Let’s get right to the point. Because when it comes to hair loss, you don’t want a fluffy answer – you want a direct one!
Plenty of Shapiro MD reviews gush about how it magically regrows hair. Which I don’t think any shampoo can do overnight. Because 6.8 million people (in the US alone) are still affected by alopecia areata…no matter what shampoo they use!
Alopecia is triggered by different factors – including hormones, genetics, gut imbalances and stress – so it takes more than a topical treatment to deliver long-term results. (That’s why I’m not a fan of minoxidil; it addresses the symptom, not the root cause.)
Good news: with the right blend of ingredients, you CAN improve scalp health, and your hair’s health, too. So it’s less likely to become brittle and fall out. And if you already have bald patches, the right shampoo creates the best environment for regrowth.
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.
This specialized hair thinning shampoo tops lots of “best hair loss treatment” lists. But I’ve never given it much attention – because I used Nioxin and that’s what worked for me. But having researched Shapiro A LOT, I see what all the fuss is about.
Shapiro MD was founded in 2011 by two dermatologists: Dr Steven Shapiro and Dr Michael Bornenstein. After 5 years of studying the effects of DHT on hair follicles, Dr Shapiro and Dr Bornenstein created a “triple-action hair care formulation” and patented it for hair loss.
The result? A VERY popular shampoo and conditioner, plus other products like a growth-stimulating foam, grounded in good ol’ science. Although Shapiro focuses on thinning hair, it’s suitable for all hair types – so whether you’ve got straight, wavy or curly hair, this baby makes a great shower companion.
Shapiro nourishes the scalp, keeps existing hair healthy and encourages growth. So no, it’s not a scam. It does exactly what it promises: “Helps you keep the hair you have and achieve thicker, fuller looking hair”. But you should be careful where you buy it.
Read on to see how Shapiro MD works for hair loss, plus how to avoid shipping scams (by NOT buying direct!)
“What’s in it for me?” I hear you say. Great question. Because this post isn’t about how brainy some dermatologists in lab coats are, this is about if – and how – a shampoo can help your hair loss.
So first, I’ll outline 5 reasons why it’s a great product, then I’ll explain how it actually works.
Let me hit you with some science. DHT stands for dihydrotestosterone – which is a metabolite, a fancy word that describes what the hormone testosterone breaks down into. Some DHT is needed for growth and development…but too much is not A Good Thing.
Why? Well, when DHT reaches your hair follicles, it attaches itself to your receptors (which are like sensors). The receptor then tells the follicle to protect itself, to shrink and retreat. It sends the hair a message: it tells it “go away”.
This process weakens the hair follicle more and more until it becomes so small, both it (and the hair shaft, the visible part of the strand) break off. Due to a range of factors associated with autoimmune conditions, it mightn’t be able to grow back out again.
So too much DHT can:
Yikes! DHT can be a fast-track to male-pattern baldness, or other forms of hair loss.
How can Shapiro help with all this? Because it works as a DHT-blocking shampoo. So it can stop the above process (that of the DHT attaching itself to the receptor) by prohibiting DHT in the first place.
Actually, lots of shampoos block DHT. What sets Shapiro apart from them is the following…
Many shampoos for thinning hair use harsh chemical compounds to inhibit DHT production, and these chemicals can have negative side effects: like itchiness or irritation, headaches or dizziness.
Even Nioxin, which has many benefits for both normal and chemically treated hair, can dry out the scalp because it contains sulfates.
Shapiro MD, however, only uses 3 naturally occurring DHT blockers: caffeine, green tea and saw palmetto. This formula sends the hair a new message: “you shouldn’t go away – you should stay”.
So these natural ingredients:
These active ingredients stimulate stem cells to produce new hair, even if the follicle has been badly damaged by the effects of too much testosterone and its bi-products (i.e. DHT). It’s a MUCH more natural approach to hair growth (unlike harsh chemicals, like minoxidil) and it’s just one of the qualities that makes Shapiro MD special.
As one of my top sulfate-free shampoos, Shapiro MD is also paraben-free and animal-friendly. Good to know.
Shapiro’s also different to other hair thinning shampoos because it’s developed by dermatologists – not just canny marketing types, like those behind Keranique. In fact, medical experts and customers alike are really positive in their Shapiro MD reviews.
Well…to an extent. We’ll read about some autoship scams and complaints soon, so perhaps Shapiro isn’t quite as trustworthy as you might hope. For a more credible brand of thinning hair shampoos and conditioners, also sulfate free and designed by dermatologists, I’d highly recommend Revita. It’s my favorite!
Now you know how Shapiro works, let’s delve in deeper – to those lovely natural ingredients that block DHT.
