Is Pantene Bad For Your Hair? Get To Know The Truth

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A closeup image of the back of the hair of a woman using shampoo

Pantene is one of the most famous drugstore brands when it comes to hair care. It comes in a wide selection of product lines, and it’s often the winner in blind testing.

But did you hear of Pantene’s terrible hair-burning story from a few years back?

Since then, allegations about Pantene surfaced online, accusing the product brand of having harmful ingredients, wax, and plastics!

Some users even claimed that the product caused extreme hair damage and hair loss.

These ill rumors led us to the question “Is Pantene bad for your hair?”

In today’s world where it’s easy to spread information online, it’s hard to know whether what you see or hear is true. But extensive research will eventually get you to the truth.

And we did that work for you. After a thorough investigation, we found out the real deal about Pantene products.

Read on to see if Pantene is bad for your hair.

Is Pantene Bad for Your Hair?

The honest answer: it’s not that it’s bad; it just might not be the right product for you.

Pantene, like most hair care brands, claims to make your hair stronger, softer, or less frizzy.

But while some users of this product may find that Pantene does what it says, others feel that the shampoo didn’t live up to its promise.

In deciding whether a brand is bad or not, remember two things.

First, not every product is the same. Each is formulated with different ingredients and for different purposes. So we can say the shampoo is drying, but we don’t think that would be a similar case for the Pantene conditioner.

Next, people have different hair. They vary in hair texture and hair porosity. There are also ones with healthy hair, and others with colored, bleached, and permed locks. So each person has specific hair needs.

These are the reasons why products that work for some may not work for others.

That said, let’s learn more about Pantene so we can determine if this brand is right for you.

Pantene Product History

The hair care product was started in 1945 by Swiss drug manufacturer Hoffmann-La Roche. The company had a breakthrough involving vitamin B5 or panthenol (hence the name Pantene).

This ingredient was used to treat burns, and the company saw its capacity to restore damaged hair. That’s why they included this in their hair product.

The Pantene brand was then bought by Proctor & Gamble and through the years, it became popularly used worldwide.

Wide Array of Pantene Hair Products

Different hair products with a hair brush in a light colored background

Ever since its breakthrough and after garnering good reviews from plenty of users, Pantene continued to formulate more hair care products.

Pantene Hair Products

The following are the products that Pantene offers so far:

  • Mousse
  • Shampoo
  • Styling gel
  • Conditioners
  • Dry shampoo
  • Heat protectant
  • Deep conditioner
  • Repair Treatment
  • Hair masks
  • Hair sprays
  • Oils

The brand also has a product for every hair type. Whether you have straight or curly natural hair, there’s a product line for you.

Pantene Product Range

With its massive line of hair care products that are really affordable and accessible, Pantene has become widely popular.

Here are the collections or product lines that they offer:

  • Nutrient Blends — restores your hair with the nutrients it needs for healthier hair
  • Miracle Rescue — repairs and strengthens your locks for healthy, hydrated hair.
  • Gold Series — is a line designed to care for relaxed, natural, or transitioning curly hair.
  • Daily Moisture — works to fight damage by deeply hydrating the strands from the inside out.
  • Repair and Protect — reverses the signs of hair damage.
  • Volume and Body — is designed especially for people who want full-bodied, thick hair.
  • Truly — nourishes and repairs the hair with 5x more moisturizing ingredients.
  • Generation Beauty — is a tailored blend of nutrients for hair of different age groups.

Pantene Shampoo and Conditioner Controversies

Because of its popularity, Pantene has also had its fair share of negative feedback. That’s why most people, especially in the natural hair community, believe Pantene is bad for the hair.

Here are some of the Pantene hot topics.

The Salon Disaster

Back in 2016, a hairstylist posted on his Facebook account a “public service announcement” telling everyone to stop using Pantene.

He then recounted that a client’s hair burned — smoke came out from the foil — while having a bleaching session.

And he claimed that a series of questions about the said client’s hair care routine led him to blame Pantene’s buildup of harsh chemicals for the burn.

Pantene Contains Wax and Plastic

There’s also a story about a science fair project showing that Pantene coats the strands with plastic or wax to make your hair look silky and shiny.

It even insisted that panthenol is pure wax.

The Truth Behind Pantene Controversies

Pantene is tainted with issues like the two stated above and this makes us think, “Is Pantene shampoo bad for your hair?”

Well, we’re here to tell you that the rumors are just that. Rumors.

First, cosmetic chemists have clarified that there are no ingredients in Pantene that are flammable in the manner that the stylist was describing.

They’ve also debunked the idea that the bleach melted the silicones from product buildup that caused the burning, explaining that the only negative impact of buildup is the dye not penetrating your hair well.

As a matter of fact, Pantene’s shampoos and conditioners contain more or less the same ingredients as those from other brands.

What causes your hair to smoke when it’s being bleached?

The most likely culprit is a large amount of buildup of metallic salts or any metals from previous dyes, hair care products, and/or even the water that you use to wash your hair (i.e., hard water). 

This is the same reason why you don’t use bleach with metal bowls and clips, or clean metal surfaces with bleach for that matter.

Most hair dyes, however, contain small trace amounts of metallic salts. The dyes to look out for are those that deposit a huge amount of metallic salts, like impure/chemical henna and progressive/gradual dyes.

As for the plastic and wax allegations, here’s our answer. Panthenol isn’t wax; it’s a chemical substance derived from vitamin B5 that’s highly soluble in water or alcohol, so it washes away easily.

The “coating” of the strands is done by silicones, which are also not classified as plastic.

Is Pantene Really Bad for Your Hair?

Despite disproving the ridiculous allegations about Pantene, we’re not going to say that it’s 100% safe and effective.

Just like other shampoos and conditioners, Pantene also has negative effects on your hair. But do take note that most of these effects will happen gradually.

