I know it's really "in" to believe silicones are bad for hair. And if you have very fine, limp hair, they do build up and weigh the hair down. But the "buildup" is a moisturizing layer. Many companies selling their expensive "natural" products have been spreading lots of fear mongering and old wives tales about silicones to justify their pricey ingredients.
I know there are people who believe silicones and other synthetic ingredients are bad for your hair. This simply isn't true! I've been using them heavily for years, and my hair looks better than it has for most of my life.
Whenever anyone gives me hair care advice, unless they can tell me what studies they're using to support what they're saying, I always look at their hair. Do they have hair like mine so I know they understand my issues? Is their hair long and healthy? If it's short because it's breaking off, or they can't grow it, I tend not to listen. Just because something is human-made doesn't always make it bad—think of all the vaccines and medicines that are people-made that save lives every day. And just because something is natural doesn't mean it's automatically good for you or will work for you. Poison oak, poison ivy, stinging nettle, and hemlock are all-natural ingredients, but I try to avoid them when I can.
It's true that there are some ingredients in some products that aren't good for your hair, things that make it sticky or crunchy or cause build up. Those are the ingredients that should be avoided, and they aren't in any of the conditioners I recommend.
A great book to read about ingredients is Don't Go Shopping For Hair-Care Products Without Me
by Paula Begoun. This is my hair bible. Paula cuts through all the advertising misinformation. She's read the actual scientific studies done on the ingredients, and their affects on hair, and even tells you exactly where her information comes from. You can also visit her site at CosmeticsCop.com
(I do have to say the book is way more helpful).
I'm not saying natural products are bad, just they're expensive, they aren't necessary, and they didn't work for me. We're surrounded by chemicals all day, in our makeup, food, and body-care ingredients. What really hurts our hair are chemicals and rough treatment.
However, scientific studies have shown silicones smooth and condition your hair and don't hurt it. I've been using them on my delicate hair for about 12 years and my hair is down to my hips. This isn't to say there aren't great more natural products out there, but I just want you to get them for the right reasons. A small write up about them is here, Silicones & Sulfates
by scientists discussing what these ingredients really do in your hair. You can also check out Are Silicones Bad for Long Hair?
For more information on Silicone, you can check it out in the Ingredient Dictionary