The 11 Best Shampoos for Hair Growth, According to Experts and Reviews
If you're noticing a lot of strands accumulating in your shower drain, don't panic—hair loss is more common than you may think. It's actually normal to lose between 50 and 100 hairs a day, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association. And if you're wondering what's causing your shedding, thinning, or hair loss, just know that genetics, hormones, illness, medication, childbirth, stress, and even how you style your hair can all play a role.
Plus, with the extreme stress of the pandemic and recovery from Covid-19, more people than ever before are noticing their ponytails aren't as full as they once were. It's true: Stress or illness (currently, including COVID-19) can cause hair loss—it's a process known as telogen effluvium, or the excessive shedding of hair induced by stress, Michelle Henry, MD, a dermatologist based in New York, previously told Health.
Those experiencing extreme shedding or hair loss (more than 100 hairs a day) should see a medical professional—a dermatologist or a hair loss specialist like a trichologist—to pinpoint the root cause and the best treatment. "The earlier you start therapies, the more likely they are to be effective," says Sara Wesserbauer, MD, a hair restoration surgeon in California. A doctor can also use blood work to identify iron levels, thyroid disorders, hormone imbalances, and even autoimmune disorders that may be driving the hair loss, adds Adam Mamelak, MD, a dermatologist based in Austin. "Hair and tissue cultures and even more elaborate testing, including a scalp biopsy, may be indicated to help identify the cause of hair loss," he adds.
Taking a holistic approach to your hair is also important because hair is made up of a protein, and low protein intake is correlated with hair growth, says Dr. Wesserbauer. Animal protein intake seems to be correlated to better hair growth (although there are iron-rich foods, no meat required), so adding in meat a few times a week can give you the protein and iron you need, points out Dr. Wesserbauer. Iron is one of the most important vitamins for hair growth, along with B12, C, D, and E. The trick with vitamins is their absorption—iron is best absorbed in small doses and with vitamin C, while vitamin D is best taken with calcium, explains Dr. Wesserbauer. But if you adhere to a vegetarian diet or are iron-deficient, you doctor can help identify imbalances and figure out the best source and intake plan.
You should also look for topical products with ingredients that may stimulate and aid the hair growth process—and stay away from those that might hinder it. "You want to focus on how shampoos impact the scalp when you're trying to combat hair loss," says Fae Norris, a hairstylist at Rock Paper Salon in Los Angeles. "That's where hair loss is created and where it can be treated." For instance, formulas boasting biotin, minoxidil, keratin (a protein that can be found naturally in the body that's important for skin, hair, and nails), and ingredients that help inhibit the production of dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, a hormone that plays a role in hair loss, are a good start.
While biotin is popular for the treatment of hair loss, its usefulness has not been substantiated by clinical trials, Ava Shamban, MD, a dermatologist based in Beverly Hills and founder of SKINxFIVE, previously told Health. However, its believed that not having enough of the vitamin can negatively impact your strands and cause hair loss. On the other hand, formulas containing DMDM hydantoin have been seen to cause scalp irritation and hair loss—and the ingredient has the class-action lawsuits to prove it—so avoid products containing it.
Don't want to add another step into your hair care regimen? An easy swap to make is the shampoo you're using. Why? Cleansing the scalp, optimizing the scalp condition, and treating it with hair-building and hair-strengthening ingredients is crucial for hair growth, says Vinnie Ferrara, hairstylist and Nioxin Top Artist.
Ahead, 11 of the best shampoos for hair growth, according to stylists, dermatologists, and customer reviews.
Bumble and Bumble Thickening Volume Shampoo
This is a go-to for fine or thinning hair for Norris. It delivers immediate results, keeps hair hydrated, and offers exceptional all-day softness and shine. "I also like that a little bit goes a long way to delivering substantial lather," she adds. The hydrating ingredients, like panthenol and aloe vera juice, are also great for ultra dry or frizz-prone strands. Amazon reviewers claim it gives thickening-results and makes even those with baby fine strands look like they have a full head of hair.
Shapiro MD Hair Loss Shampoo
The unique aspect of this shampoo formula is how it stops hair loss. According to the dermatologist created line, "Hair loss is typically caused by excess DHT in the body." To combat that, this shampoo (and the other products in the line) contain three powerful, naturally-occurring DHT blocking ingredients to improve the fullness and thickness of your hair.
One fan wrote: "I have been using these products for close to three months now and I am beginning to see and feel a difference with my hair. I have new hair growth and my hair is more manageable. Very pleased so far with the overall results. Highly recommend."
OGX Thick & Full Biotin & Collagen Extra Volume Extra Strength Shampoo
With a nearly five-star rating from Ulta shoppers, this budget-friendly pick is proof that you don't need to break the bank for an effective hair growth shampoo. The formula contains biotin and collagen to nourish and strengthen hair, and it also has a sulfate-free blend of vitamins to plump strands for an instant volumizing effect.
"I had been rapidly losing hair for months in alarming quantities," reported a shopper. "After a month of using this my hair loss decreased dramatically and I noticed my hair breakage was less as well. I switched to a different shampoo and the breakage returned but since coming back the biotin one, it's getting stronger again. This stuff honestly saved me from so much panic, cannot recommend more."
