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If you have thin locks, you might have a love/hate relationship with haircare products. Many formulas just weigh down your hair or make it so sleek it looks limp. And yet, on the other hand, you may rely on them to give you the body you crave. Beyond styling products, though, there's one thing you have to make nice with...shampoo.
Washing your hair is all about cleaning your scalp and getting rid of the gunk, but the right shampoo can also work to nourish, strengthen, and thicken your hair. Some even promote new hair growth and contain ingredients like biotin and collagen. So, what are the best cleansers for fine strands? Believe it or not, we know of several effective formulas that won't break the bank (or your hair), many of which are under $15.
Here, the best drugstore shampoos for fine hair.
Best Overall: OGX Extra Strength Biotin & Collagen Shampoo
Could use more lather
Who else recommends it? Bustle, Healthline, and Good Housekeeping all picked OGX Extra Strength Biotin & Collagen Shampoo.
What do buyers say? 84% of 9,600+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
"For a drugstore-brand shampoo for fine hair, I definitely love OGX Biotin & Collagen Shampoo. It's budget-friendly and gives you a lift," says New York-based hairstylist Sky Kim of Serge Normant at John Frieda.
Formulated with biotin (vitamin B7), it provides your hair with the nourishment it needs to grow strong. And thanks to the collagen, wheat protein, and bamboo fiber extract, it delivers plumping proteins to your strands to make your mop look fuller and more voluminous right out of the shower.
Hair Type: Color-treated, fine, and thick | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Jasmine, coconut, and lemon | Size: 13 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Budget: Hask Biotin Boost Thickening Shampoo
Doesn't weigh down hair
Strengthens the strands
Could lather better
Looking to limit your shampoo budget to a few bucks? Check out Hask Biotin Boost. This thickening shampoo uses vitamin B7, collagen, and coffee to give life to fine, limp strands without stripping the cuticles or adding unnecessary weight.
Hair Type: Fine, flat, thin | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Size: 12 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Volumizing: ApotheCare Essentials The Booster Shampoo
Full of natural ingredients
Smell can be strong for some
If it's volume you crave, reach for ApotheCare Essentials The Booster. Formulated specifically for thin locks, this unfailing shampoo removes impurities, then plumps each strand with weightless nourishment.
Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: No | Scent: Geranium | Size: 12 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Plumping: Garnier Fructis Plumping Treat Shampoo + Watermelon Extract
Full of naturally derived ingredients
Might be drying for some
Since its 2003 launch, Garnier Fructis has been a go-to in the drugstore haircare market. The brand continues to impress with new (mostly natural) formulas like its watermelon-infused Plumping Treat line. This smoothie-inspired showstopper cleanses, moisturizes, and boosts thin strands from the inside out—what more could you ask from a shampoo?
Hair Type: Fine | Sulfate-Free: No | Scent: Watermelon | Size: 11.8 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Strengthening: Mielle Rosemary Mint Strengthening Shampoo
Encourages new hair growth with infused biotin
Gives intense shine
Can be drying for some
Are you working with weak, brittle strands or split ends? Mielle's Rosemary Mint Strengthening Shampoo will deliver the TLC your hair needs. The strengthening formula combines biotin with natural ingredients like babassu seed and coconut oil to bring your locks back from the brink while gently detangling encouraging new hair growth.
Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Rosemary mint | Size: 12 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Hair Growth: Organi Grow Hair Co. Growpoo Clarifying Shampoo
Full of natural ingredients
Balances the pH in hair
Strengthens the hair
Growpoo is serious about hair growth. Combining hydrating vegemoist, strengthening babassu, fortifying oleic acid, and pH-balancing apple cider vinegar, plus a range of other carefully selected ingredients, this shampoo pulls out all the stops. It kills dandruff-causing bacteria and nourishes your hair while stimulating the scalp.
Hair Type: Dry, damaged, and brittle | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: None | Size: 8 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best for Fullness: Real Raw Shampoothie Biotin Boost 611 Thick + Full Shampoo
Full of natural ingredients
Enhances elasticity to create volume
Can be drying for some
Real Raw Shampoothie's take on thickening shampoo is a scrumptious cold-pressed blend of coconut water and aloe juice, plus yogurt and biotin. The result? Moisturized hair with enhanced elasticity that looks healthy and visibly fuller.
Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: None | Size: 12 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Sulfate-Free: L'Oreal Paris EverStrong Thickening Shampoo
Fortifying and builds 15x more strength
Cleanses without stripping
Might be drying for some
Sulfates are useful for cleansing, but they can also strip the hair, which isn't helpful when your strands are already notably thin. Infused with rosemary extract, L'Oreal Paris Ever Strong helps prevent breakage by fortifying fine, fragile hair.
Hair Type: Thin and fine | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Rosemary | Size: 8.5 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Natural Hair: Maui Moisture Thicken & Restore + Bamboo Fiber Shampoo
Adds density and strength
Might cause breakage for some
Formulated with natural textures and curls in mind, Maui Moisture Thicken & Restore blends aloe vera, coconut water, castor oil, and bamboo fibers to densify and strengthen. When you wash with this shampoo, you can expect revitalized, strong-looking hair with volume, bounce, and a healthy shine.
Hair Type: Color-treated, natural, and transitioning | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Coconut | Size: 13 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Color-Treated Hair: John Frieda Volume Lift Weightless Shampoo
Adds volume in one use
Creates softness and bounce
Sprayer easily clogs
For color-treated hair, John Frieda has you covered. The brand's Volume Lift Weightless Shampoo uses "Air-Silk" technology to deliver weightless body and noticeable fullness without stripping the hair follicles.
Hair Type: Color-treated, fine, and flat | Sulfate-Free: No | Size: 8.45 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Dandruff: Head & Shoulders Classic Clean Paraben-Free Dandruff Shampoo
Gives multi-symptom relief
Rids of dandruff-causing bacteria
Could cause more itching for some
Head & Shoulders might not be the sexiest 'poo on the drugstore shelf, but the thing is, it works. If you're dealing with a chronically flaky mop, washing with this pyrithione zinc formula helps to rid your scalp of dandruff-causing bacteria. And when your scalp is healthy, your hair has a better chance of growing strong.
Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: No | Scent: Classic Clean | Size: 13.5 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Pump Bottle: Love Beauty And Planet Sulfate-Free Coconut Water & Mimosa Flower Shampoo
Adds thickness and volume
Gentle enough for daily use
Pump bottles often offer the best value, plus they're more convenient to use in the shower. This option from Love Beauty And Planet contains over 32 ounces of lightly moisturizing shampoo that strengthens and leaves your hair with undeniable body.
Hair Type: Fine and flat | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Coconut and floral notes | Size: 32.3 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Unknown | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Organic: Avalon Organics Volumizing Rosemary Shampoo
Adds volume and thickness
Certified organic, plant-based formula
Avalon Organics Volumizing Rosemary Shampoo is made with essential oils, vitamins, and naturally derived botanicals like aloe and plant proteins. You can count on it to gently cleanse while leaving fuller, thicker, more voluminous hair in its wake.
Hair Type: Thin and limp | Sulfate-Free: No | Scent: Rosemary | Size: 11 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Scent: Hempz Sweet Pineapple & Honey Melon Volumizing Shampoo
Stimulates new hair growth
Adds volume and thickness
Not for sensitive skin
Hempz has been creating delicious-smelling skincare since the late 90s. With a dedicated fanbase and a growing demand for hemp-infused cosmetics, the brand's recent haircare venture was a long time coming. This all-natural shampoo is meant to thicken while stimulating new hair growth, but it really stands out for its mouth-watering pineapple and honeydew scent.
Hair Type: Color-treated, fine, and thin | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Sweet pineapple and honey melon | Size: 6 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Dry: Dove Volume and Fullness Dry Shampoo
Instantly absorbs oil
Takes time to work in
Since fine hair can start looking greasy sooner than later, you're wise to keep dry shampoo on hand—especially if you like to skip washes. This trusty aerosol can by Dove instantly absorbs oil to make your locks look cleaner while pumping your roots with volume.
Hair Type: Fine, flat, oily, and limp | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: None | Size: 5 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes
When it comes to the best drugstore shampoos for thin hair, OGX Extra Strength Biotin & Collagen Shampoo (view at Amazon) is tough to beat. The stylist-recommended formula nourishes with vitamins, proteins, and plant fibers to plump each strand from the inside out. That said, you'll get the most bang for your buck with a pump bottle of Love Beauty And Planet Sulfate-Free Coconut Water & Mimosa Flower Shampoo (view at Amazon), which combines natural ingredients to provide strength and fullness.
