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7 Best Shampoos for Thinning Hair to Treat the Cause of Hair Loss
Dr Meena Zareie (GMC)
Medically reviewed by
Dr Meena Zareie (GMC)
Updated on February 13, 2024

If you are searching for the best shampoo for thinning hair, you may be one of the 85% of men or 55% of women who experience hair loss during their lifetime [1][2].  Or perhaps you are not even sure whether your hair is thinning or you are being paranoid, but still believe a good hair growth shampoo cannot hurt. And you are probably right.

If you are experiencing hair loss, it is best to see a trichologist, to help determine its cause and most effective treatment. That is because many commercially available shampoos for thinning hair have not been proven to work and may not be effective against all types of hair shedding or hair loss.

However, until you get the chance to get your hair and scalp professionally assessed and get to the root of why your hair is falling out, you can get the best shampoo advice for thinning hair, that can help treat each of the main causes of hair loss.

Keep reading this article to discover more about:

Table of Contents

Why is my hair thinning?

man worried about his thinning hair

There are several reasons your hair might be thinning, here are the most common:

  • Natural ageing – as you get older, your hair follicles start to become smaller and some of them produce finer hair or stop producing it at all. This process, known as hair follicle miniaturisation, can reduce both your hair strand diameter and density [3]. If you are a woman, after a certain age, you may also encounter menopause-related hair loss.
  • Telogen effluvium – this condition is temporary and involves diffuse thinning which often follows a stressful period or a physically or psychologically traumatic event. It normally resolves itself without treatment in under 6 months [5].
  • Alopecia areata  – this is an autoimmune condition which causes round, patchy bald spots on your scalp. However, in rare cases, it can also manifest with diffuse hair thinning [6]. 

The best shampoos for thinning hair for each  cause of hair loss

Since your hair thinning can be caused by a variety of conditions, the best shampoo to help treat it and regrow your hair must address the root of the problem. Here are the best shampoos to use for each of the main causes of hair thinning:

Hair thinning cause & symptomsBest shampoo option

Natural ageing:

  • Smaller, finer hair strands
  • Diffuse hair loss
  • Changes in hair pigmentation (greying)
  • Changes in hair shine (dulling)

You may want to try a hair-thickening shampoo, or a volumizing formula, which also stimulates hair growth, such as:

John Masters Organics Volumizing Shampoo With Rosemary And Peppermint

John Masters Organics Volumizing Shampoo With Rosemary And Peppermint

How does it help?

This volumizing shampoo for fine hair contains rosemary oil for hair, which has been found to be as effective as topical Minoxidil in stimulating hair growth [8] with peppermint oil, which soothes scalp irritation  and promotes hair growth [9] and aloe, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties [10]

Price: Approximately £26/8 oz

Other effective options: Formulas which contain stemoxydine for hair to help regulate the hair growth cycle [11], such as Redken Stemoxydine 5% Thickening Treatment Shampoo, can also be helpful in making your hair thicker.

Male pattern baldness:

Female pattern baldness:

If you may be experiencing male pattern baldness, you may want to try an advanced, medicated hair growth shampoo:

Foligain Advanced Hair Regrowth Shampoo

Foligain Advanced Hair Regrowth Shampoo

How does it help?

This shampoo contains 2% Minoxidil, one of the world’s most prescribed hair growth medications for hair loss. While this substance takes longer to absorb in shampoo form and is likely less effective than the topical Minoxidil, the shampoo also contains Trioxidil, a plant-based proprietary formula which moisturises and nourishes your hair, preventing breakage.

Price: Approximately £30/8 oz

Other effective options: Caffeine shampoos for hair loss, such as Plantur 39 Phyto-Caffeine Shampoo for Fine, Brittle Hair, are a frequently used alternative to Minoxidil, as they have also been found effective in improving androgenetic alopecia hair loss after several months of regular use [12].

Telogen effluvium:

  • Diffuse hair thinning
  • Usually, no visible bald spots
  • Often starts suddenly around 2-3 months after a traumatic event
  • Will normally improve in around 6 weeks

While telogen effluvium normally resolves on its own in a few months, you can benefit from a relaxing and volumizing shampoo:

CHI Luxury Black Seed Oil Blend Gentle Cleansing Shampoo

CHI Luxury Black Seed Oil Blend Gentle Cleansing Shampoo

How does it help?

Research has shown that black seed oil for hair can be effective in stopping telogen effluvium hair shedding, increasing both your hair density and strand diameter [13].

It has also been shown to regulate your hair growth cycle [14] and to possess antimicrobial and antioxidant qualities [15].

However, further research is needed to tell how efficient black seed oil is in shampoo form.

Price: Approximately £18/ 25 oz

Other effective options: A stemoxydine shampoo can also help regulate your hair growth cycle, so you can use a formula such as  Kérastase Densifique Femme, Thickening & Volumising Shampoo, For Fine Hair, which also contains nourishing and strengthening acids.

