Yep, We’ve All Been Lied to About Our Skin and Hair “Getting Used to” Beauty Products

Photo: Getty/JGI/Jamie Grill
It’s a beauty lover’s worst nightmare: One morning, you know the beauty products that will make your skin happy and chilled out, and the next, everything stops working. For one reason or another, the lotion that’s faithfully delivered glowy results is no longer bringing its A-game.  The deodorant that’s always kept you smelling fresh and clean starts failing you halfway through the day. So...what gives? Is it really possible for our bodies to "get used to” the products we swear by?

Thankfully, according to DavidLortscher, a board-certified Dermatologist and CEO of Curology, that’s likely not the case. More often than not, there’s something greater at play, be it shifts in our hormones, the environment, or those pesky expiration dates on products that always creep up too soon. Here', let's get the DL on why our products might suddenly shift in efficacy straight from the pro.

Keep reading to find out the most common culprits that lead you to believe your skin or hair is "getting used to" your beauty products.

best natural deodorants
Photo: Stocksy/Susana Ramirez


One of the biggest myths out there is that deodorants stop working over time. Turns out: It's a little more complicated than you may think. "It’s important to make a distinction between antiperspirants and deodorants: Deodorants are cosmetic and mask scents. Antiperspirants, on the other hand, prevent sweating,” explains Dr. Lortscher.  "Popular antiperspirants contain aluminum salts that block your eccrine duct [responsible for secreting the smelly part of sweat] or sweat glands."

Now, let's say you switch your birth control, become pregnant, or start to go through menopause, the hormonal change that is occurring could likely effect the way you smell as well as the amount you sweat. In turn, both of those things could impact how well your given product is working. "Similarly, dietary changes can impact your body odor, leaving your deodorant with a tougher job to do,” warns Dr. Lortscher, "especially if you’ve increased your consumption of garlic.”

Shampoo and conditioner

If your scalp is stinking after months of relying on the same shampoo-conditioner combo, your surroundings may be more to blame than the products themselves. "This is another myth not supported by scientific evidence: Your scalp does not build up a tolerance to shampoo,” confirms Dr. Lortscher. “Environmental factors and other variables in your hair-care routine can result in subpar results from your shampoo." That means that while a potent- take-it-all-away summer clarifying shampoos might do wonders on sweat, they could be too drying in the winter.

And what's more: Buildup from stylers, the length between washes, and straight up sebum on your strands create a literal barrier that shampoo has to come up against each wash. Since that's different every day, your experience with a shampoo will be, too. So, if you find your shampoo isn’t working quite as well as it used to, try lathering twice before tossing it in the trash.

The one caveat to this is that, if you have dandruff, you may benefit from switching up your shampoo every once in a while. "Even though dandruff is not an 'infection,' one theory is that normal fungal organisms proliferate and aggravate the condition,” he explains, noting that it may be helpful to switch up the main active ingredient in your products. "For example, going from zinc pyrithione to ketoconazole [to other actives in cycles] sometimes helps certain patients conquer dandruff.”

mixing spf with makeup
Photo: Getty Images/Hero Images


If you've finally managed to find the perfect foundation shade and formulation for your skin, we've got some tough tea to spill: The match may not last forever. "There is no evidence that your skin gets used to foundation or makeup, [but] there are multiple reasons why your foundation may stop working, including changes in skin texture, color, or environmental factors," Dr. Lortscher explains.

Old makeup products may simply just "stop working as expected," due to changes in the seasons. For even the most diligent SPF wearers, sun-kissed skin tones from summer can shift slightly in the winter and become drier once humidity drops in the cooler months. What's more, as skin battles greater dehydration, the texture can be impacted, so make sure to layer on an extra dose of moisture as the temps plummet.

Skin-care products

So long as you're using skin care within the desired window of time, it should yield consistent results. While different seasons can change your skin's oiliness and texture, calling for a swap in your regimen, outside of the seasonal swaps, they should keep-on-keeping-on for you.

Of course, active ingredients (those like retinol or glycolic acid) can require a period of adjustment for your skin to get used to them without becoming overly dry or irritated.  "However, the products won’t 'stop working' for any reason after a period of time,” he tells me.

That said, it’s important that you aren’t hanging on to the same bottle of vitamin-C serum for years at a time and expecting it to work the same magic that it did when you first bought it. All products can change consistency and lose efficacy if not used within the shelf-life.

If you do discover a need to switch up your skin care, it’s important to do so slowly rather than all at once. "First, try targeting specific skin concerns like hyperpigmentation or dryness. Introducing new products into your routine one at a time will give you a better sense of what works for your skin,” Dr. Lortscher explains. "Bottom line: switching up your skincare routine comes down to personal preference.” But live in the truth: Your hair and skin shouldn't all of the sudden stop loving the routine you've created for it. If it does, there's more digging to be done.

If you are thinking about changing up your products, check out some of our favorite all-natural skincare, haircare, makeup and deodorant to help get you started. 

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