Shampoos for Thinning Hair, According to Dermatologists

A head of full and luscious hair is often pegged as the beauty ideal, but it's not an attainable standard for everyone. Many women experience thinning hair and hair loss for a multitude of reasons: age, changes in diet, and product alterations, to name a few. Thin hair is nothing to be ashamed of — it's a fact of life shared by many.

Connecticut-based board-certified dermatologist Mona Gohara says that thinning hair can be linked to many things. "It could be from over-processing color, medication, medical conditions like anemia and vitamin deficiency, menopause, or it could just simply be your genetics," she says. And more recently, your hair loss may be due to COVID-19, according to Papri Sarkar, a board-certified dermatologist who is based in Brookline, Massachusetts. "Everyone whom I've had any contact with throughout the pandemic has seen a huge, huge increase in hair loss," she says, referring to the many primary care physicians, allergists, and pediatricians who have reached out to her for consults on their telogen effluvium cases.

Telogen effluvium is a form of temporary hair loss from excessive shedding due to a shock to the system, and it "does not discriminate," says Corey L. Hartman, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Alabama School of Medicine. "It can be seen across races, ethnicities, skin types, and hair textures," he previously told ishonest.

But if thin hair is an issue that really bothers you, you might want to consider modifying your hair routine with some of the best shampoos for thinning hair — hair products that are specifically formulated to enhance fullness and volume. "An ideal shampoo for thinning hair needs to not only improve the volume of your strands but also encourage growth and circulation of hair follicles," advises New York City board-certified dermatologist Neil Sadick.

So, what should you look for in a shampoo for thinning hair? "Amino acids provide the building blocks to build new strands, while biotin, part of the B- vitamin complex, is required by hair to metabolize amino acids and can help strengthen hair," Sadick says. Additionally, he notes that antioxidants, such as vitamin E and ginseng, are beneficial for promoting hair growth "because they reduce free radicals from sun, stress, or overprocessing and have anti- inflammatory properties."

Ginger King, a cosmetic chemist and founder of Grace Kingdom Beauty, also recommends looking for shampoos that tout their "styling" capabilities as they work more like styling hairsprays. These shampoos typically contain what King refers to as film formers, which are ingredients like acrylate copolymer. "There are also silk proteins and keratin proteins that can help to add a moisturizing layer for hair to look thicker," says King.

Lastly, King cautions against products containing silicones if your main concern is thinning hair. "Personally, I am not opposed to the use of silicones in hair care, but for people who have thinning hair, silicones can build up and weigh hair down," she says.

Below, find 21 of our favorite (and dermatologist-recommended) volumizing shampoos and thickening options that are made for thinning hair. Best of all, you don't need a prescription to scoop any of these up.

Ouai Fine Hair Shampoo

In addition to smelling like absolute heaven (or a blend of rose, Italian lemon, jasmine, and white musk, to be exact), Ouai's Fine Hair Shampoo comes highly recommended by Kavita Mariwalla, a New York City-based board-certified dermatologist.

"Whether your hair is thinning or you feel like it just looks flat, this makes a difference with chia seed oil that penetrates the hair to give it hydration and bounce, along with biotin and keratin," she says.

Kérastase Spécifique Bain Divalent

The Kérastase Spécifique Bain Divalent is another one of Mariwalla's favorite shampoos, specifically for "strengthening hair — especially as we age," she says. It's also formulated for people who are dealing with greasy scalps but have brittle, dry hair.

The shampoo targets these concerns with vitamin B6, which works to slow sebum production, along with glycine, an amino acid that deeply moisturizes strands.

Biolage Advanced Full Density Thickening Shampoo

In addition to being one of Mariwalla's top choices, this shampoo also comes highly recommended by Miami-based board-certified dermatologist Stacy Chimento as a thickening shampoo that's ideal for all hair types.

"It contains a gluco-omega blend, zinc PCA, and biotin," explains Chimento, "all of which are ingredients that help remove follicle-clogging impurities and cleanse the hair."

Alterna Caviar Clinical Densifying Shampoo

Chimento recommends Alterna's Caviar Clinical Densifying Shampoo because of its effective, jam-packed formula. It contains strengthening biotin and keratin; amino acids like hydrolyzed vegetable and hydrolyzed soy proteins to help thinning hair build new strands; and moisturizers glycerin and sunflower seed oil to keep hair shiny and silky.

As a bonus, you won't find any synthetic colors and dyes in this formula. "It also removes environmental residues and excess sebum, which allows for thicker- looking hair to rise to the surface," she says.

Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo

Gonzales adds that this strengthening shampoo really works to protect your locks from breakage. "The less hair breakage, the fuller and thicker your hair will be," she says.

Jason Thin to Thick Extra Volume Shampoo

For a drugstore product that costs less than $10, Jason's Thin to Thick Extra Volume Shampoo has plenty of benefits to its credit. Ingredients such as biotin and hydrolyzed wheat protein work to prevent breakage and improve elasticity, which can lead to thicker-feeling hair, while exfoliators like lactic acid and salicylic acid gently slough away dead skin on the scalp.

