20 Hair Growth Shampoos That Actually Work

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It can feel completely devastating to realize your hair is thinning or falling out. Too many of us experience female pattern hair loss, and it can happen to anyone for a myriad of reasons—from genetics to stress and even overuse of hot tools like your everyday flat iron. Unfortunately, there can be a lot of shame around the issue, making it harder to get information about how to treat hair loss. Alongside using hair growth vitamins and oils, hair growth shampoos (and conditioners) can actually help re-grow patchy sections, add density to thin hair, and prevent sparseness in the first place.

When it comes to a hair growth shampoo, you have two options: prescriptions or over-the-counter treatments. Prescription shampoos like ketoconazole are “anti-androgenetic,” which means they prevent two hormones associated with triggering hair loss from activating—testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT)—by “targeting hair growth at the site of the follicle and helping to interrupt the hormone cycle locally that causes thinning,” explains Dr. Eric Schweiger of Schweiger Dermatology Group in NYC. Meanwhile, “over-the-counter growth shampoos typically contain amino acids and antioxidants to provide the components to rebuild hair as well as reduce damage and inflammation,” Schweiger adds.

Depending on what’s causing your hair loss, consulting with a doctor, trichologist, or dermatologist is always a good first step. To find the best drugstore shampoos that can improve hair growth and density, we consulted some of the best minds in the industry—including cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson of BeautyStat; Krupa Koestline, cosmetic chemist and founder of KKT Consultants; Dr. William Yates, board-certified hair loss expert and surgeon; and Dr. Nava Greenfield of Schweiger Dermatology Group. Ahead, shop 20 of the best hair growth shampoos available.

  • 1

    Best For Hair Growth

    Biotin Shampoo for Hair Growth B-Complex Formula Honeydew

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  • 2

    Best For Hair Loss

    Growth Stimulating & Anti Hair Loss Shampoo Pure Biology

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  • 3

    Best Hair Growth Set

    Strengthen, Grow & Restore Shampoo and Conditioner Set SheaMoisture

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  • 4

    Best Hair Growth System

    System 1 Hair Care Kit Nioxin

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  • 5

    Best For Scalp Care

    Deep Scalp Hair Therapy and Follicle Stimulation Tonic Strong HairPro Hair Care

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1

Best For Hair Growth

Honeydew

Biotin Shampoo for Hair Growth B-Complex Formula

2

Best For Hair Loss

Pure Biology

Growth Stimulating & Anti Hair Loss Shampoo

3

Best Hair Growth Set

SheaMoisture

Strengthen, Grow & Restore Shampoo and Conditioner Set

4

Best Hair Growth System

Nioxin

System 1 Hair Care Kit

5

Best For Scalp Care

Strong HairPro Hair Care

Deep Scalp Hair Therapy and Follicle Stimulation Tonic

6

Best For Thin Hair

Biolage

Full Density Thickening Shampoo

7

Best For No-Breakage

Keranique

Scalp Stimulating Shampoo

8

Best For Everyday Use

Pura D’or

Original Gold Label Anti-Hair Thinning Shampoo

9

Best For Damaged Hair

Kérastase

Resistance Length Strengthening Shampoo

10

Best For Growing New Hair

Ultrax Labs

Hair Surge Caffeine Hair Recovery Stimulating Shampoo

11

Best For Cell Turnover

Andalou Naturals

Argan Stem Cell Age Defying Shampoo

12

Best Biotin Shampoo

Bellisso

Biotin Shampoo and Treatment Conditioner

13

Best For Curly Hair

Carol’s Daughter

Goddess Fortifying Shampoo

14

Best For Dry Hair

Davines

NaturalTech Nourishing Shampoo

15

Best Volumizing Shampoo

Briogeo

Blossom & Bloom Ginseng + Biotin Volumizing Shampoo

16

Best For Dandruff

Nizoral

Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

17

Best For Quick Results

NISIM

F.A.S.T Fortified Amino Scalp Therapy Shampoo & Conditioner

18

Best For Natural Hair

Dream Girls

Renewing Shampoo

19

Best Drugstore Pick

OGX

Thick & Full Biotin & Collagen Shampoo

20

Best For Sensitive Scalps

Urban Hydration

Moisturize & Grow Aloe Vera & Cucumber Clarifying Micellar Shampoo

Hair loss is more common than you think and can happen to anyone. According to Dr. Eric Schweiger of Schweiger Dermatology Group in NYC, causes range from “androgenetic, or hormone-related hair loss, stress-related hair loss, also called telogen effluvium, and dandruff. Medications, vitamin deficiencies, thyroid disorders, excess styling, and autoimmune disorders can also cause hair loss and thinning.”

Does shampoo help hair growth?

Cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson of BeautyStat says that shampoos can help to improve hair growth, but not single-handedly. “Because shampoos are rinsed out shortly after they are applied, the ingredients are not staying on the scalp long enough to make a significant impact on their own.” However, Schweiger points out there are other benefits to shampoos, including ingredients like amino acids and antioxidants, that can assist with hair growth in the long run.

What should you look for in a hair growth shampoo?

Krupa Koestline, cosmetic chemist and founder of KKT Consultants, notes that when shopping for a hair growth shampoo, some ingredients have proven benefits in hair growth stimulation: zinc, keratin, procyanidin B2, biotin, ginseng, caffeine, peppermint, arginine, amino acids like cysteine and tyrosine, vegetable proteins from wheat or soy, and tri-copper peptides. If you think over-the-counter hair loss shampoos are for you or just want to promote growth and strength, Schwieger also backs these ingredients as effective and cautions against using shampoo with parabens, sulfates, and fragrances, which can irritate hair and reduce moisture. Additionally, Robinson says that ingredients like salicylic acid that exfoliate the scalp and improve blood flow, and biotin, which may nourish the hair follicles, can also be beneficial in a hair growth shampoo.

Can natural ingredients help grow hair?

Board-certified hair loss expert and surgeon Dr. William Yates recommends gentle ingredients that don’t strip the hair and preserve the integrity of the hair shaft to help prevent breakage. “My patients report improved hair growth natural ingredients like pumpkin seed extract, yucca root extract, saw palmetto, algae, horsetail, and green tea extract,” says Yates. He also notes that biotin and rosemary oil show promise as natural ingredients in hair products to promote hair health and growth.

What’s the difference between regular shampoo and a hair growth shampoo?

“Hair growth-promoting shampoos are specifically designed with follicle-stimulating actives and antioxidants while maintaining optimal scalp health,” says Koestline. Whereas traditional shampoos are formulated for different hair types and focus more on the hair itself and not the scalp. And remember, hair growth is a slow process, and everyone is different. Dr. Nava Greenfield of Schweiger Dermatology Group recommends that you try a product out for three to four months before determining whether it is effective. “Take before and after photos since the change may be too gradual to notice,” Greenfield adds.

Beauty Director Chloe Hall oversees all beauty coverage at ELLE.com.

Commerce Editor Sam Peters is a Commerce Editor at Hearst covering fashion, beauty and more.

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