After Using Smooth & Sleek 2 In 1 Shampoo & Conditioner, I Too Am Wondering, “Pantene, Are You Evil?”

by Gio

pantene smooth sleek shampoo conditioner

Pantene is really bad for hair.

Pantene will ruin your hair.

Pantene is evil!

Do a simple google search and you’ll find plenty of people convinced that Pantene is out to destroy their hair. I always shrugged off this myth as nonsense. Pantene has access to the same ingredients everyone else uses, so why single it out?

But, after using Pantene Pro-V Smooth & Sleek 2 in 1 Shampoo & Conditioner, I find myself wondering just the same: Pantene, are you evil? Cos you’re doing some really bad stuff to my hair, and I don’t like it at all…

It’s not the first time I use a 2 in 1 shampoo from Pantene. A couple of years ago, I stole my sister’s Classic Care 2 in 1 Conditioner. She swears by it, I hate it.

So, you’d think I knew better than to buy another one, but apparently not. I’ll blame it on my flatmate. I made the mistake of going beauty shopping with him, and he kept rushing me.

If he hadn’t, I would taken a closer look at the ingredient list (which is remarkably similar to the Classic Care formula), and seen straight away why this shampoo/conditioner was better left on the shelf: sodium lauryl sulfate.

When people talk about surfactants being bad, they usually refer to sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). SLS is very good at cleansing hair. Even too good. It removes all traces of dirt and product buildup, but also all the oil that keeps it naturally hydrated.

If, like me, you have oily hair, a shampoo that removes some of this excess oil is a godsend. But even then, you never want to remove it all. Why? Cos when you do your hair gets as dry as the desert!

SLS can cause trouble for your skin as well, especially to your hands and forehead, the two areas that usually come in contact with shampoo. As Dr Leslie Baumann has written in her book Cosmetic Dermatology, SLS “strips the natural lipids from the skin, disrupting the barrier and rendering it more susceptible to external irritants”.

And it’s very irritating too. When scientists want to know how irritating a substance is, they compare it to SLS! That’s why a lot of brands have phased it out of their formulations.

Pantene is the only one I have come across so far that still uses it widely (ok, I only used too shampoos, but as most brands avoid it like the plague, 2 is still a big number). Could this be why so many people are convinced that Pantene is evil?

The shampoo, packaged in its white sleek bottle, looks innocent enough. It’s white in colour, has a nice old-school soapy smell, and the right consistency that spreads well on hair without running down all over your face and hands.

But it does dry out my hair. On day 1, it is not so bad. My hair is not as soft as I’d like, but it’s decent. On day 2, problems start. My hair now feels almost as dry as straw and is really hard to manage and style.

Not even the inclusion of Dimethicone, which is supposed to provide some conditioning by coating hair in a protective barrier that keeps water in and gives it shine, helps much. And my tresses look like they need to be washed again. *sighs*

Needless to say, the shampoo is now languishing in a drawer. If I used a lot of styling products, I’d use it as a clarifying shampoo once a fortnight to give my hair a good cleansing and remove all the build up they cause.

But I don’t, so I’m not sure what I’ll do with it. But it has taught me a valuable lesson: never go beauty shopping with a man.

Aqua, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycol Distearate, Dimethicone, Sodium Citrate, Cocamide MEA, Sodium Xylenesulfonate, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Parfum, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Chloride, Glycerin, Tetrasodium EDTA, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Linalool, Hexyl Cinnamal, Panthenol, Panthenyl Ethyl Ether, Magnesium Nitrate, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Magnesium Chloride, Methylisothiazolinone


Pros: cleanses hair well, nice scent and consistency

Cons: dries out hair, can be irritating

Summary: Pantene Pro-V Smooth & Sleek 2 in 1 Shampoo & Conditioner contains SLS, a harsh surfactants that cleanses hair too well, removing all the oil that keeps it naturally moisturized. Result? Dry hair that’s hard to style.

Price & Availability: £3.99 (400ml) at drugstores and supermarkets

Rating: 2/5

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Janessa July 30, 2015 - 5:35 am

Haha your valuable lesson! I don’t use drugstore shampoo very often and I don’t think I’ve tried Pantene. Now I’m not going to and I’m going to be one of those people thinking Pantene is evil. Not really 😛 but I will avoid their shampoos.

Gio July 30, 2015 - 5:52 am

Janessa, lol.I’m sure they have some great products, but they don’t really do themselves any favours by continuing to use SLS. So drying!

Kiss & Make-up July 30, 2015 - 10:29 am

When I was working through my second bottle of Pantene shampoo all of a sudden I noticed the Sodium Lauryl Sulfate in the formula and oh my gosh, I thought I was gonna have a small heart attack!!! WHY did I never notice that before??? I threw the shampoo away immediately. I’m definitely going to think twice now before putting my trust in Pantene…

Gio July 30, 2015 - 11:55 am

Melissa, there are so few companies that use it now, that you just forget to look for it, don’t you? And then you take a random look at the label and are like, “What are you doing in there?”. There are just so many surfactants these days that there really isn’t any reason anymore to keep using SLS.

Susan August 24, 2015 - 11:33 pm

I have heard lots of negative reviews on Pantene products, but I have never once had a bad expirience with them. Although I don’t use Pantene anymore because I steer away from sulfates and they have sulfates in their products, when I did use their products I loved them. Sorry about your poor experience!

Gio August 25, 2015 - 9:15 am

Susan, my family swears by Pantene, but lately their shampoos have been drying out my hair like crazy! Wish they switched to some gentler surfactants. Glad to hear you never had a problem with them, though.

P.Rose February 7, 2018 - 5:41 pm

Is it bad that I’m not even the slightest bit bothered that the shampoo has SLS in it? I’ve personally never had any problems with the smooth and sleek range or pantene in general and will continue to use their products.

Gio February 10, 2018 - 5:37 pm

P. Rose, if it works for you, why change? I’ve had some positive experiences with other Pantene shampoos in this past but really couldn’t bring myself to like this one.


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