Pantene’s new line promises hair solutions. One of the tougher hair problems to solve is summer frizziness. As the humidity brings on the frizz, the heat locks all that fuzziness in place, giving me hair that looks more like the furry surface of a vintage alpaca sweater than the smooth, sleek ‘do I’d sought. A good conditioner helps, but it isn’t enough all by itself — not in a New Orleans summer.
Pantene’s Straighten and Smooth creme for medium-thick hair is one solution that works. Considering other possible solutions include baseball caps or buzz cuts, I’m delighted to find something that will make unruly hair keep itself on the straight and narrow even on a sultry summer night.
The proliferation of straightening, shining and smoothing products on the market proves the popularity of sleeker styles, but not all such products are created equal. A good one works by flattening the cuticle (little overlapping plates of protein that lie along the hair shaft) of each strand of hair; a bad one just flattens hair by sticking strands together. Used in moderation, Pantene’s medium-thick smoothing creme is one of the good ones.
Note that cautionary phrase I used above, though — “in moderation.” Any styling product will leave short hair flat and longer hair lank if overused. I made that mistake the first time I tried Pantene’s smoothing creme, using the couple of pumps that I’d had to use with other smoothing products. While my hair was certainly shiny and smooth, it lost a little too much volume. Cutting back on my wild abandon with the product fixed that issue, though.
This is concentrated stuff, and one pump is enough to handle a full head of long hair. Fortunately, the pump dispenser can also dole out smaller servings of product at a time, so folks with shorter hair can choose to use less rather than waste product. Consider the carpenter’s credo of “measure twice, cut once” and start with a smaller application, then step it up as needed.
Like the rest of the Hair Solutions line, the smoothing creme has a revamped Pantene scent. It’s still distinctively Pantene, but has a lighter and more natural scent than older versions. “Lighter” doesn’t mean “unnoticeable,” though, and as the creme is a leave-in product, the scent of it stays for a few hours after application. Whether this is a boon or a drawback depends on how you respond to the scent.
The main ingredient among the “micro-smoothers” touted on the bottle is dimethicone, a silicone polymer that gives hair shine and silkiness without weighing it down. That’s a pretty common find in smoothing sprays and lotions for hair. What’s less common is the addition of panthenol and oleyl alcohol to the formula. These are more typically found in conditioners than in leave-in styling products. Combining a silicone with humectants and conditioning agents seems like a good plan, both to make hair feel better in the short term and to keep it looking better with prolonged use, too.
Once I learned to use some moderation with Pantene’s Straighten and Smooth Creme, I’ve been happy with hair that stays smooth without losing its volume. Any product that can keep up with a Louisiana summer is a winner for me.