Looking for a cheap, easy way to boost your hair growth? Switching to a hair growth shampoo is often the first port of call for people with hair loss.
But while many shampoos contain ingredients that are proven to stimulate hair growth, there’s limited evidence that specific shampoos can actually tackle problems like female pattern hair loss or male pattern baldness. So are they worth trying — or is it best to use a tried-and-tested hair growth solution like Minoxidil or Finasteride?
In general, you’re more likely to get results using licensed hair loss treatments. But there are expenses and side effects to consider, too, so switching to a hair growth shampoo may be better if you’re in the early stages of hair loss, or you just want to minimise breakage to improve your hair density.
Here, we’ll explore what causes hair loss, why you might want to try a hair growth shampoo, and outline the 15 best hair growth shampoos that contain proven hair growth ingredients.
Hair loss is very common, particularly as you get older. Around 85% of men and 55% of women are affected by the age of 50 [1-2]. So it’s not unusual to seek hair loss treatments, including shampoos that stimulate hair growth.
Most cases of hair loss are genetic. If other people in your family are balding, you’re more likely to experience pattern hair loss yourself. Androgenetic alopecia is caused by a combination of hormones (specifically dihydrotestosterone, or DHT), age, and genetics.
But other types of hair loss can have other triggers. Telogen effluvium is usually caused by stress, illness, or trauma, while traction alopecia is caused by damaging styling techniques. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when your white blood cells mistakenly attack the hair follicles.
If you’re not sure why your hair is falling out, it’s best to speak to a professional trichologist. They can diagnose your hair shedding and help you find the right treatment (as well as the right hair growth shampoo for your hair type).
A handful of studies have shown that some shampoos can have a positive effect on your hair growth [3-5]. Ingredients like salicylic acid, ketoconazole, and zinc pyrithione can all help prevent hair loss and hair breakage, helping your hair look thicker, longer, and healthier.
But switching to a hair growth shampoo probably won’t give your hair a sudden growth spurt. Even shampoos that contain proven hair growth ingredients will take a while to kick in, and you’ll need to use it all the time to see sustained growth (despite the rumours, washing your hair everyday won’t make it fall out — in fact, not washing your hair is more likely to lead to hair loss).
Certain shampoo ingredients can actively promote hair growth as part of a consistent haircare routine. Here are some of the active ingredients to look for in your hair growth shampoo:
Here’s our round-up of the best commercially available shampoos for hair growth, based on the clinical evidence for their active hair growth ingredients.
Invati Advanced Exfoliating Shampoo Rich
Philip Kingsley Density
Hair Thickening Shampoo
Here’s a rundown of our top-ranked hair growth shampoos for different hair types and scalp conditions:
Let’s take a look at each of these recommended hair growth shampoos in more detail to discover which is best for your hair.
Nizoral Anti Dandruff Shampoo is a medicated shampoo designed to treat dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, and other causes of a dry scalp or flaking. A dry scalp can lead to hair loss if left untreated. The active ingredient ketoconazole improves these symptoms, while also reducing the effects of DHT on hair growth.
In addition to helping treat a dry scalp, Nizoral is also one of the best hair loss shampoos for men.
Plantur 39 Phyto-Caffeine Shampoo is marketed at women with menopausal hair loss, but it can be used more widely. Caffeine shampoo for hair loss is also effective for male pattern baldness and other types of alopecia.
Like Plantur 39, Alpecin uses caffeine to stimulate hair growth as part of its shampoo formula. But Alpecin Double Effect Shampoo also includes piroctone olamine, salicylic acid, and niacin, all of which can also promote growth and minimise hair loss.
This multipurpose shampoo from Vatika contains black seed oil, one of the best essential oils for hair growth. Black seed oil can promote healthy hair via lots of different mechanisms, including helping you regain hair after stress, fighting oxidative stress, and improving symptoms of scalp psoriasis.
With hydrolysed wheat proteins and rosemary oil for hair loss, this Lengthen and Strengthen Shampoo from Alice England contains gentle, natural ingredients that benefit your hair. Rosemary oil has been shown to be as effective as 2% Minoxidil for hair growth, and can also be applied to your scalp as part of a diluted rosemary oil solution.
This shampoo from OGX contains saw palmetto and caffeine, both of which can minimise the impact of DHT on your hair follicles. It’s also sulphate-free, which is ideal if your hair is prone to damage and dehydration, as sulphates can be too harsh on your hair. See more of the best shampoos for dry hair.
Created by Fab Five haircare expert Jonathan Van Ness, this hair growth shampoo contains aloe vera to soothe a dry, irritated scalp. It also contains caffeine to promote hair growth. Like the OGX formula above, this JVN shampoo doesn’t contain sulphates, so it’s more gentle on dry, brittle hair.
Looking for a natural, organic hair growth shampoo? This Volumising Shampoo with Rosemary & Peppermint from John Masters Organics is ideal, thanks to its rosemary oil and peppermint oil extracts. These ingredients can promote hair growth without irritating your scalp.
If your hair is starting to feel thinner, a hair thickening shampoo like Redken Stemoxydine 5% Thickening Treatment may help boost hair density. That’s because stemoxydine can keep your hair in the anagen (growth) phase for longer, so it’s less likely to shed. While you’re waiting for this treatment to work, consider trying one of these female hairstyles for crown hair thinning.
Despite the name, there’s not much evidence that Umberto Giannini’s Grow Long Hair Lengthening Shampoo will help lengthen your hair if it’s already healthy and intact. But if your hair is prone to shedding and thinning, the caffeine and piroctone olamine in its formula will give your hair a better chance of recovery.
This sulphate-free formula from Blu Atlas is enriched with saw palmetto and aloe leaf extract for a soothing, DHT-blocking shampoo. So it’s ideal for those experiencing the early stages of male pattern baldness, especially if you also have scalp irritation.
Another hair growth shampoo that contains mainly natural ingredients, O’Douds Pumpkin Seed Oil Shampoo is ideal for men with male pattern baldness. Formulated with natural DHT blockers pumpkin seed oil for hair and saw palmetto, it may reduce the impact of DHT when used regularly. Aloe leaf also helps soothe an itchy or irritated scalp.
Extracts of ginseng and amla fruit are both said to help boost hair growth and reduce thinning, which is why Aveda’s Invati Advanced Exfoliating Shampoo Rich makes our list. In addition, this formula contains caffeine and salicylic acid to offer even greater regrowth effects.
The combination of salicylic acid and pea sprout extract in this Density Hair Thickening Shampoo from Philip Kingsley may reduce hair loss, leaving you with visibly thicker hair across your scalp.
Protect your hair from age-related shedding with L’Oréal Elvive Full Resist Reinforcing Shampoo. The active ingredient Aminexil has been shown to improve hair anchorage within the follicle, so you can retain more hair as you get older.
While switching to a hair growth shampoo may enhance your hair slowly over time, if you have moderate to severe hair loss, you probably need a more powerful treatment plan.
With approved medication, painless laser hair therapy, and cutting-edge hair transplants available at our nationwide hair clinics, you can get a personalised hair regrowth plan that works for you. Find out more about how our specialists diagnose and treat female hair loss at the Wimpole Clinic, then book a consultation to start your hair regrowth journey.
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