When you consider popular pairings, there’s usually one part of the duo that takes a backseat to the other: salt and pepper, Barbie and Ken, shoes and socks. The same can be said for beauty products. Conditioner has played understudy to shampoo forever. And while curly heads got the memo long ago that conditioner is the true wash-day hero, on a more mainstream level, shampoo has remained the star.
Shampoo absolutely has its place and purpose for any hair texture, but Pantene has decided to give conditioner a bit more of the shine it rightfully deserves. Not only has the hair care brand revamped its lineup of moisturizing treatments by doubling the amount of antioxidants in its formulas to protect hair from environmental damage—it has also pumped conditioners up with more nourishing pro-vitamin B5. And it launched the Pantene Conditioner Collective, a group consisting of five multi-hyphenate women who, in the campaign, will highlight the benefits of conditioner through their diverse lifestyles and hair textures. With the creation of the group, Pantene is hoping to shift how we use conditioner, making it more of a pre-styler and not just an in-shower detangler.
Below, ELLE.com chatted with the hilarious leader of the pack, Saturday Night Live cast member Chloe Fineman, about the partnership, putting mayonnaise in her hair, and loving what humid days do for her fine texture.
You recently posted a throwback photo of yourself on Instagram with a short, dark pixie cut. Tell us about your hair evolution over the years. What has been your favorite look?
Let’s call it the journey. I’m half Russian, so I naturally have very dark hair. For a while, I just chopped it all off and had a pixie. Then I grew that out. I’ve pretty much had every color of the rainbow.
How do you decide what color you’re going to try next?
It’s definitely mood-based. It’s part of that new year [mentality of] “who am I gonna be?” I think it’s hard for someone like me who is always in a wig to be like, “What am I?” I honestly think that, because of SNL and this Pantene partnership, I can’t really change [my hair] too much. Otherwise, it would be black and short, which it will be eventually.
Which of your styles or colors has been your favorite?
Going blonde definitely marked a fresh chapter in my life where it was like “she’s blonde!” And like, “lighten up!” I did drama forever, and with the blonde, it was very clear that we now do comedy. I definitely miss having really undyed, shiny, healthy hair. Luckily, with Pantene, it looks really healthy.
How has your hair care and styling routine changed over the years? Where does conditioner come in?
Growing up, I was always obsessed with all of the beauty things. I’ve put mayonnaise in my hair, avocado, Kool-Aid, lemon—all the things. Deep conditioner is number one. I’m always like, “Do I wash it every day?” The people I feel have the healthiest hair are like, “I wash it once a week and use natural oils and dry shampoo.” I try and be that person, but I think I’m too neurotic about how much I dye my hair. I need deep conditioner. I just keep it in my hair in the bathtub. I take a hot bath, stay in the tub, and then leave the bathtub and get water all over my apartment. I cool off and pretend I’m in a spa, and then I go back into the tub to rinse it out.
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Has your world been any different since you’ve been blonde versus brunette? Do blondes really have more fun?
I remember going to a psychic when I turned blonde and she said, “You have a very sunny, bright demeanor.” And I was like, “Girl, I just dyed my hair.” Now, with Gen Z saying blondes are cheugy, I don’t feel as cool as a blonde. I’m definitely having that existential blonde crisis of: “If I had dark hair I’d be like, ‘Cool. I like it.’”
What’s your hair regimen now that you’re blonde? Has it changed at all?
It’s definitely changed. I have really fine hair, so I think dyeing it makes it feel a lot thicker than it actually is. My dream vision for myself is having wavy, messy hair. I just see myself at a music festival and you’re like, “God, she’s so free.”
Considering you have fine hair, how do you condition without weighing it down?
You know how in high school some girls would be like, “Just the tip”? It’s gross, but I think that’s what I do: put the conditioner just at the ends of hair.
Do you have any regrettable hair moments?
Oh, so many. There were a few pixies that were awful. And I tried doing the Jennifer Lawrence side-swept bangs, but I just looked like an egg.
Fineman and Pantene’s Conditioner Collective will kick off a #PanteneCanDoThat styling challenge on Instagram later this year.
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