“Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.”
That’s one of the most famous lines in the beauty ad industry. And it came from none other than Pantene in the 80s. Since then, they have reinvented that tagline to include LGBTQ+.
The empowerment is real.
But so is the hate. (And not because of their beauty.)
In an era where google equals research and tweets are better than any word of mouth, ill rumors about their products fly faster than ever.
But you might think this brand has been there for 76 years, could there actually be something awful in those bottles? What is in there exactly? Is Pantene good or bad for your hair?
Here’s what you need to know.
Okay, don’t be alarmed.
“Bad shampoo” might sound like a nuclear bomb dropped straight to your head, but it really isn’t. You won’t suffer instant regret with these shampoos unless they immediately irritate your sensitive scalp. They are often subtle in their ways, and the effect is gradual.
You can identify a bad shampoo by its ingredients. If you are not a skincare guru or chemist, the list at the back of the product would be sort of meaningless to you. Still, if you know what to look out for, then you know what to avoid.
Sulfates and parabens are among the most toxic — they are potential carcinogens. Even so-called “fragrances” can actually be hidden skin irritants. So if you see any of that, it’s time to reconsider what goes on in your hair care routine.
Time to zoom in to the brand in question.
If Pantene joined the Hunger Games, then the odds certainly are not in its favor.
Pantene is more known for its shampoo line than its conditioners. It’s no wonder they also get more criticism there. Like any cheap hair product in the market, Pantene has been dubbed as a hair detergent.
There are these substances called surfactants in the shampoo, which helps scrub the dirt away. Good, right? To a limit. Surfactants may also be the reason why your hair is drier than the Sahara right now.
If you have dry or chemically damaged hair, this serves as your warning. It will only lead to more damage as your hair consistently lacks sebum, your hair’s natural moisturizer.
And if you have colorful hair? Say sayonara too.
A drugstore shampoo such as Pantene might let your wallet breathe for a short while, but in the long term, you will need more conditioning and clarifying sessions to keep your strands healthy.
And those are EXPENSIVE.
Have greasy and limp locks? Probably the silicone buildup (scroll down to learn more).
It’s not easy to jump ship and buy that professional shampoo. But if you think of it, who here hasn’t been tempted to do DIY bleaching or even paid a lot for a salon color?
The point is, regrets come last. And you would not want to buy more and more products to cover up what you could have kept healthy in the first place.
To say that Pantene is the sole offender in the whole aisle of shampoos and conditioners is a tad extreme. They are not the only ones to have questionable chemicals. But being a leading brand brings you under fire more often.
And you might have heard a barrage of negative comments from colorists and stylists.
So exactly how does Pantene ruin your hair?
Silicone comes up often. You might want to look out for a similar chemical, dimethicone, in your Pantene bottle. If you don’t use clarifying shampoo to cleanse, this chemical can act as a sealant and block nutrients from getting to the scalp and the hair.
It may look shiny at first, but over time, you won’t differ from the person who hasn’t showered for a week.
Pantene buildup on hair certainly makes it unhealthy. But if that still isn’t shady enough, you may need to watch out for other ingredients in these products.
Nine out of ten, you won’t properly pronounce the chemicals listed at the back. And it would take you hours of research to understand what they are there for.
So let us cut to the chase.
Except for the products in their gold series, everything else in their shampoo line contains sulfates, commonly found as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).
Do you know where else you can spot SLS? In household cleaning products. That’s how effective it is as a degreaser!
Now imagine that you are literally drowning your hair with it and possibly leaving residues.
SLS dries out the scalp and strips moisture and natural oils from hair— a surefire way to unhealthy locks. If you have a compromised scalp or fragile hair, it should be an instant NO for you.
There was this one blog that mentioned Pantene having parabens. Parabens are a type of preservatives. They also cause hormonal dysfunction, so they are high on the list of ingredients you need to avoid.
Some snooping in their website, though, says otherwise. No, they are paraben-free products. And yes, you can sigh in relief.
Or not really.
Now, squint your eyes on those ingredients and find the term “quaternium-15”. This is another type of preservative. It is a possible eye-irritant and belongs to the class of developmental and reproductive toxicants.
There is even more danger than that. It is a formaldehyde-releasing chemical.
Formaldehyde causes allergic contact dermatitis for those who have sensitivity to it. More alarming, it is also a known carcinogen or a cancer-promoting substance.
Scary, right? You surely don’t want that absorbed in your scalp. Consider it well when you reach out for that bottle.
