Level With Me: Can Hair Get Used to Shampoo Over Time?

Photo: Stocksy/Mihajlo Ckovric
They’ve been your longtime steady for years, but almost overnight, you start to notice that things are, well…different. Where there used to be such dimension and luster, everything suddenly seems dull, and everything you once loved about them just doesn’t seem to be working anymore. The signs are all there, and as you find yourself tempted by other options, you start to wonder if you need to suck it up and end things with them once and for all.

Nope, we're not talking about your long-term relationship ― we’re talking about that shampoo and conditioner duo you once loved so passionately. But it’s not you, it’s them.

According to Michael Bowman, hairstylist at Brooklyn’s trendy Rob Peetoom Salon, the lackluster results could be due to your hair simply getting used to one formula. “Hair is essentially protein that is dead, but it definitely can get used to using the same thing over and over and over. The cycle of hair changes, but every seven years, your hair becomes a little bit different,” he explains. “Especially with weather, water conditions, and where you live, you do need to switch up shampoos every now and then.”

Bowman recommends that his clients have two different formulas in their showers ― he uses the Davines SOLU Shampoo ($28) in the salon―to help reset the hair and scalp as needed. Especially in the summer as the weather starts to change, Bowman finds that clients need something a bit stronger to bust through the excess sweat and oil, as opposed to winter. For hair types across the board, controlling oil tends to be a concern when humidity reaches an all-time high, but curly and thick textures may want to complement their go-to formulas with frizz-fighting or curl-defining conditioners.

Fine hair types in particular might want to remove conditioner from their summer lineup altogether in lieu of a mist-on, post-shower treatment. “I would suggest using more of a lightweight daily shampoo and conditioner, or skipping the conditioner altogether and going for a lightweight detangler through your lengths and ends instead,” he says. To avoid a heavy, oily feeling from taking shape, Bowman recommends blow-drying hair to evenly distribute product and move any oils from the scalp area.

Especially in the summer, hair types across the board could benefit from giving their scalp a little extra TLC, particularly when factors like sweat and oil triggered by the heat wave of the week happen to be a pain point. Hit the reset button on that often-forgotten area and incorporate an exfoliating scalp scrub like Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt ($53) once a week to whisk away dirt, oil, and dry skin once a week.

*This* is when you should be using the cool setting on your blow dryer, and the super common mistake you might be making while washing your hair.

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