The Best Hair-Thickening Shampoos, According to Customer Reviews
When you're experiencing high levels of stress (read: all of 2020), it's completely normal to find yourself losing more hair than usual. And while excessive shedding can seem scary — and often warrant a visit to the doc juuuust to make sure everything's okay — there are, in fact, a few simple steps you can take to save your strands. First, try to calm down (easier said than done given the past few months, but these editor-approved self-care items might help); up your intake of iron- and vitamin D-rich foods (as deficiencies of these nutrients have been linked to hair loss); and, finally, consider your hair care routine (overdoing it with, say, heat styling and color dying can do some damage). (Related: What You Need to Know About COVID-19 and Hair Loss)
If you do all that and still feel like your tresses could use some extra TLC? Then you might want to try a hair thickening shampoo, which can help "create the illusion of thicker hair," according to Marina Peredo, M.D., F.A.A.D, a board-certified dermatologist who specializes in KeraLase hair growth therapy. The keyword being "illusion," as thickening shampoos can't change the chemical structure (and, thus, actual thickness) of your strands, explains Dr. Peredo.
When it comes to trying a thickening shampoo, Dr. Peredo recommends looking for products that have the following ingredients: poly beta amino ester-1, which is a "synthetic amino acid that can create the look of fuller and more voluminous hair," and intra-cyclane, which works to "keep the hair's keratin layer healthy and strong." (ICYDK, keratin's a protein that acts as a building block for strong, frizz-free strands.) If you'd like to stick to natural ingredients, she suggests looking for aloe vera, keratin, and algae.
As for ingredients to steer clear of? "Diethanolamine and triethanolamine, which can break down keratin and cause limp, dull hair," says Dr. Peredo. "Any products with waxes or oils that can cause a buildup should be avoided as well, since they can weigh down the hair and can clog the pores in your scalp, which may lead to dryness."
On a similar note, if you tend to use a lot of products in your strands, you should wash your hair every other day to nix buildup, and thus, avoid any breakage, she says. "I also love scalp brushes, which can boost blood flow, exfoliate, and clear out any buildup that may be on your scalp" — all of which can help your hair grow full, shiny, and strong. (See also: Why You Should Treat Your Scalp to a Detox)
Finally, Dr. Peredo also recommends supplements, but cautions that while they can help with early hair loss, they "are not a miracle treatment." More specifically, she suggests ashwagandha, daily doses of iron, zinc, biotin, and vitamins C, A, and D, as well as the branded hair loss supplement Nutrafol, as long as any of these are approved by your doctor. (And remember, supplements like such are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, making it that much more important you consult with your physician before trying 'em out.)
Got all that? Good. Now, keep scrolling for the best thickening shampoos according to customer reviews and Dr. Peredo herself.
Maple Holistics Biotin Shampoo
With more than 17,000 Amazon reviews and close to a five-star rating, this is (clearly) one of the best hair thickening shampoos available. It's praised for a powerhouse combination of jojoba, argan, tea tree, primrose, and coconut oils that softens, nourishes, and, thus, prevents dandruff. And need not forget about biotin — the real workhorse ingredient is biotin, a B vitamin that's believed to boost hair health and fast track hair growth. Although there's not a ton of evidence that supports biotin's efficacy, especially when applied topically (such as in a hair thickening shampoo), the massive amount of positive reviews definitely lend some credibility. (Related: More Than 11,000 People Rave That This Biotin Shampoo Has Stopped Their Hair Loss and Caused New Growth)
"My hair has been thinning lately, when I took a shower there would be so much hpair in the drain, and I have been watching thinning spots by either side or my bangs, where my hairline was actually receding," wrote one reviewer. "It has now been less than 2 weeks, I've used it like 3 or 4 times, and I have NEW HAIR SPROUTING like new grass in my thinning spots. I swear to you I do."
Hers Thickening Hair Defense Shampoo
Formulated to wash away excess sebum, this best hair thickening shampoo cleanses your scalp of extra oil, which can otherwise inhibit hair growth and even lead to shedding. It contains biotin, which has been clinically shown to increase hair growth for people experiencing hair loss (although, again, more evidence is needed). One reviewer even said she saw "new hair growth along my hairline after one month of using [the shampoo]." This thickening shampoo also wins points for an A+ scent thanks to an added rose fragrance and for delivering a super shine thanks to pumpkin seed oil.
Pura D'Or Original Gold Label Anti-Thinning Biotin Shampoo
This shampoo is packed with lots of nourishing oils — pumpkin seed, cumin seed, and argan oils, to name a few — along with, you guessed it, biotin. It also contains an herbal blend designed to block the production of DHT. Also known as dihydrotestosterone, DHT is a hormone that plays a role in hair loss, Joshua Zeichner, M.D, previously told Shape. Oh and the best part? It has maintained nearly five stars after more than 23,000 reviews.
