Finding your hair thinner than it once was, or noticing it falling out more than usual, is not only disheartening, but downright distressing, too. Which is why the best shampoo for hair loss can be an invaluable aide.
The thing to remember is when we talk about shampoo for hair loss or shampoo for thinning hair, these can help make your hair appear thicker, but not magically reverse hair loss (sadly). Unfortunately, there isn’t a shampoo for hair growth. ‘Even if a shampoo contains ingredients that could help with hair loss, they are not left on your scalp for long enough to take effect,’ trichologist Anabel Kingsley at Philip Kingsley tells us. ‘As you’re applying them to a damp scalp and under running water, the formula will also be thoroughly diluted – again, making it ineffective.’
Don’t be disheartened, as that’s not to say that your shampoo can’t help your hair look and feel bouncy and full. Keep reading for what you need to know about thinning hair, and the shampoos to shop now.
What causes hair loss and thinning hair?
One of the most commonly cited causes of thinning hair is a lack of iron, but there are other factors that can lead to hair thinning too. While it could be down to losing excessive hair, it can also be caused by the actual diameter of your hair shafts reducing.
Although both result in volume reduction, hair diameter thinning happens over a long period of time, while excessive hair shedding can result in more rapid reduction of volume if the daily loss is substantial.
In terms of actual hair loss, there are several different types. ‘The two most common are androgenetic alopecia (aka hair thinning, female pattern hair loss, reduced hair volume), and telogen effluvium (aka excessive daily hair shedding),’ Anabel Kingsley explains. ‘They are caused by completely different things and need different treatments.’
If you suffer from androgenetic alopecia, you will notice thinning hair at the top, frontal area and just behind your hairline, while hair at the back stays thick. Annabel tell us that this is mainly down to genes, causing your hair follicles to be sensitive to normal levels of androgens, aka male hormones. It can be exacerbated by any conditions that affect your hormone levels, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and is a progressive type of hair loss, meaning it’s very important to be consistent with treatment.
On the other hand, telogen effluvium is characterised by very obvious, excess hair shedding, which is caused by some sort of internal disruption. This can be because of multiple factors, for example iron or vitamin D deficiencies. However, once you identify the cause and fix it, it almost always goes away.
‘A third, and quite common, hair loss I want to mention is alopecia areata – a hair loss that occurs in patches. This is an auto-immune hair loss and occurs when your immune system attacks certain hair follicles that are in the anagen (growth) phase of the hair growth cycle.
‘Currently there is no proven treatment, but in many cases, hair will spontaneously grow back on its own. Please do not buy products that claim to re-grow patchy hair loss – they do not work. The only treatments that “may” work are prescription-only.’
Remember, if you’re concerned with excessive and or unusual hair loss, always speak to your doctor for tailored medical advice and treatment.
The best shampoo for hair loss and thinning hair – what should you look for?
‘Frequent shampooing is important to hair growth,’ Annabel tells us. ‘This is because it helps to keep the scalp environment clean and in good condition – and a healthy scalp encourages the growth of healthy strands.
‘A flaky scalp can cause hair loss, so it is important to keep your scalp clear. If you have a scaly scalp, look for a shampoo that is specifically geared towards clearing flaking and itching. I recommend our Flaky/Itchy Scalp Shampoo.
‘Avoid heavy-weight, oil-rich shampoos, as these can weigh fine hair down,’ she adds. ‘Instead, choose a volumizing shampoo that adds immediate body and texture. However, keep in mind that volumizing shampoos will not actively make your hair grow faster or thicker – they will simply make your hair appear fuller.’
Ingredients to look out for in shampoo for thinning hair
Certain ingredients can help to optimise the scalp environment and may in turn encourage growth, Annabel tells us. They include:
Menthol – a stimulant Piroctone Olamine – an antimicrobial that helps to clear flaking and itching
Methyl nicotinate – a vasodilator that can also help to aid in the effectiveness of other ingredients
A combination of zinc sulphate, vitamin B6 and azelaic acid – Combined in topical drops they can help to block the conversion of testosterone to the more damaging dihydrotestosterone. Found in the Tricho 7 stimulating Scalp Drops – which also contain piroctone olamine and methyl nicotinate.
Betaine salicylate or salicylic acid – exfoliants that can be formulated into scalp masks to gently remove dead-skin cells.
Time to volumise? We’ve pulled together the best shampoos for hair loss to help give your hair the volume boost you’re after. Keep scrolling to find your new hair hero.