That’s the million dollar question. And those with rapidly thinning hair might spend a million on the answer if they could! But they don’t just want the best shampoo for hair loss – they want a miracle. Bald patches disappearing within a week. Receding hairlines filling in after one use. And I’m sorry folks, that just ain’t gonna happen!
Why not? Because with so many types of hair loss – and different factors that trigger it – a cookie-cutter solution doesn’t exist. But the good news is, certain hair loss shampoos DO slow down the rate of shedding and encourage new growth. How do I know this? Because I’ve been there!
I talk about alopecia shampoos in a separate post – but this one is for men and women with thinning hair, particularly for people with telogen effluvium and male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia). So if you’ve started losing your hair and you want to recover some thickness, these 9 hair thinning shampoos are ideal. 🙂
Coming up below:
LA Says: Psst… Short on time? Then check out my Top 3 shampoos right now for thinning hair. In my opinion, the best shampoo for hair loss is either Nioxin or Revita – because they’ve worked for me! But I’ll cover more great options in this post. 🙂
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.
I hear this question a lot. Why does hair loss happen, and what can you do about it?
Well, as doctor and dermatologist Suneel Chilukuri explains, shedding strands is actually a normal process, as hair enters the resting phase (telogen phase) of the hair growth cycle.
“At any one time, approximately 10% of the hair is in this resting phase. It’s normal to lose approximately 100 hairs per day.”
But alopecia – the medical name for hair loss – is different to this shedding process. It’s actually an autoimmune condition, triggered by an immune response (due to hormone imbalance, stress and inflammation among other things) and it means that hair follicles shrink in size. These types of hair loss are often characterized as “androgenetic” (hormone-related hair loss) or “telogen effluvium” (typically, stress-related hair loss).
Two-thirds of US males experience male pattern baldness before the age of 35. And one in five UK women have alopecia. So it’s more common than you might think.
LA Says: While the following shampoos can’t prevent this autoimmune response – for that, you’ll need to focus on stress-reducing practices, or perhaps the food you’re eating – they do result in a healthier scalp. Meaning a better foundation for stronger, thicker hair to take root, which in turn is less prone to breakage.
A healthy scalp = healthy hair. Or at least, a stronger chance of healthy hair. Since alopecia causes smaller follicles and less space for your hair to grow, anything that clogs these follicles further (like excess sebum or oil) is Bad News for Hair Growth.
Excess build-up can also cause scalp conditions like seborrheic dermatitis or dandruff, which causes further inflammation and an increased autoimmune response. (Meaning more hair loss. Yikes.)
BUT if you can cleanse the scalp and remove this debris in a gentle way, you boost your chances of regrowth. Yay!
LA Says: Of course, a shampoo, by nature, will clean your hair. But the trick is to use a gentle enough product that doesn’t strip your hair of its natural oils and cause scalp irritation while you’re at it. The shampoos on this list (apart from Nioxin and Nizoral, perhaps) are all super-gentle and use natural ingredients to keep your scalp cool ‘n’ happy.
This is a major benefit of hair loss shampoos. Because while they mightn’t stop shedding in its tracks, the good ones will make your existing hair softer, smoother, thicker and shinier.
I noticed this positive side effect when I started using Nioxin – although many people who’ve written to me have actually reported more brittle, straw-like hair after a couple of uses. Revita also dramatically improved the texture and volume of my hair. After only 2 weeks, people started commenting how much my hair had grown. (It probably hadn’t. But it looked like it had, which was almost as good!)
LA Says: Even if you aren’t losing your hair, I’d highly recommend the shampoos on this list for giving you more “oomph”. Because these thinning hair shampoos have special formulas to moisturize, thicken and volumize each strand. A great way to “fake it ‘til you make it!” 😉
Environmental factors like pollution, UV rays and the treatments we use on our heads, from dyes to hairdryers, can wreak havoc on our poor scalps. They become dry, flaky and irritated – and in all honesty, who can blame them?!
Nowadays, our hair’s getting increasingly exposed to threatening elements that mess up its natural cycle. So its response is to protect itself – shrinking its follicles, stopping the production of essential moisture and oils and becoming so dry and brittle that it snaps off. (Ever been hangry? It feels like that.)
These nourishing hair thinning shampoos offer a kinder alternative to environmental damage. They contain amino acids, keratin plus Vitamins A, E and H (aka biotin), which form a protective barrier of oils and fatty acids. This layer keeps hair nourished and moisturized while protecting it from further damage. Even more exciting, studies show how natural oils like coconut oil can actually reverse cuticle damage and other effects of environmental stress on the follicle.
