I’ve tried a lot of hair loss treatments in the past. Some of which have been effective – maybe not stopping shedding in its tracks but making my existing hair healthier and revitalizing my scalp, so that new hair could eventually pop up again.
Actiiv’s cruelty free products sound like they could be pretty effective, too. They may not be for everyone, as they contain sulfates and are also quite pricey. But they also have a lot going for them, which is perhaps why so many salons and hairstylists love them.
In this Actiiv shampoo reviews post, I’ll cover the main ingredients and benefits of its formula, highlight some potential side effects and explain the best way to use it for noticeable results. Enjoy!
Emma’s ‘not a doctor’ disclaimer
Hi there, I’m an alopecian, I’m not a doctor! Any advice I give is based on my own research and personal experiences. This site is, however, reader-supported. When you buy through external links, I may earn a tiny affiliate commission. Learn more here.
Good question! Actiiv are a relatively new company, supplying vegan hair thinning and hair restoration products for men and women. Although they sell through their website and on Amazon, they’re mostly involved in supplying to hair salons. Which indicates to me that their must be something to these products, if salons are stocking and recommending them!
Actiiv shampoos blend hair science with plant based compounds to focus on improving scalp condition; providing a clean and healthy envrionment to minimize hair loss and encourage growth.
The hair care products are particularly recommended for those suffering damaged strands from chemical treatments, repeated styling or coloring. Why? Because they hone in on hair recovery and help hair heal, right from the follicle. Actiiv’s products promote healthy hair thanks to carefully selected nutraceutical plant-based compounds, which also improve hair density and overall health.
So if you’ve got damaged, brittle hair or you’re seeing a lot of recent hair breakage – whether that’s from overstyling, stress or other environmental factors – this might just be the shampoo for you.
I’m not so certain about its powers in stopping hair loss or encouraging regrowth, although Actiiv are highly confident – on their site, they say: “Our every-other-day, two-step shampoo + conditioner system is all you need to target hair loss. No drops, pills or serums required.”
Big talk…but can their products walk the walk?
Actiive offers a few types of shampoo: recover shampoo, which includes an option for men and for women, and a thickening cleansing treatment – the ingredients between these two are very similar. You can also get a Recover Thickening Conditioner.
These products share the same goals and benefits for your hair, including:
With a host of antioxidants, Actiiv shampoo works to gently get rid of excess sebum and debris (which can irritate the scalp and also clog up follicles). Their formula is alcohol-free so it won’t strip your hair of its natural oils while doing so and instead, gently regenerates the skin – which will also help in regenerating new hairs.
In the meantime, the panthenol in the shampoos works to enhance and thicken hair…so you can fake it ‘til you make it!
Actiiv is a great brand for those who have chemically treated or colored locks, and who may be suffering dry, limp strands as a result. The cleansers – and particularly the Recover Thickening Conditioner – helps recover lost moisture, aids in the production of sebum and helps to regenerate follicles back to optimal health.
Some hair science: top anti-shedding shampoos include some kind of DHT-blocker to reduce the effects of hormone-related hair loss. DHT stands for dihydrotestosterone, FYI – the hormone commonly linked to hair loss, which can cause follicles to shrink and close up.
The even better shampoos and topical treatments use natural blockers to keep those follicles open and encourage new growth. Actiiv Recover shampoo can count itself among the greats, using green tea to block this hormone in a natural, gentle way.
Both the shampoo and the conditioner have a sizeable list of ingredients: with 14 minerals, 18 amino acids, and 17 vitamins (including a complete Vitamin B complex).
The con amongst all these vegan ingredients is that Actiiv contains ammonium laureth sulfate and sodium coco sulfate – and sulfates don’t get a great rep in terms of hair health.
Although there’s not a lot of hair science explaining why, many people who used to love Nioxin complained that it began to dry out their hair and cause increased shedding after P&G bought the company in 2008 and changed up the formula (which now contains sulfates, too).
If you’re looking for a sulfate-free option, I cover my favorites in this post. Or keep scrolling for some alternatives!
Like Actiiv Recover Thickening shampoos, this thickening cleansing treatment is formulated to meet various causes of hair loss, including hormonal hair thinning and premature hair fall. But it’s main focus is to heal and renew: to repair and restore damaged hair and to nourish both your scalp.
This is a great choice for anyone with brittle hair as a result of heat styling or coloring – whatever beauty regime that might cause your strands to break easily and lead to thinning hair.
With natural ingredients proven to stimulate growth – like ginger and green tea – Actiiv’s thickening cleansing treatment increases blood circulation to your scalp, opens your hair follicles, allows key nutrients to penetrate deeper and then seals the follicles back up to prevent environmental damage and minimize breakage. So, it’s a level above your average store-bought shampoo!
This color safe conditioner further soothes, hydrates and protects – providing optimal conditions for fighting hair loss and encouraging regrowth. Its lightweight formula includes a high concentration of aloe vera extract to leave hair softer, shinier and thicker, without weighing it down.
