Have you ever maintained the same haircare routine for years only to realise that the products don’t actually seem to be working anymore? It happens more often than you think. And when it does happen, we typically blame the hair products we’ve been using, instead of looking at other possibilities. After all, hair is delicate and very susceptible to change. Surprisingly, there are many reasons why hair products stop working, so let’s go ahead and jump right into it.
Hair products can stop working for the following reasons: Ingredients such as protein or silicone, a change in weather conditions or even product-build up on your scalp. In some cases, the reason is to do with your health, so hormonal changes or stress levels.
It’s very easy to blame the ingredients in our shampoo and conditioner but remember, the ingredients haven’t changed.
It’s therefore important to figure out exactly what is causing your hair products to stop working so you can restore your hair to the way it once was.
Let’s take a look at the possible reasons in more detail.
7 Reasons Why Hair Products Stop Working
Silicone is a synthetic chemical that’s often included in hair products to provide strength and shine. It might provide a quick fix but over time it can actually have the opposite effect.
Silicone is not water soluble, which means that it’s difficult to wash off. If left too long, it begins to coat the hair strands in wax and this causes product-build up on your scalp. This can prevent the hair strands from absorbing essential moisture from your hair products.
How To Fix
Silicone is mainly found in conditioners and can often be identified by that silky-smooth feeling you get when using conditioner. It might feel great, but it actually causes more damage than you think.
One of the best ways to rid your hair from silicone is to use a clarifying shampoo every so often.
This kind of treatment is great at removing dirt, oils, and product build-up that is often associated with silicone-based products.
A clarifying rinse should be used every few weeks, as using them too often can cause your hair to dry out. Think of them as a deep clean and always use a conditioner afterwards.
We love the Cantu Cleansing Cream Shampoo as well as Aunt Jackie’s Coco Wash Coconut Milk Conditioning Cleanser. Both of these shampoos are free from sulphates so if you’re following the Curly Girl Method, they are CG friendly.
You should always follow up with a silicone-free deep conditioner after clarifying. Try the As I Am Hydration Elation Intensive Conditioner which contains Vitamin E and Shea Butter for maximum hydration.
For additional moisture, try a heated deep conditioning cap which really opens up the pores for maximum absorption.
Of course, the very best thing to do if you want to avoid silicones in the future, is to buy hair products without.
Top 3 Recommended Silicone-free Conditioners
Finally, when looking for products without silicone, these are the ingredients to be aware of:
- Pheryl Trimethicone
- Ceteraryl Methicone
- Stearyl Dimethicone
- Ingredients ending with “-cone”
2 Product Build-up
Product build-up is one of the main reasons why hair products stop working. Build-up can cause brittle and dry strands and prevent your scalp from being properly cleanses.
Product build-up is not only caused by silicones, but can also be caused by oil and waxes.
Just like silicone, if product is allowed to sit on the scalp for too long, it will block moisture from penetrating.
How To Fix
As above, a clarifying shampoo can be used to deep clean the hair and scalp and remove any build-up of oils and dirt.
Alternatively, you can use an apple cider vinegar rinse if you’re looking for a gentle and more affordable option.
All you need to do is mix a couple of teaspoons or tablespoons (depending on the strength you’re looking for) with water and pour the mixture all over your hair and scalp after conditioning.
Let it sit for a few minutes and then rinse off with cool water, as this helps to create a natural shine.
Don’t worry about the mixture leaving a strong smell either – by the time it’s dry you won’t be smelling of vinegar! Finish off with a deep conditioner for maximum effect.
3 Too Much Protein
Protein in products can be really good for your hair as they help prevent breakage and add shine to your curls. However, too much of a good thing might actually cause further damage.
- Too much protein can lead to breakage
- Curls appear dull and lifeless
- Hair has little elasticity
- Can lead to shedding
Although our hair is made of mostly protein (you’ve probably heard of keratin), hair needs a good balance of both protein and moisture to be at optimal health.
