Beauty Mythbusting: Does Your Hair Actually "Get Used to" Your Shampoo?

"It's just not the same anymore." —me to my haircare

Riddle me this—why is it that after you find your *perfect* shampoo soulmate, the one that makes your hair as shiny as you could ever want, with cloud-like softness to boot, it's only a matter of time before it turns on you, leaving you with no shine, no softness, and a complex about what you did to deserve this? 

One quick Google search can confirm that yes, this is a *thing*, with women thinking that their hair has totally "gotten used to" the shampoo and conditioner regimens they've come to depend on and love. And it makes sense, theoretically—why else would hair look *absolutely amazing* when you first start with the new product, only to look so meh by wash no. 15? 

We got the hard facts from the experts themselves to figure this conundrum out. The verdict? It's mostly in your head (and in your body...and in your water...and in the environment). 

Woman washing hair - black and white

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"A shampoo does not stop working because your hair gets used to it," says celebrity stylist Cynthia Alvarez for Dove. "If your shampoo stops giving you the results you want, the condition and needs of your hair have most likely changed, or the season may have changed—it's more humid, the sun is stronger, or the air is drier. Your state of health or hormone levels may also be different from a recent illness or your monthly cycle."

"The same shampoo used on the same hair under the same conditions produces the same results," emphasizes Alvarez. "However, you should consider having options to give your hair what it needs based on those factors we can't control, i.e. the climate, and switching things up as often as you would skincare."

Andre Gunn of Honey Artists agrees. "We may *feel* this is true, but it really is just a combination of factors–generally, the conditions under which we are shampooing," he says. "Are you at home with your filtered shower head? Or are you on the road where there are high amounts of minerals and chlorine in the water? Is the weather cold and damp out? Hot and dry outside? These factors all affect our skin and hair alike. A balanced (hair) diet of filtered shower water and breaks between washing will give optimal results." 

Gunn also recommends monitoring the *amount* of shampoo and conditioner you're using. "Over-conditioning actually clogs up pores on the scalp, resulting in 'dirty' or 'oily' hair after a day of not shampooing." 

To get your best hair *ever*, follow Alvarez and Gunn's tips:

1. Switch up your haircare when factors change, especially seasons, to keep your locks looking great.

Humid out? Look to sleek-ifying products. Cold out? Think about more moisture-rich formulas (because static is the worst).

2. Rinse with filtered water. "If you're on the road, final step after rinsing off take a bottle of filtered water and do a final rinse," says Gunn. "It may be a bit chilly but the cool water will help seal those pores and steady the ph of your skin and hair."

3. Be nice to your scalp—don't over-shampoo or over-condition, and use a clarifying shampoo once every month or so to rinse out any buildup in your pores. 

The scalp is where it all starts, people. Never forget.

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Samantha Leal
Samantha Leal

I'm Sam, the senior editor at I love shining a light on awesome people doing things that matter, cool products and hacks for everyday life, and advice you'll actually use. I'm pretty much always looking for the perfect GIF for any situation. When I'm not trolling the internet, I can be found dancing like a weirdo or napping like it's my job. Right now, I'm probably eating or drinking something filled with sugar or booze. (Sorry, mom.)