The 3 telltale signs it’s time to find a new shampoo, according to hair experts

September 12, 2019 at 12:00PM by CWC

Out of all my personal care products, shampoo somehow gets picked last in dodgeball. As in: I almost could care less about which product I’m using to clean my hair with, as long as it’s getting all of that gunk/dirt/sweat off of my scalp. So I basically switch shampoos whenever my bottle runs out. This is a mistake.


As we’ve learned, your hair can actually get used to the shampoo you suds up with, and you should pick certain ingredients based on your particular hair type’s needs. Regardless—your strands can actually tell you when they want (or need, really) a new shampoo. If you listen to them, kinda like if you read your daily horoscope, you can learn some stuff.

“I’m a firm believer in switching between shampoos to keep a  healthy balance between clarifying your scalp and not quite stripping all of the essential oils off of your hair,” says celebrity hairstylist Michelle Cleveland of Hair Addict Salon. So an actual shampoo wardrobe isn’t such a bad idea. Curious if it’s time to go shopping? Look for the three telltale signs, below.

1. You’ve got gunk: Sounds gross, but after a while, your shampoo won’t be able to do its job at 100-percent, because as mentioned, your hair gets used to the one you use. “A good sign that your shampoo has stopped working is when you still feel build-up after freshly washing your hair,” says Cleveland. “This means your shampoo has stopped benefitting your specific needs.”

2. Your hair’s limp: Dealing with bad, flat hair days on the reg? That’s another sign it’s time for a new shampoo. “When your hair feels lifeless and limp after a fresh wash is a sign you need to replace your shampoo,” says Cleveland, who notes that your scalp’s needs change with the seasons. Her advice, then, is to use a more clarifying shampoo to remove environmental buildup in the warmer months, and something more nourishing in cooler temperatures when the scalp tends to dry out more easily.

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3. Your strands are dry: If you’re noticing more frizz, or finding that strands feeling more like hay than silky-soft, that’s the third signal that your hair is craving a new shampoo. “When your hair feels brittle or dry, it may mean your shampoo is too harsh and you need to switch to one that’s more moisturizing,” says Linet K, an LA-based celebrity hairstylist. (And dryness leads to more static or frizz, so look out for more-than-usual instances of that.) Shampoo shopping, anyone?

If it’s flakes you’re dealing with, here’s how to properly treat dandruff. And salicylic acid shampoo is a great option if you’re looking to clarify your hair. 

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Author Rachel Lapidos | Well and Good
Selected by CWC