Thursday, 11 November 2010

Pantene Pro-V's new Aqua Light shampoo review

Does It Really Give Your Hair "Swish"?

As you know if you follow this blog much, I don't just whitter on about really nice hair clips. Oh no. Give me half a chance and I'll yack away about hair care products too. As you can imagine, I'm a right laugh at the old Hill homestead.

A few weeks back my oldest daughter told me off for lingering too long (again) in my favourite haunt which is the shampoo aisle at Boots, doing a bit of comparative reading of ingredients lists.

I may have also been laughing like a drain (again) and embarrassing the bejeezus out of her.

Anyway, I bought a selection of shampoos for a little light reading later.

And I was inspired, so I wanted to do a little review for you of the new Aqua Light shampoo by Pantene Pro-V which has been so much on the telly, promising to give your hair "swish" - whatever that is.

Pantene Pro-V Aqua Light vs. Pantene Pro-V Classic Care

The label reads:

DO YOU HAVE: Hair that can feel weighed down?
BUT DO YOU WANT: Hair that is beautifully nourished with virtually no weight?

Then Pantene Pro-V Aqua Light Collection with virtually no weight is for you!

"Whoo hoo!" I thought. I bet that means there's no silicone in it. And guess what? Running a side-by-side comparison of Aqua Light with Pantene's Classic Care formula reveals ... no silicone derivatives, conditioners in smaller quantities, and a handful of ingredients that basically rinse out of your hair a bit better.

Okay, so Aqua Light is good for fine hair or for straight hair that seems to get oily quicker than you like. However, you can still be weighing your hair down if you follow this with some heavy duty conditioning all over your head. Don't do that. Just use conditioner in the spots where you tend to get tangles and at the ends. Leave the rest of your hair alone.

Then, just for fun and because Aqua Light is more expensive than Pantene's Classic Care formula (about 15% more expensive by volume), I also had a look at Johnson's Baby shampoo (which is so cheap when it's on offer it's not even funny).

Johnson's Baby Shampoo

Baby shampoos are designed not to be gentle on your skin or hair. Let's just make that clear. They were developed when they found a detergent that was less irritating when it gets in your eyes.

This is what is meant by "mild." Johnson's is perfectly clear about this. The label reads, "... the NO MORE TEARS formula is as mild to the eyes as pure water."

However, I am sure they are very happy for people to believe that "mild" means kind to your skin, kind to your hair ... whatever imagined benefit the customer dreams up.

Detergent is detergent and its job is to lift oil and dirt. Its strength is pretty much managed by how concentrated it is in the product. People want clean hair after shampooing, so by and large, detergent makes up about 10% of your bottle of shampoo. (And, yes, nearly 90% of your bottle of shampoo is simply water - imagine the reduction in packaging if we were allowed to "mix our own" at home? But we witless members of the public are not allowed to handle commercial concentrates of detergent, so just forget about that eco-fantasy.)

Saying all that, Johnson's Baby Shampoo could be a great choice if you have fine hair for the following reasons:

1. It works - it cleans your hair, as any decent shampoo should
2. The detergents used could be good alternatives for you if you suffer from eczema
3. When it's on offer, it is very cheap indeed

If you've subscribed to my Healthy Hair Advice articles, then you'll know that if you want a gentler shampoo, the best thing to do is not go buy yourself a more expensive one, but to just dilute the one you've got already. Oh, and only wash once. It's probably all your hair needs.

If you haven't subscribed to these yet, you can get a little preview right here on the blog with the first article about Shampoo.

Which is Better?

Oooo! How do I choose the better shampoo? I actually feel torn here.

Johnson's is so seductively simple. Compared to Pantene, it's got a beautiful short list of easily identifiable ingredients. The labeling doesn't promise to do miracles for your hair, and I like honesty like that.

However, Aqua Light (and Classic Care) have a few added ingredients that are good and will help you have cleaner hair. Tetrasodium EDTA is a good one. It is a chelator, which means it stops minerals in hard water from sticking to your hair. That is really good. And it's got really effective antifungal and antibacterial preservatives, which could be good if you have a mild case of dandruff. They aren't in there for your dandruff, mind, but if you've got an itchy head sometimes every little helps.

And you can't deny that the Pantene line of shampoos does contain more conditioners than Johnson's, which helps keep the hair "slippy" while you're washing it which prevents a lot of damage to your hair.

I think my instinct is if you have fine hair to recommend Johnson's Baby Shampoo and see how you get on. If your hair doesn't get clean enough with Johnson's, then you need a shampoo with more detergent and I would say Aqua Light could be your next port of call.


  1. Correct me if I am wrong but don't both Pantene & Tresemme test on animals? Can you recommend a 'good' shampoo that doesn't test on animals?
    PS LOVE Stonebridge!

  2. Dear Starburst,

    Thanks for your question and for your very kind comments. We love you too!

    We don't get involved in these sorts of issues as it's not our area.

    I can tell you that none of our hair clips have been tested on animals. Well, maybe just on my dog Chester and he looked *gorgeous.*

    Your best resource would be PETA's website, here:

    Thanks again for commenting! :)