The 22 Best Shampoos for Thinning Hair
Are you noticing more hair than usual washing down the drain or accumulating on your brush? Whether it’s due to postpartum hormonal changes, stress, medication or simply aging, seeing your hair thin or fall out can be super frustrating. But before you go down a rabbit hole of searching for the best DIY remedies and treatments, we reached out to a few experts to help get you on the right track so you can learn more about why your hair is thinning and find the best products to treat it.
Meet the Experts
- Debby Vellozzi is the head of product development at Virtue Labs with a focus on consumer testing, product conceptualization and management.
- Dr. Mona Gohara is a board-certified dermatologist in Hamden, Connecticut. She also serves as the Vice President of the Women's Dermatologic Society and is an Associate Clinical Professor at Yale.
- Philip B. is a hairstylist and founder of Philip B Haircare. He has specialized in scalp care and solutions since 1991.
- Rae Lynee Kinler, M.D., is a hair transplant surgeon and clinical director at Ziering Medical in Greenwich, Connecticut.
- Dr. Rebecca Marcus is a board-certified dermatologist in Dallas, Texas and founder of Maei MD. She specializes in medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology.
What Causes Hair to Thin?
As mentioned above, there are various reasons for hair thinning. From a change in diet to an increase in stress, hair loss can happen to anyone at any time. And FYI, don't feel like you're alone in this; hair loss is more common than you think. "Hair loss is really a silent epidemic [for women]. 40 percent of women will experience it by the time they’re 40 and the number increases to 50 percent by the age of 50," says Vellozzi. "The most common cause is both hereditary and hormonal but also the health of our hair goes hand in hand with the health of our bodies. Sleep, nutrition and stress management can play a role in the way our hair and skin age. When the body is experiencing extreme stress—either mental or physical—the health of the hair often follows."
Other factors, specifically lifestyle habits, can cause thinning too. Kinler points out that chemical treatments (color, perm or relaxers), harsh styling products (extreme-hold hairspray and gels) and tight hairstyles are a few common culprits. "Whether you’re wearing braids, locs, up-dos or pulling your hair up in a ponytail for extended periods of time, it can permanently damage your follicles, causing hair loss and thinning over time. This type of hair loss is commonly referred to as traction alopecia," adds Kinler.
How Do I Treat Thinning Hair?
If you're at the beginning stages of hair loss and/or prefer stronger treatments, you can consult with your dermatologist about medical options. "Fortunately, hair thinning can sometimes be reversed, depending on the cause. If you are shedding more than 150 hairs per day, it’s time to consult with a hair loss expert," says Kinler. She points out there are growth factor treatments, laser therapy, supplements and even hair transplants that focus on specific needs.
But if you prefer to start at home, begin with some solid scalp care. "Caring for your scalp is key to treating and reducing thinning hair. Damaged, irritated or inflamed follicles on the scalp can weaken and thin hair," cautions Dr. Gohara. "You should care for your scalp like you care for your face. Gently exfoliate, avoid harsh products and regularly hydrate to keep your scalp happy and healthy in order to avoid thinning hair."
Enter anti-thinning shampoo. "Hair thickening shampoos actually coat individual strands of hair and cause them to appear thicker by increasing the diameter of each strand. [In general] shampoos for thin hair should be light so as not to weigh the hair down," says Dr. Marcus. Shampoos catered to thin hair often include ingredients that exfoliate the scalp to clear through any buildup that may have accumulated, which can get in the way of growth. On that note: Don't forget to add a handy scalp massager into the mix occasionally to encourage circulation.
Another option is to change up your routine. Try reducing your use of heat tools, avoid rinsing with super hot water in the shower or using harsh treatments or drying products on your locks. "These aggressors are constantly degrading our hair’s protective cuticle, causing cracks through which protein leaches out. Regularly repairing that damage, with protein-rich products is the key to maintaining hair health," says Vellozzi.
What Should I Look for in a Shampoo?
When shopping for shampoo, ask yourself: Does it improve moisture, strength, growth and volume? You also want to take a closer at the label. Look for key ingredients like biotin, keratin, ginseng and minoxidil which can help stimulate growth. Peppermint, castor and grapeseed oil have also been linked to combatting hair loss.
"Products containing minoxidil or other growth factors will be the most effective with slowing down hair shedding or reversing hair loss," explains Kinler. "Each have the potential to initiate the growth phase of the hair growth cycle. Some of these products are available over the counter while others require a prescription."
Thankfully, we don’t have to accept a meager ponytail as the new norm anymore. Behold: The 22 best shampoos for thinning hair. All of them are approved by us and our panel of experts for promoting lusher locks.
Best Shampoos for Thinning Hair At a Glance:
- Best Overall: Pura D'Or Original Gold Label Anti-Thinning Shampoo
- Most Nourishing: Virtue Flourish Shampoo
- Best Volume: Biolage Advanced Full Density Thickening Shampoo
- Best Organic Formula: Andalou Naturals Argan Stem Cell Age Defying Shampoo
- Best for Natural Hair: SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Shampoo
- Best for Sensitive Scalp: Pure Biology Premium Hair Growth Shampoo
- Best Budget: OGX Thick & Full + Biotin & Collagen Volumizing Shampoo
- Best Salon Treatment: Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Scalp Care Anti-Thinning Shampoo
- Best Splurge: Hairgenics Propdren Hair Growth Shampoo
- Best Natural Formula: Jason Thin-to-Thick Extra Volume Shampoo
- Best for Progressed Thinning: Nioxin Cleanser Shampoo
- Most Exfoliating: Aveda Invati Advanced Exfoliating Shampoo
- Best for Fine Hair: Living Proof Full Shampoo
- Best Luxury Pick: Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Clinical Densifying Shampoo
- Best for Color-Treated Hair: Verb Volume Shampoo
- Best for Oily Hair: Briogeo Blossom & Bloom Ginseng + Biotin Hair Volumizing Shampoo
- Best for Straight to Wavy Hair: Bumble and Bumble Thickening Volume Shampoo
- Best for Gray Hair: Thicktails Hair Growth Shampoo
- Best Value: HoneyDew Biotin Shampoo
- Best Vegan Formula: Thicker Fuller Hair Strengthening Shampoo
- Most Lightweight: Philip B. Peppermint Avocado Shampoo
- Dermatologist Pick: Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo
Shown to result in less hair shedding after just eight weeks, this potent formula also promotes volume and hydrates dry strands. Its jam-packed with vitamins, amino acids and oils (like black cumin seed oil) to reduce thinning. But its the over 17+ DHT herbal blend that nourishes, cleanses and protects the scalp after every wash.
