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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.

{ 20 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.

  • 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

  • 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

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