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Everything You Need To Know About Hair Thickening Shampoo

Searching for the answer to your hair thinning can be a bit overwhelming. There’s so much information out there and sorting the effective hair growth products from the snake oil can be a challenge.

If you are looking for a solution to thinning hair, you might be considering some over-the-counter products like hair thickening sprays and thickening shampoos. So which ones work and how do they work?

Read on to find out more about hair thickening shampoos including what ingredients are in these hair thickening products, what results you should expect, and if hair thickening products work to promote hair growth.

Table of Contents

What is hair thickening shampoo?

Just like your normal shampoo, a hair thickening shampoo is used to wash your hair. However, hair thickening products like these shampoos are also specially formulated to create the appearance of fuller, thicker individual hair strands.

This is a useful benefit for people who are suffering from hair thinning, a problem caused by the miniaturisation of hair follicles. Miniaturisation occurs when hair shafts become thinner and thinner over time, leading to the appearance of a weak and limp head of hair. This type of hair thinning is not due to hair loss, as individuals suffering from miniaturisation keep the same amount of hair follicles. Instead, the hair strands just become thinner over time and as a result, more susceptible to hair breakage. 

Hair thickening shampoos fight against this phenomenon by using a range of active ingredients to plumpen the look of those miniaturised hairs, giving the hair more volume. It should be noted, that these shampoos only temporarily thicken the individual hair strands.

It is not a permanent solution for hair follicle miniaturisation nor is it a treatment for thinning hair caused by hair loss conditions such as male pattern hair loss or female pattern hair loss.

In addition, these specialised shampoos also work just like conventional shampoos. They wash away grease and dirt which can combine to weigh hair down giving the appearance of lifeless, flat hair. This cleansing and thickening combination can produce excellent and immediate results for an individual’s hair vollume.

How does hair thickening shampoo work?

There are a lot of shampoos aimed to treat thin hair on the market, and they don’t all work in exactly the same way. Each brand consists of different ingredients and aims to thicken hair in different ways. There are, of course, some similarities across the board specifically the cleansing action just mentioned.

Let’s have a look at the different ways hair thickening shampoos work:

Targeting individuals strands of hair

One way that thickening shampoos work is by targeting individual strands of hair with key ingredients, such as proteins and collagens. This can have the effect of making the hair shafts appear thicker as, after all, hair itself consists mostly of the protein keratin.

Boosting the overall health of hair

Another way hair thickening shampoos work is by targeting the hair with ingredients known to boost the overall health and vitality of hair in the long term. Two of these include saw palmetto and biotin which promote stronger and thicker hair growth. We’ll look at these and other key ingredients in more detail below.

Moisturising the hair follicles

Some shampoos also draw on the fact that after keratin, the next largest component of hair is water. These shampoos aim to add more moisture to the hair follicles, making them swell and therefore creating a thicker-looking head of hair.

soap bubble in hand

What are the ingredients in shampoos aimed to treat thinning hair?

With a wide array of shampoos on the market, here are some of the ingredients to look out for. It’s important to understand what each ingredient brings to the table. Some offer cosmetic improvements, while others encourage hair growth and less hair breakage.


Human hair is approximately 90% keratin, so it’s no surprise to see this super protein on this list. Extra keratin adds body to each follicle, creating a fuller look overall.


Just like your morning coffee kicks you into life, the caffeine in shampoos acts as a stimulant, encouraging speedy and healthy growth.

Clay Fibres

These natural-looking fibres can cling to the hair shaft, adding thickness and volume.

Saw Palmetto

This natural palm tree extract acts as an agent to prevent further miniaturisation and hair loss.


This B3 Vitamin opens up blood vessels and encourages improved blood circulation. This in turn promotes follicular growth.


This protein promotes excellent scalp health, creating a fertile ground for healthy hair growth. Find out how collagen helps hair growth.


Another B Vitamin which stimulates hair and nail growth. It boosts keratin production and therefore increases the rate of hair growth

What’s the difference between hair thickening shampoo and hair loss shampoo?