Side note: Depending on what treatment you choose, Shapiro MD can include oral finasteride or minoxidil. But because I’m not a fan of those things, I’ll focus on its natural products: Shapiro shampoo, conditioner and foam.
Shapiro MD contains 3 natural DHT blockers in its proprietary triple-action formula:
When applied topically, caffeine is really effective at boosting blood flow and promoting hair growth. The skin absorbs it quickly into hair follicles, while stopping pesky DHT by blocking the actions of 5-α reductase.
In fact, some studies show that low concentrations of caffeine were just as effective as topical minoxidil at the 6-month mark…without the nasty side effects. Since caffeine helps blood flow, it can also help nutrient-starved cells to replenish. Not a bad brew.
Psst…see this post for a great caffeine-rich shampoo – especially for hormonal hair loss!
You may use green tea to give you an added energy boost. But when applied topically, it’s actually said to prolong the anagen phase of the hair-growth cycle. Since the anegan phase is when growth happens, that’s definitely A Good Thing.
Oh, and EGCG can also block DHT from forming in the first place, as well as inhibiting the receptor it needs to bind to in order to do its evil work. Go green! Go green tea!
If you’re familiar with other hair loss shampoos, you’ve probably heard of saw palmetto. It’s been used for centuries in folk medicine but in more recent years has shot to fame for its anti-androgenetic effects. (FYI: androgens are male sex hormones including testosterone and DHT).
Specifically, it inhibits the 5-alpha enzyme that helps produce DHT. Saw palmetto also contains powerful antioxidants to protect the scalp and help hair follicles recover from damage. Berry nice.
Let’s find out.
So what are the results of using Shapiro MD? Well, Dr Nicole says that after just ONE MONTH customers notice:
Dr Michael Borenstein, co-creator of the patented formula, says its proprietary ingredients deliver real, positive results for patients: on a routine basis, over a long period of time.
And then of course, there’s Dr Steven Shapiro himself – the other force behind the shampoo who loves his name so much he put it on the label.
Dr Shapiro has over 25 years of experience in dermatology, treating skin, hair and nail conditions. And while I don’t think this means he knows it all – because I’ve been to several established dermatologists and trichologists who clearly don’t – it does give him more credibility compared to other hair loss shampoo brands. (Such as Nioxin, now manufactured by P&G).
Dr Shapiro is so confident – and excited – about his product, it’s hard not to believe in its effects.
Board-certified dermatologists are great and all. And sure, if they recommend Shapiro as the best shampoo for thinning hair, their opinions carry weight. However, these particular Shapiro MD shampoo reviews are just a little biased – after all, they’re the ones who make the stuff!
So what do customers say? The ones actually slathering their heads with Shapiro’s patented formula?
Well, customer reviews on Amazon and YouTube certainly seem to reflect the dermatologists’ claims of thicker, fuller hair after one month.
Still, I take all reviews with a pinch of salt. Reviews can be faked and people can be bribed – and one unhappy Shapiro MD review says people get a free supply of Shapiro products to leave a glowing testimonial!
But even though some people complain it’s a waste of money or that it has a strong smell, the worst side effect they report is simply that it didn’t work. So I think “what is there to lose?!” The positive reviews all say it worked pretty quickly – so maybe it’s worth a try!
Since I have been using this product I have noticed that my hair does not fall out as much. I see new growth already in the first month. I was skeptical because the label said it may take up to 3 months before you notice a difference but I am already seeing it.
– Lundy, via Amazon
I tried almost every hair growth, hair loss preventing, hair thickening shampoo and conditioner out there and NOTHING has worked as well as this. I could literally see the difference in the first week. I used to lose clumps of hair every time I washed or brushed it and I now barely lose any at all. I coupled these with Nutrafol vitamins and I’m getting new hair growth.
– Shannon, via Amazon
As I alluded to above, not all the reviews are positive: particularly around the brand’s customer service and their autoship policy.
Since I first published this post, waaay back in 2020, I’ve had lots of people writing in to say that Shapiro MD is running a kind of scam where they a) ship you products you didn’t ask for or b) refuse to accept returns and will charge your card anyway.
I also had a journalist email me in February, 2021 to say he’s investigating fraudulent behavior by the guys behind the company. He agreed it’s still a great product, the formula hasn’t changed, but unfortunately, their sales and marketing practices are…unethical, to say the least.
That’s why I would advise: DO NOT buy direct from the manufacturer!! Order from Amazon instead – you still get the benefits of the shampoo but without getting signed up for an auto-renew policy.
Shapiro shampoo and conditioner are pretty gentle and only contain natural ingredients – so you can use them every day. Try the set every day for at least a month and notice the effects!
Some customers leave the products on for 3 minutes before rinsing; others noticed too much of a build-up on the scalp and found that 1 minute worked better. See what suits you.
