Friday, June 4, 2010

Pantene's Fragile to Strong line - conditioner

Yesterday we took a look at the Fragile to Strong shampoo from Pantene for fine hair. Let's take a look at the conditioner today!

How does Pantene do it? "Pantene has created a lightweight strengthening* conditioner with micro-fortifiers, which reinforces structural weakness along each strand. Targeted moisturizers protect your hair from future styling damage without weighing fine hair down." (The asterisk means "strength against damage".)

Conditioner Fragile to Strong ingredients...

Water: Our solvent.

Cetyl Alcohol: A fatty alcohol used to boost substantivity of cationic ingredients. Also an emollient.

Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine: This is an interesting ingredient. It's an amine with a fatty chain processed to become a cationic salt, which is to say it is a positively charged amine that will be substantive to your hair and behave as an emulsifier. It's a great addition to conditioning and 2-in-1 shampoos as it won't depress foam. It's less likely to cause build up on fine hair than some of the other types of conditioners.

Stearyl Alcohol: A fatty alcohol like cetyl alcohol used to boost substantivity and emolliency.

Quaternium 18: A positively charged anti-static agent derived from tallow. It's used in the same way as polyquat 7 or honeyquat. (So note - this isn't a vegan product!)

Fragrance: We like to smell pretty, right?

Bis Aminopropyl Dimethicone: This is a type of silicone, modified to contain an amine backbone. It's another type of cationic polymer that is substantive to your hair. It doesn't build-up, and can impart gloss and shine to your hair. It may protect your hair from thermal damage, just like other silicones. It will adsorb more to damaged parts of your hair, so I wonder if this isn't the micro-fortifiers of which they speak?

Benzyl Alcohol: Yet another fatty alcohol. Tends to be used as an anti-bacterial ingredient.

Cetearyl Alcohol: And another fatty alcohol. A combination of stearyl and cetyl alcohol.

Hydroxypropyl Guar: A modification of guar gum to be cationically charged to behave as a cationic polymer or conditioning agent for our hair.

Oleyl Alcohol: Another fatty alcohol derived from beef tallow.

Glyceryl Stearate: An emulsifier and a fatty acid type ingredient used as a low HLB emulsifier.

Citric Acid: pH adjuster and possible anti-oxidant.

EDTA: Chelating ingredient to bind metals.

Polysorbate 60: Solubilizer and emulsifier for the various fatty ingredients.

Panthenol: We know all about panthenol! Film former and humectant!

Panthenyl Ethyl Ether: A source of B5, like panthenol.

Methylchloroisothiazolinone and ethylisothiazolinone: Preservatives.

So does this conditioner live up to its claims? To re-cap: Pantene has created a lightweight strengthening* conditioner with micro-fortifiers, which reinforces structural weakness along each strand. Targeted moisturizers protect your hair from future styling damage without weighing fine hair down." (The asterisk means "strength against damage".)

Is it lightweight? Indeed it is. It doesn't contain any of the cationic quaternary compounds we've come to know and love (like BTMS or cetrimonium bromide). Instead, it contains loads of cationic polymers that can be quite substantive to hair without weighing it down.

Is it strengthening, in the sense that it offers strength against damage? It could be as it does contain some lovely conditioning agents and silicones that should be able to protect against combing, friction, and heat damage. The question is how much of these ingredients does it contain? Considering two of the conditioning agents are above fragrance on the list, we know there must be at least 1.1% of each ingredient in the list. But there's 1% or less of the silicone, so I'm not sure how much protection that would offer when you're blow drying or straightening.

Does it contain micro-fortifiers? I have no idea as I'm not sure what that word means. (I know what micro means and I know what fortifiers are, but I have no idea what the words mean in combination.) If it means ingredients that will help strengthen your hair, then yes, it contains those ingredients in the form of the various cationic polymers. Are they micro? I have no idea. Are they fortifiers? Sure, why not.

