Best Products For Thin Hair & What To Avoid Entirely, According To A Dermatologist


Thinning hair is an issue that more and more women are seeing, and while much of it is health related, products that thin your hair are also a huge contributor. When I was about 18 years old, my own hair started to thin out due to thyroid problems, and I had to get really serious about reading labels. Ingredients in beauty products that cause hair loss are more common than you might think, but most of them go under the radar until you’re trying desperately hard to grow your hair thicker and faster and it just keeps falling out.

That’s why I reached out to New York Dermatologist and RealSelf contributor Dr. Sejal Shah, who happens to know a lot about scalp health and hair growth issues. “Hair care practices that causes thinning or breakage are typically very harsh or traumatic practices,” Dr. Shah says, including things like heat and chemical treatments, traction alopecia (a physical pulling on the shaft caused by certain hair styles), and pattern hair loss, which is biological. “However, if you are harsh on your hair, breakage and thinning can occur,” says Dr. Shah, and one of the best things you can do is keep a very close watch on the types of ingredients that you use in your hair care practices.

1. Use Sulfate-Free Products Whenever Possible

Majestic Pure Argan Oil Shampoo, $13, Amazon

According to Dr. Shah, “Sulfates can strip the hair of its natural oils, break down proteins in the hair, slow down and potentially stop hair growth.” As a result, it’s a good idea to look for sulfate-free shampoos, like this Majestic Pure argan oil shampoo. It’s filled with beneficial oils and vitamins that strengthen the hair you already have while promoting growth of new follicles, all without irritating the scalp.

2. Protect Your Hair’s Keratin By Skipping The Chemicals

PURA D'OR Hair Loss Prevention Shampoo, $19, Amazon

“Diethanolamine and Triethanolamine can cause scalp irritation and destroy the hair's keratin,” says Dr. Shah, and this Pura D'or hair loss prevention shampoo skips both of them, alongside other harmful ingredients, like parabens and SLS. It’s got over ten thousand rave reviews because it’s proven to stop breakage and hair loss in its tracks by nourishing the scalp, and even people with the worst sensitivities have no problems with it.

3. Ditch The Preservatives And Replace Them With Proteins

Natural Silk Protein Conditioner, $15, Amazon

“Preservatives like propylene glycol can also cause scalp irritation, which can also lead to hair loss,” says Dr. Shah. Natural Silk's protein conditioner doesn’t have any propylene glycol, and it doesn’t have any heavy waxes or oils that will leave behind a residue, either. Instead it uses silk protein, which can hold up to ten thousand times its weight in moisture, and people are loving how silky, shiny, and healthy their hair looks.

4. Find Styling Products Without Alcohol

Honeybee Gardens Alcohol Free Hair Spray, $12, Amazon

According to Dr. Shah, “Alcohol is often found in hair care products, but it can be drying to hair, especially if at high concentrations.” She suggests making sure that it’s at least five down on the list of ingredients, but if you can avoid it altogether, that’s ideal. This Honeybee Gardens alcohol-free hair spray is enriched with natural botanicals that promote shine and hold all day. The scent is mild and a little goes a long way, but it’s also safe on hair that’s not growing as fast as desired.

5. Caffeine Helps To Stimulate Growth And Circulation

Ultrax Labs Caffeine Hair Stimulating Shampoo, $47, Amazon

According to Dr. Shah, caffeine is a great ingredient to look for in your growth-stimulating products. Ultrax Labs caffeine hair stimulating shampoo uses a combination of caffeine and Ketoconazole compounds to stop inflammation and irritation on the scalp, extend the life cycle of healthy hair follicles, and help hair to grow faster while remaining soft and manageable.

6. Replace Much-Needed Moisture With Healthy Oils

Rapunzel Coconut Oil For Hair Growth, $15, Amazon

“If the hair is dried out, oils can replenish much needed moisture and reduce the risk of breakage,” says Dr. Shah. Rapunzel Coconut Oil For Hair Growth is an awesome option, as it contains both coconut and argan oil to grow hair thicker and stronger, all without weighing it down or making it greasy. It’s an especially great solution if you’ve damaged your hair with chemical treatments.

7. Strengthen Strands With Biotin And Amino Acids

Daily Hydrating Restorative Shampoo, $36, Amazon

If you’re dealing with loss and breakage, “Biotin can help strengthen the hair,” says Dr. Shah, and “Amino acids can also help strengthen and moisturize.” This Rio Cabellod daily hydrating restorative shampoo contains both biotin and amino acids to ensure that your strands are nourished, strong, and healthy, and it also skips all the parabens and sulfates to help overcome hair loss.

8. Deep Condition With Peppermint Oil

The Roots Naturelle Virgin Hair Fertilizer, $15, Amazon

“Peppermint oil may also stimulate hair growth,” Dr. Shah says, “and deep conditioning and hot oil treatments can infuse the hair with moisture, so it is less susceptible to breakage.” The Roots Naturelle Virgin Hair Fertilizer is a deep conditioning treatment with peppermint oil that you can use once a week to stimulate root growth and protect your hair with natural vitamins and proteins.

Images: Amazon (8); Design: Brit Phillips

Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.