Is It Important to Alternate Shampoo?

Is It Important to Alternate Shampoo?

It’s a common belief in the beauty industry that it’s necessary to change shampoos periodically to revitalize your hair. This comes from the idea that hair “adapts” to a shampoo and your hair no longer gets the same benefits that it did when you first started using it. Many sources will tell you to alternate shampoos periodically to keep hair looking fresh, clean, and shiny. 

Although it may seem that using the same shampoo over a long period of time leads to reduced performance, this isn’t due to adaptation to the shampoo. If you use any hair product, over a period of time, some of the ingredients will build up on the hair and scalp, and reduce the natural shine and body you experienced when you originally started using the product. If you alternate shampoos for a short period of time, you’ll probably wash out some of the build-up left over from the previous shampoo and experience renewed body and shine.

To reduce the need to alternate shampoos, pick a shampoo formulation that doesn’t have added conditioners or other ingredients that build-up easily on the hair shaft, roots or scalp. Keep in mind that it’s not just shampoo ingredients that build up over time, but also conditioning and styling products. In fact, these products are more likely to be the culprit when hair starts looking dull than build-up of shampoo ingredients. 

One alternative to switching shampoos is to keep using your old one and use a clarifying shampoo once a week to remove all the “gunk and junk” that’s weighing down your hair. Clarifying shampoos are essentially shampoos with extra surfactants that help remove residue. The problem is these shampoos can dry hair out and change the look of color treated hair by slowly stripping away the tint. That’s why it’s important to use a clarifying shampoo no more than once a week and even less if you can.

The best way to avoid the problem of having to alternate shampoos is to limit the use of hair styling products, particularly ones containing silicone which can be difficult to remove even with a clarifying shampoo. Use conditioner only where it’s needed such as on the ends of the hair. Hard water can also cause buildup that can lead to dull, lifeless hair, so consider having your water tested if your hair is difficult to manage.

The bottom line? There’s no need to alternate shampoos. Keep a bottle of clarifying shampoo around and use it when your hair starts to look dull. Meanwhile, keep using the shampoo you enjoy.

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