regulation 1907/2006 to limit the concentration of D4 and D5. These two substances can no longer be present at a concentration equal to or greater than 0.1% by weight in rinse-off cosmetic products since 1st February 2020.

On the other hand, cyclomethicone (a blend of silicones D4, D5, and D6 in varying proportions) is recognised as a endocrine disruptor. It is prohibited in organic products and should not be marketed in rinse-off cosmetic products at a concentration equal to or greater than 0.1% by weight of each substance since 31 January 2020.

Silicones: Are they harmful to the environment?

Silicones pose a concerning environmental impact. These chemically inert molecules take an average of 400 to 500 years to degrade. Volatile silicones such as D4 and D5 are particularly criticised today, as they are substances known to accumulate in the environment and are non-biodegradable due to their significant stability. Studies have shown that D4 and D5 have a potential for bioaccumulation in aquatic environments.

Categorised within the broad family of microplastics, these volatile silicones impact certain physiological parameters related to the health of aquatic organisms, such as their filtration capabilities, immune system, and photosynthesis. This results in hormonal imbalances, inflammatory vascular tumours, and even chronic mortality within this marine population.

These substances can also be transported in the ambient air and can therefore be found in areas such as Antarctica. The P.B.T. expert group of the E.C.H.A. agreed in November 2012, based on an ongoing study on the environmental assessment of siloxanes, that D4 and D5 meet the criteria of Annex XIII of REACH. Thus, D4 qualifies as a substance that is persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) and very bioaccumulative (vPvB), while D5 meets the criteria of a vPvB substance. Consequently, these ingredients have been included in the list of persistent organic pollutants (P.O.P.). The REACH regulation governs the European market for chemical products.

Typology excludes silicones from its products: the reasons.

In line with the precautionary principle, we exclude from our formulas many ingredients that may pose a risk to human health or the environment to retain only the essentials. Transparency and authenticity are paramount through simple and short formulas, made in France, providing a response to specific concerns, for all skin types. In this regard, find our blacklist of ingredients eliminating all substances potentially harmful to health and/or the environment.


  • GARAUD J-L. Les silicones 50 ans d’innovation en cosmétique. L’actualité chimique (2008).

  • JOVANOVIC M. L. & al. In vitro and in vivo percutaneous absorption of 14Coctamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (14C-D4) and 14C-decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (14C-D5). Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology (2008).

  • Règlement (CE) n°1223/2009 du Parlement Européen et Conseil.

  • Scientific Commitee on Consumer Security, Opinion on decamethylpentasiloxane (2015).


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