So why is Pantene bad for your hair?

It’s important to remember that Pantene has similar ingredients as other brands of shampoo and conditioner.

The best way to know if a product is bad is by looking at its ingredients. Not just the front label that says “organic” or “mild formula” but the actual list of ingredients at the back.


Sulfate is the cleaning agent used in shampoo. It’s what makes your product foam with lather.

Yes, this does clean your hair well. But have you ever shampooed without conditioner and felt your hair getting as dry as the Sahara Desert?

That’s because sulfate not only removes dirt but also strips off your hair and scalp of natural oils.

Most of Pantene’s shampoo range contains the harshest sulfates: sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). That’s why there’s an observation that this shampoo can dry out your hair.

It’s a good thing this brand manufacturer listens to the people because they now have a shampoo line that’s sulfate-free, the Pantene Gold Series Sulfate-Free shampoo.

It gently cleanses to remove buildup without stripping hair’s natural oil.


Conditioners commonly have silicones because these chemicals are serious conditioning multitaskers. They can coat the hair strands and make them soft and smooth.

That’s why when you use a Pantene conditioner; you’ll notice that your hair feels smooth and looks shiny.

Despite the goodness of silicones, the residue they leave can build up over time and result in weighed-down, dull hair.

If you don’t use a clarifying shampoo once in a while, the buildup can also block your pores and hair follicles. This will badly affect your hair growth and can even cause hair fall.

If silicones are your problem, Pantene also offers a silicone-free conditioner. Try Pantene Nutrient Blends Deep Detox and Renew Silicone Free Conditioner.


Parabens prevent the growth of bacteria in cosmetics to increase their shelf life. While this chemical has good intentions, it also does bad things to the scalp and hair. 

Parabens can dry your locks. They can also trigger irritation and allergic reactions.

Moreover, scientists suggest that these chemicals may also cause endocrine disruption and harm to our reproductive and nervous systems with long-term use.


Some people claim that Pantene has formaldehyde, a harmful chemical that can cause cancer.

Well, we did our research and found that the ingredient DMDM hydantoin, which is in Pantene products and works as a preservative, is indeed a “formaldehyde donor.”

That means it releases formaldehyde but only in small amounts that are considered safe by many experts. In fact, this same chemical can be found naturally in many foods like bananas and spinach.

But others suggest that exposure to DMDM hydantoin could have some risks.

The risks include:

  • irritation,
  • hair loss, and
  • allergic reactions.
A woman surprised having hair loss in her hair brush

While these ingredients won’t instantly irritate your scalp (unless you’re super sensitive) and cause hair loss in just one use, there are still some bad effects that you will notice after frequent, long-time use of these products.

As the adage goes, “Too much of anything is bad.”

Is Pantene Good for Hair?

While some Pantene products do have potentially harmful ingredients, that doesn’t mean they aren’t good products.

Pantene Targets Specific Hair Needs

As we’ve stated above, Pantene has a range of products that can cater to every hair type.

Everyone’s hair is different. Whether you have textured hair or you use hair color, Pantene makes formulas that specifically care for your hair.

It Uses High-Quality Ingredients

In its over 50 years, Pantene has allotted a lot of budget in research to ensure that they make products with a formula that works.

They use highly effective ingredients to deliver maximum results. For example, Pantene’s Iconic Pro-V Blend contains:

  • vitamin B5,
  • replenishing lipids,
  • protective antioxidants, and
  • nutrient-rich natural extracts

Pantene’s team of experts scrutinize each ingredient to make sure that they use only the safe, approved, and effective amount so that the product is good for your hair and your body.

FAQs about Shampoo and Conditioner Brands

Is Pantene Conditioner Bad for Your Hair?

Pantene conditioners are generally not bad for your hair. Most of their conditioners are effective in locking in moisture in your hair shaft, leaving your hair nourished.

Though most Pantene conditioners have silicones in their ingredients that can weigh down the hair, they also offer a silicone-free product.

What Shampoo Is the Healthiest for Your Hair?

We can’t say which shampoo is best for you since everyone’s hair has specific needs. Again what works for others may not work for you. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution in the world of personal care.

We can’t even say that natural is always good as some “natural” products can have too many moisturizing ingredients that can end up making your hair greasy. Sometimes they also contain allergens and unethically sourced ingredients.

If you want to keep your hair healthy, use a shampoo that’s sulfate-free and doesn’t have other harsh ingredients.

What Shampoos Are Unhealthy?

Shampoos that are bad for hair contain sulfates. As we’ve explained above, these chemicals can make your hair dry.

Other red-flag ingredients are parabens and formaldehyde.

Is Pantene Pro-V Bad for Your Hair?

Pantene has a bad reputation online as the worst shampoo that causes damage to your hair. Some people find that Pantene is harsh on the hair.

However, the goodness or badness of a hair product depends on the person who uses it. Remember that what works for you may not work for others.

At the end of the day, only you can decide whether or not Pantene is bad for your hair.

What Other Shampoos Can You Use?

Here are our most recommended ones:


  • Rachelle Velasco

    Rachelle, is a sought-after freelance hair and makeup artist, shines particularly in the world of hair color. From subtle ombres and balayages to vibrant hues and intricate root work, she crafts unique styles tailored to individual preferences. Beyond her artistic talents, Rachelle also holds a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education, showcasing her diverse skill set and dedication to learning.

  • Jessica Hoelscher

    With thirteen years in cosmetology, Jessica Hoelscher is a seasoned stylist recognized for her modern techniques. A graduate of Paul Mitchell the School in St. Louis, her expertise has been showcased on Fox Two News and in People Magazine. Self-employed at Salon Lofts, her work has graced TV screens, styling for renowned events and Ole Miss cheerleaders.

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