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Hair Thickening Spray: How Does It Work?
Dr Kieran Dayah (GMC)
Medically reviewed by
Dr Kieran Dayah (GMC)
Updated on April 30, 2024

If you’re losing your hair or worried about thinning hair, a hairthickening spray can improve the appearance of your hair.

A hair thickener is different to a hair replacement treatment as it doesn’t halt or reverse the effects of thinning hair, but simply masks the effect by giving the appearance of thicker hair.

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Do hair-thickening sprays really work?

Yes — hair-thickening sprays can make your hair appear thicker. However, the effects are only temporary, and they’re by no means a miracle cure.

Wayne Rooney’s hair is said to have been enhanced with hair-thickening products throughout the Euro 2016 tournament. These photos show his hair during a game and a day after England’s tournament exit.

Wayne Rooney during the 2016 England tournament

Hair thickeners from hair transplant clinics are usually far more effective than those available in supermarkets or high street shops. They can be a useful (if temporary) way to boost your self-confidence as well as hair thickness.

Here’s a look at the different hair-thickening preparations available and how they work.

Which is better: hair thickening spray or hair fibres?

Hair thickening spray or fibre comes in a variety of colours, and the individual picks the one which is closest to their natural hair tone. It’s not necessary to have an exact match, but you should try to choose a tone that’s similar to your natural colour. Tones vary from white and grey right through to jet black.

In addition to Wayne Rooney, David Beckham is also said to be a fan of hair fibres.

How do hair-thickening sprays work?

Tiny fibres within the spray stick to your existing hairs, binding to them without lying flat. This adds volume and creates a thick, natural-looking coating. The hair and the fibre bind together through an electrostatic charge. The most effective types of thickening treatments use a dipolar coating, which pushes against the hair’s charge to create the illusion of fullness.

before and after using hair thickening spray
Before and after using hair thickening spray
Before and after using hair thickening powder to cover bald spot on the crown
Before and after using hair thickening products to cover bald spot on crown

The best treatments also contain keratin, as they tend to look more natural. Hair is made from keratin, and a treatment which is made from the same substance delivers results which are soft to the touch, so they look and feel like the real thing.

Many people choose to use hair fibres after FUE hair transplant surgery to make the transition less obvious.

How long do hair thickening sprays stay in?

Hair thickening sprays are temporary and will be removed when you next wash your hair. Some hair fibres may also run or wash away when you sweat, so it’s essential to use a high-quality thickening spray that doesn’t leak colour, especially if you want to use it when you hit the gym.

How do hair-thickening shampoos and conditioners work?

Everyday products like shampoo and conditioner can have a big impact on the health and appearance of your hair [1]. Hair thickening shampoos and conditioners can help the hair shaft swell, thereby increasing the overall volume, even though there’s less hair.

The average head contains around 10,000 hairs and with each one swollen artificially by a thickening shampoo or conditioner, the results can be impressive.

A thickening shampoo is only a temporary solution, with the results lasting until the next time you wash your hair. You can use a thickening shampoo each time you wash your hair if you want to, replenishing the thickening results time and time again. It’s important to emphasise that no matter how often you use a thickening shampoo, the results will be only temporary.

This coating can build up when the thickening shampoo is used regularly. This won’t help your thin or fine hair to look thicker but can make it appear rather dull and lifeless. You might want to use a clarifying shampoo occasionally to give it a deep clean. Alternatively, opt for a “two washes on, one wash off” cycle.

A two-in-one shampoo and conditioner often works the best, as there’s less chance of hair being weighed down but it is possible to buy them separately. If you are looking for 2-in-1 hair care products that will promote hair growth and not just thicken it, check out our list of the 10 best 2-in-1 shampoos and conditioners for hair growth.

A good thickening shampoo will have a noticeable impact on how your hair looks especially if you have thin hair. To add more volume, blow dry your damp hair with hairdryer after washing with hair-thickening shampoo. As always, make sure to apply some sort of heat protection before blow-drying to hair to prevent heat-damaged hair.

It should be noted, however, that this combination is not a magic wand and you won’t suddenly have a bouffant head of thick hair. The results are subtle and natural looking, yet offer a real improvement for those worried about the appearance of thinning hair.

Is there a more permanent hair loss solution?

Hair thickening products can be remarkably effective and can help to improve the appearance of hair that is thinning or receding. They are best used in tandem with products to halt or reverse the effects of hair loss, such as:

Caffeine shampoo for hair loss

Applying caffeinated products to the scalp has been shown to help reduce hair loss and promote hair growth in a variety of ways. Learn more about whether caffeine shampoos for hair loss work.


Minoxidil is a popular hair loss medication that can be used to treat hair loss in both men and women. Available in both topical and oral forms, Minoxidil acts as a vasodilator encouraging more blood flow to the hair follicles and promoting hair growth in the process.


Finasteride works to encourage hair growth by lowering the amount of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the body which binds to the androgen receptors in the hair follicles causing them to shrink and stop producing hair over time. Finasteride is usually only prescribed to men. Women are not advised to take Finasteride.


Dutasteride is another DHT blocker that works in the same way as Finasteride. This hair loss medication is available in tablet form and has been proven to be more effective than Finasteride in promoting hair and reducing hair loss. Learn more about how the two medications compare in our Dutasteride vs. Finasteride review.

Hair transplantation

If you want a more permanent solution to your hair loss, a transplant from a UK hair transplant clinic is the most long-lasting option. At the Wimpole Clinic, our experienced surgeons are always on-hand to help you restore your hair with a permanent fix.

See our results in our before and after hair transplant gallery and read our reviews page to learn more about the high-quality services we provide to our patients.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation with a hair loss specialist to review your options for hair restoration.

Hair Thickening Spray: How Does It Work?, Wimpole Clinic

Dr Kieran Dayah (GMC)
Medically reviewed by Dr Kieran Dayah (GMC)Updated on April 30, 2024
The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
Talk to a specialist ☎ 020 7935 1861.

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