LA Says: A shampoo for thinning hair and hair loss is like your personal bodyguard. Hopefully you won’t reach a state of crisis where you need it badly – but it’ll always be there to protect and serve your hair. 😉
Starting with my top 3…
Revita contains powerful antioxidants and copper peptides to boost blood circulation. Which in turn, delivers vital nutrients and minerals to your scalp. It also contains caffeine (a natural DHT blocker), nourishing ingredients like biotin and ginseng root, plus ketoconazole – used to treat skin infections.
DS Laboratories lists Revita’s benefits on their website:
“Anyone with any type of hair, whether thinning or normal, can use Revita shampoo to care for delicate hair follicles, combat the effects of aging, prevent hair loss, and achieve fuller hair.”
I only used Revita for a month before I rain out, but as you can see inmy full review, it worked wonders! It made my existing hair soft, smooth and shiny. It added volume (great for styling my mohawk!) and friends/family from home all mentioned how much fuller it looks when I talked to them on Zoom.
I don’t know if my hair’s actually grown since or if it’s just an optical illusion but either way, I’m pleased with the result! My hair isn’t falling out at all nowadays (although that’s due to other lifestyle factors, too) and I’ve seen some white fuzz appear on my patches again.
My verdict? I love Revita so far. And with over 10,000 5-star customer reviews, I’m not the only one. Revita actually have a pretty extensive range so use their handy hair loss advisor tool to find your perfect match. They’ve also offering 20% off when you sign up for a subscription.
✓ Made by dermatologists
✓ Natural ingredients
✓ Antioxidant & DHT blocker
✓ No sulfates or parabens
X Amazon reviews report inconsistent/fake products – so order direct from Revita
The Lady recommends...
Nioxin has always been my top-recommended shampoo for hair loss and thinning hair. Because it’s the one that once helped my hair to grow back! Many of my friends use it for thinning hair – and with 6 different systems to choose for (depending on hair type, and the extent of hair loss), it’s easy to find a personalized solution.
I’ve bumped it in favour of Revita because some people notice scalp irritation, itchiness, even increased hair fall when they start using Nioxin. As I tell my readers, this is a NORMAL reaction for the first 2 weeks – as your scalp gets used to the new formula – but for many, that’s too much of a risk.
Still, Nioxin can be a great shampoo for thinning hair in the long-term, and for preventing hair loss in the first place. Its 3D technology works to boost Density, improve scalp Derma and widen the Diameter of every strand – giving you volumized, healthy hair right out of a shampoo ad. For more Nioxin benefits, and the different products available, check out my full post here.
My verdict? Stylists and dermatologists vote Nioxin as their #1 Shampoo for Thinning Hair again and again for good reason. It works. It may not work for EVERYONE – but it does for plenty. In fact, 9 out of 10 people note a hair thickening after using Nioxin.
✓ Great for thinning hair
✓ Noticeable results after 2 weeks (in my case)
✓ Prevents breakage and reduces shedding
✓ Volumizes and moisturizes each strand
X Contains sulfates and parabens
X Doesn’t inhibit DHT
The Lady recommends...
Created and manufactured by a team of dermatologists in the US, with FDA-approved ingredients, Shapiro MD is one of the most popular shampoos for all forms of hair loss.
Shapiro shampoo consists of 3 key natural DHT blockers: caffeine, green tea and saw palmetto. Not only do these ingredients inhibit the production of dihydrotestosterone (the hormone linked to hair loss), but green tea actually prolongs the anagen, or growth phase, of the hair cycle.
So the more time your hair spends growing, the less time it spends shedding. Finally, math I can get on board with! 😉
My verdict? A great option for people with both thinning hair and bald patches. I haven’t had a chance to use it myself – yet! – but the reviews I’ve read are overwhelmingly positive. More on them in my extended post. And while I wouldn’t bother with their 5% minoxidil serum (I’m not a fan of minoxidil), the shampoo is totally natural. and moisturizing hair.
✓ Developed by dermatologists
✓ Blocks DHT with all-natural ingredients
✓ Glowing reviews
✓ No sulfates or parabens
X More expensive
The Lady recommends...
I came across this brand after a reader asked me about using it for her daughter’s alopecia (thanks again for bringing it to my attention! 😉 ) I hadn’t heard of Grow Me before but after looking it up, I felt compelled to try it.
Grow Me includes caffeine, argan oil, biotin and rosemary – some of the best ingredients for boosting hair growth. It also blocks DHT (in a natural way), is sulfate and paraben-free and is really affordable.
Watermans offer a range of different products on their website but their Grow Me Shampoo gets particularly great reviews – and photos to prove its worth! Use the code LADYALOPECIA at checkout for a tasty discount.
My verdict? I’m still waiting on my bottle due to COVID-related shipping delays. So I can’t give an honest answer yet – but I’m looking forward to trying it!
