First (And Last) Impressions of the Pantene Pro-V Gold Series

I recently saw a few write ups on this Pantene Pro-V Gold Series hair care in some well known fashion magazines and completely fell for the hype hook, line and sinker. The story behind this it is that 10 Black scientists, 40+ hairstylists and a world renowned dermatologist came up with this line specifically for African American hair types. The Gold Series was supposedly tested in Brazil, the U.S., Nigeria and Kenya on over 3000 Black women, and they had over 100 women try it out during their development process. That’s a lot of Black folks! As you can imagine, I was super excited to try some of these newfangled products that were made for people with hair just like mine. Hey, if Essence magazine says it’s ok, then it’s got to be, right? Right??

Well, either all these people didn’t have my particular low porosity 4b/4c hair type or I’m doing something wrong, because these products did not work for me AT ALL. Not even one iota.

See, the thing is, I should know better. I should have known as soon as I read the ingredients lists and saw that silicones (which tend to cause build up on my hair and weigh it down) and not much else in the way of moisture were listed in the top ingredients on almost the whole line, that I shouldn’t even have bothered going there. But wishful thinking took my brain over during this decision making process and I went ahead and clicked “buy”, all the while thinking things like “Hey, Black scientists came up with this!” and “I’m sure it will be fine because Black scientists!”.


As pictured above, I purchased the Deep Hydrating Co-Wash, the Moisture Boost Conditioner, the Leave-On Detangling Milk and the Hydrating Butter-Creme.

Deep Hydrating Co-Wash Ingredients:

Water, Stearyl Alcohol, Silicone Quaternium-26, Behentrimonium Chloride, Cetyl Alcohol, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Fragrance, Benzyl Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Citric Acid, Histidine, Panthenol, Panthenyl Ethyl Ether, Sodium Hydroxide, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone

This co-wash is a thinner, Bath & Body Works type lotion consistency, with some slip from the silicones but not very much else. As soon as I applied this to my hair, it was immediately apparent that this product was not for me. My hair felt hard to handle, somewhat dry and I could feel the ‘cones coating my strands instead of cleansing them.

I do own another co-wash version by Pantene called the Pro-V Truly Natural Hair Co-Wash Conditioner. I only tend to use it every so often because it’s not as moisturizing as a conditioner and yet doesn’t seem to do a good job at cleansing my scalp.   I categorize it as “just ok” (but still better than this new one!) which is why I’m not quite sure why I decided to buy another one by the same brand. But, you know, “Black scientists!“, and here we are.

Moisture Boost Conditioner Ingredients:

Water, Stearyl Alcohol, Silicone Quaternium-26, Behentrimonium Chloride, Cetyl Alcohol, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Fragrance, Benzyl Alcohol, Disodium Edta, Citric Acid, Histidine, Panthenol, Panthenyl Ethyl Ether, Sodium Hydroxide, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone.

As I copied and pasted from the Pantene website, I realized that the ingredients in the co-wash and this conditioner are the exact same, except a few have been moved around.


This is exactly what happens when you buy things without paying close attention to what’s in them. But I digress.

Leave-On Detangling Milk Ingredients:

Water, Dimethicone, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Quaternium-18, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance, Stearyl Alcohol, Peg-2m, Cetearyl Alcohol, Methylparaben, Citric Acid, Propylparaben, Oleyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Polysorbate 60, Lysine Hcl, Histidine, Edta, Panthenol, Panthenyl Ethyl Ether.

Leave-in conditioners tend to be of a thinner consistency, so I won’t ding this one for feeling pretty much the same as all the rest of the products.  This leave-in was also heavy in silicones (dimethicone, the second ingredient) which made it feel slick and a bit slippery on my hair. Besides that, I felt no added detangling benefits.

Hydrating Butter-Creme ingredients:

Water, Mineral Oil, Glycerin, Petrolatum, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Isodecyl Oleate, Sorbitan Stearate, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Dicetyl Phosphate, Ceteth-10 Phosphate, Paraffin, Fragrance, Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Decyl Oleate, Triethanolamine, Peg-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Methylparaben, Disodium Edta, Propylparaben, Panthenol, Panthenyl Ethyl Ether, Lysine Hcl, Methyl Tyrosinate Hcl, Histidine.

This butter-creme was neither creamy nor buttery, but did feel thicker than the other products used. Unfortunately, while glycerin is heavy in humectants that can pull moisture from the air, it can also push moisture from the hair if the air is dry, so you have to be careful while using it. Petrolatum and mineral oil are great sealants for the body, but can leave a heavy film on the hair that resists further efforts to add moisture (if you’ve ever used Vaseline on your body, you’ll know what I’m talking about).

Verdict: NT

NT = No Thanks | PM = Possibly Maybe | RP = Repurchase | HG = Holy Grail

I washed my hair with this line twice in a 3-4 day time frame, and was not at all happy either time.  My hair felt dry, stiff and ashy during and after the washing process, and continued to feel the same throughout the next few days, no matter what I put in it. Since my hair was so parched, it was much more prone to breakage than usual.  I ended up being forced to wash and deep condition my hair 2 days later with my usual products to try to reverse the damage, even though I typically wait 4-7 days between washes.  It’s been over a week and a half since I last used them and I’m currently still trying to get my hair to recover from these products.

My type 4 hair is prone to dryness so it does well with products that include nourishing ingredients like the butters of shea and cocoa, and oils like olive, moringa and coconut. Most products touted as excellent for African American hair will contain at least a few of those oils and butters, as well as other popular ingredients like castor oil, sweet almond oil, and the like. This Pantene Pro-V Gold Series line contains none of these.  The only ingredient that I would consider somewhat on the moisturizing side for any afro hair type would be the argania spinosa kernel oil aka argan oil, but that is far from enough. Fatty alcohols like cetyl and stearyl are used as emollients in cosmetics and hair products, but do not impart much in the way of moisture to dry, kinky, coily hair unless combined with other, more heavy hitting ingredients.

I’m going to have to say that this ill-advised experiment with the Pantene Pro-V Gold Series hair care has been a bust for me. On the other hand, my mother, who’s hair is in the type 3 range, recently used the full line and had good things to say about it. It’s possible that this line is fine for type 3 hair and above but I would not recommend it for anyone with dry, kinky or coily hair.

– Erika

What do you think?