Where'd My Shampoo Go?: Understanding the New Pantene Shampoos and Conditioners

With enrollment in an M.D./Ph.D. program, two blogs, a relationship, two dogs, great friends, and hair that falls well below my shoulders, I need hair care that is fast and simple.  That’s why I always reached for my Pantene Full and Thick Shampoo and Conditioner ($17.99 each for 50.8 oz., Amazon.com).    Unfortunately, much to my dismay, Pantene Full & Thick was one of over 80 Pantene products Procter & Gamble recently discontinued.  (For the full list of discontinued Pantene products, please click here).

So what gives?  According to a report from Investor Place.com, P&G execs have actually embraced the “less is more” philosophy, reducing their product line by about 30% after admitting that the wide variety of Pantene products actually did more harm than good.  The decision was based on the fact that P&G sales jumped 7% as consumer spending firmed up and the new  products, price cuts and stepped-up advertising took hold.  I personally dislike the decision – in the age of the internet, customization is key.  Women want to feel that they are using a product that is unique for their own hair – after all, how many of us will not let our husbands or boyfriends share our shampoo?!   With that said, however, perhaps that is why I am a medical student and not, say, a P&G exec.

So which “new” Pantene product should I use?

There are now seven varieties of Pantene available:

  • Fine Hair Solutions – According to Pantene, the collection’s unique systems provide options for smoothness, hydration, strength against damage, and natural volume to hair.  Closest to the old Volume Collection.
  • Medium-Thick Hair Solutions – Designed to replace the Full & Thick Collections (though, sadly, it does not perform the same).
  • Color Hair Solutions - According to Pantene, the collection’s unique systems help protect colored hair and restore brilliance, with options that leave hair with fullness or smooth the hair with intense moisturizers.  Designed to replace the Color Revival Collection.
  • Curly Hair Series - According to Pantene, the collection’s unique systems can provide frizz control with options for curl definition or straight smoothness.  Designed to replace the Curls Collection.
  • Classic Care Solutions – Designed to replace the Pro-V and Moisture Renewal Collections
  • Nature Fusion
  • Relaxed & Natural
  • Lines without replacement (ingredients-wise):  Ice Shine, Extra Straight, Smooth, Expressions, and Anti-Frizz Collections

According to Pantene, the shampoos and conditioners can also be selected on the basis of the hair type that you have:

  • Fine hair means the hair shaft is small. The hair can be thin and flexible, and prone to damage and breakage.
  • Medium-Thick hair means the hair shaft is large. The hair can be prone to frizz and breakage, and can be less flexible than fine hair.
  • Curly hair has twists and turns, and can be rough and difficult to control or tame.
  • If your hair fits into more than one category, you may benefit from selecting the products based on the look you want to achieve

Overall Opinions

I personally am disappointed that my Pantene Full and Thick Shampoo and Conditioner is being discontinued.  I tried the new equivalent – the Pantene Medium & Thick – and I was very disappointed.  It simply didn’t enlarge the hair shaft as well as the Pantene Full and Thick Shampoo and Conditioner did.  I don’t think that the mass line downsizing was a great idea on the basis of Procter & Gamble, but then again, time will tell.  All I can say is that I am resisting the urge to stock up on my old favorite; while shampoo and conditioner can take years to harden and/or separate, I’m making like Rascal Flatts and moving onto new products and lines.  It is my duty as a beauty blogger, after all! :-)

Have any suggestions for shampoos or conditioners to try?  Please feel free to leave them in Comments below, or drop me a line at nicki[at]futurederm[dot]com.  :-)

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29 thoughts on “Where'd My Shampoo Go?: Understanding the New Pantene Shampoos and Conditioners

  1. Kimme says:

    I agree completely! Over the years P&G has discontinued many niche product, the one I was most disappointed with was Clairol’s Touch of Sun which did not contain the harsh doses of hydrogen peroxide that most lightening agents use. Even though P&G is just the distributer of Clairol products now, the list of quality discontinued hair products is endless! GET WITH IT PROCTOR AND GAMBLE!

  2. cand says:

    I suggest Mane and Tail (sp?), I’ve read lots of good reviews on it, I just tried the conditioner once and my thin hair was slightly more voluminous and more soft/easier to manage than usual. If you do try it, please do a review!

  3. Diane says:

    I have recently been turned on to the Healium (or Heal5ium) line for my color-treated hair. Not sure that this line would work for you, but I was AMAZED at how well my dry hair felt with one shampoo of the level 3. Their formula has a lower pH than typical shampoo, which left my hair feeling scary-squeaky clean – but

  4. Diane says:

    I have recently been turned on to the Healium (or Heal5ium) line for my color-treated hair. Not sure that this line would work for you, but I was AMAZED at how well my dry hair felt with one shampoo of the level 3. Their formula has a lower pH than typical shampoo, which left my hair feeling scary-squeaky clean – but really allowed the absorption of the conditioner.

