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The 8 Best Shampoos For Hair Growth & Thickness, According To Experts

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Hair loss and thinning affects millions of Americans, so if you’re trying to thicken and grow your hair, you are not alone. But because there are many types of hair loss and even more potential causes (think genetics, stress, pregnancy, or menopause), the first step if you experience hair loss or thinning is to seek the advice of a professional. A dermatologist who specializes in the causes and treatments can do a lot more for your overall hair growth than any over-the-counter treatments, even a shampoo. But if a medical opinion isn’t an option for you, or you’d like to try out some topical products to see if you can create a healthier scalp environment and stimulate your hair, the best shampoos for hair growth and thickness have a few key ingredients to look out for. What do experts say?

According to Dr. Anna Chacon, MD, board-certified dermatologist with My Psoriasis Team, “There have been clinical studies performed on ketoconazole shampoo that demonstrate it is helpful in treating androgenetic or hormonal hair loss. This is a form of hair loss common in both men and women, and is particularly commonplace as we age, especially after menopause.” While the studies in question feature a higher percentage of ketoconazole than you can find in most over-the-counter shampoos (2% compared to 1%), these shampoos are still worth trying if you’re suffering from hair loss or thinning.

One ingredient you’ll see in a lot of hair loss products is minoxidil. Minoxidil is the active ingredient found in over-the-counter treatments like Rogaine, and has been approved by the FDA to treat certain types of hair loss. It’s also an ingredient that NYC-based master hair colorist, Stephanie Brown of IGK Soho, recommends in a shampoo for hair growth and thickening. She also recommends natural ingredients like peppermint oil, caffeine, biotin, hemp oil, amino acids, and vitamins E and B, which help promote a healthy scalp environment, and thicken and moisturize strands (though there is no evidence they promote hair growth).

While experts share what you should look for, there are also some ingredients that you should avoid. Sulfates and parabens are two chemical preservatives commonly used in many shampoos and conditioners, that can also cause your scalp and hair to be more dry and irritated. Keep your eyes out for sulfate-free and paraben-free formulas when buying any shampoo if you have hair concerns. (Note: A few formulas on this list do have sulfates or parabens.)

An important caveat to all of this information: The best advice in regards to your hair and scalp will come from your own dermatologist or trusted hair professional. Ultimately, hair loss and thinning is a common issue, but the treatment best for you will depend on the specific reasons you’re experiencing it. Shampoo is merely one over-the-counter treatment to try, not a holy grail solution.

For more details on the best shampoos for hair growth and thickness, scroll down below.

1

A Ketoconazole Shampoo For Hair Growth

This anti-dandruff shampoo is actually a favorite amongst reviewers who experience hair thinning and loss. Formulated with 1% ketoconazole, an active ingredient which has been linked to hair regrowth, this shampoo will also promote a healthier, flake-free scalp. Though it is not sulfate- or paraben-free, it is safe for color-treated or chemically-processed hair. And, with 47,000 reviews and counting, this is one of the most popular shampoos you can find.

According to one reviewer: "Unlike most reviewers, I don't use this shampoo for dandruff; I use it for hair loss. Of course, I don't see any dandruff at all anymore (I suppose I had a few flakes here and there) so really, it's a win on two fronts because a couple of years ago my hair started falling out like crazy and after regular use of this, it doesn't anymore. It just doesn't! AND I have a bunch of new growth!”

2

A 4-In-1 Hair System With Minoxidil

This four-in-one DHT-blocking hair system may take a while to show results, but it’s formulated with 2% Minoxidil, the FDA-approved ingredient for hair growth. You’ll get two 8-ounce bottles, one shampoo and one conditioner, as well as a daily leave-in foam and a 2% Minoxidil hair treatment that you can use as a system. This system is a bit of an investment, and even more so when you factor in this is just one month’s supply, but it’s won over fans and has the science-backed minoxidil that makes it a standout choice.

According to one reviewer: “I am on my second bottle of the shampoo and conditioner and after about 3 weeks I noticed a significant decrease in hair loss. I just began using the hair regrowth treatment so it is too soon to tell, but I really like the shampoo and conditioner.”

3

A Cult-Favorite Hair System

While the other hair system on this list has a slightly more impressive ingredient list, this Nioxin kit is a fan favorite and has won over thousands of Amazon reviewers. In this kit you’ll get a shampoo, a conditioner, and a scalp and hair treatment. This three-month supply is a considerably more affordable option than the hair system above, and while it lacks the minoxidil you’d find in the pricier pick above, it is also it also a DHT blocker to help reduce hair thinning (For reference, DHT is a hormone linked to male-patterned or genetic hair loss, and DHT blockers prevent this type of hair thinning).

