Around 80 per cent of men who sit in the barber’s chair will ask the stylist for a cut which will hide, or aim to cover, thinning patches.
Men in their mid-twenties onwards have been expressing real concern about losing their hair or starting to thin long before they thought they would. One in five men will experience hair loss by the age of 20.
For many, the issue goes further than scalp deep with research suggesting men would rather have a smaller manhood, have an unfaithful partner or have their entire internet history made public, before they lose their hair.
Men can be mean to their hair: the onslaught of gym sweat, chlorine, styling products, hair dryers, traffic fumes, and air conditioning will further weaken our locks, which have already endured a natural aging process much more aggressive than that faced by women.
Many men feel that losing their hair is a very visible threat to their masculinity. The absurdity is, the male hormone testosterone is directly linked to hair loss, the more testosterone, the likelier a man is to become bald.
Many men we spoke to during this review stated their mental health had also suffered as an outcome of even minor hair loss. If losing your hair upsets you, feel free to contact your GP as well as trying any of the products mentioned here.
Hair growth is unique and finding the right hair-boosting products can be a difficult task. Can any off-the-shelf solutions replace what has been lost? They can, to a point. For more advanced hair loss and thinning, there are now various surgical treatments available, all growing in demand by the day.
However, if you’re unable or unwilling to go under the knife, we’ve sampled a vast array of shampoos and accompanying treatments which aim to thicken and retain the strands you have.
See our list below
Numan Hair Treatments
This is as about as meaningful as it can get before the surgery option. The Numan range does contain medication which requires guidance and possibly a prescription. You are advised not to combine Numan treatments with any other hair treatment products.
If you are considering this particular brand you are advised to seek the advice from a pharmacist, your GP or Numan themselves will ask a selection of questions during the purchase process. The good news is, online consultations are free.
Treatment works across a full year and may take the form of a pill and hair sprays which need continuous use and with the first signs of results in around three months.
The spray and pill when used together have shown to reduce hair loss in 94 per cent of cases according to Numan themselves. Nine out of ten men said they experienced improved or maintained scalp coverage and you need only Google Image search before and after images to see impressive results from previous users.
Numan is a long term process which requires continued monitoring and refills of the various elements are despatched to users on a monthly basis to avoid over exposure.
£15.20 for the initial kit.
Buy now £15.20, Numan
Scandinavian Biolabs Hair Strength Shampoo
Scandinavian Biolabs offers a 150 Day Money-Back Guarantee. If after 150 days of using the Hair Growth Routine no results are achieved, then receive 100 per cent of your money back.
The branding suggests a very scientific offering which reinforced by the degree of research, development and clinical testing with some great results - 93 per cent of users stated a clear reduction of hair loss and hair density increased by up to 23 per cent.
Pioneered in Denmark, the brand appears one step away from the treatments offered by Harley Street trichology clinics. The products are packed with an A to Z of natural ingredients from Aloe to Zinc.
Be sure you use it for at least six months – could things come to those who wait.
Buy now £13.60, Scandinavian Biolabs
NIOXIN 3D Care System - System 2
Nioxin is a selection of six varying regimes tailored to your individual hair type. We tried system 2 for ‘progressed thinning’. The results were superb and lived up to the brand’s pledge of “thicker, fuller hair in 30 days”.
Nioxin comes in a selection of sizes too, ideal if you’re not sure whether the system is ideal for you, but also the smaller bottles make great gym bag or travel companions.
The secret is consistent use. Every wash needs to be with the product and the performance is enhanced with the conditioners and serums also available in the range. The shampoo is a simple green liquid with a tea tree fragrance and the conditioner a lovely light clinical white cream.
30 years of research has gone into this range; its relatively pricey but the results are worth it.
Buy now £26.99, Amazon
Mr Jamie Stevens Mr Men’s Hair Care System
Jamie Stevens’ spot in the Best Male Hairdresser Hall of Fame is much lauded. He’s taken the standards of care and commitment to his clients and bottled them up in this fierce follicular feast. Jamie himself started suffering hair thinning and loss at an early age, so he knew exactly what he wanted from a shampoo and additional product range.
Recognising the impact, not only on looks but also mental health, Jamie set about researching and developing his range, Mr. Jamie Stevens. The entire line is aimed exclusively at men. Best used with the accompanying conditioner, the shampoo is packed with a unique trademarked ‘System PPX’ formula.
Over 20 years of knowledge and understanding of male hair loss has been bottled. The product looks great and leaves hair feeling fit, healthy and very strong.
Buy now £8.99, Amazon
Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Lemon Sage Thickening Shampoo 300ml
Paul Mitchell was once the preserve of hair salons however the brand now extends into the retail market with this offering. Sadly the look and feel of the shampoo felt more like washing up liquid than shampoo. Taking a zesty approach the shampoo does give an invigorating feel alongside sage, tingly peppermint and tea tree.
As well as thickening, this option also helps repair and prevent damage. After use the hair felt lighter and less tangled when used alongside the conditioner and accompanying lemon sage thickening spray. The shampoo alone may dry out your hair too much.
Very good value and a welcome addition to the shower, but remember it won’t magically replace patches of hair; It’s Paul Mitchell not Paul Daniels.
Buy now £19.00, Amazon
Pantene Grow Strong Bamboo Hair Treatment Bundle
The world’s number one haircare brand has delivered a well presented set of treatments that provide an elegant look to the shower cubicle. Over time when used together this range of products can enhance limp and thin looking hair.
Again, the secret is to keep using the same product for weeks, even months and when the benefits can be seen, the last thing you should do is stop.