What to Look for When Buying Shampoo for Fine Hair
When browsing shampoos for fine hair, you'll want to pay attention to the intended use of each product. Cleansers will often have words like "volumizing," "plumping," or "thickening" in the name or product description, which tells you they're formulated to either expand your strands or at least make your hair look fuller.
Some shampoos use keywords like "strengthening," "fortifying," or "nourishing," in which case they're designed to help repair damaged or brittle hair. Some options help promote hair growth, which will usually be specified on the label or in the product description.
Shampoos and other hair products for fine locks often contain biotin, a nutrient that nourishes and fortifies thin strands while encouraging new growth. Additionally, the B vitamin can make your hair look instantly thicker and healthier without weighing it down.
Besides biotin, there are a handful of other ingredients to look out for when shopping for shampoo. "I would look for anything that adds fibers so that the hair itself will actually expand in size," says Haley Balayage, a Las Vegas-based hairstylist. You'll often see formulas with bamboo fibers, which add density while strengthening the hair shafts.
Then there's collagen, wheat, and other natural proteins which help plump and lift fine strands. Stimulating ingredients such as rosemary and coffee extract invigorate the scalp to promote new growth.
How can I thicken my fine hair?
Using a volumizing or strengthening shampoo is a good way to visually add thickness and volume. Many shampoos that are specially formulated for fine, thin hair include ingredients like strengthening proteins (usually from rice, soy, or wheat). Avoid overly heavy conditioners and shampoos designed to add sleekness to hair.
Does biotin help thinning hair?
Some studies suggest that it can help aid in hair growth in people with hair loss or thinning hair. Some people take biotin as part of a group of supplements designed to promote hair, skin, and nail health, and it's also added as a topical ingredient to hair and nail care products. Many shampoos on this list contain biotin to help support thicker, longer hair.
What is the difference between thickening and volumizing shampoo?
Though they seem similar, thickening and volumizing shampoos serve slightly different purposes. Thickening shampoos are meant for fine hair, and contain certain ingredients and complexes designed to make hair strands appear thicker overall. Volumizing shampoos, on the other hand, are formulated to give lift to flat, sleek hair types, particularly at the roots.
Are drugstore shampoos for fine hair good?
Just because a product comes at a lower price point doesn’t mean it’s not a good formulation. In fact, many drugstore shampoos can give their higher-priced competitors a run for their money. Pay attention to the ingredients to get a better idea of a drugstore shampoo’s quality and suitability for your hair.
Do drugstore shampoos expire?
As with any beauty product, drugstore shampoos do eventually expire. Generally speaking, shampoos have a shelf life of anywhere from 12 to 18 months. Look for the period-after-opening symbol on the bottle—it looks like an open jar with a number on the inside—to know when the product will expire.
How We Researched
To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best products on the market in this category, evaluating their key features—like ingredients, shade range, or design—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. We then used this research to assign a star rating from one to five (five being the best; one being the worst) to certain products on the list.
Why Trust Byrdie?
Byrdie contributor Theresa Holland is well-versed in haircare solutions for fine strands. As an experienced beauty writer with inherently thin locks, she's not only researched but personally tried many of the items on this list. Her drugstore go-to's include OGX Extra Strength Biotin & Collagen, Head & Shoulders, and Avalon Organics. You can check out more of Theresa's work on Verywell Mind and MyDomaine.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find enough drugstore shampoo for fine hair from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business to meet this percentage. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will evaluate the product ASAP.
The 8 Best OGX Shampoos. Bustle. https://www.bustle.com/style/the-6-best-ogx-shampoos-18756864
The 14 Best Biotin Shampoos for Healthier, Fuller Hair in 2022. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/best-biotin-shampoo
10 Best Biotin Shampoos for Lush, Healthy Hair. Good Housekeeping. https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/beauty-products/g37536258/best-biotin-shampoos/
Patel DP, Swink SM, Castelo-Soccio L. A Review of the Use of Biotin for Hair Loss. Skin Appendage Disord. 2017 Aug;3(3):166-169. doi: 10.1159/000462981. Epub 2017 Apr 27. PMID: 28879195; PMCID: PMC5582478.