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LOSING YOUR HAIR is one of those things that you never think will happen to you—until it does. It's more common in men, and can occur due to genetics, hormonal changes, medical conditions, or even just as part of the regular aging process. The great thing about losing your hair being so common is that there are no shortage of hair products out there to help you hold onto the hair you do have, and encourage new hair growth. Healthy hair starts in the shower with the right shampoo, and if you're losing your hair, you'll want the best hair growth shampoo to keep your hair growing long and strong.
It's worth noting that if you're struggling with sudden hair loss, you might want to consider consulting with a doctor, dermatologist or trichologist (hair and scalp specialist). They can help you get to the root cause of your hair loss and suggest the best solution for your specific hair and scalp problem. If you've noticed some light thinning or a decrease in the density of hair (AKA bald spots) using a hair growth shampoo is an easy, accessible, and affordable first step on the way to solving your hair loss and scalp problems. Below, we've rounded up a few of our favorite hair growth shampoos to stimulate and strengthen your strands.
Read more: Best Hair Growth Products for Men
System 2 Cleanser Shampoo
Nioxin has been the go-to brand for people struggling with hair loss for over 30 years. Made from a blend of peppermint, salicylic acid, and vitamin B peptides, this shampoo removes dirt and build-up on the scalp, helping to strengthen hair at the root. The proven formula includes yeast ferments, which some studies indicate may improve scalp health and potentially lead to hair regrowth.
Testing Notes: The point of this shampoo isn’t necessarily hair growth, even with the aforementioned yeast ferments, but to improve the overall health of your scalp—which is also an important, if indirect, factor in hair growth. It’s one of the best all-around shampoos we’ve tried for nearly every scalp issue, whether it’s dry, itchy scalp or an overly oily dome. It effectively cleanses hair and scalp without leaving behind greasy residue and it also helps reduce breakage. Dare we say, our hair even looks fuller after one use?
Read more: Best Shampoos for Thinning Hair
Flourish Shampoo For Thinning Hair
This hair growth shampoo works in two parts. First, it cleanses the hair shaft and clears debris from base of the follicle, creating an environment for healthy growth. Then, it uses alpha and gamma keratin molecules to repair and nourish the scalp, providing fragile hair strands with the strength, elasticity, and flexibility that it needs to grow. This two-pronged approach gives you serious results in one easy step.
Testing Notes: We’ll just say it—we love using a fancy shampoo. For us, it’s usually the scent because when a shampoo smells good, you just want you use it and it makes the overall experience that much better. This shampoo has one of the best scents we’ve tried and that says a lot. Keep in mind that it’s more of a thickening and strengthening shampoo rather than growth stimulator, but when paired with other hair growth products, it’s an ideal product for your overall hair routine.
Density Thickening Shampoo
A good “hair thickening” shampoo can add the illusion of thickness, according to Dr. Finney.
Enter’s Philips Kingsley version. The density thickening shampoo uses two key ingredients to treat fine, thin hair. The first one is hyper-branched polymers, which are large molecules that help thicken and transform a flat structure on wet hair, to a hexagonal shape upon drying, delivering long-lasting volume. The other ingredient is pea peptides, better known as hydrolyzed plant proteins, that add volume and moisture, provide smoothing benefits and fight the signs of aging in the hair.
Some users have claimed to see a noticeable difference after just one wash. Given that the formula houses exfoliating BHAs like citric and salicylic acid, which removes excess sebum and buildup, it’s also ideal for oily or flaky hair types.
Testing Notes: Using hair growth products is a waiting game—most take about three to six months to even begin seeing any sort of results. So what do you do in the meantime? Use a shampoo like this that instantly plumps hair to make it look fuller and thicker immediately. We were blown away by how much thicker our hair looked after just one use.
Gro Revitalizing Shampoo
This plant-powered shampoo contains microencapsulated b-silk™ protein, which is a vegan alternative to animal keratin that physically bonds to the hair follicles and remains attached to strands even after rinsing your hair. It works by filling in small cracks and spaces within the cuticle, helping protect your hair even after it dries.
In addition, the formula is further enhanced by caffeine, an ingredient that has been proven to stimulate hair growth through enzymes and 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors, according to Dr. Lauren Penzi, board-certified dermatologist of MDCS Dermatology. Plus, plant active ingredients such as rich clover and mung bean decrease the chances of hair thinning and help follicles resist premature shedding.
Testing Notes: Because this shampoo contains tiny protein molecules that help bind to hair and strengthen it, you won’t see instant thickening results like some of the others on this list. But we found that after a few months of consistent use, it does help hair become stronger and more lustrous. Actual new growth? Not so much, but it’s still a worthy addition to a hair growth routine because it helps to improve the hair you already have (which is equally as important).
Thick Fix Hair Shampoo
Growing thick hair may take some time, but Dr. Finney believes using Hims shampoo is a good place to start.
The formula is packed with saw palmetto, a natural ingredient known to help target DHT, which is one of the main hormones that contribute to hair loss. It also effectively cleanses and moisturizes your hair and scalp without overly drying or damaging hair, adding volume to thin strands to help you get that fuller look. Plus, it’s designed to work on different hair types including fine hair, thin hair and color-treated hair.
