The Best Shampoos for Thinning Hair, According to Experts
Dealing with thinning hair? Don't stress. These nine shampoos can help.
When it comes to beauty issues, there are few that can be as challenging to deal with—and have as much of an emotional impact—as hair loss and thinning. Unfortunately, it's also super common; an estimated 50 million women suffer from significant hair loss, according to the Cleveland Clinic. What gives?
There are a multitude of things that could cause your hair to start thinning out of the blue. One big one: "Hormonal changes (such as having a baby or menopause) trigger the production of a protein that shortens the hair's growing phase," explains scalp expert Kerry E. Yates, creator of Colour Collective. "Ultimately, that leads to shedding or thinning." Yo-yo dieting or a poor diet can play a role since a lack of essential nutrients can also lead to aggressive hair loss, she adds. And it should come as no surprise that stress is a major culprit, too. "Extreme stress triggers high levels of cortisol, a hormone that causes the body to shut down the function of the hair follicles in favor of supporting more essential organ function," says Yates.
How can you tell if the hair thinning you're experiencing is normal? There's definitely a baseline; on average, most women lose 100 to 150 hairs per day, says Yates. "You usually won't notice this when you're simply brushing or drying your hair, but if you start to see lots of hair coming out in clumps when you're washing it, that's when you know you may have a problem," she says. And the sooner you can address it, the better. That's why it is important to see your dermatologist so you can figure out the root (pun intended) cause. (Related: Asking for a Friend: How Much Hair Loss Is Normal?)
Luckily, at-home topical products, like shampoos made for thinning hair, can play a role in the solution. The big caveat here? If you're experiencing significant hair loss, they're not going to actually re-grow new hair—only minoxidil, an FDA-approved, OTC drug (and the active ingredient in Rogaine) can do that, says Howard Sobel, M.D., New York City-based cosmetic dermatologist and director of Sobel Skin. But they can still help.
Yates recommends looking for shampoos specially formulated to target hair loss and thinning, most of which work at the root of the hair, helping to create a healthy environment on the scalp. It's also a good idea to seek out formulas with antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation of the scalp caused by exposure to environmental factors such as pollution, she adds. If your issue is more thin hair than true hair loss, pick volumizing shampoo formulas, which will improve the quality of the hair you do have and make it look thicker and fuller, says Yates.
Ultimately, for the best results, Yates suggests using one of these shampoos at least twice per week, supplementing it with a leave-in scalp treatment, and giving both some time to work—we're talking four to six months before you see any real changes. (Related: Why You Should Treat Your Scalp to a Detox)
Ready to give your fine and thinning hair a boost? Start sudsing with any of these nine expert-approved shampoos for thinning hair.
Best Volumizing Shampoo for Thin Hair: Sisley Paris Revitalizing Volumizing Shampoo with Camellia Oil
A good volumizing shampoo can help lift the roots of the scalp and camouflage the effects of thinning hair, says Yates, who recommends this option. The lightweight texture turns into a super luxurious foam and the slightly floral scent makes this feel more like a spa treatment than a thinning hair treatment. Also great? It packs a dose of essential minerals important for scalp health.
Best Exfoliating Shampoo for Thinning Hair: Aveda Invati Advanced Exfoliating Shampoo
Yates also likes this shampoo, which you can either use alone or pair with the accompanying scalp treatment and conditioner. With oil-busting salicylic acid, it's a smart choice to help remove impurities that can clog up your hair follicles and impede hair growth. (Related: 10 Scalp-Saving Products for Healthier Hair)
Best Strengthening Shampoo for Thin Hair: Kérastase Densifique Bodifying Shampoo
When shedding is an issue, it's more essential than ever to ward off breakage; after all, the goal is to preserve and thicken all of the hair you do have. Lather up with this formula, which has strengthening ceramides and hydrating hyaluronic acid, as well as intra-cylane, an ingredient that increases the thickness of the hair.
Best Shampoo for Thinning Hair and Hair Loss: Foligain Triple Action Shampoo for Thinning Hair for Women with 2% Trioxidil
According to experts, a thinning hair shampoo is always going to work best when paired with a leave-in treatment, particularly if you're dealing with legit hair loss and not just thinning. Enter Sobel's pick, which you can also get as part of a three-step system. The bioactive ingredients promote fuller-looking hair and scalp health, with special technology that locks these ingredients in, all while leaving your hair smooth and shiny, says Sobel. (Related: The $9 Leave-In Conditioner Hailey Bieber Trusts to Treat Her Damaged Hair)
Best Anti-Dandruff Shampoo for Thin Hair: Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
Dandruff and thinning may seem like two unrelated issues, but chronic, untreated dandruff can exacerbate hair loss. This formula contains ketoconazole, an anti-fungal and anti-yeast ingredient, to knock out flakes and ultimately help keep hair nice and full. Top tip: For the best results, let it sit on your scalp and do its thing for a solid two to three minutes before rinsing.
Best Shampoo for Thinning and Fine Hair: Philip Kingsley Body Building Shampoo
Whether you simply have fine strands, have noticed some thinning, or are faced with the combination of both, try this shampoo. It's another one of Yates' favorites, and it touts cellulose—a plant-based fiber—that works to bulk up and thicken the texture of each hair strand. Still, because it's super lightweight, you won't have to worry about it weighing down your tresses. (Related: How Healthy Is Your Hair? Take This Test)
Best Affordable Shampoo for Thin Hair: Viviscal Gorgeous Growth Densifying Shampoo
The oral hair supplement from this brand has cult-like status, and their shampoo deserves equal praise. You can use it daily, it works well on all hair textures and types, and it boasts strengthening biotin and keratin—as well as a proprietary complex to help thicken your strands. But perhaps the best of all? The fact that you get all of that for such a wallet-friendly price.
Best Gentle Shampoo for Thin Hair: Évolis Professional Prevent Shampoo
"Over-cleansing can damage the hair follicles and create an unhealthy scalp environment," cautions Yates, making it essential to keep a gentle sudser in your routine. This shampoo is free of sulfates, parabens, and phthalates, and it effectively removes dirt and grime without stripping your hair or scalp. Bonus points for the hefty dose of protective antioxidants it delivers. (Related: The Best Shampoo Bars for an Eco-Friendly Shower)
Best for Color-Treated Thin Hair: Bosley Pro BosRevive Nourishing Shampoo for Color-Treated Hair
The last thing anyone wants is to have thinning hair and faded color. Enter, this solution. On the thinning front, it has both DHT inhibitors (DHT is a hormone that can lead to thinning) and also strengthens and fortifies the hair. It's also a sulfate-free shampoo, meaning it won't strip away color or your natural oils, but rather will nourish and soften strands.