Does it contain targeted moisturizers? It contains moisturizers in the form of a ton of fatty alcohols, but are those targeted? I have no idea what that word means in this context. If I interpret it to mean "will those fatty alcohols remain on your hair?" then yes, they will offer emolliency and will work to boost the substantivity of the cationic conditioners.

So I guess it does live up to the claims of being a lightweight, less build-up kind of conditioner for fine hair, although I'm not happy with the claim of being a strengthening product or the whole "micro-fortifiers" thing - those words sound like jargon for me. This would be a good, lightweight conditioner for someone with fine hair. Your goal is not to weigh your hair down with all kinds of really heavy conditioning agents and emollients, and this appears to do just that. For someone with normal or coarse hair, this would likely work as a leave in conditioner. Not bad for about $5.00!

Can we duplicate it? No. I don't have stearamidopropyl dimethylamine, quaternium-18, or aminopropyl dimethicone in the house. We will be taking a look at conditioners suitable for fine hair in the next few weeks, so if you want to make your own, there might be something there you like! 


Anonymous said...

Your hair serious is great. Could you perhaps comment on what if any benefit or drawback there is to using so many different fatty alcohols?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

We have 5 fatty alcohols in this conditioner...
- cetyl alcohol - C16
- stearyl alcohol - C18
- oleyl alcohol - C!8, from beef tallow
- cetearyl alcohol - a mixture of stearyl and cetyl alcohol
- benzyl alcohol - C6

Benzyl alcohol is generally used as an anti-bacterial ingredient, so it's more about the preservation than skin feel.

All of these are considered non-oil based emollients, so they will feel nice on your skin aren't considered oils, as such. They are less likely to weigh down fine hair. They will work with the conditioning agents to be more substantive, which means Pantene can add less stearamidopropyl dimethylamine to this conditioner but we'll still feel the nice conditioned feeling.

Why four different types? I have no idea. It might be so they don't have to have cetyl alcohol as the first ingredient in the list. It might be they bought a blend that contained the four different alcohols. It might be some super secret formulation that when you put the four of them together they become some ultra-mega-extreme charged fatty alcohol that does wondrous things. (I doubt the last one!)

What's the downside? I don't see one, other than it would be a pain in the bum for us to formulate this at home as you'd be using really small amounts of things (like 1% of each instead of 4% of one thing) and you'd have to buy four different fatty alcohols.

There is no downside for your hair, and I don't see an upside either, except perhaps different hair-feel from each of the fatty alcohols. But they're being used at such low rates, they probably aren't making THAT big a difference in the feeling!

Anonymous said...

2 years ago I contacted you about figuring out what kind of conditioner and their ingredients would be the best for my hair. Due to surgeries and recovery I had to drop the ball on working on my own conditioner. I'm now back on the search for a good conditioner for my hair type.

After eliminating all the things that my hair hates, you helped me narrow down the things I needed for my fine, wavy, very tangly hair.

Where we discussed this before on the LHC and in email.

Since melting the BTMS on the stove made fumes in the house that made me sick, I had to quit trying to make my own at that time.

You suggested buying Pantene, the Original formula and that works very nicely as far as my hair feels awesome, but my hair is very dry looking. Here are the ingredients to Pantene: Water, Stearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetyl Alcohol, Bis Aminopropyl Dimethicone, Fragrance, Benzyl Alcohol, Dicetyldimonium Chloride, Isopropyl Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Panthenol, Panthenyl Ethyl Ether, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone

The other combination that works for me EXCEPT, and this is a big EXCEPT is TIGI Bed Head Moisture Maniac. This works wonderful except for one big problem. It has enough glycerin in it to fry my hair. Humectants and my hair have a huge hate relationship. My hair feels dry after using the TIGI, unless I keep adding water to it, but looks great and tangle free.

