Despite what the label says, there isn't a single shampoo that can actually make thinning hair permanently thick again. However, lathering up with the right formula can help your strands appear fuller in conjunction with whatever treatment method your dermatologist recommends to full-on address the issue.
"If your hair is fine or thinning, the right shampoo can be a great 'body builder,'" says Anabel Kingsley, director of communications at Philip Kingsley. "However, it's really important to be aware that, while a shampoo may create the illusion of greater hair density, they do not actually treat hair thinning."
As for why your hair is thinning, New York-based dermatologist Dr. Francesca Fusco says there are three common causes: breakage from styling or coloring your hair, androgenic alopecia (also known as female-patterned) which is hormonally based, and inflammation from dermatitis or a reaction to products you're using.
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Whatever the reason, she says to look for nourishing formulas that won't strip the hair of moisture, which will prevent breakage. "You want to use a product that’s going to keep the hair fibers strengthened," she explains. "Even if you microscopically see a dent or bend a semi-fractured hair, if you keep that hair well hydrated, it might not break so soon. Look on labels that say are for volume and strengthening and anti-breakage because that means they're going to coat the hair."
For hair loss caused by inflammation, Dr. Fusco also recommends using a shampoo that contains zinc pyrithione because it will also hydrate the hair follicle in addition to minimizing dandruff and flaking, two factors that can contribute to thinning. Hormonal or androgenic alopecia can benefit from ketoconazole. "This ingredient is prescription strength and has been shown to have a good effect on the hair follicle receptors, which are being triggered by hormones to make the hair fall out," she explains.
Here, we've rounded up eight shampoos that help thinning hair appear thick and full.
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Tresemme Thick + Full Shampoo
This shampoo gently cleanses hair without drying it out. It's also infused with glycerol to plump and expand every single strand so that your braid, topknot, or waves look fuller.
Love Beauty And Planet Coconut Water & Mimosa Flower Volume & Bounty Shampoo
Whether you've cleaned up your beauty routine or want extra insurance that the shampoo you're using isn't going to cause further breakage or fallout, reach for a body-boosting formula like Love Beauty And Planet's that uses naturally-derived ingredients.
Klorane Shampoo With Quinine and B Vitamins
In addition to cleansing hair, Klorane's shampoo contains quinine to help strengthen strands so that your styles are visually more full.
Dove Purify & Strengthen Shampoo
If your hair loss is the result of over-processing your hair or using heat tools too often, opt for a shampoo formula that instantly gives you a fuller finish, but also works to strengthen hair over time to prevent future breakage.
Phyto Phytolium Strengthening Shampoo
Specifically formulated for hair that's suffering from androgenic alopecia, Phyto's shampoo contains ingredients rooibos and cinchona extracts to clear buildup and re-energize the scalp.
Keranique Scalp Stimulating Shampoo Deep Hydration for Dry Hair
Consider Keranqiue's bottle a shampoo and scalp treatment in one. It contains keratin that reinforces weak strands while simultaneously removing buildup from the scalp. In the case of androgenic alopecia, when follicles are clogged, it can trigger hormones to make the hair fall out.
Sheamoisture Yucca & Plantain Anti-Breakage Strengthening Shampoo
When a shampoo has "moisture" in its name, you know it's not going to hold back on hydrating strands. Together, plantain and yucca strengthen weak hair to reduce further breakage.
Philip Kingsley Body Building Shampoo
Keratin and cellulose, a natural polyfiber, work together in this shampoo to plump up each and every strand, in addition to strengthening them over time.