"After giving birth to my second daughter, I started losing hair and it was not growing back," said one reviewer. "I started using this shampoo. [...] I am on my third bottle and I can say that not only did my hair stop falling, but I now have new hairs growing!" (Related: More Than 14,000 People Are Hooked On This Anti-Thinning Shampoo That Stops Shedding and Triggers Hair Growth)
Oribe Serene Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
Scalp health is super important when it comes to nourishing healthy, full hair — and few people know this quite as well as the folks at Oribe. Case in point? The brand's anti-dandruff shampoo, which acts as a cleanser, moisturizer, and exfoliator for the scalp. What's more, this best hair thickening shampoo also contains caffeine, which has been shown to stimulate the hair follicle for increased growth, and salicylic acid to keep your scalp clean and free of irritation. Just take it from one of the many rave reviewers, who wrote, "It's so gentle, moisturizing, cleanses the scalp really well, smells AMAZING, and left my hair feeling so soft." There are also reviews claiming that it has cleared up any bouts of psoriasis or eczema that they were struggling with on their scalp, but it's not clinically proven to do so.
Act+Acre Cold Pressed Hair Cleanse
Similar to some of the other products on the list, this hair thickening shampoo is designed to cleanse your scalp. Remember: a clean scalp means thicker, fuller hair.
I've actually used this best thickening shampoo myself and found it to be one of the most unique formulas I've ever tried. Compared to other shampoos, just one wash with this solution left my scalp feeling so much cleaner than ever before. Why? Well, the brand says it's all because of its cold processing technique, which allows them to preserve active ingredients that would otherwise be harmed during typical production. Whatever the reason, the results are clear: The shampoo is a scalp savior and, in turn, helps your hair big time.
"Honestly my hair has never felt healthier," said one Amazon reviewer. "I've never really cared what shampoo I used because they all felt the same. Finally there is actually a noticeable difference in my hair, it feels somehow more alive, which I realize is a tough to define term but the best I've got."
OGX Thick & Full Biotin & Collagen Shampoo
In addition to biotin, this OGX shampoo contains bamboo fiber extracts to help give your hair volume and collagen to strengthen your strands. What's more, it also includes hydrolyzed wheat protein, which provides a plumping effect to really make your hair feel and look full. To top all of that off, it's maintained five stars after more than 2,700 reviews on Amazon. Oh, and it smells amazing with notes of lemon, coconut, and jasmine. (Related: Are Collagen Supplements Worth It? Here's Everything You Need to Know)
L'Oreal Volumetry Intra-Cyclane Hydralight Anti-Gravity Effect Volume Shampoo
While the name of this hair thickening shampoo might be a mouthful, its effect is simple: stronger, fuller hair. ICYMI earlier, Dr. Peredo is particularly fond of thickening shampoos with intra-cyclane, an ingredient that strengthens the keratin in your hair. Not only does this budget-friendly find contain the super ingredient, but it also boasts salicylic acid to keep your scalp super clean. Just take it from one happy purchaser, who wrote, "Cleans your hair of excess oil so you hair has volume. I love this new line and use the conditioner too." While another fan said, "The shampoo is great for thin and lifeless hair like mine. I get greater fullness and body in my hair."
R+Co Dallas Biotin Thickening Shampoo
This stuff smells seriously amazing. In addition to hair growth-booster biotin, this best thickening shampoo contains pro-vitamin B5 and coconut oil — both of which are known to hydrate your hair and deliver serious shine. But that's not all: It also includes saw palmetto extract, which adds body to your locks to help them appear thicker and fuller. "This stuff is a blessing for my short fine hair," said one reviewer. "Gives me so much volume! No buildup either."
Tresemé Thickening Shampoo for Fine Hair
Similar to the option from R+Co, this best hair thickening shampoo is specifically formulated for those with fine hair. So, whether you've always had that type of hair or are dealing with recent shedding, this Tresemé product featuring biotin, collagen, and keratin is perfect for you. While it's definitely up to the task of providing a boost of volume, it's lightweight enough to be used every single day if that's your thing. It also has more than 9,000 Amazon reviews and it has maintained nearly a five-star rating. One reviewer said that it leaves her thinning hair with "lots of body!"
Pure Biology Premium Revivahair Biotin Shampoo
This best thickening shampoo has biotin, keratin, and DHT-blockers so that you are covered all-around. It also has coconut oil and vitamins B and E so that your hair is left looking super shiny and moisturized. With nearly 3,000 reviews, this thickening shampoo still maintains its five-star rating, so you know it's got to be good. Don't believe me? Listen to this review: "It has made my hair fuller and with less fall out," said one reviewer. "I did not expect it, but I see some new growth where my hair was thinning." (Up next: 10 Products That'll Make Your Thinning Hair Look Thick AF)