Soothing aloe also helps to ease any scalp irritation. As an added bonus, Gonzalez loves that this formula is free of phthalates, petrolatum, sulfates, and parabens.

Isdin Lambdapil Hair Loss Shampoo

Mariwalla recommends Isdin's Lambadapil Hair Loss Shampoo because of its nourishing formula, made of ingredients like zinc and biotin, which "really make the hair look and feel thicker and fuller." You'll also find ginseng, which promotes hair growth, along with hydrolyzed wheat protein for strengthening hair inside and out.

Davines Volu Shampoo

Davines' Volu Shampoo amps up hair volume, thanks to turnip root extract, which contains minerals like phosphorus, iron, and calcium that fortify hair. The shampoo also includes a trio of vitamins (A, B, and C) that boost scalp health. Just one wash with this shampoo leaves hair feeling soft and nourished — and smelling super fresh and clean.

Oribe Shampoo for Magnificent Volume

Not only is Oribe's Shampoo for Magnificent Volume safe for color-treated hair, but it also smells amazing and noticeably enhances hair volume. It contains a polymer blend that coats each individual hair so that it looks and feels much thicker. The brand's signature complex also works hard to protect hair from the sun's rays and environmental damage from pollutants.

R+Co Dallas Biotin Thickening Shampoo

Bring on the biotin. In R+Co's Dallas Biotin Thickening Shampoo, the strengthening ingredient coats each strand of hair so that it looks much more full. This formula hydrates and nourishes hair, thanks to antioxidant-rich moringa seed extract, as well as advanced polymers that help add even more body and bounce to your style.

Vegamour GRO Revitalizing Shampoo for Thinning Hair

If you didn't guess from the name, this product is vegan. Vegamour's GRO Revitalizing Shampoo for Thinning Hair contains B-silk, which restores and protects the hair from heat and environmental damage. Phytoactives in the formula also go to work to boost fuller hair and reduce the signs of hair shedding.

Verb Ghost Shampoo

Verb's Ghost Shampoo coats the hair with quinoa protein to make it appear more full and shiny. It also boasts sunflower seed extract, which provides UV protection, as well as moisture-enhancing moringa seed oil.

Bumble and Bumble Bb. Thickening Shampoo

Sadick recommends a super lightweight formula like this Bumble and Bumble Bb. Thickening Shampoo. This shampoo builds lots of volume with ingredients like panthenol (a B vitamin) and glycerin to soften hair.

OGX Thick & Full Biotin & Collagen Shampoo

It's all about that texture. Sadick suggests OGX's Thick & Full Biotin & Collagen, which aims to thicken strands with a blend of vitamin B7 (biotin), collagen, and hydrolyzed wheat protein.

Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Scalp Care Anti-Thinning Shampoo

Sadick likes this color-safe shampoo, which boasts a mixture of Kakadu plum, pea peptides, clover flower, turmeric, and ginseng. They work together to cleanse and strengthen the scalp for thicker hair down the road.

Nioxin Cleanser

Nioxin's Cleanser Shampoo is another Sadick pick. It contains amino acids, antioxidants, and peppermint oil to help increase volume and strengthen hair follicles without stripping natural oils from your hair.

Laritelle Diamond Strong Shampoo

This Sadick-recommended splurge, Laritelle's Diamond Strong Shampoo, is crafted from amazing ingredients that strengthen and provide moisture: organic argan oil, jojoba oil, rosemary, lemongrass, ginger, and cedarwood essential oil.

Dove DermaCare Scalp Pure Daily Care Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Dove's DermaCare Scalp Pure Daily Care Anti-Dandruff Shampoo contains 1 percent zinc pyrithione to gently fight dandruff without irritating the scalp. Plus, it smells like fresh, clean laundry — and the scent lasts, too.

Shea Moisture Yucca & Plantain Anti-Breakage Strengthening Shampoo

This Shea Moisture Yucca & Plantain Anti-Breakage Strengthening Shampoo gives your thin hair a welcome boost of strength. The yucca and plantain extracts in it are blended with baobab oil to ensure hair is moisturized and super soft.

Tresemmé Thick & Full Shampoo

Tresemmé's Thick & Full Shampoo uses micellar technology to keep your hair extra clean as the glycerol works to plump your strands.

Now that you're officially schooled in shampoo for thinning hair, add one (or a few) of these thickening formulas to your cart and get ready for more volume. But keep in mind that these may not work for everyone. If you're not seeing a difference even after using a dermatologist-recommended pick for a while, it may be time to talk to a doctor about your concerns.

More healthy hair tips:

  • Why Cutting Out Shampoo Won’t Repair Your Damaged Hair
  • Can Coconut Oil Make Your Hair Dry? Here’s Why It Doesn't Work for All Hair Types
  • Trendy Skin-Care Ingredients Are Being Added to Hair-Care Products

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