MYTH BUSTED: Pantene Smooth and Sleek DOES NOT DAMAGE your hair!

Pantene Smooth and Sleek

Today I posted a photo of these Pantene products on a Facebook group and a lot of girls told me that Pantene DAMAGES hair and that hairdressers have told them that the ingredients in these products damage your hair.

I don’t mess around with my hair and I’ve used this Pantene line and never had a problem with it. That said, I wanted to see what and why hairdressers say that these products damage your hair.

I totally geeked out and listed all the ingredients in the Pantene Smooth and Sleek shampoo. I looked up each ingredient on, the cosmetics database and checked out whether any of the ingredients are actually damaging to the hair. You can read my conclusions about each ingredient down below but I’ll give you my summary of what I think of these ingredients here.

In the hair industry, there have been companies and people who warn against the use of silicones in hair products. Silicone is used to make the hair look shiny and to block moisture (therefore your hair won’t frizz in humid climates). Since it blocks moisture, it may also dry out your hair. But, what some companies fail to mention is that these silicones are very easily washed off and rinsed out of your hair with a clarifying shampoo. If you ever feel like your hair is getting too dry because of silicone use, simply wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo and switch to a silicone free shampoo to see how you get on.

The short version

Most of the ingredients that are listed are very low hazard… The worst they can do is cause an allergic reaction. Of course, as with any other thing in life, if something causes you an allergic reaction STOP using it immediately. From what I understand these allergic reactions are rare because these ingredients are very commonly used in hair products.

There are two ingredients that may be of concern. Cocamide MEA is a safe ingredient but it is sometimes contaminated with Cocamide Diethanolamine and Cocamide Diethanolamine is not safe for use because it’s a known carcinogenic. If it is present in this shampoo, it will be a trace and it’s not known to damage the hair.

Methylisothiazolinone is the last ingredient on the list meaning that there is very little of it. Methylisothiazolinone is a chemical that’s possibly neurotoxic but that said, exposure to the ingredient is very low while washing your hair and you do rinse it off in the shower. I would prefer if my shampoo didn’t contain methylisothiazolinone but back to the question on whether it is damaging to your hair… it’s not.

So all in all… Although some ingredients may cause an allergic reaction and there’s a possible trace of a carcinogenic ingredient and an ingredient that’s neurotoxic at a high exposure, Pantene does not contain any chemicals or ingredients that actively damage your hair. I’m going to go ahead and bet that hairdressers who say that Pantene is damaging to your hair are trying to sell more expensive hair products that they carry at their own salon by scaring customers off from the cheaper alternatives that actually also work. This of course, is my humble opinion and you should take it for what it is 🙂

Read the rest of this post if you really want to know more about the Smooth and Sleek Shampoo.


On to the ingredients… (the long version)

Aqua: Some water… no harm there.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: This is a very common ingredient in shampoo. In very rare cases it’s an irritant but if you’ve been using most shampoos all your life and never had any problems, it’s likely that this ingredient won’t irritate your scalp.
Sodium Laureth Sulfate: This is a contraction of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and it’s used in a similar way.
Cocamidopropyl Betaine: Cocamidopropyl betaine is a chemical found in many personal care products, including shampoo, toothpaste and body wash. The chemical is derived from coconuts and is used to make products produce more foam. Because cocamidopropyl betaine originates from coconut oil, even some personal care products labeled as natural still contain it. Although the government regards the ingredient as safe, some people do have negative reactions after exposure to it.
Glycol Distearate: The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel reported no human skin irritation or sensitization from glycol distearate. The concerns with this ingredient are probably mostly focused on allergies, in that if you’re allergic, it’s best to stay away.

Dimethicone: This is a silicone and there is some debate in the beauty industry about whether this is good for your hair or not. If you’re concerned about silicones, this shampoo isn’t for you. My personal opinion? Silicones wash off with a clarifying shampoo, should you later decide that you’re not comfortable with silicones in your hair simply give your hair a wash with a clarifying shampoo.

Sodium Citrate: Cosmetic manufacturers use sodium citrate to adjust the acidity of a product. Citrate, in the form of citric acid, is also found in citric fruits and juices.

Cocamide MEA: This ingredient in itself is synthesised from coconut oil. There are some concerns about this ingredient being contaminated with Cocamide Diethanolamine and this ingredient is not FDA approved because it’s a carcinogenic. That said, a contamination means that there is very little traces of it so whether that’s a concern or not is up to you to decide.

Sodium Xylenesulfonate: This is a salt that has very low safety concerns. This may cause irritation in high doses and the doses found in shampoos and conditioners are not high enough to be an irritant.
Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride: This is another low hazard ingredient that’s used as a conditioning agent.

Parfum: Perfumes may be an irritant to the scalp but if regular perfumes do not irritate you, it’s unlikely that this will.

Citric Acid: Citric acid is an alpha hydroxy acid used in personal care products to adjust the acidity or promote skin peeling and re-growth in the case of anti-aging products. Citric acid is naturally found in citric fruits and juices, providing the characteristic acidic taste. As long as there isn’t too much of this ingredient in a shampoo, your hair will be fine with it.

Sodium Benzoate: This is a preservative that’s commonly found in cosmetics.

Sodium Chloride: An inorganic salt (also called table salt).

Glycerin: This is commonly used in cosmetics and it’s actually great for getting makeup to stay on your face and it’s also moisturising. Glycerin (also called glycerol) is a naturally occurring alcohol compound and a component of many lipids. Glycerin may be of animal or vegetable origin. This ingredient is listed in the PETA’s Caring Consumer guide as a byproduct of soap manufacture which typically uses animal fat.

Tetrasodium EDTA: This is a moderate hazard ingredient, depending on its usage. Tests done by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (which are not corroborated) found that Tetrasodium EDTA is not a dermal irritant or a sensitizer, and is not absorbed by skin easily.

Linalool: Linalool is a colorless liquid with a soft, sweet odor. It occurs naturally in many essential oils, such as ho wood oil, tangerine, spearmint, rose, neroli, mandarin, lemon, lime, lavender, cypress, grapefruit, cinnamon, chamomile, palmarossa and ylang ylang.

Hexyl Cinnamal: Hexyl Cinnamal is a natural ingredient used in perfumes and other beauty products as a fragrance additive. It is derived from chamomile oil and is used as a masking ingredient in many foundations and skin creams.

Panthenol: Panthenol is a form of vitamin B5, used as a moisturizer and lubricating compound. This ingredient is listed in the PETA’s Caring Consumer guide as a substance that can be of either animal or plant origin.

Panthenyl Ethyl Ether: This is a low hazard ingredient. This ingredient is a small synthetic molecule used as a hair conditioning agent.

Magnesium Nitrate: Magnesium Nitrate is an inorganic salt.

Methylchloroisothiazolinone: Methylchloroisothiazolinone is a widely-used preservative; has been associated with allergic reactions. If you have an allergic reaction to this product stop use immediately.

Magnesium Chloride: Low hazard ingredient. Magnesium Chloride is an inorganic salt.

Methylisothiazolinone: This is a moderate hazard ingredient. Methylisothiazolinone is a widely-used preservative; has been associated with allergic reactions. Lab studies on the brain cells of mammals also suggest that methylisothiazolinone may be neurotoxic. That said, there is a very small dose of this ingredient in this shampoo (since it’s the last ingredient) and the time of exposure to this ingredient is very short. It is an ingredient I’d rather this shampoo didn’t have but it’s not known to damage hair.

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