    I’m not able to use the treatment every shampoo, as Level 3 does feel a little greasy/heavy after several uses. I do want to try a Level 1 for maintenance.

  5. Julie says:

    I am very upset at pantene doing this. All of us avid pantene users, need to rally together to get our pantene back. May I ask where you got all of your information on what shampoos and conditioners were replaced by?

  6. futurederm says:

    Hi Julie – I went by the product descriptions, which were not the most informative, but which gave some idea of what P&G was going for with each new product in comparison to the old. I don’t think that trading one for its new counterpart is necessarily going to give the same result…it didn’t for me!

  7. Helly says:

    You’ve got it backwards. The “Medium/Thick” line is for women who already HAVE medium/thick hair and need it tamed/smoothed, not for women who WANT thicker hair. I have thick, coarse hair, and the Medium/Thick “Frizzy to Smooth” line actually worked much better at smoothing and softening my hair than their original “Smooth” line :-)

  8. olduser says:

    I just tried the new fine hair product, and it left my hair kind of wild(and it is poker straight), and not at all shiny like the old line did. I am so disappointed in it. I’ve used Pantene for years and it looks like I’m going to have to find a replacement. Has anyone used the Dove line? I too used the full and thick line, but it said (and I still had the old bottle in the trash) that it adds up to 35% more fullness for thin or thinning hair. I did not like the old Pantene volume shampoo as it felt like it left a gelatinous layer on my hair to thicken it, and the full and thick seemed to help give volume without doing that. I hope I can find a good replacement without spending tons of money trying to find the right product. I hate buying something and then wasting it, so it will take me months to buy something new and use it and then move on. I feel bad that more of the general public was not involved in such a large overhaul of popular product line with testing, because I think they will be losing money if enough of us don’t like or buy the new line. I can only hope they bring the old line back in some form or another if that happens. I mean, I don’t even like the scent. I’ve had people come up to me and tell me my hair smells good with the old line, and I seriously doubt that will happen anymore. If anyone can come up with a shampoo and conditioner that is similar and post it, it sure would help eliminate the trial and error of trying to find a good replacement. Thanks.

  9. Pingback: Where’d My Shampoo Go?: Understanding the New Pantene Shampoos and Conditioners | Hairy Style™

  10. unhappy says:

    I too am unhappy about the new changes to the Pantene line. I have used the color revival part of the line – the shampoo and conditioner – for years. Love it! My daughter, who has long, VERY curly hair, used a different Pantene shampoo and conditioner. Now, neither one of us can get the tangles out of our hair without using about 3 times the normal amount of conditioner. And I see that I am losing more hair in the sink when I style my hair…not that the product is causing hair loss, but because the inefficient detangling is making me PULL more hair out. My plumber will love this as it’s guaranteed to keep him busy unclogging my shower and bathroom sink drains. With the old conditioner, I didn’t have to use very much. And I loved the way it made my hair feel. Now, I’m looking for an alternative product as my household will no longer be using Pantene :(

  11. Norm says:

    I can’t find anything in the new line-up that even comes close to replacing Ice Shine. I think P&G missed the boat by not providing “equivalent” replacement (or even a listing for their discontinued collections). I will be changing brands because there is no Pantene replacement.

  12. It Sucks says:

    I just threw out a half a bottle of the “new” Pantene for Fine hair. It was AWFUL. It left such a build up and a greasy/oily feel to my hair, made it dull, lifeless, just blah. I went out and bought a clarifying shampoo of a different brand to get rid of the buildup and general icky feeling. Now my hair looks and feels clean and even looks fuller even though it wasn’t a “volumizing” shampoo. The new Pantene sucks.

  13. Diane says:

    I’m a litle late at this I admit but I am going crazy over the fact that I can no longer get the pomade. My hair is thin, fine, color treated and short. The only way it stays all day is with the pomade. What now???????

  14. Alison says:

    I use the Infusium23. Im pretty convinced Pantene sold the formula for great shampoo to them. Their product is cheap and works exactly like the old Pantene did. I HIGHLY suggest this product.

  15. Beena Khan says:

    I agree with you all….. i have managed to buy a few bottles of full n thick but it is a fantastic shampoo and really shows results…. should we all write to pantenne to continue it again

  16. Tammy says:

    Disappointed and full of static. Every since i started using the new improved Pantene, My hair is constantly full of static. I’ve used Pantene shampoo and conditioner ever since I started buying my own products. I’ve loved it for years. I know that management has to prove they are worth their paycheck, but to toss away customers that have loved the product the way it was, is foolish. Did we decide to cut ingredients or change the process? I don’t know. All I know is I will not continue to purchase a product that give my hair static. Just because I have thick hair, doesn’t mean it needs frizz control. Everyone used to compliment me on my beautiful hair, not any more. I can’t keep my hair need when it flys around all the time. I want my thick, luscious, product back.

