Does Hair "Get Used to" the Same Shampoo After Prolonged Use?

Time to Squash This Long-Time Rumor

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I grew up switching out shampoo every few months because my stepmother always claimed that your hair would get used to the same formula after using it for a while. Not changing shampoo types could lead to loss of volume, body, shine, etc. I never argued, and over the years I've heard dozens of women make similar claims about shampoo.

I'm here to tell you it's not true. Total myth. Now, before you dismiss me as a quack because you know you hate using the same old shampoo month after month, and you're absolutely sure your hair starts to misbehave after using the same shampoo formula, let me reassure your that you're not imagining things. You're completely right, but it's not because your hair is getting used to anything.

I promise I'm not talking in circles. Please read on.

You know when you ask your stylist for a new shampoo recommendation, and you pay some crazy salon price for it, use it for the first time, and it's like the heavens opened up and handed you a beautiful head of hair? It's happened to all of us, but by the second bottle the love affair is over and you're ready to ditch luxury shampoo for good and just use dish soap for crying out loud.

The reason the shampoo quit working has nothing to do with the shampoo. Your hair hasn't gotten used to the formula, rather your hair has changed. Changing your shampoo is necessary, and these tips will help you make those changes without blindly reaching for something simply different in the shampoo aisle.

Product/Environmental Build-Up

The biggest culprit for shampoo fatigue is build-up. Today's gentle, sulfate-free shampoos don't always remove all the product and environmental residues that can build up on your hair. We are also, as women, forever in a hurry and likely not rinsing the shampoo and conditioner completely from our hair. Rinsing should be a 30-60 second job and if you're not rinsing properly, build up collects faster. Believe it or not, most of us aren't properly washing our hair at all. Learn how to wash your hair correctly and get the most out of every shampoo.

Get rid of the build up regularly with a clarifying shampoo or apple cider vinegar rinse.

Climate Changes

How much does the weather change where you live? Where I live, we experience dry winter and summer air, with humid spring and fall weather. In drier climates, your hair will respond better to higher moisturizing shampoos. In the more humid air, a volumizing shampoo might be a better choice. Because few climates require the same shampoo formula for every month of the year, I highly recommend changing your shampoo with seasons.

Lifestyle Changes

Your lifestyle can affect your shampoo's ability to perform in a big way. Are you swimming regularly during some parts of the year? Have you changed your haircut significantly? Have you started working out (sweating) more?

Adjust your shampoo to your lifestyle. Swimmers should really consider a swim shampoo. Short haircuts may have different needs than the long hairstyle you wore for years, for example. Also consider, if you're working out and sweating more, you may be shampooing your hair more often. Try a dry shampoo every now and again, or a more scalp-friendly formula to avoid issues from over shampooing.

Health Changes

You are what you eat, and as I've said many times, so is your hair. Your hair is affected by everything you ingest and even the hormones that are running wild through your body can change your shampoo's performance. Has your diet changed? Are you taking new medication? Have you had a recent surgery? Did you recently have a baby or is menopause knocking at your door? These changes in your health and even normal hormone fluctuations can make a big difference in the way your hair looks and feels. Talk with your doctor if your hair concerns become serious, and ask your stylist for recommendations as your hair changes with your health.

Choosing the Right Shampoo

When if comes to choosing the right shampoo I have a few simple rules. First, let the condition of your scalp lead the way to the best shampoo for you. Read all my tips for choosing the right shampoo for your hair, scalp, lifestyle, and season.

Finally, don't expect too much out of your shampoo. The right conditioner, a great deep conditioning treatment, nourishing protein treatments, and a fantastic hair oil are all necessary partners in crime when it comes to having great hair all year long.

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