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9 Hair-Growth Shampoos That Actually Do Something

Erika Stalder

When the amount of hair swirling around the shower drain becomes noticeably more robust, panic inevitably follows — which never helps the issue, considering surging stress levels can be a key factor in hair loss. ( Joy.) But there are plenty of things you can do to help stop the shedding before you even step out of the shower — as long as you know what's causing it in the first place.

According to Anabel Kingsley, trichologist and president of Philip Kingsley Trichological Clinics, there are typically a few factors contributing to thinning hair, including stress, poor diet, and physiological changes. For women, that includes a weakening of the connective tissue on the scalp (the stuff responsible for anchoring new hair growth), which happens naturally with age. Hormonal changes also come into play: Temporary hair loss is common after childbirth, for example, while perimenopause and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) can mean an increase in androgens, like testosterone, which our bodies naturally convert to dihydrotestoserone (DHT). The hangup? DHT can damage and shrink hair follicles, resulting in the growth of finer and shorter hair, says Kerry E. Yates, trichologist and founder of Colour Collective.

While tackling an ongoing issue with a doctor is the best way to fix whichever root cause it might be, there are things you can do immediately and from home to help. For one, shampoos stocked with circulation boosters and DHT blockers can optimize scalp health, protect weakening hair follicles, and build the illusion of having grown more hair while you work out the issue. “'Hair growth' shampoos that contain bodybuilding ingredients like protein can help to add immediate thickness and volume to strands,” Kingsley says. “However, they simply give the illusion of fuller hair and do not trigger new growth or stop hair loss.”

The pros share their favorite shampoos for supporting hair growth, plus their tips for thick and healthy strands, ahead.

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"If you’re suffering from thinning hair, I recommend using a shampoo that’s formulated to reduce the levels of DHT on your scalp," says Philip B, hairstylist and founder of the eponymous hair-care brand. This shampoo is made with DHT blockers to address hair thinning, along with ingredients aimed at repairing connective tissue for better anchoring of new hair growth and improved circulation.

Another somewhat surprising move that can address stunted hair? Very regular shampooing. "Daily shampooing helps to keep the scalp environment healthy – which is the base of hair growth," Kingsley says. "If you shampoo daily, you will naturally see less hair fall when you wash your hair than if you were washing it only three or four times a week."



ColorProof BioRepair-8 Anti-Thinning Shampoo, $44, available at Colorproof

It's tough to surf hair-thinning forums on Reddit without seeing mention of this shampoo, which uses 15 botanical and food-grade DHT blockers (like biotin, niacin, and grapefruit seed oil) to help counter constricting hair follicles. The vegan and cruelty-free formula skips SLS and other traditional surfactants for more gentle versions and smells like lemongrass, to boot. "I’m a big fan of going gentle on the scalp and limiting the amount of harsh detergents we use to wash our hair," says Yates.



Pura d'or Hair Thinning Therapy Shampoo, $17.98, available at Target

Another factor in hair thinning and loss in women: poor blood circulation. “It is essential for nourishing cells throughout your body, including the scalp, but slows down as we age,” Philip B. says. He suggests performing a daily scalp massage with a product made to stimulate circulation and regulate cell turnover, like this shampoo made with a high concentration of invigorating medical-grade peppermint oil.



Philip B. Peppermint Avocado Shampoo, $32, available at DermStore

Growth is the ultimate goal when using a follicle-stimulating shampoo, but this one also works to preserve the strands you're already working with. In addition to its volumizing properties, this shampoo is formulated with strengthening ingredients like baobab, which improves manageability and protects strands from heat styling.



Evolis Promote Shampoo, $28, available at Bloomingdale's

As Kingsley points out, hair loss can be also be due to unbalanced scalp (versus androgenic alopecia). “If you have a flaky scalp, a targeted antimicrobial shampoo that clears it can help minimize hair that is shedding as a result of your scalp condition,” she says, noting that an anti-dandruff shampoo like this one, not a hair loss shampoo, can help in these cases.



Philip Kingsley Flaky Scalp Shampoo, $18, available at Philip Kingsley

Formulated with amino acids (which "can add bulk and body to strands," according to Kingsley) and caffeine ("thought to stimulate blood supply, feed the follicle and improve hair growth," says Yates), this shampoo also taps biotin to target thinning hair.



Grow Gorgeous Hair Density Shampoo Intense, $23, available at Target

The brand famous for boosting the look of lashes now makes shampoo that aims to do the same for hair. The formula includes willow bark to help manage oil control (and therefore, the clogging and irritation of hair follicles) and flax protein, which is "thought to feed the follicle and improve hair growth," says Yates.



RevitaLash Thickening Shampoo, $36, available at DermStore

This clean and fruity smelling shampoo calls on amino acids to strengthen strands and minimize breakage.



Kerastase Hair Bain Extentioniste Shampoo, $33, available at Sephora

This shampoo boasts a proprietary ingredient the brand says is capable of jumpstarting the hair's growth phase, along with a more tangible asset: suspended beads of encapsulated orange, lavender and rosemary essential oils inside. Together, they promote microcirculation when massaged into the scalp, which is a vital practice according to Philip B. "I can’t emphasize enough the importance of a daily scalp massage," he says. "I touch a lot of heads and in my experience, a scalp that feels tight as a coconut or super coated with gunk isn’t usually growing lush, thick hair. For optimal circulation, you want your scalp to have a little give."



Rene Furterer Triphasic Strengthening Shampoo, $32, available at DermStore

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