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An illustation of '0% parabens' text oil and cream trails and a big Pro-V pill on light pink background

What are parabens?

You’ve probably noticed when browsing the shelves of your local pharmacy or high street beauty store that these days, a lot of products are labelled as being paraben-free.

But what is a paraben and why is it bad? Is it really something we should be avoiding at all costs? All valid questions as, at first glance, it can seem that way.

Fortunately, that’s not the case – keep reading to find out more about what parabens actually do in your beauty products, and what can be used instead when it comes to haircare.

What are parabens? What do parabens do?

So, the big questions you’re seeking answers to: What are parabens used for, and where do they come from?

Simply put, parabens are preservatives and are used in a wide range of make-up, skincare and hair products to prevent contamination and to stop them ‘going off’ too quickly. Without preservatives in your cosmetic products, the formulas could turn into a breeding ground for microbes. At best, microbes can turn a creamy formula into goo; even worse, they turn a formula that is safe for use into one that can be harmful to use. In other words, preservatives help prolong their shelf life and efficacy, and not waste your hard-earned cash in the process.

You may see parabens on an ingredient list appearing as methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, or butylparaben – they’re all in the same family. Many are surprised to know that parabens are derived from a compound, known as para-hydroxybenzoic acid, which naturally occurs in fruits and vegetables, like carrots, blueberries and onions.

Are parabens bad? Why?

There are some concerns around very high concentrations of parabens in products, but fortunately, regulations are in place to ensure a ‘safe level’ and that the relevant product forms are OK to use parabens. In fact, regulatory bodies around the world permit the use of parabens.

So, what is paraben-free, exactly? Does this mean my products won’t be protected against contamination, we hear you ask? Not the case, as there are alternatives out there. Which leads us to…

Is Pantene paraben free?

Pantene offers a full range of paraben-free products, but don’t panic – this doesn’t mean that they’re completely preservative-free. They’re all still protected with preservatives to keep them safe for use.

You’ll usually find preservation ingredients at the bottom of the ingredient list – you just need to do a little detective work to spot them. For example, the combination of methylchloroisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone is commonly used, or you may find the combination of Sodium Salicylate, Sodium Benzoate and EDTA. These might sound like foreign words, but these combinations will protect your cosmetic products from spoiling. Hooray!

These paraben-free formulas are also enriched with our Pro-V vitamin complex, which is tested and recognised by the Swiss Vitamin Institute. First discovered in the 40s, when intensive care doctors discovered that panthenol, or pro-vitamin B5 encouraged stronger and thicker hair where it was used, the pro-vitamin was reapplied to haircare. And the rest, as they say, is hair history!

Our Classic Clean Shampoo is a great example of the power of Pro-V. It targets the scalp and fibre surface to gently remove excess oils during the lather phase, while strengthening lipids melt into each fibre during the rinse to boost your hair’s elasticity. Then protective antioxidants reduce outer stressors to protect hair’s core protein structure. Use in combination with the Classic Conditioner from the same range, which also contains this clever and unique blend. Or, power up your results with our 3 Minute Miracle range, deep treatments in the form of regular conditioner, all of which make the most of our Pro-V formula. Pretty smart stuff, no?

We hope now you feel that some of the fog has been cleared around parabens and their uses in cosmetics. Thankfully they’re regulated for safe use, but if you still wish to avoid, our products can offer you an alternative.