Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pantene's Fragile to Strong line - shampoo

I saw this ad last night and it caught my attention..."Pantene determined that fine hair has up to 50% less protein than thick hair, making it less durable and more prone to breakage. With fine hair’s lower damage resistance, stress from brushing and combing leads to the general deterioration in the condition of the hair."

As we saw in the post on fine hair, the finer your hair, the higher the ratio of cuticle to cortex (higher for fine haired girls) and the smaller the medulla. The medulla contains the protein trichohyalin, which contributes to the water retention properties of your hair. I think this is what they are advertising here - the smaller the medulla, the less trichohyalin, which means less protein in your hair shaft. How Pantene has determine their "50% less protein" part, I don't know.

Okay, so what's in this shampoo and conditioner that makes it so fabulous? (I'll take a look at the conditioner tomorrow.)

Shampoo Fragile to Strong...Apparently it "gently cleanses and leaves hair strong against damage from root to tip." Does it?

Water: The solvent. Necessary.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate: A mild surfactant.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: A not so mild surfactant.

Cocamidopropyl Betaine: Our amphoteric surfactant, included to increase viscosity and mildness.

Sodium Chloride: Salt. Used to thicken the shampoo at levels of 3% or less.

Citric Acid: A pH adjuster.

Sodium Citrate: pH adjuster and chelating ingredient.

Sodium Xylenesulfonate: A hydrotrope, an organic compound used to increase the ability of water to dissolve things.

Cocamide MEA: Like cocamide DEA, it can thicken, boost foam, and act as an emollient.

Fragrance: Adding a pretty smell!

Sodium Benzoate: A salt used as a preservative.

Tetrasodium EDTA: A chelating ingredient

PEG 60 Almond Glycerides: A water soluble version of almond oil. (Click here for water soluble oils.)

Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride: A cationic polymer used to condition our hair.

Linoleamidopropyl PG Dimonium Chloride Phosphate: An anti-static agent.

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 live up to the hype? Does it gently cleanse and leave hair strong? I'd say no.

SLS is not a gentle cleanser, and it's the second surfactant in the list. Even the addition of mildness increasing ingredients can't overcome the fact that SLS is not gentle to our hair. If it's used at say 5%, then it could be considered gentler than using 10%, but why use it at all when the general trend is away from sulfates?

We know that surfactants cannot strengthen our hair, so it has to be some of the other ingredients that strengthen. The guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride (cationic guar) is a good cationic polymer to condition our hair, but there is nothing really special in this shampoo that separates it from other shampoos. In fact, it lacks proteins and humectants and film formers and all the other lovely things that would offer moisturizing or serious conditioning to our hair (although we know fine hair shouldn't use a ton of cationic polymers, so a little in here might not be a bad thing). If hair needs protein - according to the advertising - then why isn't there any protein in here? Why no humectants or other great ingredients?

I'd say this is a basic, probably daily use shampoo without any serious goodies. I'm not sure what hair type would benefit from this - without all the good stuff, it's just a bunch of surfactants, chelating agents, pH adjusters, and preservatives in water. For the cost, there are so many other good shampoos you could choose...and you still have no guarantee it'll make your hair less fragile.

Join me tomorrow when we take a look at the conditioner from this line!


JM said...

I heard that pantene is dangerous to health of the scalp as it may cause skin cancer.Pantene contains a high-toxic chemical that causes an emission of carcinogen.How true is that?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi JM. It's not true. Why would they be allowed to sell this product all over the world if it gave people skin cancer? Don't you think one government somewhere would ban Pantene if there were even a slim chance it was connected to cancer of any sort? Think about California, and that state's obsession with putting "this could cause cancer" on so many things. Don't you think there'd be a huge warning on the front of Pantene bottles? I'm not sure where you heard this, but it's wrong.