Consumers around the globe are on the lookout for the latest shampoo or other hair care products that will bring out the natural glow of their hair and solve a variety of problems that they face. That’s why there are such a variety of options when we go to the hair care aisle at the pharmacy. Different shampoos are formulated to solve different, specific problems.
Some consumers’ hair is too dry, others too frizzy, and still others are damaged by any number of different conditions and influences. Naturally, there are shampoos produced that address each of these different pain points.
However, what has become clear is that when many consumers find the perfect product to address a specific hair-related issue, their initial elation is often followed by disappointment when their dream product stops working. It’s a phenomenon that is reported widely within the hair care community, and industry experts know why.
Hair changes, and the external factors that affect it such as weather change as well. Furthermore, when a specific product is used to address a particular problem for a consumer and does so successfully, it’s effects can appear to wane upon continued use. Let’s explore some of the myriad reasons why shampoos stop working – or worse – don’t work at all.
- Silicone and Other Synthetic Chemical Ingredients
Many commercial shampoos and conditioners on the market today make use of a variety of synthetic ingredients that can be counterproductive to hair and scalp health in the long term.
To make matters worse, silicone-containing products can often produce the dramatic, short-term effect of making hair appear substantially shinier and smoother. Many consumers that are impressed with the initial effects of these products continue using them without a thought. What they don’t realize, however, is the long-term negative effects silicone and other chemical ingredients can have on hair.
Silicone coats hair, making it difficult for hair to absorb moisture. As a result, hair becomes continually more dehydrated until finally, it becomes brittle and breaks. Ironically, the coat of silicone that once made hair look shiny and beautiful is also what dries it out in the long term and causes it to break.
Finally, many shampoos and conditioners also contain powerful sulfates or other foaming agents that strip the scalp of its natural oils, undermining optimal scalp health. This is particularly harmful as a healthy scalp is the root of healthy hair, but more on that later.
- The Effects of Hard Water
Many people suffer from brittle, flat, frizzy, or easily tangled hair. They also notice it’s difficult to create a lather when shampooing and some even notice a filmy layer over their hair and skin. What they often don’t realize is that this frequently is caused not just by their choice of shampoo but also by the harmful effects of hard water.
Hard water is a term that refers to water that has accumulated minerals and other substances from passing through stones or soil. Unfortunately, almost all the water we use in the shower today is hard water. You might assume that water heavy in minerals is healthy for hair, but in fact, these minerals harden in hair follicles, preventing them from accessing proper moisture and nutrients.
According to GiftWits, there are pricey shower heads on the market that purify shower water, but for most consumers, the answer is to find a clarifying or chelating shampoo that counteracts the harmful effects of hard water on hair.
- Poor Scalp Health
In the pursuit of perfect hair, what many consumers often overlook is the health of their scalp. Scalp health is, in fact, critical to maintaining healthy hair and its condition produces numerous downstream effects that can benefit hair positively or negatively.
Many people don’t realize that the body has many natural mechanisms that have evolved to keep hair healthy. The scalp produces natural oil or sebum that helps hair to stay moisturized and protected. Produced by the sebaceous glands in the scalp, sebum can even help prevent bacterial infection.
Oil from the scalp is a naturally produced substance that helps hair stay healthy and protected, but an excess or shortage of sebum can produce negative effects, and inhibit shampoo and other hair products from working properly. Many hair care professionals recommend not necessarily washing your hair with shampoo every day, as doing so will deplete the scalp of this critical oil.
When washing, shampooing hair from root to tip will clean the scalp, offering it a reset by removing harmful microbes, dandruff, and impurities so that the scalp can get back to producing sebum and keeping hair healthy. There are also a variety of products that exfoliate the scalp, such as those listed in this piece by the New York Times.
- Changing Hair and Climate Conditions
The reason many consumers are baffled when their favorite shampoo no longer has the effect they want it to is that they don’t realize that hair is continuously changing and influenced by a variety of external factors. Weather, for example, can significantly impact a person’s hair condition.
Everything from the humidity in the air, the temperature, sun exposure, and time at the beach can impact how hair responds to shampoo and conditioner.
The age of a person also affects the condition of their hair. Hair thinning is common in older age, which can often give the impression that a shampoo formulated to make the hair appear more voluminous has stopped working. Contrary to popular belief, thinning hair is common in women as well as men, as explained by this piece in the Washington Post
- A Change in Formula
Haircare brands are continuously adjusting and modifying their formulas. Many consumers are understandably loyal to their favorite hair care brand, but they might not realize that the formulation of their favorite product has changed.
Monitoring the ingredients used in hair products used on a regular basis is an advisable practice. A product might carry the same branding and advertising, but that doesn’t mean that the formulation of the product remains unchanging.
This is especially the case because hair care brands continually have to change formulas to abide by regulations. Changing regulations might mean that some brands have to adjust their formula, which changes how it interacts with consumers’ hair.
If you feel like your shampoo isn’t working right, or that you aren’t getting the effects you want out of it, explore some of the reasons we’ve listed as to why. You might just find you’ll be able to get your hair care regimen back on track.