The 7 Best Shampoos for Thinning Hair

The 7 Best Shampoos for Thinning Hair


Thinning hair is such a confidence killer for women. When you wake up to flat, lifeless hair every morning, with little hope of a good hair day, it’s easy to lose heart. But don’t give up!  Every day there are new solutions for improving the look of thinning hair. The first step along the road to good hair days is to find a shampoo designed specifically for thinning hair that will give your hair the foundation it needs for health and more fullness. This article will examine what to look for in a shampoo for thinning hair and recommend some of our favorites.

But first, let’s look at some of the things you’ll want to keep an eye out for when purchasing a shampoo for thinning hair.

What to Look for in a Shampoo for Thinning Hair 

Even as you work to address the causes of hair thinning, you can begin to address the appearance of thinning hair. And the first step in that process is to find the right shampoo.   

There are many shampoos that are formulated specifically for fine or thinning hair.  Most of these are labeled “volumizing” or “thickening” shampoos or will say explicitly that they are made for thinning hair. These shampoos typically work in one or more of the following ways:  

  1. They improve the health of the scalp. The scalp is the home of your hair follicles where all growth begins. If the scalp isn’t healthy, or if the follicles are clogged with debris, hair growth can be diminished. Also, there are many hormonal changes that affect the hair follicles and scalp due to menopause. If this is your issue, you need to find the best shampoo for thinning hair due to menopause.
  2. They increase the diameter of each strand. Many shampoos contain ingredients that deposit a film on each hair to enhance the thickness of individual strands, making each hair count for more hair volume and providing each hair with more rigidity and structure to stand up off the scalp. If the fineness of each strand is your primary issue, you need to find the best volumizing shampoo for fine hair. 
  3. They strengthen the hair itself. Fine hair can be very fragile, so you’ll want ingredients to repair hair and make it more resilient and healthy since healthier hair is thicker hair. Hair gets a lot of abuse – color, teasing, heat styling, harsh styling products and much more. This can dry and weaken hair, making it prone to breakage or rough texture. If this is your primary issue, you will want to look for the best shampoo for dry thin hair. 

Our Picks for the Best Shampoos for Thinning Hair

PURA D'OR Original Gold Label Anti-Thinning Shampoo 

pura dor shampoo

This potent formula claims to result in less hair shedding after just eight weeks.  It also is designed to enhance volume and hydrate dry strands.  It is packed with vitamins, amino acids and oils (like black cumin seed oil) – all designed to reduce thinning.  And its 17+ herbal blend includes DHT blockers that nourish, cleanse and protect the scalp due to hormonal factors.

Plantur 39 Phyto-Caffeine Shampoo

plantur shampoo

The phyto-active ingredients in this shampoo are designed to help the scalp protect itself from the consequences of declining estrogen levels, and the caffeine is claimed to prevent premature exhaustion of hair growth caused by the impacts of testosterone.  If left on for a couple of minutes, it may penetrate all the way down to the hair follicle.  A combination of natural wheat extracts and provitamin B5 condition, work together to repair and protect colored and stressed hair.   It also contains zinc to support hair growth and niacin to boost nutrient flow to hair follicles.   

Nioxin System 4

nioxin shampoo

This shampoo is part of a 3-step system designed to work in three ways:  to amplify structure in thinning hair, strengthen hair and prevent breakage, and refresh and nourish the scalp.  The formula’s nettle root extract, saw palmetto, niacin, biotin, and B vitamins remove dirt, debris, environmental residues and oil that can clog the hair follicle.  Excess oil can be a sign of DHT, one of the main causes of hair loss in women. The 3 products used together are formulated to thicken hair and protect color treated hair

Biolage Advanced Full Density Shampoo

biolage shampoo

This specially-formulated shampoo gently removes follicle-clogging oil and environmental residue that can impede new hair growth.  It boasts a host of important nutrients including biotin, zinc PCA, and a “gluco-omega blend” to strengthen the hair.  The Biolage Advanced Full Density system is designed to reduce hair loss and delivers luscious, thicker-feeling hair.  It is recommended for use with its Full Density Conditioner to reduce hair breakage up to 95% and its Full Density Densifying Spray Treatment which works on the surface of each hair to bulk up the diameter.  

Virtue Flourish Shampoo for Thinning Hair

virtue flourish shampoo

This shampoo contains Virtue’s signature Alpha Keratin 60ku protein which is claimed to increase the thickness of individual hair fibers and fortify them down to the scalp.  It also cleanses the hair shaft and clears debris from follicle openings and creating an environment for healthy growth.  

Keeps Hair Thickening Shampoo

keeps hair thickening shampoo

This shampoo was developed by experts to keep the follicles clean, while strengthening them to promote thicker-looking strands. It contains biotin, green tea, caffeine, and saw palmetto that strengthen every strand, promotes keratin, and blocks DHT to improve growth and for healthier-looking hair.

VOLOOM Bliss Out Shampoo

This is a stimulating, aromatic cleansing shampoo, with Tea Tree, Lavender and Peppermint Oils, designed to revitalize both hair and scalp. The rich lather removes excess oils and product build-up, while strengthening hair and improving body and shine. It contains no parabens, sulfates or sodium chloride, is color-safe and and protects fragile hair with a UV Protectant.

Key Ingredients in the Battle Against Thinning Hair

When selecting the best shampoo for your fine, thinning hair, knowledge of ingredients is power. Most of us don’t look carefully at those ingredients, but if we want to fight the good fight with thinning hair, we need to understand what those ingredients are and how they work. Following is a list of some of the most active ingredients and how they work to address thinning hair.  