CHECK OUT: How To Get Purple Shampoo Out of Hair
While it may sound like a bottle of Pantene is a poison itself, keep in mind that the industry strictly regulates these chemicals. That one bottle won’t kill your hair in an instant, just an FYI.
Always remember: The dose makes the poison.
When you use it frequently and never do a deep-cleanse, the residue could not only damage your hair but potentially your health too.
As Mad-Eye Moody said, “Stay vigilant!”
Salon professionals may paint Pantene as a Marvel villain kind of evil, but they did not get where they are just because of good marketing.
The power of Pro-V has been proven and tested.
If that sounded like some cure-all, that’s probably because it is the case for many people.
There’s a reason for their popularity. Vitamin B5 makes the hair grow thicker and stronger, prevents moisture loss, and makes layers resilient.
The success of this 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner formula is so good that it is tempting to dismiss the rest of the ingredients you barely see and understand.
A vitamin-infused blend with a bunch of actives is their silver lining. It’s up to you to weigh it against its disadvantages.
Here are a few FAQs which may help you decide if Pantene is to keep or to ditch.
Curls are tricky to care for. Every curl is not the same, and every product reacts differently to it. But if there’s one common complaint out there, it’s the dryness and the frizz.
Fret not because, according to reviews, Pantene Pro-V Curl Perfection solves both.
Afraid of humid weather? The collection includes a moisturizing shampoo, conditioner, and curl-defining mousse that nourishes the hair for 24 hours.
A quality find for a cheaper cost. And it even has a light floral scent! You get to be frizz-free and smell pleasant. What is not to like?
If you come asking this question, you either have (a) dyed black hair, (b) trying to keep your natural black hair from fading or graying, or (c) your natural black hair is textured.
A. If you dyed your hair black, the regular Pantene line can be bad for you. In fact, Pantene isn’t a choice for those with dyed hair.
Remember the talk about surfactants and sulfates? Unfortunately, it is as effective in stripping color molecules as it is with dirt.
But don’t say no yet!
It said “regular” above for a good reason. Pantene offers a sulfate-free shampoo in their gold series. So if you’re a fan of the brand, you just have to spend some more, and voila! Your hair will retain its color longer.
B. If you have naturally black hair, don’t worry. If you are dreading a bleach-type fade, it won’t happen.
Pantene, however, is notorious for its product build-up. Guess what that could block? Melanin, aka our hair’s pigment. Goodbye black hair, hello gray strands.
C. Black hair is a trait often found in Asians and Africans. While Asians often have straight hair, natural African black hair can take more work to manage.
Here’s where Pantene makes an MVP move. Their gold series is the new gold standard— made especially, but not only for kink-prone hair seen in most Africans.
If you have natural hair, this product line is an investment you shouldn’t miss.
Silicone. That’s a word you will not miss when dealing with their conditioners. The shiny and smooth feeling is to die for, but the product buildup may work against you over time.
If you don't want frequent keratin treatments, this may not be for you.
The quick answer is no. But it can be if used every day.
It has vitamins and is even paraben-free! Not many hair brands can claim that. Then again, assess your scalp and hair health first. There are ingredients in their product line which may irritate your scalp and worsen your hair condition.
You know what causes hair loss? Genetics and bad hair care routine.
In fact, the Vitamin B5 infused in their Pro-V line improves the hair’s health. (That is not to say it can save every type of hair out there, of course).
If the regular Pro-V isn’t for you, their Miracle Grow Strong line reduces 96% of hair loss due to hair breakage. A must-try!
Continuing from the previous question, when you lessen hair breakage, you also encourage your hair to grow stronger and longer.
Pantene Beautiful Lengths Shampoo strengthens the follicles and lessens breakage, which eventually promotes hair growth.
Pro: The variety of shampoos available on their line addresses different hair types and issues. Their Pro-V formula works as a one-stop solution. Impressively, their gold series is sulfate, paraben, and silicone-free.
Con: Pantene contains ingredients that may be damaging over time and potentially pose a risk to your health.
The question remains, though. Is it bad, or is it good?
To be honest, what is good for you may be bad for your friend. May it be due to a chemical treatment or hair texture, everyone’s hair just differs to some degree.
So you have to look at your hair. For example, oily hair can take more beating from the surfactants than dry hair.
The definition of bad or good shampoo relies on the state of your own hair.
You see, if Pantene works for you, then it is a good shampoo. Don’t leave it. But if it only makes your hair worse, then buy something else.
It’s like a dating app. When it doesn’t suit you, you gotta swipe left.