Alopecia areata:

  • Round, smooth, patchy bald spots on the scalp
  • Can cause itching and a burning sensation on the scalp, in the affected areas
  • Can affect the eyebrows and eyelashes also
  • Sometimes causes nail pitting

No shampoo formula has been proven specifically efficient in alopecia areata. However, if any formula has a chance to help, it could be:

Akin Natural Rosemary Daily Shine Shampoo

Akin Natural Rosemary Daily Shine Shampoo

How does it help?

One study shows that a blend of rosemary oil, lavender oil and cedarwood oil can bring some improvement to alopecia areata [16]. While further research is necessary to replicate this result and to test whether the same effect can be obtained when the oils are in shampoo form, it may be worth trying it.

Even if they don’t benefit your alopecia areata, rosemary and lavender oil have proven hair growth properties and lavender aroma is known to reduce stress and anxiety that can cause hair loss [17]

Price: Approximately £24/16 oz

Other effective options: Since inflammation plays a significant role in alopecia areata, a shampoo with tea tree oil, which has anti-inflammatory properties, may benefit your scalp [18]. One good option is Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo. It can also help with scalp problems, such as dandruff or psoriasis.

Traction alopecia:

  • Thinning around the hairline and temple hair loss (can also occur in other areas where tension was applied)
  • Redness and irritation of the scalp
  • Scalp tenderness, tingling or soreness
  • Bumps on the affected areas of the scalp

Traction alopecia normally resolves on its own once you stop wearing tight hairstyles or heavy hair extensions which cause hair loss. But you can help the hair regrowth process along by using:

ZENOTRI Follicle Shampoo Hair loss Zero with Copper peptide, Biotin, Dexpanthenol, Pyrithione Zinc/Genetic Hair Care Solution

ZENOTRI Follicle Shampoo Hair loss

How does it help?

The core substances in this shampoo are copper peptides, which are hypothesised to help your scalp and hair follicles regenerate [19] (however, clinical trials in humans are needed to confirm this effect). It also contains biotin for hair, which can reduce hair shedding from a Vitamin B7 deficiency and menthol, which is soothing and can reduce itching and inflammation [20].

Price: Approximately £40/ 10 oz

Other effective options: If your scalp has been under a lot of pressure, you may want to moisturise and nourish it with shampoos containing fatty acids, such as Sevi’s Pumpkin Seed Moisture Shampoo. Pumpkin seed oil for hair will not only hydrate your locks, it may also promote hair growth and regeneration [21]

Common scalp problems:

Dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis:

  • White or yellow flakes or scales on the scalp
  • Itching
  • Scalp tenderness
  • Scalp redness and inflammation

Scalp psoriasis:

  • Thick, reddish, scaly plaques
  • Silver flaking
  • Scalp inflammation
  • Itching or burning sensation
  • Scalp irritation and inflammation
  • Hair loss in affected areas

Scalp folliculitis:

  • Pimples or pustules at the base of your hair shaft
  • Pain, burning and tenderness
  • Itchiness
  • Inflammation

If you suspect you might have a common scalp problem, but are not sure what it is, it is a good idea to see a trichologist. But until you have a chance to do so, this medicated shampoo provides the most versatile option:

Vanicream Medicated Dandruff Shampoo

Vanicream Medicated Dandruff Shampoo

How does it help?

Zinc pyrithione, one of the main components in this shampoo, can help treat the symptoms of a number of conditions.

It is one of the recommended treatments for yeast infections on the scalp (dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis) [22] and at the same time, it can reduce scalp inflammation.

It has also been proven to be efficient in treating scalp psoriasis, alongside topical corticosteroids [23], and also possesses some antibacterial properties [24] which might help treat scalp folliculitis (although more research is needed)

 Price: Approximately £15/ 8 oz

Other effective options:

Ketoconazole for hair is also very effective in treating dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis or ringworm. Furthermore, it may also help with hair growth in male pattern baldness [25] The best ketoconazole shampoo to treat hair loss is Nizoral 2%.

Lifestyle causes:

While lifestyle causes may differ, the hair and scalp symptoms are usually similar:

  • Dry, brittle hair
  • Flat locks with little volume
  • Split ends
  • Strands that break off easily
  • Hair dulling
  • Hair thinning

If your hair is thin, dry, brittle and lacklustre, you need a nourishing shampoo formula that can moisturise, nourish and help regenerate your strands:

Briogeo’s Don’t Despair, Repair! Super Moisture Shampoo

Briogeo's Don't Despair, Repair! Super Moisture Shampoo

How does it help?

This shampoo contains a mixture of algae, which are filled with nutrients and antioxidants, vitamin B which nourishes your hair, and panthenol for increased elasticity.