After applying to the scalp, allow it to sit for one minute before rinsing. To achieve the best results into your hair loss treatment, it’s recommended to use daily.
Testing Notes: Sure you could use just this shampoo, which contains saw palmetto to help stimulate hair growth, but it really shines when combined with other HIMS hair growth treatments like minoxidil. On it’s own, the shampoo is good—nice lather, good scent—but think of it as part of a larger plan than your one stop shop.
The active ingredient in this shampoo, ketoconazole, gets a lot of credit for helping to control the fungus that causes dandruff, but some preliminary studies have also shown that it could have a positive effect on hair growth, says Seattle-based board-certified dermatologist and hair loss expert Natalie Kash, MD.
Testing notes: In the world of treatment shampoos, this one is one of the most pleasant to use that we’ve tried. The smell isn’t overwhelmingly medicinal and the texture is pretty similar to your regular cleanser. After using it a few weeks, we definitely noticed a reduction in scalp itch and while we didn’t have flakes before trying it, we did notice that our scalps felt healthier. In terms of hair growth, it’s hard to say.
It’s worth noting that it’s recommended to leave the shampoo on your scalp for a few minutes before washing it off, which can extend your shower time, and that most of the studies around ketoconazole for hair growth involve either a leave-on topical treatment or using the ingredient in combination to others like minoxidil.
Read more: Best Anti-Dandruff Shampoos
DHT-Fighting Hair Loss Shampoo
Developed by two dermatologists, and recommended by Dr, Kash, this shampoo contains saw palmetto, green tea and caffeine, all ingredients that have been shown to possibly help hair growth by reducing DHT and stimulating hair follicles.
Testing notes: Dermatologists understand one thing: even if a product works, if it’s not pleasant to use, people just won’t use it. That idea is apparent in this shampoo, which contains well-studied ingredients that help to potentially stimulate hair growth, particularly if you suffer from androgenic alopecia (aka Male Pattern Hair Loss), and block DHT, but is also just a nice shampoo that leaves your hair feeling healthy and strong.
Because this, like all hair growth shampoos, are not leave-on products, it can take a while for results to show, but after a few months of use we did notice a difference in how full our hair looked. Plus, we like that there is an accompanying conditioner to use as well, so you can double up on the good ingredients.
Rosemary Mint Purifying Shampoo
Made with 96% naturally derived ingredients, this gentle shampoo contains rosemary oil, which Dr. Kash says has been shown to potentially stimulate hair growth. There’s also white vinegar to help gently purify the scalp, but don’t worry—the scent is anything but vinegar-y.
Testing Notes: The thing we’ve noticed about hair growth shampoos in our testing process is that you often miss out on a good shampoo experience. You know, the good-smelling, rich lathering, fresh-feeling experience of using a good shampoo. That’s why we like this one. It contains rosemary extract, which has been shown to potentially stimulate hair growth, but it’s not super medicated so the shampoo experience you expect from just a damn good shampoo is intact. We’d still recommend letting it sit on your scalp for a few minutes just to make sure the ingredients penetrate, but other than that, it’s just an all around great shampoo. Use it on the days you don’t use your other more medicated products.
Healthy hair doesn't suddenly up and leave your scalp. Your hair starts showing signs of weakness damage long before it ever falls out. To keep your hair strong and healthy, we recommend this Strengthening Shampoo from Grown Alchemist.
It contains hydrolyzed baobab protein, which helps your strands maintain their strength while increasing hair’s resistance to future damage. Calendula targets signs of aging to nourish and condition the scalp, which accelerates hair growth, strength and damage recovery.
Thick & Full + Biotin & Collagen Volumizing Shampoo
The OGX Thick & Full Biotin & Collagen Shampoo is a great affordable option that won’t put a dent in your wallet. It contains a blend of hydrolyzed wheat proteins, collagen and biotin, an ingredient which minimizes breakage and improves your existing strands with a generous boost of volume.
“Over time it helps to reinforce keratin bonds, strengthen hair and causes it to appear thicker,” says Dr. Lauren Penzi, board-certified dermatologist of MDCS Dermatology. “Hair keratins are somewhat unique, as they contain sulfur in their head and tail domains that allow them to form tight cross-links via disulfide bonds that contribute to our hair's strength and lustrous appearance.”
What’s more: the shampoo’s scent with notes of bergamot, jasmine and vanilla, will leave an intensely good smell behind post-shower.
invati men™ Nourishing Exfoliating Shampoo
Like your face, your scalp also needs to be exfoliated. Dr. Finney considers Aveda’s exfoliating shampoo a good option for men with dandruff and thin hair. “It helps to deflake and has some thickening ingredients,” he said.
One of its most key ingredients is wintergreen-derived salicylic acid, which gets rid of buildup, excess oil and sweat that can clog your hair follicles, preventing new growth from coming in. We also love that it’s made with a medley of plant actives like cedarwood and fir, which enhances scalp circulation to encourage hair growth.
