Fact or Fiction: Hair Becomes "Immune" to Shampoo

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Old 09-Jun-2012
Fact or Fiction: Hair Becomes "Immune" to Shampoo

Here's the scenario: You find the shampoo and conditioner combination of your dreams. They do everything they say they will do—lift limp, flat hair, soften and smooth dry, split ends, and make your strands glisten. Then one day, seemingly out of nowhere. BAM. They just stop working. The once-perfect duo does nothing for your hair and you don't know why. The only assumption you can make is that your hair has become immune to them.

You've been there. I've been there. But does that mean it's time to switch up your favorite shampoo and conditioner? Yes, and no.

Technically speaking, your hair isn't alive and therefore can’t develop a tolerance or immunity to a shampoo or conditioner. However, product buildup and factors like the weather can affect the way it responds to your current hair-care products, says Smithtown, NY, dermatologist Marina Peredo, MD. Dry, humid or wet weather can change the way your hair feels and behaves, and an accumulation of chemicals on the follicle and hair shaft (if you color, relax or use thermal styling tools) may make it seem like your shampoo and conditioner aren’t doing their job.

The solution? First and foremost, it is important to make sure you’re using quality products—shampoos, conditioners, stylers and treatments, that don't strip your hair or alter its natural pH balance (around 5-5.5), says Essensuals London Art Director and Hairstylist, Joanna Barrientos. When your hair becomes too alkaline, it looks and feels dry and brittle. Next, it's a good idea to use a clarifying shampoo to exfoliate your hair every so often to get rid of product buildup, says Dr. Peredo. If you do this occasionally, you can go back to the shampoo and conditioner you loved and will likely see restored results.

Finally, don't forget to pay attention to the weather, it makes a big difference. For example, if you use a volumizing shampoo and conditioner during the summer, you might find that a more moisturizing shampoo or conditioner works better in the dry cold of winter, when sweat and humidity aren’t messing with your volume.

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