Everyone experiences hair fallout (it's normal to shed anywhere from 50 to 100 strands per day), but if you regularly lose clumps of hair or notice patchiness on your scalp, it could be hair loss or thinning. "These signs may indicate miniaturization of the hair follicle, leading to permanent hair loss," explains board-certified dermatologist Suneel Chilukuri, MD. Though the underlying causes of hair loss include hormonal changes, genetics, and even traumatic events, healthy hair usually begins with a healthy scalp, so using a specially-formulated shampoo for thinning hair can help improve scalp conditions that contribute to hair loss.
"The right growth shampoo can promote a healthier scalp to keep the hair in the anagen (growing) phase longer, which results in less hair fall," says Chilukuri. While there's no need to stress if you only see minor shedding in your hairbrush or shower drain, the best shampoo for thinning hair can help boost volume and thickness in most hair types.
We conducted hours of research to determine the best shampoos for thinning hair. We even put a few top-rated products to the test at home for several weeks, noting how well each formula addressed fallout and overall hair thickness, fullness, and strength. We combined these results with expert recommendations to compile our list.
Biolage Advanced Full Density Thickening Shampoo
Removes follicle-clogging impurities
Strengthens with biotin, zinc, and a gluco-omega blend
This pick gets top honors for taking a two-pronged approach to thinning hair. First, it goes to town by gently removing follicle-clogging impurities that can impede new hair growth. Then it delivers a host of important nutrients—think biotin, zinc, and a gluco-omega blend—to strengthen the hair you have. So much so that, when used with the accompanying conditioner, it can reduce breakage by up to 95 percent. And when you’re already dealing with thinning, the less breakage, the better.
Byrdie contributor Leigh Weingus took this shampoo for a spin after experiencing postpartum hair loss, thinning, and general dullness. After using it, she notes that it not only left her hair shinier, fuller, and less frizzy, but it also noticeably reduced the amount of shedding she had been experiencing. “I really, really loved this shampoo and can’t think of one bad thing to say about it,” she says.
Price at time of publish: $23
Sulfate-Free: No | Size: 13.5 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Hair Type: Curly, thin, straight | Scent: Mint and clove
Viviscal Gorgeous Growth Densifying Shampoo
Thickens hair with a proprietary complex
Strengthens with keratin, biotin, and zinc
Works for all hair types and textures
May strip color-treated hair
The oral hair supplement this brand makes is a cult favorite, but its topical products are just as good. Take this sudser. It works well on all hair types and textures, can be used daily, and, along with strengthening ingredients like keratin, biotin, and zinc, it also contains the brand's proprietary Ana:Tel complex to promote thicker strands. Bonus points for the fresh, botanical scent and affordable price tag.
Price at time of publish: $10
Sulfate-Free: No | Size: 8.45 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Hair Type: Frizzy, dry | Scent: Botanical
What Our Testers Say
“With ingredients like biotin, panthenol, and keratin that help hair to feel and look thicker, I consider this shampoo all in all to be a total steal.” —Ashley Rebecca, Product Tester
Best for Natural Hair
SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Shampoo
Thickens and strengthens curls and kinks
Increases scalp circulation with castor oil
Thin and runny formula
This ultra-hydrating shampoo is ideal for those with curly or kinky hair who want to grow their strands thicker and stronger. It's also a great pick if you have hair that's been damaged from heat or protective styling. Users rave that they can retain length and thickness without sacrificing a squeaky clean.
Price at time of publish: $11
Sulfate-Free: Yes | Size: 13 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Hair Type: Curly, wavy, damaged | Scent: Peppermint
What Our Testers Say
“Shout out to Shea Moisture for creating a product that is full of ingredients I love: Shea butter, peppermint, and apple cider vinegar are all favorites of mine.” —Leigh Weingus, Product Tester
Living Proof Full Shampoo
Patented molecule cleanses and repels dirt and oil
Gives body to fine, limp hair
Keeps hair cleaner, longer
Can be drying
Whether your hair is naturally fine, you’re experiencing more shedding, or that dreaded combination of both, reach for this guy. The star of the show is a patented healthy hair molecule, which efficiently and effectively removes residue and build-up. Less gunk and grime equals thicker, fuller hair. Plus, this molecule also repels dirt and oil, so hair stays cleaner, longer. We’re not mad about that.
Price at time of publish: $32
Sulfate-Free: Yes | Size: 8 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Hair Type: Fine, color-treated, chemically-treated | Scent: Light and refreshing
Runner-Up, Best Volumizing
Christophe Robin Volume Shampoo Paste
Imparts instant volume
Exfoliates scalp and hair
Light rose scent
Can be drying
It admittedly takes a little bit of time to get used to this shampoo, given that it’s unlike any traditional liquid formula; you mix the paste with water, and it transforms into foam. But the volume-boosting results are well worth it. Rassoul clay and sugar crystals deep-clean both the scalp and strands, removing any trace of residue or oil that can weigh your hair down and leave it looking flat. Hot tip: It can sometimes make the lengths of your hair feel a bit dryer, so be sure to follow with a moisturizing conditioner.
Price at time of publish: $53
Sulfate-Free: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Size: 2.5 fl oz or 8.4 fl oz | Hair Type: Fine | Scent: Rose
Mielle Rosemary Mint Strengthening Shampoo
Improves scalp health with blend of botanicals
Biotin strengthens and thickens
A little goes a long way
Can be drying
When it comes to thinning hair, you want to go for a product that targets the scalp first, and this rosemary mint shampoo does just that. The formula is infused with nutrient-rich ingredients like biotin to fortify the hair and help it grow thicker and stronger. You'll also love that a little goes a long way, so you're getting your money's worth.
Price at time of publish: $10
Sulfate-Free: Yes | Size: 12 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Hair Type: Curly | Scent: Rosemary mint
Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
Contains anti-fungal ketoconazole
Fights chronic dandruff that causes shedding
Rich, thick lather
Bottle is small
It may not seem like the most obvious connection, but untreated, chronic dandruff may be linked to unwanted shedding. The active ingredient in this pick, ketoconazole, is an “anti-fungal and anti-yeast medication that has been shown, when taken systemically, to disrupt the action of DHT,” says board-certified dermatologist, Jeremy Fenton, MD, of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City. (DHT is a hormone that affects the hair follicle and can lead to thinning hair.)
“When using this shampoo, let it sit for two to three minutes on the scalp before rinsing to get the most benefit,” he suggests. Fewer flakes and thicker hair? Yes, please.
Price at time of publish: $16
Sulfate-Free: No | Size: 4 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Hair Type: All | Scent: Fresh
Best for Scalp
évolis Professional Reverse Shampoo
Contains salicylic acid to control excess scalp oil
Keratin complex improves strength
Gentle enough to use daily
Doesn’t lather very well
This is a true multitasking sudser that not only gently cleanses but also boosts thickness, strengthens hair, and helps to keep your scalp healthy. Keratin and wheat protein improve hair elasticity and strength, while salicylic acid helps balance any excess oil on the scalp and prevents the build-up of dead skin cells. FYI, it’s sulfate-free, so it may not lather as much as you’re used to.
Price at time of publish: $28
Sulfate-Free: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Size: 8.5 fl oz | Hair Type: All | Scent: Subtle
Collective Laboratories Essential Hair Bundle
Contains saw palmetto to control dandruff and detox scalp
Anti-fungal formula deters yeast growth
Requires diligent use and time to see results
A multi-pronged, multistep approach is the most effective way to target hair loss, and this three-part system makes it easy to do just that. Start with the detoxifying shampoo, which boasts ingredients like saw palmetto, a natural DHT blocker. Follow it with the fortifying conditioner that hydrates and strengthens, and finish with the brand’s hero product, a leave-on activating serum that stimulates microcirculation, strengthens hair, balances oil production, and deters yeast growth.
Price at time of publish: $132
Sulfate-Free: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Hair Type: All | Scent: Varies
Best for Damaged Hair
Bumble and bumble Full Potential Hair Preserving Shampoo
Botanical blend formula reduces breakage
Caffeine helps to exfoliate the scalp
True to its name, this formula helps to reduce breakage, so you can preserve more of the hair you do have. We also appreciate that it’s an exfoliating formula to help cleanse follicle-clogging residue and touts caffeine to help boost microcirculation on the scalp.
Price at time of publish: $34
Sulfate-Free: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Size: 8.5 fl oz | Hair Type: All | Scent: Herbal
Best for Colored Hair
Vegamour GRO Revitalizing Shampoo
Botanical blend of plant based oils and vegan silk proteins create volume
Naturally derived bergamot scent
Requires months of regular use for best results
The star of the show here is a vegan silk protein that bonds instantly to hair—and stays put even post-rinsing, making strands look and feel noticeably thicker. And while it gives your hair that instant boost and lift, it also works over time to help make hair look fuller within three to four months. Plus, it contains a trio of wild-harvested, plant-based oils to help impart plenty of softness and smoothness. Those who color their hair will also appreciate that it’s free of sulfates and super gentle.
Price at time of publish: $48
Sulfate-Free: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Size: 8 fl oz | Hair Type: All | Scent: Bergamot
Virtue Flourish Shampoo for Thinning Hair
Contains Alpha Keratin to address hair-thinning
Sodium hyaluronate and red algae strengthen hair
Works nicely for all hair textures
Can be drying
This celebrity-loved hair care brand is known for its proprietary ingredient, Alpha Keratin 60Ku, a combo of two different keratin proteins that repair damage and bolster elasticity to help reduce breakage and fallout. It’s the star of the show, but this shampoo also contains peptides that promote scalp health as well as sodium hyaluronate and red algae to seal moisture into the hair. We also appreciate that it suds up nicely, even though it’s sulfate-free. FYI, your hair will look and feel better after just one wash, but give it three to four months to see the full effects.
Price at time of publish: $42
Sulfate-Free: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Size: 8 fl oz | Hair Type: All | Scent: Herbal
Our best overall pick is Biolage Advanced Full Density Thickening Shampoo, which contains biotin, zinc, and a gluco-omega blend to strengthen hair while removing follicle-clogging impurities that can prevent new hair growth. If your hair thinning is due to chronic dandruff, consider Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo with the potent anti-fungal ketoconazole.
Meet the Expert
- Suneel Chilukuri, MD, is a board-certified and internationally recognized expert on cosmetic and reconstructive surgery practicing out of Houston.
- Jeremy Fenton, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City.
- Adam Federico is a hairstylist and the director of content for R + Co.
- Chelsey Pickthorn is a hairstylist and hair care expert at Davines.
- Neil Sadick, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist at Sadick Dermatology in New York City.
What to Look For in a Shampoo for Thinning Hair
When you’re already dealing with thinning hair, you want to prevent breakage as much as possible. To do this, give your mane a strengthening boost with ingredients like biotin, keratin, and zinc. “Biotin improves the internal structure of the hair, which can help to prevent snapping and breaking,” says Federico. Using a shampoo that's formulated to make hair more resilient—like our best overall pick from Biolage—means you'll experience less breakage and fallout.
If your hair is dried out, nourishing plant oils can help replenish moisture loss and prevent breakage. “Coconut oil promotes scalp health and helps prevent splitting and breakage,” explains Federico. These oils can be especially helpful if your hair is thinning out due to damage from chemical treatments or dyes.
Sulfates break down hair protein, strip hair of its natural oils, and can potentially cause even more breakage. Due to this, avoiding sulfates as much as possible will help prevent more breakage and help prevent dryness. Some of our favorite sulfate-free picks are the
FYI, your scalp routine matters too. “To repair thinning hair, you must take a very aggressive approach,” explains Federico. “First and foremost, I recommend doing everything you can to assure that your scalp is in its best condition. Hair grows through follicles on your scalp, and if those follicles are blocked or obstructed by dead skin cells, growth can slow or stop completely.”
Do shampoos for thinning hair actually work?
While results may vary depending on the product, the right shampoo can help slow and reverse hair loss. Look for a shampoo that gets to the root of the issue. If you have seasonal or hormonal hair loss, try a product like Davines Energizing Shampoo, which the brand’s hair care expert Chelsey Pickthorn explains works by adding shine and thickness to balance harsh environmental factors.
Is dry shampoo bad for thinning hair?
Those dealing with thinning hair may want to avoid dry shampoo, so as not to cause further hair loss. Board-certified dermatologist Neil Sadick, MD, explains that excessive use of these products can lead to buildup, occlusion, and inflammation, all of which may lead to or escalate thinning hair. It’s better to use dry shampoo sparingly and instead wash your hair as often as it needs.
Why Trust Byrdie
Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. For this roundup she considered dozens of top-rated shampoos for thinning hair, evaluating each on their formula, active ingredients, and targeted results. She combined her research with insights from our product testers and recommendations from board-certified dermatologists.
Is Biotin as Good as Advertised for Your Hair Loss? Health Essentials Cleveland Clinic.
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