Aqua/Water/Eau (Water), Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Glycerin, Acetamide MEA, Cetrimonium Bromide, Stearyl Alcohol, Parfum/Fragrance (Fragrance), DMDM Hydantoin, PPG 2 Myristyl Ether Propionate, Pentaerythrityl Tetracaprylate/Tetracaprate, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Tetrasodium EDTA, Silk Amino Acid, Orange 4 (CI 15510)

So, now for some questions, one is what is the Pantene missing that the TIGI has? And why is the Pantene making my hair feel AWESOME but looks dried?

And based on these two, what do you think would be a Conditioner recipe that I could make that would combine the best of these two conditioners?

Thanks for hte great website and lots and lots of information you provide! I really appreciate it! :)

Anonymous said...

Update: I used the Pantene from the ears down for my only conditioner this time. Last time I only did the last 4 inches of my hair as a test. When I went to comb out my hair (wide toothed comb) my hair was more tangly than when I use the TIGI. Also it feels stripped and dry even while it's still wet. I hope when it dries it feels better than it does now.

Also, this was my recipe I tried last, a few years ago:

This is the recipe I used:

-Get two pots: 1 double boiler set up & 1 water pot

-In Double Boiler mix:

14 grams BTMS

4 grams Hydrolized Protein

-Heat mixture to 158 F

-Heat 161 grams of distilled water to 158 F in separate pot.

-Remove both Pots from heat

-Pour hot water into mix into double boiler

-MIX Well!!


-Let mixture cool to 113 F

-Stir In:

1g preservative

4g Panthenol

4g Centromonium Chloride

4g Cyclomethicone

4g Dimethicone

4g Fragrance 

-MIX Well!!


-Let cool to room temperature

-Package and Label

I think I used too much protein. My hair seemed to like the silk protein, but I think I used too much of a good thing. LOL

I'm working on what I'd do next time.

It wasn't exactly right.


Please help. :)


Anonymous said...

I was just reading on another part of your blog about

Incroquat CR

I was wondering if that's what was missing from my own formula? I'm really looking for something that would make my hair feel soft, luxuriant, silky, moisturized, no tangles and let my waves and some curls look good. I"m very unhappy with having to fight my hair all my life and hope to come to peace with it through making the right thing for it.

Also, I hope I"m commenting in the right section. It was the only thing that mentioned Pantene and I wanted to keep it topical.

Thanks again for all your help!


Anonymous said...

Ok, so the Pantene conditioner made my hair feel very soft, but it's dry and snappy. Meaning when I have to detangle a knot (something that doesn't happen with the TIGI) then it breaks and snaps easily off. So I"m a little worried about that.

The TIGI does a better job with the detangling. And it leaves no knots at all. But it doesn't make my hair soft. And although it looks more moisturized, it will suck all the water out of my hair because of the glycerin in it. But if I keep giving my hair water it eventually will be ok.

With my untrained eye, I just can't figure this out. Hope it looks more obvious to you! :)

Thanks for the great site and help!


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Kangel. Compare the two ingredient lists and see what is different between them. Are there more emollients in one or the other? More protein? Different conditioning agents? Is there something in the TIGI product that offers more detangling?

May I suggest a visit to the hair care section of the blog to see what recipes there might work for dry hair? Something with emollients might be a good idea. And silicones seem like a great idea, too. If you can't use proteins, don't use them. Have you considered using a fatty acid as an emollient and conditioning booster?

I really recommend starting in the hair care section and reading through the conditioner recipes in order to see how I add things and why.

One of the things you don't mention is how your hair responded to your own conditioner. What worked, what didn't work? Did you try adding one ingredient at a time - first just BTMS and water, then adding another ingredient, and so on? If not, then start there. Just BTMS-50, water, and the preservative. Then add something - one thing! - to the next batch. Then to the next batch add something else, and you'll see what your hair likes. Learn your ingredients by what they bring to the party and you'll be able to create something awesome.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I'll do that, one ingredient at a time. I didn't last time and so I'm not sure what worked and what didn't. And I'll go study your recipes more. :)

Hope you're feeling better soon!