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Pantene is bad for hair myth busted

Right Brain retorts:

On several occasions we’ve blogged about how many people believe Pantene is bad for your hair. It looks like the marketers at P&G (the makers of Pantene) are paying attention to blogs like the Beauty Brains because their Public Relations agency has just sent out this press release on that very question. Here’s what they had to say:




  1. Pantene Shampoos and Conditioners do not contain wax. Although Pantene has unique and proprietary ingredients based on recent technological advances, the classes of ingredients (silicones, fatty alcohols, cationic polymers and cationic surfactants) are used consistently across the hair care industry.
  2. Pantene Shampoo and Conditioners do leave behind conditioning ingredients (such as coacervate conditioning complexes, liquid crystals, and terminal amino silicones) for healthy hair benefits such as moisturization, damage protection and shine. Pantene shampoos and conditioners are designed to work together, depositing conditioning ingredients that will wash out of the hair with the next shampoo.
  3. When women feel they have build-up from their shampoos and conditioners, it is often a sign that the products they are using are too heavy for their hair, and they may be more satisfied with a lower conditioning version.

PS – Want to get technical? Let us know and we’ll provide additional information and/or set-up a conversation with one of our science experts.

While we don’t normally blog about all the self-serving press releases we get, this one caught our attention for a couple of reasons.

First, as we said above, it makes us wonder if P&G are reading our blog. (If you are, say hi to your new spokeperson Stacy London for us. We just adore her!)

Second, it’s interesting that the official statement from the company uses the same basic scientific rationale that we used in our previous answers to the Pantene plastic myth.

And third, and perhaps most important, we like that Pantene is asking you to “get technical” and ask them questions for their scientific experts. Now, that doesn’t mean we believe everything that the big beauty companies say, but we do think that any company that is trying to open a dialog between its customers and their science experts is doing the right thing. You don’t see that from most of the smaller companies that are making outrageous claims that aren’t backed by solid science.

So, we say take them up on their challenge. Send Pantene your questions about how their products work and then share what you find out with the rest of the Beauty Brains community.

{ 39 comments… add one }

  • angel April 17, 2014, 1:00 pm

    i want to know about the shampoos that have amino silicones and cationic surfactants in the list of ingredients… (the name of such a shampoo or a conditioner would be of much help)
    since my hairs are frizzy i read about these ingredients being helpful in getting rid of frizz and making hair smooth.
    thanks in advance

  • Brandi October 21, 2014, 1:46 pm

    I’ve never used Pantene but have been considering it because it is one of the few that contain water soluble silicones. Just wondering if these silicones are also as good as dimethicone as far as heat protection? That’s why I’ve always tried to use products with dimethicone, but I’m struggling with build up.

    • Randy Schueller October 21, 2014, 3:49 pm

      Brandi: Pantene did a good job of formulating with water soluble silicones. I think you’ll like the results.

    • Kenydee September 10, 2016, 9:04 pm

      DO NOT use Pantene!! It coats your hair in wax! I just went to get my hair low-lighted and after my hairdresser washed my hair she began to blow dry it. Turns out, because of her blowdrying it, the wax had begun to stick together and she couldn’t even get the comb through it. She made me come back the next day so she could strip my hair because there was SO much buildup.

  • Mel Noel July 17, 2015, 10:49 pm

    “When women feel they have build-up from their shampoos and conditioners, it is often a sign that the products they are using are too heavy for their hair, and they may be more satisfied with a lower conditioning version.”

    Ok, that sounds like great advice except how do we know what a lower conditioning version is? Do the have a high to low list somewhere we can refer to?

    I imagine the problem is likely due to the vast differences in hair types from one person for the next, even in a single family. In one family I have a dandruff prone dry scalp male, a oily scalp dandruff prone but dry hair female, a dry scalp dry hair female, and an extreme oily scalp oily hair prone female who actually uses Neutrogena oil free face wash to wash her hair to get rid of the oil daily. How can we expect the industry to have something that works for everyone? If one company doesn’t have a product that works well with your hair then it’s likely because it’s just not a good fit with your hair. It’s simple logic when you take the emotion out of it.

