Why You Should Cheat On (Er, Rotate!) Your Shampoo

Shannon Farrell
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Photo: ImaxTree

Photo: ImaxTree

If you just can’t seem to commit to one shampoo, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re fickle—in fact, hair care non-monogamy is perfectly natural, and not just for variety’s sake. The truth is that a shampoo can work wonders for your hair one day and then leave your hair dry or flat the next, and plenty of stylists actually agree that the secret to amazing hair is in a constant rotation of formulas.

You may have heard that the scalp can become “immune” to a shampoo through overuse, yet Dr. Robert Leonard, DO, FISHRS, FAACS and Medical Advisor to Keranique dispels that rumor, instead chalking it up to product buildup. “Shampoos, by design, cleanse dead cells and sebum from the scalp’s surface,” says Dr. Leonard, but “products also come with their own byproduct.”

Dr. Leonard recommends that his patients rotate their shampoo roughly once every four to five days. “By doing so,” he says, “any buildup of shampoo or conditioner byproducts can be removed to restore the natural softness and luster to the hair shafts.”

The types of shampoo you use in rotation should correlate with the weather, particularly if your area experiences an extreme change in temperature from season to season. “The most important times to change up your cleaning and conditioning routines are when the weather starts changing,” says Jamie Champagne, Senior Stylist at SalonCapri in Boston. “With each new season comes a myriad of hair woes to combat. Dry winter air, coupled with heated interiors can seriously dry out your hair.” For winter, Champagne recommends rotating protective moisturizing shampoos. As far as the summer goes, “Heat and humidity can cause hair to frizz, so a smoothing product line can often be your best bet.”

Lest you start to feel like a dirty cheater, rest assured that there really isn’t one product out there that will do it all, so to speak. Do you have color-treated and oil-prone hair? What about dandruff and curly hair? If you suffer from more than one hair woe, it’s wise to alternate specialty shampoos as well, such as color-protecting and clarifying shampoos, to address both concerns. Skipping your clarifying shampoo one day won’t build up grease. Skip it for a month to focus on color protection? That’s when you’ll start to see a problem.

A reason to rotate your shampoos can be as simple as this: Don’t settle. “You may think that the moisturizing conditioner you have been using for the last year is the best there is, but keep in mind that hair care companies are constantly creating more sophisticated products and lines to target specific needs,” says Champagne. “Ask your stylist for the newest products that they recommend. You might find something even better than your current go-to products.” See? Hair care infidelity has its perks.

Read more: How Much Hair Loss is Normal?

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