The Lady recommends...
Again, I haven’t tried this shampoo yet so I can’t speak from personal experience. (Sorry!) BUT it’s another one that a Lady Alopecia fan told me about – and this lady highly recommends it for hair loss and thinning hair.
Each positive WOW shampoo review I’ve read on Amazon says it reduces hair loss and leaves hair feeling silky and shiny. The negative ones complain it doesn’t lather like “regular” shampoo. But that’s actually a good thing because all that foamy foam you’re used to? It comes from sulfates and parabens.
My verdict? WOW is a great choice if you want an all-natural thinning hair treatment. Because it includes lots of ayurvedic herbs – like bhringraj, amla, neem, henna and shikakai – plus other natural ingredients like biotin, saw palmetto and niacin. Oh, and it apparently smells like rosemary. Yum.
I’ve always loved Pura D’Or and I’m currently using their castor oil mixed with peppermint essential oil to help regrow my eyebrow (it works like a charm!) Their original Gold Label shampoo is incredibly popular among reviewers for hair breakage – but I’m paying tribute to their blue-labelled Hair Thinning Therapy shampoo here. Because I’m using it now, too – and you can read my Pura D’Or review here!
Whenever I don’t lather up with Revita (which I use 5 times a week), I turn to my giant bottle of Pura D’Or. It’s really gentle, packed with the best natural oils, niacin and black cumin seed, aloe vera, biotin, green tea and saw palmetto. Plus red Korean seaweed, specifically to treat alopecia. My partner hates the smell but I love it – it smells like licorice!
My verdict: A great companion to the stronger shampoos on this list, or use daily as a standalone product.
The Lady recommends...
From Maple Holistics, who make a range of popular essential oils and oil-based shampoos. Having learned of them from a comment on my previous post – a guy who uses their argan oil shampoo for his hair and beard – I dug further.
And I found that this product, under their sub-company “Honeydew”, is one of the most popular hair growth shampoos available – it’s actually a top-seller on Amazon with glowing reviews. Testimonials include the word “magic” – which activates my BS radar but hey, there’s a lot to like: considering its super-nourishing ingredients like jojoba oil, coconut oil, argan oil and more. Oh, and biotin. Obvs.
My verdict? It may not “magically” boost hair growth but it DOES have a powerful thickening effect, especially after a few months. So don’t expect miracles – but there’s no harm in replacing regular shampoo with Honeydew! 😉
The Lady recommends...
This shampoo serves up five of the best ingredients for healthy hair – and even better, they’re all natural! Those star ingredients are: Biotin, Caffeine, Argan Oil, Castor Oil and Saw Palmetto.
True, many of the hair loss shampoos on this list contain one or more of these ingredients…but none of them include ALL FIVE!
Lipogaine’s proprietary blend reduces breakage and damage caused by environmental stressors while strengthening individual hairs and restoring scalp balance. Because it’s so natural, it may take months to see major results but from what I’ve read, it’s very effective for thickening hair, reducing hair loss and even encouraging growth.
My verdict? I love these “big 5” ingredients and other ones, like indian gooseberry, which I used fresh in Sri Lanka and adored. So while I haven’t tried this shampoo yet, I really REALLY want to!
The Lady recommends...
There’s a big link between hair loss and dandruff. Oxidative stress, which triggers inflammation, affects the scalp environment and its ability to a) hold onto existing hair and b) produce strong hair that sticks around.
So the more you can do to create this blank, clean canvas on your head, the better your chances are for sleek ‘n’ healthy hair. Enter Nizoral: a powerful anti-dandruff shampoo that contains 1% ketoconazole – which, if you remember, tackles infection and scalp irritation.
My verdict? Ok, it’s not quite as natural as the other options on this list. Nizoral contains sulfates and other chemicals that people may consider harsh. BUT if you’ve got an itchy, scaly or flaky scalp alongside your thinning hair, Nizoral is a good place to start. Use it twice a week, alternating it with a more natural, gentle shampoo.
The Lady recommends...
Most of these hair loss shampoos are easy to use and don’t have any side effects – so don’t worry, you can’t overdose on them! 😉 Still, Trichologist Bridgette Hill says to prevent hair loss, you should avoid stripping your hair of its natural oils and use plenty of moisture:
“I recommend applying a pre-shampoo scalp oil. A proper scalp oil opens the follicles, encourages cellular turnover and increases blood circulation.”
Hill says that in doing so, you can maximize the effects of the shampoo itself. Personally, I don’t see a need for that as the shampoos I’ve included here are highly moisturizing anyway…but if you’re looking for some great natural oils, read this first.