Of course, there are more products available (aren’t there always?!) but the cleanser and conditioner are probably enough to start seeing results. If not, you could always use Shapiro in addition to a hair growth supplement like Folexin – read my full review on that brand here.
Or check out some of Shapiro’s other products, like natural supplements and less-than-natural hair growth pills, if you’re really keen. The Natural Kit is a good option: it includes the shampoo, conditioner and foam. To use the foam, pump the bottle twice and apply it to dry hair daily. No need to rinse.
I’ve already talked about the overall benefits of Shapiro but its flagship product, the shampoo, and its companion, the conditioner, are the best things to buy if you’re new to the brand.
Both are suitable for both men and women as they work to block excess DHT from the body – as we’ve seen, that’s what experts agree can trigger hair loss. Male pattern baldness and androgenetic alopecia accounts for more than 95% of hair loss in men and two-thirds of American men will have experienced hair loss by the age of 35.
While in the UK, around 8 million women have hair loss – so surely they’ll appreciate something to slow it down!
Luckily, Shapiro’s triple-action hair care approach to block DHT does just that, even stops the process entirely, and in a natural way. It can slow or stop genetic hair thinning in its tracks and help to repair damage by nourishing the scalp.
As well as their best-selling shampoo, these guys have branched out to other aspects that foster healthy hair. (Like a healthy gut. Which as you may know by now, I fully support.)
Here’s what else they offer, many of which can be bought as part of a “hair regrowth kit”:
Where can you buy extra Shapiro stuff? All of the above products are available directly from the manufacturer (although I wouldn’t recommend it after the comments I received…see them below). For the shampoo and conditioner, you can get pretty good deals on Amazon.
Short answer: It depends which products you use. Since the ingredients in the shampoo, conditioner and foam are naturally occurring, bad side effects are rare. (Like I said, the only negative comment in those Amazon reviews was that it didn’t seem to work.)
In my opinion, what have you got to lose?! The Natural Kit – or just the shampoo, or the shampoo and conditioner set – aren’t that expensive, so it won’t hurt to try them for a couple of months.
LA Says: Note that if you choose the serum with minoxidil, or the oral finasteride product, these CAN have negative side effects. Use them with caution and talk to your doctor/dermatologist if you’re not sure. Also, don’t use Shapiro products if you’re pregnant/breast-feeding due to its hormonal effects.
While some Shapiro products contain minoxidil, the shampoo and conditioner don’t. That’s why I like them – because I didn’t have a great experience with minoxidil, back when I used it.
Now, I’ve never tried Rogaine (which is a popular brand name for minoxidil), but I DID try the 5% topical solution before. It gave me really bad headaches and dizzy spells – and it didn’t work, not to any real degree. I saw a teeny bit of fuzz (vellus hairs) but they didn’t last long and weren’t worth the pain!
That’s why I tried Nioxin, which I really liked – but which doesn’t block DHT. Shapiro, on the other hand, does block DHT. And it does it naturally.
So in my opinion, Shapiro is a much safer bet than Rogaine! Plus, you could always add a couple of drops of peppermint essential oil to the shampoo, which has been proven to be just as effective as minoxidil in animal trials. Or try Nanoxidil serum from DS Labs (the brand behind Revita) – which is basically, Minoxidil 2.0 without the harsh side effects.
Results may differ depending on the person but in terms of before and after effects, some Shapiro customers notice a big difference after just a month.
You can buy the various treatments straight from Shapiro’s website, although Amazon has good deals on larger supplies. You can also get the separate products (or kits, depending on availability) and your local Walgreens or Walmart.
Not the shampoo or the conditioner, no. Just the Men’s 5% Minoxidil Serum does; the other products are more natural.
Unfortunately, no. These products aren’t recommended for pregnant or lactating women, due to the hormonal risk of active DHT blockers on unborn or nursing children.
The 9.5oz shampoo and conditioner set costs under $70 for a one-month supply – it’s usually cheaper to stock up for a few months.
In this humble alopecian’s opinion? Yes, yes it is. Why? Well, because both caffeine and saw palmetto are proven DHT-blocking ingredients, which work to slow the rate of hair loss. I actually didn’t know green tea had such extra powers but the fact that it can prolong the anagen phase is great news!
While I don’t think it’ll magically regrow hair, I do like the fact that Shapiro does everything other hair loss brands do, and more – in a natural way. Clearly, it’s one of the top-selling hair thinning and alopecia shampoos for a very good reason!
Since Shapiro MD doesn’t come with any bad side effects (that I know of), I’m happy to cast my vote and would recommend giving it a try. Just be careful where you order it from! And please, share your own Shapiro reviews below – I’d love to hear about your experiences.
Love & hugs,
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