The Recover Thickening conditioner is best used in conjunction with either Actiiv Recover shampoo, or the Thickening Cleansing Treatment.
Actiiv gets 4.4 stars out of 5 on Amazon. The reviews mention that it takes time but with patience, customers have started to see thicker, longer and far healthier hair and much less breakage.
I love this product! My hair began to grow faster and got thicker. Not to mention the shine that returned. I will not ever go without using this product. It was a lifesaver. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and it really damaged my hair. It was brittle and breaking off quicker than it grew. I was in a panic. Thanks to Actiiv I got my hair back.
– Rebecca, Amazon Customer: December 2019
I strongly believe that this product is amazing, don’t be fooled though, this IS NOT AN OVERNIGHT FIX-ALL! This is a shampoo that will fight against the DHT buildup in your follicles to purge the buildup and dead follicles and REGROW healthy hair. In order to see results for this product you MUST- 1 use this shampoo every other day for at least 3 months. [The product continues to work for 48 hours after application and a hair’s life cycle is 3 months long so you’re unlikely to see results before then.] And 2, you MUST LEAVE ON THE SCALP for at least 5 minutes! The product takes about that long to go from the base of your scalp into the hair follicles and start working. If you wanna see results sooner, try using the conditioner as well!! We always recommend to take a picture the first time you use it and don’t look at the pictures for at least 4 months. I’ve had lots of clients GROW BACK FULLER HAIR and more of it! Plus after getting covid myself I tried it because I was losing hair by the handfuls and noticed it decreased the amount I was losing! Definitely worth trying but ONLY if you’re gonna be consistent.
– Rachael P, Hairdresser: February 2023 via Influenster
Many other hair stylists have left reviews too and the majority love Actiiv – but complain that it’s far too expensive for what it is essentially a hair thickening shampoo.
Apply Actiiv shampoo like you would any shampoo: wet hair with warm water in the shower to open up those follicles. Make sure you shake the bottle before use, so all those great natural ingredients can blend!
Massage a small amount of the formula into your scalp and right through to the ends of your hair. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes – this is an essential step, so your follicles can absorb the formula.
Wash with cool water for extra shine, wring out excess water and apply Actiiv Conditioner. Let this sit for 2–3 minutes and rinse again with cold water to seal the follicles. Not exactly a quick shower but it’ll be worth it!
For best results, wash with an Active shampoo 3 or 4 times a week. You can use alternate with Revita (which is my favorite vegan sulfate-free shampoo, by the way, but it isn’t recommended for daily use, either).
The ingredients list is veeeerrrryyy long. And with all those ingredients – even though many of them are natural and plant-based – there’s a greater chance of allergic reactions. So read the ingredients list carefully before use and if you know you’re allergic to any of the botanicals or chemicals, try something else.
You could also try a patch test first – a little redness or tingling is fine, as you’ll get that with many hair loss treatments. However, please stop if you notice any of these more serious side effects:
Now, none of the reviews I’ve read mentioned the above side effects – although a couple mentioned more hair shedding when they started using this brand. This is common among many hair loss shampoos that include sulfates (like Nioxin). I never had this issue when I used Revita so I’d recommend trying this instead if you’re worried about losing more hair.
A final “side effect” might be to your wallet – Actiiv products are quite expensive. A 6oz bottle of the shampoo costs $65 and a 5oz bottle of the conditioner is $32. Even though this supply should last you for 3 months, Revita is way better value.
I haven’t actually used Actiiv yet so I can’t say for sure. But Nioxin did work for me – and it’s way cheaper, too!
Yes, Actiiv uses saw palmetto and green tea to naturally block this hormone.
Although the peak results and the most noticeable improvements are meant to be after 9 months, you’ll probably start seeing thicker and healthier hair in just a few weeks. Although this may take longer if your hair is over-processed and is quite damaged already.
I like the sound of Actiiv IF you’ve got the time to wait for at least 8 minutes (5 for the shampoo, 3 for the conditioner) upon each application. Also, if you can stick to this hair care regime for several months, even a year. Otherwise, you’re just not going the see the kind of results it can offer.
Actiiv isn’t exactly cheap, plus it include sulfates and other chemicals. So if you want a completely natural option that’s much better value and that you don’t have to dedicate as much time to, I’d highly recommend Revita.
Of course, as I mentioned, you could alternate with both – stock up on a supply of each for several months and notice what a difference they could make to your hair!
I hope this post has helped you find a way to thicken your hair and maybe even reduce hair thinning or promote regrowth. I’d love to hear your thoughts about Actiiv, or Revita if you’ve used that too. Feel free to share your experiences below!
Love & hugs,
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Alopecian. Yoga Teacher. Copywriter. Here to share information, offer support and show people the adventures that can lie in hair loss. I’m proud to have alopecia and I want to help others embrace their baldness, too!