Although this brand line is targeting a female market, the inclusion of caffeine and biotin means the product is loaded with vitamins and stimulants to ensure men’s hair is fed the right ingredients from root to tip.
This feels like a very simple option and may not have the impact more advanced thinning hair may be looking for.
Buy now £14.95, Superdrug
Charles Worthington Thicker & Fuller Shampoo
After twenty five years in the business of delivering salon standard shampoo and hair treatment for a wide range of hair types, Charles Worthington shows up with the Thicker & Fuller range.
Using the products did deliver very cosmetic results initially. Hair felt soft, manageable and easy to style. The marketing suggests results within a week and noticeably thicker hair within four weeks. Hair certainly felt stronger, supporting the pledge of 90% reduction in damaged hair.
A worthy contender in this search with some heavy duty promises, a very cosmetic appearance and a strong salon fragrance complete the package. Very attractively priced and definitely worth a try.
Buy now £6.99, Boots
The Beauty Worx Biotin Vitamin B Shampoo
Natural ingredients make up 90 per cent of this shampoo including vitamin B and plant oils. With a light aroma of lavender it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea although the conditioning complex within the shampoo means only one bottle is needed.
This brand isn’t well known and is a good affordable option. The choice is even cheaper given no conditioner is needed. The branding suggests it’s more suited to oily hair types, so beware if your hair is at the drier end of the spectrum as it may dry your hair out further.
This is a good product, easy and light to use and ideal for travelling light or spending less and the contents are heavily sustainable making it a very worthy purchase. Innovative and affordable.
Buy now £7.99, The Beauty Worx
John Frieda Luxourious Volume Thickening Shampoo 250ml
Like a good number of the products tested, the John Frieda Volume Lift Shampoo is well branded and marketed and appeals to guys looking for a simple solution to a growing problem.
As with other brands tested here, John Frieda Volume Lift pledges to volumize existing hair. The shampoo will not encourage re-growth. That said, volume is what we got! Regardless of length, hair was left feeling bouncy and very strong. The shampoo is light enough to be used daily and additional products to enhance performance are available.
The John Frieda brand is also incredibly good value for this pedigree of high end salon culture.
Buy now £4.00, Amazon
Alpecin Caffeine Shampoo C1
Caffeine increases blood flow with the aim of stimulating hair from root to tip. Alpecin will not create new hair; it strengthens what is there and helps protect from damage and further loss.
The success of this shampoo is worth noting. With its unique formula and its optimal caffeine dosage (and other potent active ingredients) Alpecin Caffeine Shampoo C1 makes your hair feel stronger. Hair has a better feel and can be styled better without the use of too many additional products.
Alpecin Caffeine Shampoo C1 should be used daily. Leave it on the scalp for only two minutes from application to rinse.
You must also use it daily for at least three months to notice the effects.
Buy now £6.49, Boots
Fudge Professional Xpander Gelee Shampoo
Stimulating caffeine and ginseng are used to create this rather unique feeling lotion. As its name suggests it is somewhat thick in consistency for a shampoo but lathers up a treat.
Hair feels stronger instantly and the brand does pledge to stimulate follicle growth. This option also works well with coloured or bleached hair as the thickness did heavily moisturise hair leaving it much more volumized.
Slightly more expensive than many of the more common choices but you needn’t use a great deal per wash, definitely worth a look if you colour your hair
Buy now £7.34, Amazon
Osmo Extreme Volume Shampoo
The formula used to create this shampoo is to be welcomed. It felt like bathing hair in silk. The liquid was a light pearlescent cream with a weightless feel.
Hair felt instantly boosted with revived body and shine. The shampoo was so light you could easily use it liberally, but you don’t need to.
For the price point we expected a lot less but got a lot more. A welcome addition to any guy’s gym bag for the post workout shower.
Buy now £15.99, Amazon
Richard Ward Densi Growth Thickening Shampoo
An expert hair product from an expert hair stylist. Everything about the ‘densi growth’ product felt refined and exclusive.
It comes in a fully recyclable metal pump action dispenser. The shampoo is like velvet and fairly strong so not much is needed to generate a good washing experience.
This choice is designed and created to deliver a “salon beautiful” experience and like a couple of the other shampoos we’ve reviewed has been developed exclusively by someone who deals with hair every single day and has been tried and tested in the salon environment.
Buy now £5.33, Waitrose
Absolute Collagen Thickening Collagen Complex Shampoo & Conditioner Duo
Absolute Collagen aims to turn heads with hair-boosting shampoo and conditioner packaged into bright yellow bottles that’ll pop on your shower shelf.
The pearlescent copper formulas are loaded with four key ingredients including soluble Callogen, Amino Acids, and vegetable and wheat proteins. The shampoo leaves hair feeling fresh and clean, but not clean to the squeak and tripped of any natural oils. When followed with the conditioner, the combination has been clinically proven to thicken hair by around 20 per cent in eight weeks.
At £18 a pop (or £15 on subscription), they’re not a cheap fix but certainly a brand worth trying.
Try it alongside Absolute Collagen's hero product, Marine Collagen Protein Supplement For Men, a once-a-day oral supplement that you can drink on its own or mix into your cuppa.
Buy now £18.00, Absolute Collagen
There wasn’t much space between the two top runners and the winner is down to personal preference. Mr Jamie Stevens is innovative and targeted directly at men with hair thinning or baldness issues. The knowledge Jamie himself has brought to this product is to be recognised.
However, Nioxin, with thirty years of research development and an overall accomplished product with proven results, pips them all to the post. The science behind the brand is fundamental to its success and the varying levels of treatment across a range means the product is as versatile as it could possibly be.