Thickening Mens Shampoo
Keeps’ shampoo is designed with a triple-threat formula to strengthen each strand.
For starters, it contains biotin, which promotes keratin production, reduces split ends and thickens each strand of hair. Caffeine is also in the mix to stimulate hair shaft elongation, resulting in longer, wider hair roots. Plus, saw palmetto—a natural DHT blocker—works to support healthy hair growth and boosts hair health in the long term, meaning your thicker hair is here to stay.
The shampoo is also enriched with green tea, an ingredient rich in antioxidants, that increases scalp blood flow and helps with new growth.
What Causes Hair Loss?
“There are many types and causes of hair loss,” says Dr. Kash, however the most common is androgenic alopecia, often referred to as Male Pattern Hair Loss (MPHL) or Male Pattern Baldness (MPB). It’s driven by a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It’s a naturally occurring sex hormone, but when levels get too high, can shrink hair follicles and shorten the life cycle of hair (a process called miniaturization), leading to hair thinning and loss. While DHT’s connection to MPHL is clear, “other factors such as low levels of inflammation and oxidative stress have also been shown to be at play,” says Dr. Kash.
Does Shampoo Help Hair Growth?
It’s not exactly straightforward. “When it comes to hair growth products, many dermatologists (myself included) generally recommend leave-on topical products like a solution, oil, or foam over a shampoo,” says Dr. Kash. “This is because the time in contact with the scalp is limited with a shampoo as it is usually rinsed out after a few seconds or minutes. This limits potential effectiveness compared to a topical leave-on product.” Many of the ingredients found in hair growth shampoo, she adds, were studied as topical leave-on treatments, not in shampoo formulas, so there is little to no evidence they have the same effect in a shampoo.
That being said, there can be be benefit to using a hair growth shampoo. “The wrong shampoo can definitely wreak havoc on the scalp and worsen hair loss,” explains Dr. Kash. For instance, if someone has dandruff, but does not use an appropriate anti-dandruff shampoo, the dandruff can get worse, leading to inflammation on the scalp which can “potentially worsen hair loss.” Conversely, someone with a dry scalp who is using a shampoo with harsh surfactants or detergents can make their scalp dryness even worse, which may also worsen hair loss.
Essentially, it’s about using the right shampoo for your scalp and hair, advises Dr. Kash. “If any shampoos lead to scalp irritation, flaking, redness, itching or increased hair loss, it should be discontinued.”
What Is the Difference Between Regular Shampoo and Hair Growth Shampoo?
“A hair growth shampoo tends to be formulated for those with hair loss to try to stimulate hair growth,” says Dr. Kash. “Many have ingredients either to try to locally decrease DHT activity or to prolong the anagen (growing) phase of the hair follicle.” It’s important to remember that the efficacy of these ingredients depends on how much time they have in contact with the scalp, so when using a shampoo for hair growth, Dr. Kash advises keeping it on for several minutes before washing it off to allow the ingredients to penetrate.
What to Look for in a Hair Growth Shampoo
The most important thing to look for in a hair growth shampoo is that it has ingredients “that have at least some evidence that they may promote hair growth (even if the evidence is limited and from a leave-on topical product or oral formulation) such as ketoconazole (this is one of the only ingredients that has evidence in a shampoo formulation that it may promote hair growth in AGA/MPHL), saw palmetto, pumpkin seed oil, rosemary, caffeine, melatonin, and green tea extract,” recommends Dr. Kash. Many other shampoos that don’t contain these ingredients can help hair look fuller and thicker, but won’t necessary promote growth.
Ingredients to Look for
The hard fact of the matter is that preventing hair thinning or boosting hair regrowth is a tricky problem to solve. Even the best hair loss treatments like minoxidil (Rogaine) need to stay on the scalp for hours without rinsing in order to be effective. Some of the best hair growth shampoos have DHT blocking properties, like ketoconazole or saw palmetto, but it should be noted that the research on these alternative treatments is new and relatively limited.
That's why the best shampoo for hair growth and loss is one that supports healthy hair growth by effectively cleansing and moisturizing your hair and scalp, without overly drying or damaging hair. Using shampoo with nourishing ingredients including vitamins, proteins, and collagen can help repair damage and promote the appearance of fuller hair. Look for shampoos that are sulfate-free, as sulfates can strip away the natural oils on your scalp, which healthy hair actually needs to grow long and strong.
Read more: How to Stop Hair Loss
How We Selected
For the past two years, we consulted with Men's Health's Grooming editors and writers on the top hair growth shampoos for men. Experts including our Grooming Editor, Garrett Munce, and our Deputy Editor of Commerce, Christian Gollayan, tried multiple hair growth products and evaluated their ingredients, scent, and effectiveness. We also considered top-reviewed hair growth shampoos that had at least 100 five-star customer ratings on e-commerce websites that we trust.
Meet the Experts
• Dr. Robert Finney, board-certified cosmetic dermatologist and founder of Soho Skin and Hair Restoration
• Dr. Lauren Penzi, board-certified dermatologist of MDCS Dermatology
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