Generally speaking, thinning hair is no cause for alarm. In fact, most people lose about 50 to 100 hairs every day, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD). However, there is lots that can be done to increase the look of fullness and soothe the scalp (irritated scalps are a common cause of hair loss) while also leaving hair strands looking great. These products won’t necessarily regrow hair, but the best conditioners for thinning hair are lightweight but deeply moisturizing, designed to reduce scalp irritation, and are packed with volumizing ingredients.
When it comes to scalp health, look for formulas rich in natural oils to nurture the skin and steer clear of harsh sulfates like sodium lauryl sulfate which can strip hair of it natural (and much needed) oils — these qualities will also help your strands. And especially if you have an oily scalp, consider an exfoliating formula that'll unblock follicles.
In order to add volume, products infused with biotin (a vitamin that helps build protein) and proteins are a good place to start. While there isn’t a ton of scientific evidence to indicate that these can reverse hair loss (especially when used topically), since hair is made of 80% to 90% keratin protein, these can add the look of fullness and reduce breakage. Leave-in conditioners can also further reduce damage and split ends, but make sure to choose wisely, and look for lightweight formulas that won't weigh your hair down.
Now that you know what to look for, scroll down for the best conditioners for thinning hair. To further reduce breakage, wet hair should be handled gently after you condition, and you should avoid heat, which can weaken your strands. To dry hair with less damage, the AAD suggests opting for a microfiber hair towel, and I've included an affordable fan-favorite option.
1. A Conditioner That's Clinically Proven To Increase Volume
Infused with the brand's exclusive botanical blend designed to add volume and promote scalp health, Paul Mitchell’s anti-thinning conditioner is lightweight, color-safe, and gentle enough to use every day. Clover extract helps to slow down follicle shrinking, and pea peptides (which are part of the pea protein) strengthens hair to prevent damage and breakage. Plus, it's sulfate-free according to the brand. But what sets this product apart is the distinction of lab results. In an eight-week study done by the brand in an independent lab, 85% of the participants reported an increase in hair volume and strength.
Helpful review: “This product has brought me to actual tears. After months of shedding, thinning, and the looming stress of balding. The countless doctor visits, unsuccessful treatments, diet changes, and professional products. Just using this shampoo and conditioner has drastically improved my hair. No longer am I shedding clumps of hair into the shower drain. Nor am I having to clear my hairbrush after every brush. It took a couple of weeks of these products to start having an effect on my scalp, but it genuinely has been the only thing that has helped me. My [hair] has not been this healthy in a long time, and if I could give it more stars, I would.”
2. The Best Budget Conditioner
Made with a blend of biotin and the protein collagen, OGX’s volumizing conditioner hits this list for being a great volumizer and moisturizer that's less than $10. While this formula packs a pretty big punch when it comes to plumping up hair strands (there's also hydrolyzed wheat protein), it’s still lightweight, so it won’t weigh your hair down. OGX’s conditioner is also infused with moisturizing natural botanicals like bamboo fiber extract, and it has a delightful lemon, jasmine, and coconut scent. This conditioner is sulfate-free as well, and is safe for color-treated hair.
Helpful review: “I had been looking for a solution to my hair falling off. I tried oral biotin with little improvement. A friend had recommended this hair product, so I gave it a shot, and I’m glad I did. It’s the only product that has helped. I can visibly see a difference in my hair and also can feel a difference. It feels much thicker and fuller.”
3. A Thickening Conditioner That Exfoliates The Scalp
Infused with soothing herbal extracts and soy protein for fullness, Aveda’s Invati conditioner aims to improve scalp health while giving strands tons of lightweight moisture to reduce breakage. Moreover, since build-up and blocked follicles can impede hair growth, this conditioner gently exfoliates the scalp to give it some breathing room, so to speak. Naturally derived amino acids further help thicken and strengthen hair from root to tip without harsh sulfates like SLS. Those with colored hair can also use this without worry of color being stripped out.
Helpful review: “Gives just enough volume on thinning hair as I age. Also, being that it is Aveda, it leaves your hair soft, and it also has a mild fragrance. I have used Aveda for years but bought this after trying the travel size. It is worth the price if you need just a little more volume. Not stiff or puffy, just a bit more oomph.”
4. This Fan-Favorite Natural Conditioner With Biotin & Proteins
As its name implies, Maple Holistics’ Natural Biotin Conditioner contains biotin to strengthen hair as well as collagen, silk, and keratin proteins to boot. But that’s not all — this conditioner also contains argan oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, and shea butter to provide deep hydration for your scalp and your strands. Plus, this conditioner is hypoallergenic, sulfate-free, and safe for color-treated hair. More than 2,000 reviewers have weighed in on this, giving it a 4.5-star overall rating.
Helpful review: ‘I really like this product. My hair has been thinning, and I noticed after using the shampoo and conditioner that my hair is fuller, softer, and shiny. I leave the conditioner on for 5 minutes or longer, and sometimes I use it as a deep conditioner for 15-20 minutes. It’s made a considerable difference in the texture and condition of my hair.”
5. A Lightweight Leave-in Conditioner With Biotin
Renpure’s plant-based thickening leave-in conditioner contains a rich blend biotin and proteins to strengthen and thicken your hair. Plus, it couldn't be easier to use: Simply spray it evenly onto dry or damp hair and work it through to the ends. However, a little bit goes a long way, especially when you're using it on dry hair. This leave-in is plant-based, sulfate-free, and safe for color-treated hair. No wonder hundreds of customers have given it a perfect five-star rating.
Helpful review: “I sprayed this on the back of my hair where I am currently experiencing significant hair loss/thinning. Within a few minutes my hair appeared to have fullness and volume. [...] Not to mention it smells like a lovely botanical garden.”
Also Great: A Microfiber Towel To Reduce Breakage
Further protect your hair from breakage by reducing handling and heat. This microfiber towel shortens dry time without excessive rubbing and friction. Not to mention, it spares your hair from the damage that heat drying can cause. This towel is generously sized (so it will work for most folks), and it has a button and loop, so it’ll stay in place when you wrap it. There are two towels in each order, and they’re machine washable. At $5 each, it's a great deal.
Helpful review: “My five-year-old and I both use these. I have extensions and this towel has been a lifesaver for prolonging them. She has very fine hair and regular towels cause her hair to break and frizz. These are very lightweight and wash well.”