My Favorite Shampoo
If you’ve ever talked to your hairdresser about your thinning hair or hair loss, they’ve most likely recommended Keranique or Nioxin. It’s how I came across both shampoos, actually – I tried Nioxin first, and since that worked for me, I saw no reason to switch.
Although I have used Keranique occasionally, I never did so with the same level of commitment that I used Nioxin – so perhaps this Keranique vs Nioxin post isn’t entirely fair. Still, while I can’t say either brand will help hair growth overnight, I can say which brand I trust more…and whether that brand’s still the best option for hair growth, or if there’s another alternative.
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.
Nioxin makes a range of haircare products designed for both men and women with all forms of hair loss – or anyone with dry, fine or thinning hair. Developed in the late 1980s by Eva Graham, in response to her own hair loss woes, it quickly gathered steam as the most trusted hair thinning brand on the market. At the time, it was the leading drug-free shampoo.
Unfortunately, Proctor and Gamble (P&G) bought Nioxin in 2008 and since then, its formula has changed. For instance, it now includes sulfates. Some of my readers and Amazon reviewers have complained about this – that although Nioxin used to be very effective for promoting hair growth and reducing hair shedding, the shampoo has lost its power since the takeover.
Still, I only started using Nioxin in 2013…and it worked for me, back then! I went from having a bald head to all-over short, but thick, fuzz within a couple of months. Unfortunately, it didn’t last that long – when I stopped using Nioxin, my patches appeared again – but maybe if I’d been consistent with the full product range, it might have worked for longer.
They don’t promise miracles. They never actually state that the shampoo can reduce hair loss or promote hair growth. Rather, they talk about promoting a healthier scalp environment. Which provides a better and more nourished foundation for new locks to grow. In my case, this was true!
I also love how quickly Nioxin takes effect. Right from the first time you use it, you may feel a tingling, cooling sensation on your scalp – that’s thanks to the inclusion of peppermint oil, which is a proven hair growth ingredient. (You might also see a lot of redness on your scalp, even a little irritation – that’s ok, it’s just the shampoo doing some blood-circulating business).
I used a bunch of Nioxin products; read about those in my full review post. Nioxin recommends using a 3-part “system kit” – containing a shampoo, conditioner and a leave-in scalp treatment – as a minimum. Or just start with the shampoo and see how it goes.
Keranique is a much more gimmicky brand than Nioxin, offering a range of “As Seen On TV” products for thinning hair and renewed hair growth. Their products and supplements target male and female pattern baldness and claim to regrow hair that’s stronger, thicker and healthier in just 120 days.
Like Nioxin, salons love this brand. In fact, Keranique might be an even more popular choice by stylists – it’s everywhere!
Lucky it is, too – because buying from Keranique might involved getting scammed into an autoship policy. That’s why you should buy it in a salon or through an online retailer like Amazon or Sephora instead. I talk more about this autoship scam, and about Keranique customer reviews, in this post.
Although I don’t have a lot of love for the brand – it’s waaay too much in cheesy infomercial land for me – I have a little more faith in the treatments themselves.
The shampoo, when I used it, left my hair feeling super-silky and moisturized. And it does this without the use of sulfates or parabens…so now that Nioxin contains sulfates, Keranique could be a healthier choice for your scalp.
The complete Keranique system involves using 4 products: a shampoo and conditioner, a leave-in spray and a leave-in scalp treatment, which contains 2% minoxidil. But having suffered pretty bad side effects from minoxidil before, I can’t say I recommend it – so I’d stick to the first 3 products, or check out their serum for added shine and volume.
Nioxin gets a higher trust rating than Keranique on TrustPilot (3.7 vs 1.4) and on Amazon, Nioxin System 2 shampoo gets 4.7 stars out of over 9,000 reviews, while Keranique shampoo gets 4.4 out of half that amount.
The price isn’t all that different, although Nioxin is slightly better value. A 240ml bottle of Keranique costs $24, while for $20 you can get a 300mls bottle of Nioxin – or get a 1 liter bottle for $45.
Keranique is a paraben-free and sulfate-free shampoo, while Nioxin, these days anyway, contains potentially damaging ingredients: like selenium sulfide, a chemical compound found in dandruff-fighting shampoos, which can actually increase hair loss. Nioxin also contains sodium lauryl sulfates and both methylparaben and propylparaben.
However, in terms of a more targeted approach to hair growth, Nioxin is a winner. By offering 6 different systems depending on your hair type and the extent of hair loss, you’ve got a better chance of finding a product that works for your scalp’s individual needs. Keranique is a more generalized approach to promote healthy hair.
I know which brand I prefer – but what do you think? Maybe this quick recap will help you decide!
It might seem like a close call between Nioxin and Keranique. Personally, I trust Nioxin more because they don’t give false hopes (even though it worked for me!) and they don’t entrap customers into an autoship program.
However, the formula contains sulfates nowadays, and some people complain it dries out their hair/damages it further. Both shampoos may cause initial hair shedding too, while your scalp gets used to them.
In my experience, Revita is the best shampoo I’ve used to improve hair growth. I didn’t get any initial hair shedding; my hair was dry for a couple of days but after that, it looked healthier than it had in a loooong time. And when I started using the conditioner, it was like my hair had doubled in thickness!
Revita is a more natural option than both Nioxin and Keranique. It doesn’t contain sulfates or parabens, it does contain great hair growth natural ingredients like ketoconazole, caffeine and ginseng, and it has options for both men and women and different hair types. Revita also make serums, supplements and more: use their advisor tool to find the best treatment plan for you.
A 205ml bottle of Revita costs $35 (or $28, with a subscription – fear not, customer reviews about this service are great!) or the environmentally conscious can get refillable pouches for better value.
Nioxin’s website will instruct you to find a local salon, or if buying online, through Ulta, Wella or Amazon. If you’d prefer Keranique, I’d still buy it from Amazon instead of their website so you don’t get caught up in an autoship program that’s tricky to cancel.
I haven’t used Keranique on a long-term basis – I only used the shampoo a few times, so I can’t say for sure. But Nioxin really helped my hair loss; it even grew my hair back within a couple of months! Plus, they have different systems for hair types and the extent of hair loss. So I think Nioxin is probably the better hair thinning shampoo.
Actually, I’m Team Revita first. But when it comes down to whether I’d choose Keranique or Nioxin, I’d have to say Nioxin.
Now, what worked for me may not for you. And Nioxin isn’t suitable for everyone as it can come with some side effects. So as with any hair growth treatment – be it a shampoo, supplement or serum – I’d run it past your doctor first…if you can afford to do so.
If not, try doing a patch test or just introduce the shampoo gently into your haircare regime for the first couple of weeks. Note any side effects – if there are none, you can start using the shampoo every other day, or even daily.
I really hope whatever option you choose brings you positive hair growth results…or at the very least, renewed scalp and hair health! I’d love to hear about your progress, so get sharing 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!