Before putting your faith in a new product, it’s important to understand that there are two main types of shampoo for thinning:  hair thickening shampoos and hair loss shampoos. Although these two products might try to improve hair density, these products are very different from one another for the following reasons:

1. Thickening shampoos are used for cosmetic purposes

While a hair thickening shampoo focuses primarily on improving the cosmetic appearance of your hair (ex. giving you more volume), hair loss shampoos aim to slow down and stop the hair loss itself.

2. Thickeners add volume to thin or fine hair

Thickening shampoos usually focus on adding extra protein and moisture to your hair shafts. This makes the follicles appear thicker thus creating a look of hair fullness with added volume.

3. Hair loss shampoos aim to tackle the root cause of hair loss

Hair loss shampoos contain ingredients focused on preventing additional hair fall and promoting new growth. These ingredients have effects such as increasing blood flow, boosting scalp health, and managing hormonal balance.

Therefore, these hair growth shampoos try not only to stop and prevent hair loss but also try to regrow hair. Thickening shampoos, on the other hand, only try to conceal the problem.

4. Some shampoos aim to do both

There are some shampoos that promise to conceal your existing hair thinning and prevent future hair loss. This may seem like an ideal solution, but it’s always worth experimenting with different products as each person’s experience is different.

What is the best hair thickening shampoo?

If you believe that your hair is suffering from miniaturisation and would like to add more volume to your hair, you may be wondering what hair thickening products to buy.

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all thickening shampoo out there that everyone will be pleased by. Hair textures (straight, wavy, curly, and coily) vary from person to person as does the condition of hair (ex. Oily hair, dry scalp, damaged and dry, etc). Therefore, our recommended advice is to pick out shampoos suited to the texture and condition of your hair.

For example, if you have damaged hair, try to find a gentle shampoo that will clean and not strip the natural oils from your hair while simultaneously providing moisture and thickness to your strands of hair. See some of the best shampoos for dry hair textures.

Of course, the process to find the best thickening shampoo for you will take some time and some experimentation, so try to keep an open mind when trying these products.

woman washing hair

How often should you use a thickening shampoo?

There is no clear answer for if hair thickening products work or not as everyone’s hair and scalp are different. That being said, it’s generally recommended to use an effective shampoo on your hair every two or three days.

If your focus is on the cosmetic benefits of thickening shampoos, this regular usage is important as the effects of the shampoo will start to lessen after a few days.

For those with oily hair, the build-up of the hair’s natural oils will lead to heavier hair that has a greasier, flatter appearance. In addition, the thickening effect of the added proteins and moisture will start to wane.

If you’re looking for your shampoo to slow hair loss itself, it’s also important to wash your hair several times a week. For the shampoo to be effective, your hair and scalp need regular exposure to active ingredients such as saw palmetto, caffeine, and biotin.

Having said that, it’s equally important that you don’t over-wash your hair. Washing too frequently can strip away the essential oils and sebum which strengthen hair and help maintain a healthy scalp.

Do hair thickening shampoos work?

The short answer is yes.


When we say it works, we mean that it effectively does its job of helping to conceal your hair loss and improving your appearance.

What doesn’t it do? It doesn’t slow down or stop your hair loss.

For that, you’ll need to look for a shampoo that tackles hair loss and promotes hair growth. And that means checking for ingredients such as caffeine, saw palmetto, and biotin, among others.

And remember…everyone’s hair loss is different. It pays off to take your time and experiment. That way, you’ll find the right shampoo that works for you and your hair loss.

thick head of hair

What should I use if my hair is thinning due to hair loss?

It should be noted that daily hair shedding is a normal part of the hair growth cycle. However, if you have been using thickening products for a while now and haven’t seen the results you would like to see, or if you notice more shedding than what is normal, you may be suffering from a hair loss condition. 

As there are many different hair loss conditions and hair loss causes out there, it is important to get a proper diagnosis from a professional who can recommend an effective medical treatment plan.

If you are concerned that you are experiencing extreme hair loss and would like an expert’s opinion on the best medical treatment for your hair loss condition, contact us at Wimpole Clinic today for a free no-pressure consultation where you can ask questions and receive advice from one of our hair loss experts.

Everything You Need To Know About Hair Thickening Shampoo, Wimpole Clinic

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