    Seriously though, I think consumers would benefit from a true list of what is the “heavy conditioning” products downs to the “just conditions a little” products.

    • Randy Schueller July 19, 2015, 9:08 am

      That’s a great suggestion Mel, thanks!

      • Nicholas November 5, 2015, 8:30 pm

        Hi im Nicholas. I would think that because all of Pantene’s shampoos and conditioners focus on hair health and condition, that someone who has buildup would benefit from a volumizing shampoo and conditioner. Pantenes volume shampoo and conditioner moisturizes, but weightlessly. So therefore, they benefit beautiful, lightweight hair, that just so happens to be properly moisturized as well. Correct me if im wrong.

  • ana September 4, 2015, 9:58 am

    i believe that pantene did change their formula i was able to wash with their shampoo before and now i cant because of the sulfates it just burns my scalp im not sure why pantene hasnt gone sulfate free..i do feel that it leaves this residue behind on the hair i have very kinky curly dry hair and i used pantene for years before but now i opted for professinal products due to the condition it left my hair on breaing and dry …..

    • Cher September 5, 2015, 6:28 pm

      I find it ironic that people continously follow suit in allegations and actually believe that they are experiencing the same issues. I have an allergic condition that causes me to react to almost anything at all, at any given time. I bought Pantene, damage care, and gave it a shot. My hair is over colored and damaged. I figured why not? I experienced zero issues with it. No hives (I get hives from everything, even my own sweat), no burning, no hair loss and no anaphylaxis. My hair is just fine, no miracle was performed with use…. but it was just fine and was manageable. Folks, this herd mentality gets you nowhere. You won’t get rich claiming a company wronged you, in fact you’ll be lucky to get a $5 check from a class action suit. Just sayin.

  • Viluannah November 4, 2015, 10:40 am

    Seriously I used Pantene keratin damage repair at least that’s what I think it is it actually damaged my hair sure my hair was more slick but I have more split ends now because of that shampoo I really blame the company for this

  • Nicholas November 5, 2015, 8:38 pm

    Hi all, im Nicholas. Im a licensed cosmetologist, and im fascinated with comparing high end products to drugstore products. As a professional, i was taught that pantene doesnt do more than just coat the hair and not actually nourish the hair. Well back when i was in high school, i used pantene color revival shampoo and conditioner, which was nice because of the glossy shine it gave my hair. But i felt like i needed more nourishment, so i bought pantene beautiful lengths breakage defense shampoo and conditioner, and let me tell you, not only was the shine of my hair intense, but my hair felt so silky and soft. That aint just a coating. Thats nourishment. So anyways, since being in the hair industry i got use to using redken and pureology which are great, but werent giving my hair that umph…so two days ago, i asked myself… WHY NOT??? why not buy pantene and see if i get those shiny results again. Sure enough, my hair is in better condition now than it was two days ago. Super soft and shiny. Btw im using the pantene color revival+hydrating and shine shampoo and conditioner and the pantene ultimate 10 BB creme. I love it all!

  • Bhavna November 16, 2015, 10:03 pm

    I have a LOT of gray hair, some due to age (45) and some because of coloring my hair since many years. Due to this, no matter what products I use, almost all my hair is frizzy and fly-away. Just cant tame it and get the smooth, soft look where all hair is laid down. I have never used Pantene products before & I want to try it, but there are SO MANY different types of shampoos, conditioners and creams, that I have no idea which combination will work best for my needs. Please let me know which Pantene products will work best for me. Thanks in advance.

    • Randy Schueller November 17, 2015, 8:07 am

      It’s impossible to say which exact combination of products will be best for you but it sounds like you should try the ones designed for colored/damaged hair.

