These days, Silicon Mix Bambu Treatment is almost as popular as the shine-amplifying Silicon Mix original.
But what's the difference between these two Dominican superconditioners and which one is best for your hair type?
What is Silicon Mix Conditioner?
Unless you've missed the Caribbean wave of hair products that's swept the beauty world in recent years - from Jamaican Black Castor oil to Dominican superconditioners - you'll already have heard of Silicon Mix.
Hailed for its services to blowouts, silk presses and weaves everywhere, Silicon Mix is a line of conditioners, shampoos, leave ins and stylers from the Dominican Republic - the Caribbean island nation famous for its exports of rich, exotic conditioners. There are actually four lines under the Silicon Mix name: the original Silicon Mix (Hidratante), Silicon Mix Argan Oil, Silicon Mix Proteina de Perla, and Silicon Mix Bambu.
Silicon Mix Treatments. Clockwise from top left: Bambu; Hidratante; Argan Oil; and Proteina De Perla.
Silicon Mix is best known for its conditioners or more accurately, its conditioning treatments: rich, creamy formulas with tropical scents and tons of slip that leave hair gleaming, no matter how damaged, dry or brittle it was before.
The originalSilicon Mix treatment has become the stuff of hairdressing legend. Once the Dominican salon's best-kept secret for creating mirror-shiny blowouts on hair textures other salons couldn't straighten, it quickly spread out to other stylists in cities like NYC, with strong connections to the DR, and isnow used around the world.
How Silicon Mix Treatments work
All the Silicon Mix treatments use a proprietary mix of silicones and substantive conditioning agents alongside other ingredients to create a protective layer on the hair that silkens away roughness, smooths curls and amps up the hair's shine.
While the silicones tackle the surface, ingredients like cetyl alcohol and cetrimonium chloride make the hair softer and more flexible, as well as helping draw moisture into the strand, leaving it hydrated.
The protective, yet weightless layer it encases strands in has gained the original Silicon Mix a second claim to fame: this time for revivingwigs and weaves. Extension specialists use it to maintain Remy hair, extending the lifetime on these costly human hair extensions, allowing them to be reused multiple times.
Silicon Mix Treatment works well on weaves and wigs. Image by Tubarones Photography.
The difference between Silicon Mix and Silicon Mix Bambu
When you open up the jars, you notice the difference in these two products right away. The original Silicon Mix is white and very viscous, while Silicon Mix Bambu is yellow and a little lighter in consistency. Silicon Mix has a gentle musky scent, slightly reminiscent of Caribbean vetiver; Silicon Mix Bambu has a more playful, tropical fruit aroma.
They work differently, too. While all the Silicon Mix conditioners use a blend of silicones and fatty conditioning agents to provide intense conditioning and protection to the hair, each of the spin-offs contains its own star ingredient, designed to add a different benefit. For Silicon Mix Bambu, it's bamboo extract, known for its strengthening abilities. There are a few other differences as well:
Silicon Mix Bambu is protein-free
The overall formulation is different in Silicon Mix Bambu Treatment vs Silicon Mix Treatment. Flip around the jar to the ingredients list, and you'll see a number of those differences. For one, protein (keratin) is a key ingredient in Silicon Mix original. It's partly responsible for the strengthening "shock treatment" the product delivers to damaged, brittle hair.
Silicon Mix Bambu Treatment is keratin-free, which is appealing to people with protein sensitive hair. Mineral oil is also lower down in the list in Bambu, which is good news for people with low porosity hair that doesn't usually 'like' this ingredient in higher concentrations.
Silicon Mix Bambu Treatment is lighter
The lighter consistency makes Silicon Mix Bambu easier and quicker to spread through the hair, especially if you have thick or low porosity hair and like to apply your conditioners with a wet brush. That lighter formula also makes Silicon Mix Bambu a good option for people with loose curls who want to keep the curl in their hair as they blowdry.
The original Silicon Mix is designed for blowdrying hair straight which mean it can straighten a little too much on hair where the curl is not that strong. Silicon Mix Bambu delivers the trademark Silicon Mix smoothing without the straightening effect.
Silicon Mix adds more shine, Bambu is more penetrating
Performance-wise, the original Silicon Mix definitely has the most dramatic effect on the hair's surface, slipping it into an invisible silicone envelope and creating the most intense shine.
Silicon Mix Bambu penetrates easily into low porosity 4C hair. Image by Tubarones Photography.
This is what makes it so good on weaves and wigs which start to look dull as the cuticle wears down. Silicon Mix's protective casing makes human hair wigs and extensions look brand new again - especially when you blend it with atrActiva Multivitamin Treatment.
On the other hand, Silicon Mix Bambu Treatment is more penetrating. This means it outperforms the original on hair types that find it difficult to get products to absorb into them, and which are harder to moisturise, such as low porosity hair and 4C hair.
Is Silicon Mix Bambu good for hair?
Yes. Let's count the ways: First, the blend of ingredients that resist heat (like dimethicone), with flexibility-enhancing ingredients (like cetyl alcohol) makes hair easier to blowdry or iron, while also reducing heat exposure. That means Silicon Mix Bambu has a built-in heat protectant component which helps shield hair, even in intense blowdrying.
Secondly, Bambu does all of this without flattening the hair or leaving behind residue - both of which are frowned upon in the Dominican haircare tradition, which prizes smooth, natural-looking hair with tons of movement.
This requirement for strong conditioning that doesn't weigh hair down means that Silicon mix Bambu Treatment can be used on all types of hair, even fine or extremely straight hair that usually can't use conditioners - all without a trace of greasiness.
When Dominican women straighten their hair, a flowing, silky look is preferred. Image by ElMarto.
At Dominican Hair Alliance, we do pretty extensive product testing, on hair with different textures, densities, condition and of different origins. Based on our research, Silicon Mix Bambu is good for hair that is curly, straight, wavy, natural, heat-damaged, bleached, relaxed, dyed, texturized, or Brazilian Keratin straightened, with high, low or medium porosity, from people of African, Native American, European, Asian descent.
It works - and by that we mean smooths, softens, adds shine, detangles, protects from heat damage and increases manageability - on almost everyone.
No one product will work for every person on the planet. But we love the fact that it can actually penetrate and hydrate super low porosity 4C hair and yet work on fine, straight, bleached hair that needs conditioning but can't get it from most products because of the weight.
If your hair is dry, damaged and needs a transformation, the statistics are heavily in in your favour with this versatile, super concentrated treatment.