  • DHT blockers: Before menopause, hair roots are protected by high levels of female hormones (estrogen). After menopause, estrogen levels will decline and the impact of male hormones such as dihydroxy testosterone (DHT) will increase. This can trigger hair loss in menopausal women. That’s why many hair loss shampoos contain DHT blockers that help prevent further hair loss.
    • Scalp-healthy ingredients including: Tea tree oil to dissolve sebum build-up, caffeine which stimulates hair follicles, green tea which strengthens them, as well as pumpkin seed and rosemary oil which work as natural DHT blockers. Rosemary oil has also recently come to the attention of dermatologists for its ability to stimulate blood flow in the scalp -- some studies show it is as effective as minoxidil -- and is an increasingly popular ingredient in shampoos, conditioners and scalp treatments. 
    • Polymers: These are large molecules that bond to the surface of your hair to make it look and feel thicker. Some common polymers to look for include polyquaternium 7, polyquaternium 10, and polyquaternium 11.
    • Hydrolyzed proteins (wheat, rice, vegetable-based):  These ingredients can attach directly to the hair follicle and harden the outer cuticle layer, helping to strengthen hair strands so they aren’t as prone to breakage or other damage. It also forms a film on your hair that helps it look thicker.  In addition to building volume, many add weightless moisture. 
    • Biotin:  Also known as vitamin H, Biotin is a water-soluble B-complex vitamin (aka vitamin B7) and is added to shampoos to strengthen hair follicles, improve scalp circulation and increase hair density.
    • UV protection:  We all know how much damage the sun’s UV rays can do to skin, but they can also wreak havoc on your hair. UV rays can dry out your locks and weaken the protein bonds, leaving your hair more prone to frizz, splitting, and breakage. To help your fine hair look healthier and fuller, opt for a shampoo that offers UVA and UVB protection, so your hair is always protected when you step outside.

    When you’re checking the ingredient list, it’s also important to keep an eye out for ingredients to avoid, such as the following:

    • Silicones: Shampoos for fine hair should be free of silicone because it can weigh the hair down. Silicon ingredients can be identified by the “-cone” at the end of the name, e.g., dimethacone. 
    • Sulfates: While sulfates help shampoos create luxurious suds, they can also be quite drying, which can cause hair breakage, frizz and other damage.  If your fine hair is also color-treated or damaged, avoid shampoos that contain sulfates.

    Causes of Hair Loss

    According to the American Academy of Dermatology, all of us shed hair every day, and you shouldn’t worry about losing 50-100 hairs per day – it’s normal.  Hair growth is a cycle and hair falls out and regrows regularly.   But if you’re shedding more than 100 hairs per day, you will probably start to notice the telltale signs of thinning hair: a widening part, sparser spots on your scalp, or stubborn cowlicks that you can no longer cover.   

    No doubt, heredity plays a key role. In fact, according to an article published by Harvard Medical School, four in ten people will experience genetically based hair loss. Hereditary hair loss, while not completely reversible, can definitely be slowed down. The medical term is androgenic alopecia and it means that you’re genetically predisposed to hair follicles – which anchor hair to the scalp -- that shrink and eventually stop growing hair. Shrinking can begin as early as your teens but tends to start later in life.

    Lifestyle factors can also play a significant role. Over-treating your hair with color, perms, extreme hold hair sprays and gels, as well as too much teasing can cause hair loss. Your scalp and hair follicles can only take so much abuse until they rebel with falling hair. Even wearing tight hairstyles can cause hair to thin, especially on top. If you’re constantly pulling your hair up into a tight ponytail or an updo for working, working out, or sleeping, that means that your hair follicles are experiencing constant tension, which will cause hair to thin over time.  

    Extreme weight loss over a short period of time can also wreak havoc on your hair and scalp, as can eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. If you’ve recently undergone an operation or are recovering from an illness, you may experience temporary hair loss. Experiencing chronic stress can also cause hair loss. Stress is related to a rise in hormones like cortisol which may kill off vulnerable new hairs before they have a chance to grow. If you don’t get that stressor under control, your hair shedding will continue. 

    The hormonal changes of menopause cause hair loss in most women of a certain age. In fact, studies show that more than half of women over 50 will experience hair loss. In fact, age itself causes hair loss in almost everyone, eventually. As we age, the rate of hair growth slows and nutrient absorption diminishes. Hair strands become more brittle, thinner and less pigmented.  Eventually many hair follicles just stop new hair production.  

    Nutritional deficiencies including Vitamin D, Folic Acid, iron and certain minerals can cause hair loss and interfere with the follicles’ natural hair growth as can too little biotin, iron, protein, or zinc. If you’re not getting enough of one or more of these, you can have noticeable hair loss.

    So Many Options for Thinning Hair

    These are just a few of the shampoos on the market that combat thinning hair. Some work by cleansing the scalp and supporting hair follicles, some by thickening each strand, and some by strengthening fragile hair and protecting it from further damage. Many work across all these fronts. It’s important to understand how these shampoos work so that you can look carefully at ingredients and claims and make informed decisions about the best formulation for your hair type.  

    Of course, shampoos are simply one of many tools in your arsenal to battle thinning hair. There are many other solutions on the market that can help you win the struggle. What’s critical is to find solutions that make every hair count, lift hair up and off the scalp, and give the appearance of greater hair density and volume. Tools such as the VOLOOM hair volumizing iron, for example, can give the appearance of 2-3 times the normal volume. And importantly, the results last for days so that you can avoid damage caused by too much shampooing, blow-drying and heat styling your hair.  

    Remember you’re not alone. More than 50% of women will experience hair loss. And because of that large market, vendors are offering more and more tools every day to help you achieve that full look you crave. Stay tuned to our blog to help you find the best solutions.