  • suz November 21, 2015, 8:50 am

    is pantene shampoo and conditioner bad for your hair I do not know what to believe

    • silverleaf September 6, 2016, 10:08 am

      did you even bother to read the article about whether or not pantene is bad for your hair? you clearly have Internet connection. if you can’t sit down and read this article, then go Google some research.

      • heidiheidihoe October 7, 2016, 11:26 pm

        LMAO. I know, right? It’s like coming to class late, and interrupting the discussion to ask the original question. lol

  • Tricia December 28, 2015, 9:08 pm

    This is very interesting….my hair stylists has told me several times that Pantene products use paraffin and leave a wax build up on the hair. She said that after long term use the build up eventually causes the hair to break off. I love her but I think she is listening to what Redkin says in all the seminars she attends!

    • Randy Schueller December 29, 2015, 10:53 am

      Paraffin? That’s easily disprovable with a quick look at the ingredient list!

  • lena January 7, 2016, 5:46 pm

    been using pantene for 2 months now my hair never looked so good

  • Diane Thompson January 10, 2016, 1:51 am

    I used to be a faithful Pantene user but I’ve heard so much negative talk that I stopped using it. I am going back to Pantene because after years of spending hundreds of dollars on salon shampoos and conditioners, my hair is sad, dry and frizzy. I’m going back to Pantene because I want happy hair again! !

  • Beautiful hair every day January 23, 2016, 12:39 am

    My hair dresser told me the same thing. Pantene causes wax build up and will damage my hair. Then, she tried to sell “professional” shampoo and conditioner. I have been using Pantene for years and my hair is beautiful and shiny. I always get compliments on my hair and then get asked what I use for it. Of course, I tell them Pantene. I’m sticking to it until I grow old and bald.

  • Erin February 3, 2016, 11:02 am

    I also was told by my hairdresser that Pantene left wax build up. So I started using a different product suggested by her. Bad mistake!
    After being so disappointed and frustrated with how dry, frizzy and brittle my hair had become I went out Saturday got Pantene 3 minute miracle repair and protect deep conditioner and Pantene moisture renewal hyrdrating shampoo and conditioner.
    Today is Wednesday immediate difference in three days! It was a pleasure to blow dry my hair today. I had more control it isn’t frizzy brittle or any of the other problems I was having.
    I will not switch every again. Thankyou Pantene I enjoy my hair again

  • Debbie February 25, 2016, 7:11 pm

    I Heard the same thing about the waxy hair but I have to say I have been using the moisture renewal shampoo and conditioner for years. My hair is soft and feels clean all the time. I Have very oily hair and struggled with all shampoo and conditioners I couldn’t even put a comb through it, but with Pantene I can. I Have tried beauty salon shampoos that didn’t give me the same results as Pantene. I Have two children Not my own who couldn’t do anything with their hair. Their hair was unhealthy one of those kids recently went to a beautician and was told how healthy and soft her hair was. This child’s colored her hair so much it was horrible until I Gave her Pantene. I Have tried different Pantene shampoos and they weren’t right for my hair but moisture renewal was absolutely perfect. Pantene detangler is also awesome especially if you have long hair or thick hair.

  • Amber March 25, 2016, 11:20 am

    I have long hair to my lower back. I have used panteen for over 10 years. I recently believed all the talk and tried many other shampoos, with juat no luck. Nothing compared to panteen. I have went back to panteen! I use the dry damage poo and conditioner and 3 minute miracle and my hair is back to normal finally. Soft to touch looks great, healthy. Love panteen and the truth is in all the testimonials!

  • Charlotte March 31, 2016, 9:41 am

    I’ve heard for a while now that Pantene can actually make your hair melt off if you try to dye your hair while using Pantene for your shampoo and conditioner. Is that true or is that just s myth? As someone who likes to do unique things with her hair color and using Pantene I’m very concerned.

    • Randy Schueller March 31, 2016, 9:56 am

      That’s just a myth – Pantene uses ingredients that are pretty standard for shampoos and conditioners. There’s no mechanism that we’re aware of that would cause these ingredients to “melt” your hair.