Too much water causes hygral fatigue which is essentially moisture overload.
On the other hand, if you have too much protein in your hair, then your hair follicles become blocked and will lose its elasticity and shine. Basically, you need to hydrate.
How To Fix
If you’re experiencing protein overload, you’ll need to be patient. In this situation, your scalp and hair have lost a lot of moisture, so that’s what you need to focus on.
Firstly, it’s strongly recommended that you stop using any hair products that contain protein.
It might not be forever, but the priority is ditching any products that could be preventing you from having healthy, growing hair. Look out for some of these well-known ingredients:
- Soy protein
- Wheat protein
- Oat flour
- Hydrolysed collagen
- Amino acids
To restore some of the moisture, switch to a protein and sulphate-free shampoo such as the Argan Oil & Almond Milk Smooth & Tame Shampoo from Shea Moisture and follow up with a protein-free conditioner like Yes To Cucumber volumising conditioner which is super moisturising.
It’s also best to avoid coconut oil at this stage as coconut is actually a protein mimicker.
Use these products for a few weeks and then you can begin to add a protein back into your routine once a week.
4 The Weather
It’s a well-known fact that environmental changes can have an impact on our hair. When you are exposed to dry, cold air or humidity, it can make your typically healthy-looking curls more susceptible to breakage.
While you can’t change the weather, there are steps that you can take right now to prevent further weather damage.
How To Fix
Switch up your routine! It’s quite common to have a haircare routine for summer and another for winter, due to the hair needing different levels of care.
When it’s colder outside, make sure to use deep conditioning treatments more frequently. Here are a few of our favoruites:
During the summer, UV protective products can be used to protect your hair and scalp from becoming fragile and prone to breakage. Try the Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Heat/UV Protective Primer which works on all types of hair.
5 Continuously Using The Same Products
If you’re wondering why your hair products stop working even when your routine doesn’t change, then here’s why.
Our bodies change over time, which means your hair is likely to change as well. Although it makes sense to stick to the trusted products that you know so well, if you notice that you’re no longer getting the same results that you used to, then it’s time to try something new.
How To Fix
Has your hair become curlier? Coarse? Dull looking? Then you need to try different products that are best suited to its current state.
Look for the key words on the bottle and check the back for individual ingredients. Sometimes, good results come from switching to a sulphate free shampoo, particularly if you’ve noticed any changes in your scalp.
6 Hygral Fatigue
As mentioned earlier, healthy hair is dependent on a good balance of protein and water. Hygral fatigue happens when there’s excessive swelling of the hair cuticle as water enters and exits. It essentially means your hair absorbs too much water and it’s often seen in people with high porosity hair due to very open cuticles. It can also be caused by:
- Over conditioning
- Lack of protein
- Not letting wet hair dry completely
How To Fix
You can avoid hygral fatigue by reducing the amount of time your hair is soaking wet and avoid going to sleep with wet hair. I
n the meantime, adding some protein products into your hair routine will significantly improve the condition of your hair.
With high porosity hair, protein is strongly recommended, as it helps to restore and strengthen the cuticle. But finding a balance is key – so we suggest using the Shea Moisture Superfruit Complex 10-in-1 Renewal System Conditioner to get your protein fix!
7 Your Health
If nothing seems to be making a difference and you’re still left wondering why your hair products stop working, then it’s time to consider other possibilities.
Sometimes, it has nothing to do with the hair products that you’re putting on your hair, and everything to do with your health and wellbeing.
Changes in your hair, including hair loss and brittle ends, can be an indication of an underlying health issue.
How To Fix
- Make an appointment with the doctor to discuss any concerns
- Consider any new medications that you may have started taking recently that could be having an impact
- Check for any hormone-related problems
- Take a look at your diet to ensure it is balanced
- Monitor stress levels
And there you have it. These are the most common reasons why your hair products may stop working. Try to eliminate each reason before going out and spending a tonne of money on brand new products!