Moisture is key to bringing back volume and fullness. Core ingredients like alpha and gamma keratin proteins, rice-based humectants and active plant extracts nourish and clears a dry scalp, while reducing irritation and flakes. The gentle formula also repairs your ends with every wash. "As new, fragile hair emerges, this shampoo ensures that it’s nurtured and cared for, so that it grows stronger and thicker," Vellozzi adds.
With 'thickening' in the name, be prepared for voluminous results. The strengthening combo, which includes biotin, zinc and gluco-omega, clears clogged follicles and removes buildup, so your strands aren't weighed down and can bounce back healthier than ever.
Whether you have dull, weak or thinning strands, this shampoo strengthens and revitalizes your hair. Organically-sourced argan oil, grapeseed oil and aloe vera nourish your scalp and give your locks a shiny finish.
Curly and coily gals can rejoice knowing there's a shampoo for their natural hair. The formula (featuring castor oil, apple cider vinegar and shea butter) removes any dirt and oil sitting on the scalp. Add peppermint oil to the mix and your scalp gets a tingling sensation that leaves your hair feeling refreshed, shiny and soft.
You can promote hair growth without having to break the bank. This pick is chock-full of ingredients to improve thickness and dryness. The sulfate-free shampoo has biotin and collagen to ensure your hair receives all the nutrients it needs to thrive.
If you're looking for a pro-grade treatment, look no further than this shampoo. The signature formula includes tumeric, ginseng and kakadu plum to increase the density of each strand and reduce breakage, so your hair feels thicker as it grows.
If you suspect your hair loss is genetic, then you might already know the main culprit is a hormone called DHT. This formula from Pronexa contains DHT blockers, which are clinically proven to stop the hormone in its tracks. Sure, it might be a bit pricey, but think of this as a prescription-level treatment—sans the hassle of a doctor’s appointment.
Sometimes less is more. And in this case, the fewer the chemicals in your shampoo, the better. With a simple blend of vitamins, proteins and botanical extracts and no drying sulfates, this gentle formula will strengthen strands, while soothing your scalp.
Dr. Gohara recommends this cleanser because it slows the progression of hair thinning by removing any barriers to new growth (i.e., any buildup of oils, debris or toxins on the scalp). "It's specifically designed to promote thicker, fuller-looking hair and a healthy scalp, and it addresses different levels of thinning across various hair types," says Dr. Gohara. For best results, massage it into your scalp for a minute or two, before rinsing clean. Tip: Pair this shampoo with the scalp relief system kit for even more fullness and a soothed scalp.
Because the last thing you need is your shampoo weighing down your already limp strands. Thankfully, this cleanser leaves your scalp feeling refreshed and your hair lighter. It's also a great option for people with chemically-treated or bleached hair, as the gentle, sulfate-free formula protects your color and isn't stripping.
The core ingredient in this shampoo is caviar. Yup, the decadent ingredient is also rich in nutrients that restore, protect and improve thinning, dull hair. The lush lather will make you feel like royalty every time wash day rolls around.
This extra clarifying blend thoroughly cleans and enhances your strands with ginseng and biotin without drying them out. With no more product buildup, oil and dirt getting in the way, your hair will spring back to life.
Just a dollop will turn your hair into a soft, hydrated masterpiece. If body and density is what you're lacking, this cleanser's plumping technology (which includes ingredients like aloe vera and vitamin B5) will thicken locks with every wash.
In a world full of hair loss products targeted towards men, it’s refreshing to know that this particular shampoo was created with women in mind. Whether your hair thinning was caused by menopause, postpartum and/or stress, this shampoo can help by blocking DHT production. Plus, it's safe to use on color-treated hair and is especially gentle on graying strands.
Don’t let the generic-looking bottle fool you. Honeydew’s shampoo has 200+ rave reviews and is reported to perform just as well (if not better than) its pricier competitors. With a fortifying formula that includes jojoba oil, tea tree oil and biotin, it leaves your hair feeling lush and smooth.
This gentle formula, which includes peppermint oil and avocado, stimulates circulation and nourishes your scalp without weighing down your locks. "[This shampoo] also allows for moisture and other treatments to penetrate, thereby keeping hair strong and healthy with lots of body," explains Philip B. Apply the product to your scalp, massage it in with your fingers (or use a scalp massager) and leave it on for three minutes before rinsing for best results.
Whether you have straight, wavy or curly hair, this shampoo is derm approved for its efficacy. "[This shampoo] helps to fortify strands and prevent breakage, and having fewer broken hairs leads to a fuller mane over time," explains Dr. Marcus. The brand's bond-building technology reduces damage (including frizz, split ends and weak locks) while nourishing dry strands.