  • Gail April 6, 2016, 9:07 am

    I was told yesterday, by my hairdresser, that “Pantene is a four-letter word.”

    I told her, and anyone within ear-shot, that Pantene is THE ONLY conditioner I will ever use on my hair. My hair is light strawberry-blonde, and it is as fine and straight as it could be. Any product with methylparaben or propylparaben renders my hair dull and lifeless. Not only that, but my hair will become dry and highly prone to breakage, even after only one use. I read all ingredients when purchasing beauty products. I am old, if not wise, enough to know what works for me. I have NEVER experienced a bad result from using Pantene conditioners. Without Pantene, I would necessarily have short hair. Pantene has enabled me to maintain my hair at lengths of two-and-a-half to three-foot lengths for the past decade.

    After reading this blog, I will report to my hairdresser that her belief that Pantene is evil and damning to clients’ hair is a fallacy, and that she should research something before believing the hype perpetrated by other misinformed persons. Thanks to all who have described their own experiences here.

  • Stephanie April 8, 2016, 9:33 pm

    Ive been using Pantene Full and Strong shampoo and conditioner for about 2 or 3 weeks every other day. Ive noticed my hair looks more greasy and i started having large white flakes by my scalp. Its not dandruff and there is no itching… i used my color toning shampoo tonight to tone my highlights and my scalp felt like it could breathe again… any suggestions?

    • Sarah June 2, 2016, 1:52 am

      That’s because Pantene leaves a weird coating on your hair when you use it! Opt for a product line that will let your hair (and cuticle) breathe!

  • Mellisa Louise April 16, 2016, 1:48 pm

    Yikes! I’ve used Pantene before and it did nothing good for my hair at all. It was always getting more and more damaged with every wash. I switched to something that is natural based, healthy and safe to use on my kids about 8 months ago and noticed my hair grows thicker, shinier and I haven’t had an issue with split ends at all.

  • Deborah April 24, 2016, 6:17 pm

    I have used Pantene shampoo and conditioner for years. My daughter-in law told me her friends beautician said Pantene is really bad. My daughter -in law believes everything she hears or reads on internet. My hair is so soft and full. Unless I have problems I will not change from Pantene. Please don’t change anything .

  • Daisy June 15, 2016, 1:40 pm

    Hi, I’m just wondering what shampoo and conditioner brands I should avoiding that you know have ingredients in that will damage my hair. I have long hair so I try to keep it in goo condition as much as possible and I have heard that some shampoos/conditioners that damage hair in the long term.
    Thank You

  • Linda Jones August 5, 2016, 2:24 pm

    My beautition told me the first thing she was told in beauty school was that Pantene was bad for hair——-but, I ruins she was just trying to get me to buy the shampoo & conditioner they use in the salon

  • Tess September 9, 2016, 11:00 am

    I’ve been using Pantene for a long time now. I’ve dyed my hair platinum blonde a few times (that means bleach) and I’m finally going back to my natural color. My hairdresser told me that Pantene was awful for my hair. I have long and thick hair and I personally love the Pantene results. I just want to know if these results are going to last.

    • Randy Schueller September 9, 2016, 12:12 pm

      I don’t know of any reason they won’t. If you keep using it, let us know what happens.

  • Jennifer October 21, 2016, 10:35 am

    I started using Pantene Curl Perfection shampoo around July and immediately noticed issues. My scalp gets really red, itchy, and flaky, and my hair falls out in clumps. When I switch shampoos to Head and Shoulders and don’t use Pantene for a couple of months, my hair doesn’t fall out and actually starts regrowing. However, I love Pantene’s smell and go back to it once in a while. I used it last night and my hair came out in clumps. I actually got a small bald spot near the front of my scalp, which is scary and really upsetting, and the hair in my drain and brush was incredible even though I brush my hair before I shower to avoid clogging my drain. It could be an allergy to an ingredient, but I’ve looked around and it seems like Pantene actually does cause hair loss in some people.

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