According to one reviewer: “It helped restore and regrow my hair after using a medicine that caused some hair loss. I use two to three times a week, made hair feel and look thicker. I will continue to use to help my hair look thicker.”

4

A Thickening Shampoo That’s Sulfate Free

While some limited studies have linked biotin to hair growth, there’s good reason to be cautious about popular “biotin” shampoos. Many dermatologists warn that unless you are deficient in vitamin B (which is rare), consuming biotin won’t stimulate hair growth. And, the studies that do link biotin with hair growth don’t singularly identify biotin as the culprit behind the regrowth. That said, this Paisle Botanics shampoo is a popular option and has plenty of ingredients that help promote hair thickness and health. Its formula utilizes all-natural ingredients like B-complex vitamins, coconut oil, and rosemary oil to make your hair look thicker and more lush. It also doesn't contain any harsh chemicals, like parabens, sulfates, phthalates, or formaldehyde, and is safe to use if you have sensitive scalp skin or color-treated hair. Even better, this shampoo is cruelty-free and has a subtle, flower-y scent that reviewers love.

According to one reviewer: "After using the shampoo for nine months, I can definitely say my hair is thicker and my stylist confirms this. Has it regrown hair? No, but it is possible it has slowed the pace of my disappearing hair at age 65. To be fair, the carefully worded product description does not claim to regrow hair, but to 'encourage' it. I do like the product. It has a pleasant scent, is thicker than most shampoos, and is clear which is unusual."

5

A Natural Shampoo With Rosemary Oil & Saw Palmetto

This natural shampoo has a laundry list of natural ingredients that have been linked to hair regrowth, including rosemary oil and saw palmetto, along with argan oil and biotin. And, while research is still needed to prove definitively that these natural ingredients promote hair regrowth, thousands of Amazon reviewers have tried it out and given it a rave, 4.3-star overall rating. This vegan and cruelty-free formula also comes with a 100% money-back guarantee, should you try it and not see the results you’re looking for.

According to one reviewer: “Okay! I’m obsessed. Been using this solely and consistently for two weeks. I have a lot less hair loss and shedding when I’m brushing or styling my hair.”

6

A Sulfate-Free Shampoo With Biotin & Argan Oil

Formulated with biotin and argan oil, this Nuva Botanicals shampoo nourishes your hair, and is a cruelty-, sulfate-, and paraben-free option. And, while the research may not be there to suggest that biotin is an effective treatment for hair loss, this shampoo has won over plenty of reviewers who swear by it for helping with their hair regrowth and thickening. Couple that with the fact that argan oil is thought to hydrate and perhaps even strengthen your hair, and this shampoo is really worth your time.

According to one reviewer: "This shampoo is amazing! I have fine thin hair, and I have tried many different brands, hoping for fuller thicker hair, non of them delivered. Until this shampoo, my hair is noticeable thicker and shiny. It is also, a lot easier to manage.”

7

A Thickening Shampoo With Keratin & Biotin

This “densifying” shampoo is formulated with biotin and keratin, which work to strengthen and restore your hair. While keratin is most effective when used as a treatment, there are some hair-strengthening benefits from keratin-rich shampoos, serums, and other products. And, if you’re looking to build out a hair care routine, this shampoo has a matching conditioner, and a serum you can try. With over 12,000 Amazon reviews, this is a wildly popular option for a variety of hair types and needs.

According to one reviewer: “Women with thinning hair this is for you!!! I have tried everything in the market available for thinning hair and nothing has worked. [...] But recently I tried this shampoo and my head looks fuller I am positive with continuing to use my hair might also become a little more dense.”

8

A Shampoo With Caffeine To Promote Scalp Health

The evidence is largely anecdotal, but caffeine shampoos, like this best-selling one, show some signs that they might help promote hair growth. And they also have a few other benefits to your scalp health that have earned them a spot in anyone’s shower caddy. They can help remove buildup on your scalp and restore the pH balance of your skin. This formula is also sulfate- and paraben-free, and features a natural, plant-based formula that’s gentle on your hair.

According to one reviewer: “I bought the shampoo and conditioner and love the results. I had thinning hair and with every wash and condition my hair looks and feel thicker. I love how it makes my hair feel and how it makes me feel.”

Experts: