We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

Medical News Today only shows you brands and products that we stand behind.

Our team thoroughly researches and evaluates the recommendations we make on our site. To establish that the product manufacturers addressed safety and efficacy standards, we:
  • Evaluate ingredients and composition: Do they have the potential to cause harm?
  • Fact-check all health claims: Do they align with the current body of scientific evidence?
  • Assess the brand: Does it operate with integrity and adhere to industry best practices?
We do the research so you can find trusted products for your health and wellness.
Was this helpful?

Thinning hair can result from age, genetics, illness, and other stressors. Here, we discuss our top picks for shampoos that can help reduce hair fall and boost density and growth.

There are several reasons why hair starts to thin. People should always contact a dermatologist or other healthcare professional if they notice more hair than usual on their hairbrush or comb, on their pillow after waking, or in the shower after washing.

Learn more about why hair falls out here.

Genetics, age, and hormones

Androgenic alopecia, a genetic cause of hair loss, affects 80% of men and 50% of women.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), age is a factor in hair thinning. As people grow older, their hair follicles stop growing hair, causing thinner hair and a receding hairline. Hair becomes lighter and may go gray or white.

Additionally, females who undergo pregnancy and menopause may notice hair changes. Hormone imbalances postpartum can cause hair fall, whereas people who go through menopause have less ovarian estrogen, which can impact hair growth and density.

Diet and nutrient deficiencies

Consuming a diet that is too rich or has too few vitamins and nutrients can lead to hair thinning and hair loss. For example, too much or too little vitamin A can cause hair loss.

The AAD states that too little biotin, iron, protein, and zinc can also lead to hair loss.

Illness, stress, and other factors

Telogen effluvium, another common cause of hair loss, can be a result of childbirth, rapid weight loss, mental stress, and long-term drug use.

Stress is one of the more common reasons for hair loss. It increases the amount of cortisol in the body, which has a negative effect on hair follicles. Stress can make hair loss due to endocrine imbalances and illnesses worse.

Illness can also play a part in hair thinning, including COVID-19. A recent study found that over 52% of participants who had this virus experienced hair loss.

The following shampoos may decrease the amount of hair fall and increase density. However, people should always contact a dermatologist or other healthcare professionals to discuss therapies if they are concerned with hair loss.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Best for a thicker feel: hims Thick Fix Thickening Shampoo

  • Price: $19
  • Size: 6.4 fl. oz
  • Hair type: all
  • Sulfate-free: yes
  • Cruelty-free: yes
  • Scent: eucalyptus grove

This shampoo’s active ingredient is saw palmetto. While there is a lack of high-quality research investigating the effects of this ingredient on hair thickness, recent research suggests it may have some benefits for hair regrowth.

The authors reviewed seven studies and found that topical and oral saw palmetto supplements improved overall hair quality by 60% and increased hair density in 82% of study participants.

The company states that this shampoo is suitable for all hair types. People should leave the product on the scalp for 1 minute before rinsing it off.

Read our review on hims hair loss treatments here.

Why we chose this shampoo

This shampoo is free from parabens, sulfates, silicones, and phthalates. Many people prefer to avoid these ingredients as they believe that they may increase hair loss.

While there is not yet any evidence that these ingredients can make hair fall out faster, research has shown that sulfates can make hair frizzier, more fragile, and make the scalp drier.


  • free from parabens and sulfates
  • cruelty-free
  • suitable for all hair types
  • some reviewers report that the shampoo has made their hair feel thicker


  • some reviewers say they have noticed little difference in their hair thickness after using the shampoo
  • other customers say that the shampoo had a chemical smell and increased hair loss
Was this helpful?

Best for reducing hair shedding: hers The Shampoo

  • Price: $38 for a pack of two
  • Size: 6.4 fl. oz
  • Hair type: thinning
  • Sulfate-free: yes
  • Cruelty-free: yes
  • Scent: Napa rose

This shampoo may help reduce hair shedding while adding extra moisture.

The company does not state what the active ingredient is in this product. However, it reportedly removes excess oil from the scalp to reduce hair shedding.

hers recommends leaving this shampoo on the scalp for 1 minute before rinsing it off.

Read our review of hers here.

Why we chose this shampoo

hers offers this shampoo as a one-time purchase and as a subscription.

Using a subscription can be more beneficial for people who prefer not to run out of shampoo unexpectedly. That being said, people who wash their hair more frequently or have longer hair may run out of shampoo faster than the company ships the product.

While hers does not include the ingredients of the shampoo on its product page, the company says it contains three ingredients that combat product buildup, strengthen strands, and create fuller-looking hair — and the customer reviews back this claim up.


  • may reduce hair shedding and hair dryness
  • offers a subscription model to reduce the risk of running out of product


  • some reviewers report they noticed no difference in hair retention and thickness
  • the company is not transparent about the shampoo ingredients
Was this helpful?

Best for light thinning: Nioxin Cleanser Shampoo System 1

  • Price: around $22
  • Size: 10.14 fl. oz
  • Hair type: all
  • Sulfate-free: no
  • Cruelty-free: no
  • Scent: cedar

Nioxin states this shampoo is suitable for all hair, especially lightly thinning.

This shampoo is part of a three-step system that can reportedly thicken and strengthen the hair. One of the ingredients is peppermint oil, which may help hair growth.

The company recommends using its three-step system of shampoo, conditioner, and treatment daily for 30 days to see maximum results.

Why we chose this shampoo

Nioxin contains peppermint oil. The main component of peppermint oil is menthol, and this can help hair growth. A 2020 study found that vitamin E and L-menthol promoted rapid hair growth in mice.

Learn more about peppermint oil and hair growth.

According to Nioxin, a survey found that 85% of 230 U.S. panelists found that the shampoo thickened their hair. However, it is important to note that the company does not provide a link to this survey and that the sample size is very small.

That being said, customer reviews on Amazon report that the shampoo makes their hair feel thicker and deeply cleanses their hair.


  • menthol may help promote hair growth
  • some reviewers state the shampoo helped reduce hair loss and hair shedding
  • can help remove product buildup between washes


  • requires using 3 different products daily for 30 days to see maximum effects
  • contains sulfates
  • the company does not state whether it is cruelty-free
Was this helpful?

Best for dandruff: Head and Shoulders Classic Clean Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

  • Price: from around $9
  • Size: 13.5 fl. oz
  • Hair type: all
  • Sulfate-free: no
  • Cruelty-free: no
  • Scent: fresh

While this shampoo aims to protect against dandruff, one of its ingredients is 1% zinc pyrithione, which may help support hair growth.

A 2018 article states that oxidative stress can impact hair growth and lead to hair loss. The authors suggest that certain ingredients, such as zinc pyrithione, which inhibit Malassezia — a scalp organism — can help reduce premature hair loss.

The company states this shampoo is suitable for daily use.

Why we chose this shampoo

Head and Shoulders is one of the most well-known anti-dandruff shampoos and has been available to buy for over 60 years. The clinically proven ingredient of zinc pyrithione can help relieve scalp itchiness and reduce hair fall.

Additionally, while this particular shampoo is not free from sulfates, Head and Shoulders Bare is a minimal ingredient alternative that does not contain sulfates, silicones, or dyes.


  • zinc pyrithione can help reduce hair loss
  • inexpensive price and well-known brand
  • suitable for daily use


  • contains sulfates
  • the company is not cruelty-free
  • some customers report increased hair loss
Was this helpful?

Best for strengthening hair: Davines Naturaltech Energizing Shampoo

  • Price: around $36
  • Size: 8.45 fl. oz
  • Hair type: fragile
  • Sulfate-free: yes
  • Cruelty-free: yes
  • Scent: mint

This shampoo uses a proprietary Hair Energy Complex that contains caffeine. The company states that this can increase hair growth and prevent weaker and more brittle hair from breaking off.

The company recommends using this shampoo every other day during the first month, then twice a week for 2 months.

Why we chose this shampoo

Caffeine can be effective at encouraging new hair growth and lengthening the anagen phase in people with androgenetic alopecia.

Learn about the different stages of hair growth here.

The shampoo has a refreshing mint scent, which reviewers say is energizing. However, this shampoo is most likely unsuitable for people who dislike strong or menthol scents.


  • customer’s report that the shampoo left their hair feeling stronger
  • caffeine may encourage new hair growth


  • more expensive than other shampoos in this article
  • scent too strong for some customers
  • some customers say that the bottle is very fragile
Was this helpful?

Best overall: Shea Moisture Strengthen and Restore Shampoo

  • Price: around $11
  • Size: 13 fl. oz
  • Hair type: damaged, wavy, curly, and chemically processed
  • Sulfate-free: yes
  • Cruelty-free: yes
  • Scent: no added fragrance

The company states this is a clarifying shampoo that removes product buildup and can nourish hair while encouraging growth.

It is paraben-free, so it may be suitable for chemically processed and damaged hair or for people who regularly color, straighten, perm, or heat style their hair. It may also be suitable for people with curly or wavy hair, as these hair types often require more moisture.

Why we chose this shampoo

Shea Moisture uses sustainably sourced raw shea butter that African women handcraft to honor the company’s roots as a Black entrepreneur and mother of four, Sofi Tucker, in Sierra Leone in 1912.

All of the company’s products are Fair Trade, cruelty-free, ethically traded, and sustainably produced. Additionally, the company itself is a B Corp, which means it has made a commitment to environmental sustainability.

This shampoo is free from silicones, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, and petroleum. It contains Jamaican black castor oil and organic shea butter, both of which can promote hair growth and mass. It also contains peppermint oil to help invigorate the scalp.


  • contains ingredients that research has determined effective for hair growth and thickness
  • sustainably produced and supports African communities
  • free from many ingredients that may make hair frizzier or more fragile
  • reviewers report the product enhances curls and leaves hair feeling soft and smooth


  • some reviewers say the shampoo dries out hair
  • no noticeable difference in hair growth, according to some customers
Was this helpful?

Best for brittle hair: Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo

  • Price: around $30
  • Size: 8.5 fl. oz
  • Hair type: all
  • Sulfate-free: yes
  • Cruelty-free: yes
  • Scent: citrus

The company states that Olaplex No. 4 bond maintenance shampoo deeply moisturizes and repairs hair to leave it manageable, shiny, and healthier with each use. Additionally, it claims that it softens frizzy hair and mends split ends.

Olaplex recommends people start with a pea-sized amount of shampoo and increase the amount if necessary. People can use the shampoo daily.

Why we chose this shampoo

The shampoo contains active ingredients of rosemary leaf extract and burdock root extract. Research shows that rosemary may promote hair growth in mice.

Additionally, reviewers say that this shampoo leaves their hair soft, manageable, and strong, even after using colorants and bleach.


  • contains ingredients that promote hair growth
  • customer reviews report that the shampoo leaves hair moisturized, soft, bouncy, and shiny
  • may be good value for money as people only need to use a small amount


  • some reviewers state that the shampoo left their hair feeling dry and frizzy
  • some people found the fragrance too intense
Was this helpful?

Best for chemically treated hair: Happy Head Thickening Shampoo

  • Price: $36
  • Size: 8 fl. oz
  • Hair type: all
  • Sulphate-free: yes
  • Cruelty-free: yes
  • Scent: no added fragrance

The company claims that dermatologists and hair loss experts have designed this shampoo to promote thicker and healthier hair.

It contains ingredients such as argan oil, biotin, collagen, and saw palmetto, which may make the hair softer, more manageable, and less fragile.

The company recommends applying 1–2 pumps of shampoo into their hands and massaging it evenly to wet hair and scalp.

Why we chose this shampoo

This shampoo contains several ingredients which may help improve thinning hair.

Argan oil can help moisturize and strengthen hair follicles, while keratin can thicken chemically damaged hair. Additionally, the company claims that the ingredients can help increase hair length.

Another bonus is the company’s subscribe and save feature. If a person chooses a subscription, they will pay $21 for the first month and $30 thereafter.


  • offers a subscribe and save feature to reduce costs
  • contains ingredients that can help strengthen hair


  • some reviewers state they did not receive their orders and customer service was not responsive
  • other customers state it is difficult to end subscriptions
Was this helpful?

Best for split ends: Kerastase Resistance Force Architecte Shampoo

  • Price: around $38
  • Size: 8.5 fl. oz
  • Hair type: all
  • Sulfate-free: yes
  • Cruelty-free: no
  • Scent: no information

Split ends can make hair look thinner. Using a shampoo such as Kerastase that claims to strengthen and prevent split ends may make hair seem fuller and thicker.

The shampoo contains a pro-keratine complex and ceramides that the company says can rebuild the hair structure, add shine, moisturize, and prevent split ends.

The company recommends people apply a quarter-size amount of shampoo to the hair and scalp and work through the lengths of the hair.

Why we chose this shampoo

This shampoo contains synthetic ceramides, which research has shown promote hair growth and protect the hair shaft.

Split ends are more common in bleached, processed, or heat-damaged hair. Reviewers on Amazon state that this shampoo helps smooth and nourish bleached hair, making their hair look stronger, thicker, and healthier.


  • contains ceramides that may promote hair growth
  • helps moisturize bleached hair, according to reviews
  • reduces the appearance of split ends
  • may be good value for money, as reviewers say a small amount of the shampoo lathers up below-shoulder hair


  • some customers report that they did not notice any difference in the thickness or fullness of their hair after using this product
  • others say the shampoo leaves hair feeling dry and lifeless
Was this helpful?

Best for fine hair: Ouai Fine Hair Shampoo

  • Price: $32
  • Size: 10 fl. oz.
  • Hair type: fine
  • Sulfate-free: yes
  • Cruelty-free: yes
  • Scent: floral

The company claims that this shampoo is especially suitable for people with fine hair. Fine hair looks thinner than other types of hair, and this shampoo claims to strengthen, nourish, and add volume.

The company recommends people apply a quarter-size amount of shampoo into their hands and work it into the roots and scalp.

Why we chose this shampoo

This shampoo contains keratin, biotin, and chia seeds. Keratin and biotin can make hair smoother and easier to manage. Chia seeds are high in iron, selenium, copper, and zinc, which can improve hair texture in people with deficiencies in these minerals. However, there is no evidence that the topical application of seeds has the same benefits.


  • reviewers report that the shampoo gives body to fine, lifeless hair
  • may help prevent split ends, making hair look fuller


  • some reviewers report that the shampoo left their scalps dry and itchy
  • some people found the floral scent overwhelming
Was this helpful?

The following table compares the shampoos in this article on features such as price, hair type, and more.

PriceSizeHair typeSulfate-freeCruelty-freeScent
hims$196.4 fl. ozallyesyeseucalyptus grove
hers$386.4 fl. ozthinningyesyesNapa rose
Nioxinaround $2210.14 fl. ozallnonocedar
Head and Shouldersfrom around $913.5 fl. ozallnonofresh
Davinesaround $368.45 fl. ozfragileyesyesmint
Shea Moisturearound $1113 fl. ozdamaged, chemically processed, wavy, or curlyyesyesno added fragrance
Olaplexaround $308.5 fl. ozallyesyescitrus
Happy Head$368 fl. ozallyesyesno added fragrance
Kerastasearound $388.5 fl. ozallyesnono information

Read about the best hair growth products here.

Medical News Today chooses shampoos for thinning hair that fit the following criteria where possible:

  • Hair type: Shampoos that are suitable for all hair types, such as straight, wavy, curly, and chemically processed hair.
  • Ingredients: Shampoos that contain ingredients that are scientifically proven to give the appearance of thicker and fuller hair.
  • Availability: Shampoos that are available to purchase online, from manufacturer websites, and from popular online stores such as Amazon.
  • Price: Shampoos that are available in a range of budgets. Where applicable, MNT will provide information on subscribe and save options.
Was this helpful?

There are several factors to consider when buying a shampoo for thinning hair. These include:

  • Allergies or sensitivities: People should carefully read through the ingredients list to ensure a product will not irritate the skin.
  • Hair type: Some products may advertise that they are most suitable for a particular type of hair, such as dry or oily.
  • Scent: Some individuals may prefer to use shampoos that do not have a strong scent.
  • Ingredients: Companies may state that the product contains clinically proven ingredients to treat hair loss. Some ingredients, such as caffeine, biotin, and ketoconazole, may help prevent shedding and promote hair growth.
  • Scalp health: Each person’s scalp is unique, so what might work well for one person may not work well for another.
  • Cause and severity of hair thinning: People should consult their GP to try to determine the cause of their thinning hair and to rule out any medical conditions or medication they take that may be triggering their hair loss.
  • Harmful chemicals: People should choose products that are free of harsh chemicals, sulfates, and parabens that can further damage thinning hair.

Below are some frequently asked questions about these shampoos.

What is the best shampoo for thinning hair?

Everyone’s scalp is unique. What works well for one person may not work well for the other, so it may be a matter of trial and error.

People may wish to choose shampoos with ingredients such as caffeine, biotin, and ketoconazole, which may help prevent further shedding.

Do thinning hair shampoos work?

While there is evidence that certain ingredients, such as zinc pyrithione, caffeine, biotin, and ketoconazole, can help prevent hair loss, more research is necessary to examine effective dosages.

Additionally, customers who buy hair growth shampoos tend to give mixed reviews, with some people stating the products worked as intended and others saying they have not noticed any difference.

If a person is worried about hair loss, they should contact a healthcare professional for further advice and treatment options.

Learn more about hair loss treatments.

Do vitamins help thinning hair?

There is some evidence that certain vitamins may help thinning hair. A 2019 review investigated the effects of the following vitamins:

  • Vitamin B7 (biotin): Biotin supplements may help promote hair growth in people with vitamin B7 deficiencies. However, individuals who do not have this vitamin deficiency should only take biotin supplements under the advice of a doctor, as it can artificially raise or lower thyroid function.
  • Vitamin D: While there is a lack of high quality evidence that vitamin D can help hair growth in people with alopecia, case studies and meta-analyses have shown that topical vitamin D may be beneficial.
  • Vitamin E derivatives: Vitamin E derivatives, such as the fat-soluble compounds tocopherols and tocotrienols, may prevent hair loss. While the above study found that vitamin E supplementation led to hair growth of 34.5% in 38 study participants, more research is necessary.

Can a shampoo cause hair loss?

Shampoos generally do not cause hair loss.

However, some ingredients in these products can cause contact dermatitis or rashes on the scalp. Some common ingredients that may cause irritation include:

  • cocamidopropyl betaine
  • methylchloroisothiazolinone
  • formaldehyde-releasing preservatives
  • propylene glycol
  • vitamin E (tocopherol)
  • parabens
  • benzophenones

People who experience scalp irritation may notice an increase in hair loss or hair shedding. If a person experiences any irritation after using a product, they should discontinue use immediately and speak with a healthcare professional.

People with hair loss may choose to purchase shampoos that claim to help hair growth. While there is some evidence that ingredients, such as caffeine and saw palmetto, may help hair growth, more research is necessary to determine effective dosage.

If a person has concerns about hair loss, they should contact a healthcare professional for advice and treatment options. A doctor may recommend prescription treatments that yield better results than thinning hair shampoos.