In general, apply these shampoos daily and follow up with a conditioner from the same brand (some ones, like Nioxin and Shapiro MD, offer leave-in scalp treatments too). However, some of these products can be quite potent, resulting in itchiness or redness especially for those with sensitive scalps. In which case, don’t use them every day.
I’ve listed the exceptions below, plus instructions for use.
I know, I know. With 9 options to pick between – not to mention all the many more shampoos for hair loss out there, all claiming to be THE BEST, it’s a tough decision, right?
Plus, we’re all so different, what works for me may not work for you. And vice versa. So please use your best judgement when choosing your new shampoo – go for whatever feels right. If your head is spinning from different reviews, you can use these checkpoints to help you as you shop.
When it comes to hair growth shampoos, you can choose prescription or over-the-counter. Prescription ones usually involve higher doses of things like ketoconazole and minoxidil and are “anti-androgenetic” – meaning they block the hormones linked to hair loss: testosterone and dihydrotestosterone, or DHT.
These potent mixtures interrupt the hormone cycle to prevent disruption at the follicle but my question is, at what cost? Surely it’s not a good idea to mess with the immune system for those with an already highly reactive autoimmune response? It may be a “quick fix” but can cause negative long-term side effects (in my case, it was gut dysbiosis and symptoms like IBS and chronic headaches).
Personally, I’m not a fan of such high doses of chemicals so my recommendation is: a) use an over-the-counter shampoo with smaller does of these treatments (e.g. Nizoral has just 1% ketoconazole) or b) use OTC options with all-natural DHT blockers, like Shapiro MD.
Over-the-counter hair loss shampoos usually contain amino acids and antioxidants to offer a healthy scalp environment, to rebuild hair follicles and to reduce damage/inflammation. They may take a little longer to “work” but in my opinion, are safer in the long run.
This links to the above but in general, the more natural, the better. You should be able to see the exact proportions of each ingredient (not just “a blend”) and the best ones to look out for are:
A really important one to bear in mind. If your hair loss is genetic or related to a fungal infection, you should try a shampoo with low levels of ketoconazole (like Nizoral or, for something to use regularly, Revita). If it’s linked to mineral deficiencies, try any of the options with biotin or other B vitamins.
If you can narrow down your hair type and the rate of loss, Nioxin’s various systems could offer a solution. If you have no idea what’s causing your hair loss or thinning hair, an all-rounder shampoo like Pura D’Or, Lipogaine or Grow Me might be a good option, especially as they’re all quite good value and you can simply swap out your existing hair care products for several months as an experiment.
None of these options are a quick fix for hair loss (sorry!) But you can start to see an improvement in texture, density and volume in as little as 2 weeks. Most of them recommend using for 6 months to see maximum results but in my opinion, you should have a good idea as to their effectiveness after 3 months of continuous use.
Apart from Nioxin, which can cause a little redness or irritation for some people, and Nizoral, which you should use sparingly, all of the shampoos on this list have no negative side effects and are completely safe to use. If you’re pregnant or breast-feeding, however, please consult your doctor. For children, I would recommend the gentler options like Pura D’Or or Honeydew Biotin.
All of the options I’ve listed are available on Amazon – in some cases, to guarantee better value and authenticity of the products, I’ve linked directly to the manufacturer’s site. You can also get many of them at your local Walmart, Target or online at Sephora.
In most cases, every day. Please refer to my How to Use section for exceptions and further instructions.
Well, they’re not going to magic hair back on your head, or stop hair loss in its tracks. I’m very sorry, but hair loss is a complicated process and there’s no simple solution. They DO, however, provide the optimal environment for hair growth and, combined with a healthy lifestyle, diet and measures to manage stress, are an effective way to manage thinning hair.
We’ve covered a lot here – the 9 best shampoos for thinning hair, where to find them, how to use them and matching the right one to your specific needs. Thanks for staying with me and I hope you’ve found this article useful! 🙂
As these shampoos all take time to “work”, my main piece of takeaway advice would be this: try ONE and stick with it. Don’t change up your shampoo every month without giving it a chance to do its thing. And please don’t despair if you don’t notice big changes after a few weeks.
Like I said, most of these brands recommend at least 6 months’ use for maximum benefits. So choose the one that speaks to you. Keep using it, consistently, for at least 3 months – adding a conditioner from the same brand if you like. You can switch after these 3 months if you really don’t notice a difference – but in all likeliness, you should see a change!
As always, your feedback and comments are more than welcome. Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Love and hugs,
Get free, semi-regular alopecia-related news things and musings.
Psst… If no welcome email shows up, check your spam.
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!
Just stick in your email to join the gang.
If no welcome email appears, please check your spam. Oh, and don’t worry, I won’t give your details to Zuckerberg and you are free to unsubscribe at any time.