Sunday, March 8, 2009

Enough with the Pantene bashing already!

(Nice little trip down Memory Lane, no?)

Before I begin, let me say that I do not work for Pantene. I don't derive any benefit from saying nice things about them. But I really get tired of curlies dissing the entire line of products when, in fact, some of the products are actually CG and do work pretty well.

(And I don't mean to single out Pantene here, because lots of companies make some products that you might like and others that you wouldn't. Take Suave, for instance. The only conditioners you'd want to use if you're CG are from the "naturals" line -- the others contain silicones. Does that mean all of Suave is bad (or good)? No. Read labels and experiment before making remarks like "Pantene is bad" or "Suave is good.")

So, let's look at Pantene. They are owned by Procter & Gamble, who also own other hair brands: Aussie, Head & Shoulders, Herbal Essences, Infusium 23, and Clairol Hair Color. You can bet that ingredients, testing procedures, and even product formulations cross some lines -- such "sharing" just makes sense, business-wise. P&G is a huge company with a huge research budget. In fact, discoveries they make and products they develop are frequently the basis on which smaller companies create their own products.

Pantene has a somewhat interesting history, by the way. The line was developed shortly after World War II and based its marketing on the "healing" qualities of Panthenol. (Panthenol had originally been created and used to treat burn victims during the war.) Pantene's products don't actually have enough Panthenol to heal, per se, but Panthenol basically coats the hair and makes it feel smooth without leaving it greasy. It binds well to hair and has humectant qualities. All good things when you're trying to make a hair product that yields shine and manageability to the user.

Pantene offers shampoos, conditioners, and stylers. I've heard some people (who apparently are incapable of reading an ingredient list) say that Pantene products have wax in them and that the wax coats your hair. How do these ridiculous rumors get started? My guess is that some misinformed stylist told a client not to buy Pantene so they would instead spend twice as much on some salon-sanctioned Matrix product, but maybe I'm projecting. Here, for instance, is the ingredient list for Pantene's Moisturizing Hydrator Rinse:

Water/Eau, Stearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Cetyl Alcohol, Bis-Aminopropryl Dimethicone, Panthenol, Panthenyl Ethyl Ether, Lysine HCI, Methyl Tyrosinate HCI, Histidine, Fragrance/Parfum, Disodium Edta, Benzyl Alcohol, Sodium Hydroxide, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone

See any wax there? Of course you don't. You do see Bis-Aminopropryl Dimethicone, which for CGers is a no-no, but does that make this product "bad?" No. It only makes it something you prefer not to use because of your decision to ban silicones from your hair. Other people may, in fact, like what this product does for them. Note also that it is not so terribly different from many conditioners on the market. (And Bis-Aminopropryl Dimethicone is one of the mildest silicones there is. Many find it can be co-washed out, but if your hair is the type that hangs onto it, it can be shampooed out with milder cocomidopropyl betaine shampoos -- you don't absolutely need a sulfate shampoo.)

And take a look at the ingredient list for the Pantene Pro-V Style Curl Defining Scrunching Gel that xcptnl said she uses:

Water , PVP , Laureth-23 , VP/Dimethylaminoethylmethacrylate Copolymer , Panthenol , Panthenyl Ethyl Ether , Triisopropanolamine Carbomer , DMDM Hydantoin , PEG-12 Dimethicone , Methylparaben , Propylparaben , Disodium EDTA , Fragrance

Not a single thing there that should send you running for the hills, individual tolerances for Panthenol and parabens notwithstanding. (PEG before a cone means that it is water-soluble, by the way.)

I tend to avoid Pantene, but that's because my hair-care preferences don't align with most of the product line. Just because I am not a fan of silicones doesn't mean that the company makes an inferior product. And thanks to xcptnl, I am going to try that gel...


tonsofcurlz said...

I am so glad you wrote this post! Once I discovered the NC website, I've been trying to use healthier products on my hair. I was incredibly disappointed to think that I could no longer use my xtra large bottles of Pantene Hydrating Curls poo & condish that I'd just bought. Upon a closer look at the new bottle vs. my old bottle, I realized that Pantene had indeed changed some of their products to include less silicones. Only the Bis... one you just mentioned, instead of the two or three that were in both products. As I'm leaning toward a modified-CG routine, I'm so excited to find that Pantene in moderation can still be part of my life.

Girl with Curl said...

Thank you for this post.

Sage Vivant said...

tonsofcurlz, that is really good to know -- I suspected that but hadn't done enough research to say so in the post. (I've been reading lately that several companies, Pantene among them, are getting the word that a lot of us are rejecting the sulfates and silicones. It's great to hear that maybe formulations really are changing in response to demand!)