    Why mess with a good thing?
    Sincerely
    Disappointed and full of static

  17. Josie says:

    OMG! My heart totally sank when I finally found out that my curling creme had been discontinued! Seriously, I’m a picky buyer when it comes to my hair. I’ve tried EVERY product line on the drug store shelf, and several salon brands. Nothing compared to that product in terms of how it de-frizzed & defined my curls. If I had to bring one product with me to travel with, that was it – even above conditioner!

    I was confused at the store, wondering where it went, and then was relieved (momentarily) to see a ‘curling creme’ on the shelf in a new packaging. I was kind of ‘meh’ about the packaging personally. But upon putting some of the product into my hand I was like “this is NOT my curling creme.” The consistency reminds me of a product I tried on the Aveda line, which did not work for me, in terms of de-frizzing or curling… I will try this tonight, and if it sucks, I plan on sending Pantene a strong letter about their marketing strategy. Seriously. Who is happy about this?? It’s like when Coke decided to change their formula. I’m going on e-bay right now to find my product!!

  18. JUPTIER says:

    New pantene is awful!! I had been using color revival shampoo and conditioner for years… it was the only thing that worked and I depended on it. Anyways, bought the new equivalent, was horrible! smelled terrible, left my hair feeling dull, sticky, full of residue. I then tried another, the one for “fine” hair. Just as bad as the colored solution!!! That’s when I gave up on pantene, I think their “reinvention” was a terrible mistake. The product is just not as good.

    BUT!! The other day I was in wal-mart, and saw a “COLOR REVIVAL” shampoo under wal-mart’s “equate” line of products. The bottle is designed to mimic pantene, and the name is the SAME… I picked it up, smelled it, yes!!! that wonderful smell! old pantene! I compared labels with an old bottle of pantene and the ingredients are very close too. Used it for the first time, and I am VERY satisfied… I can’t tell the difference, my hair feels wonderful, god bless you wal-mart.

    I didn’t get a chance to see if they carried any other “mimics” of the old pantene, but it’s worth having a look, good luck!!!

  19. Spencer Laubhan says:

    I was thinking of publishing or posting online some of my articles I’ve written for school but can’t afford to copyright them. If they are in my school paper, do I hold any ownership over them or are they protected by law?.

  20. joeythebushkangaroo says:

    Pantene-

    This is very important—what have you done to your own business?? “If it aint broken—dont fix it!!!.”
    You were at the top of the market in this area–just continue with what you had!! Admit that you have made a gigantic mistake and go back to what you were selling before!! Don’t even listen to the criticisms of your shampoo. I have heard these criticisms for the last 24-25years and yet I have been loyal to your product & ignored the criticisms & gone with what works for my long, curly hair.I tell people that I know what works for my hair and its Pantene!!! Pantene was the only shampoo/Conditioner that made my hair manageable and I have long hair and am 53yo.I promote your product when people compliment me on my beautiful hair and curls. I used the new Shampoo & Conditioner and my hair was terrible and dry & felt I had to buy some old Pantene I found on sale and now I am scared that I wont be able to get it-as I have been happy with this Shampoo/Conditioner for the last 25 years.Please think seriously about this decision as you are making a very big mistake in changing the formula. What about your customers that have stuck with your product for decades-Do we not matter to you???If I cannot get your old formula I will search for another brand that I will be happy with & I am scared that I will never find one that compares to the way yours was. Your new Advertisement is very disappointing as you are practically admitting that you have been wrong with your formula,when 25 years of use has proved to me that you are on the right track for beautiful hair. Dont be pressured by criticism—Don’t you realize that the knockers are jealous of your formula!!!
    Please take this comment to heart as I am sure I speak for many others who are shocked & disappointed at what is happening to their favorite shampoo that some may have used for decades.
    Please feel free to contact me about this as I really am disappointed-my email address is jodevlin59@gmail.com I look forward to your contacting me asap-regards Joanne:)

  21. Nancy says:

    I cannot find Pantene classic clean shampoo. I have use it for a long time and loved it. I have tried classic care and do not like it, my hair isn’t the same. I don’t understand why something that is good just as it is has to be changed.

  22. Betsy says:

    I am on my very last tube of the old Pantene hair gel for thick hair. It’s the only gel I’ve found that works on my curly hair. I started stocking up when I realized that P&G had discontinued it, and now am searching for a replacement. Why oh why did they change things? Just like JCPenney, they should go back to what the customer wants!!

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