Nioxin Cleanser Shampoo
The shampoo, conditioner, and styling products you use affects the skin on your scalp and the health of your hair, says Ferrara. "The blood flow to the scalp ultimately feeds the hair follicle." He recommends this Nioxin shampoo for thinning hair, which contains botanicals and humectants to remove product build up, minerals, pollutants, and toxins without stripping away essential oils. When washing, allow the shampoo to sit on your hair for a minute or two to break down any build-up on the scalp. A gentle massage can feel good, but be careful not to scrub as that can damage or even pull out baby hairs, says Ferrara.
"Product is great. Been using it for years. I see a noticeable difference in hair growth and fullness. It works well to clean scalp of follicle clogging oil and debris," said a customer.
Revitalash Cosmetics Thickening Shampoo
It was only a matter of time before the makers of cult classic brow and lash growth serums launched a hair line targeting thinning hair. Revitalash's plant-infused formula cleanses the scalp to unclog follicles and stimulate growth, protects against environmental stressors, and works to thicken strands of hair for impressive body. But the true test: Reviewers note that they've seen results in as little as a few months, and even their hairdressers have noticed their new growth.
Alterna Haircare Caviar Anti-Aging Multiplying Volume Shampoo
Formulated without sulfates, phthalates, and parabens, this formula builds thickness and volume, protects color, and makes thin, fine hair look fuller and healthier. A blend of keratin, panthenol, and biotin are responsible for strengthening the weak, damaged, and fine strands—all ingredients that our experts recommend for healthy hair and growth.
One fan wrote: "I love this shampoo! After nearly two years with no hair due to chemotherapy, my hair started to grow again, but incredibly thin and the top is so sparse I [can] see through the hair right into the scalp. The doctor says it isn't likely to get much better, and I tried this shampoo. It is truly great, leaves my head feeling squeaky-clean, and the hair is softer."
Viviscal Gorgeous Growth Densifying Shampoo
This botanical-based formula contains keratin, biotin, and zinc—which are all believed to have benefits for hair—to promote hair growth. And the affordable price point definitely makes this one to try. Don't believe us? Trust the more than 10,000 five-star ratings from Amazon customers, who were thrilled enough to even share their before-and-after photos showcasing their progress.
"This works. Have been taking [it] for six months and almost immediately had less shedding while brushing [my] hair and showering. Long term, my hair has become stronger and I have a halo of baby hairs coming in all over my head. It looks like frizz bc I have curly hair but it is new hair growth and I am so so pleased. Stress of 2020 made my hair start to thin and fall out. This has made my hair grow fast. This miraculously has restored my hair beyond my expectations. I'll be taking this for the rest of my life!" raved a shopper.
Davines Naturaltech Energizing Shampoo
Another favorite from Norris, this shampoo is specifically designed to treat hair that's thinning or prone to breakage by stimulating the scalp with caffeine to encourage better circulation, as well as improve hair elasticity. "Clients and myself have seen great results with this shampoo," reports Norris. You'll get the instant benefit of hair feeling stronger and looking thicker, while it slows hair loss in the long term. "I like the sweet minty smell and that you can feel the tingle on your scalp," adds Norris. And Amazon reviewers agree: Many repeat buyers noted that they loved the tingling sensation, it cleans the scalp thoroughly, and boosts hair growth.
Bondi Boost Hair Growth Shampoo
One of the best-selling shampoos for hair growth on Ulta, this one is free of parabens, sulfates, and diethanolamine (aka DEA, which is a common wetting agent used in shampoos that can damage hair's natural keratin and cause irritation). Instead, it's packed with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to promote hair growth. The fresh, peppermint-scented shampoo is recommended to be used three times per week for optimal results.
"I'm honestly amazed! I bought the shampoo and conditioner because I felt stuck with my hair length. I just wanted to be able to pull it back or braid it and it was just slightly too short. I had seen this brand all over Instagram and I decided to give it a try. I also just had my second baby and I know the struggle that postpartum hair loss brings. I can honestly say that after a month of use (three, maybe four, times a week) I have seen great results! My hair has grown as you can see in the photos and I can't wait to see my results at two months!" shared a customer.
ISDIN Lampdapil Hair Density Shampoo
Often recommended by dermatologists, including Dr. Mamelak, this hair growth shampoo contains biotin, zinc, and B vitamins to nourish and strengthen dry, damaged hair and improve fullness and growth. The shampoo can even be combined with the ISDIN hair lotion and supplements for full effect, notes Dr. Mamelak.
One fan said: "Leaves my hair shiny and feeling full. Has helped slow the loss of hair that started after significant weight loss."
Pura D'Or Original Gold Label Anti-Thinning Biotin Shampoo
Amazon's best-selling "hair regrowth shampoo," it boasts nearly 18,000 reviews and an impressive 4.3 rating. The plant-based option uses a combination of 17 botanical ingredients—ranging from argan oil to aloe vera—to reduce breakage and promote healthier hair. But the star ingredients are nettle extract and saw palmetto, which are both advertised as DHT blockers to prevent your hair from thinning and to stimulate hair growth.
"I am absolutely amazed, this really and truly works! I noticed the difference in my hair quality from the first day, and my hairdresser spontaneously told me that she could see new hair growth without me telling her that I was doing anything different just two weeks into using it! And now here I am 2-3 months later and I am actually having to make sure to leave time to dry my hair — it used to take 20 seconds and I was done, but now it takes a good 4-5 minutes," reported a shopper.