More importantly, it contains rosehip oil for hair, which is known to moisturise and strengthen your hair fibre, reduce mechanic breakage and split ends [26] and may even have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties [27] (though more research is needed)

 Price: Approximately £33/16 oz

Other effective options: One of the clinically proven best shampoos for dry hair, which has been damaged and breaks off easily is Second Chance Repairing Shampoo for Dry or Damaged Hair, as it contains argan oil which has significant moisturising and regenerating properties [28].

How can I stop my hair from thinning?

Woman apply treatment to hair

Oftentimes, it will take more than a shampoo for hair thinning to effectively stop or reverse your hair loss, especially if it is more advanced.

That is why it is best to see a trichologist from the first signs of hair thinning and balding. They will perform a thorough examination of your scalp and will prescribe you the best hair loss treatment available for your specific diagnosis. This may be one or a combination of the following:

  • Finasteride – The most prescribed hair loss medication, which is very effective against androgenetic alopecia, by inhibiting your excessive DHT production. It is, however, not recommended to premenopausal women.
  • Minoxidil –  One of the most effective hair growth medicines, which can treat a number of conditions that cause hair thinning by widening the blood vessels in your scalp so more nourishment can reach your hair follicles.
  • Dutasteride – A treatment which may be even more effective than Finasteride in blocking excessive DHT production, but is not yet FDA approved for treating hair thinning (and it is also not recommended to premenopausal women).
  • Steroid creams – These creams help reduce inflammation, so they are commonly used in alleviating the symptoms of alopecia areata and sometimes, other conditions such as scalp psoriasis.
  • Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) for hair loss – A popular therapy for many health problems, it has also been found effective to stimulate hair growth by increasing cell metabolism and bringing more energy to your hair follicles.
  • Dermarolling for hair growth –  A therapy which involves creating microscopic puncture wounds in your scalp in order to trigger a local healing response. It has also been found to help topical hair growth medications be absorbed more easily through the skin.
  • Hair transplant – A very effective and safe way to quickly solve all kinds of hair problems, from fixing a messed up hairline to reversing extensive baldness. While hair transplant costs are higher than those of other hair growth treatments, they are worth the investment, because while you have to keep taking medication, a hair transplant is permanent.

Considering hair restoration surgery?

So if you are considering getting hair restoration surgery,  be sure to book a consultation at one of the best hair transplant clinics in the UK, which have a 97-100% success rate and results which speak for themselves in their before and after hair transplant gallery.

7 Best Shampoos for Thinning Hair to Treat the Cause of Hair Loss, Wimpole Clinic

Sources:
  1. Men’s Hair Loss – Introduction
  2. Alopecia in Women
  3. Age-associated thin hair displays molecular, structural and mechanical characteristic changes
  4. Androgenetic alopecia: a review
  5. Telogen Effluvium
  6. Alopecia Areata Incognita and Diffuse Alopecia Areata: Clinical, Trichoscopic, Histopathological, and Therapeutic Features of a 5-Year Study
  7. Traction alopecia: the root of the problem
  8. Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: a randomized comparative trial
  9. Peppermint Oil Promotes Hair Growth without Toxic Signs
  10. Aloe vera (L.) Webb.: Natural Sources of Antioxidants – A Review
  11. A Novel Hair Restoration Technology Counteracts Androgenic Hair Loss and Promotes Hair Growth in A Blinded Clinical Trial
  12. Efficacy of a cosmetic phyto-caffeine shampoo in female androgenetic alopecia
  13. Evaluation of a Therapeutic Alternative for Telogen Effluvium: A Pilot Study
  14. Development and Evaluation of Herbal Hair Serum: A traditional way to Improve Hair Quality
  15. Nigella sativa seed, a novel beauty care ingredient: A review
  16. Randomized trial of aromatherapy. Successful treatment for alopecia areata
  17. The effects of lavender oil inhalation on emotional states, autonomic nervous system, and brain electrical activity
  18. Tea tree oil as a novel antipsoriasis weapon
  19. The effect of tripeptide-copper complex on human hair growth in vitro
  20. Cold stimuli, hot topic: An updated review on the biological activity of menthol in relation to inflammation
  21. Effect of Pumpkin Seed Oil on Hair Growth in Men with Androgenetic Alopecia: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial
  22. Targeted Delivery of Zinc Pyrithione to Skin Epithelia
  23. Shampoos: Ingredients, efficacy and adverse effects
  24. In Vitro Growth-Inhibitory Synergistic Effect of Zinc Pyrithione in Combination with Gentamicin against Bacterial Skin Pathogens of Livestock
  25. Topical ketoconazole for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: A systematic review
  26. Comparison on Quality Performance of Human Hair Types with Herbal Oils (Grape Seed/Safflower Seed/Rosehip) by Analysis Techniques
  27. Laboratory and preclinical studies on the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties of rosehip powder – Identification and characterization of the active component GOPO®
  28. Natural Oils for Skin-Barrier Repair: Ancient Compounds Now Backed by Modern Science
Dr Meena Zareie (GMC)
Medically reviewed by Dr Meena Zareie (GMC)Updated on February 13, 2024
The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
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