A quick look at the best shampoos for thinning hair
- Best splurge shampoo: Vegamour GRO Revitalizing Shampoo
- Best shampoo for curly hair: Living Proof Curl Shampoo
- Best shampoo for mature hair: dpHUE Cool Blonde Purple Shampoo
- Best strengthening shampoo: Briogeo Blossom & Bloom Ginseng + Biotin Hair Volumizing Shampoo
- Best shampoo for color-treated hair: Pureology Hydrate Sheer Shampoo
- Best shampoo for damaged hair: JVN Undamage Strengthening Shampoo
- Best shampoo for dry scalps: Ranavat Regenerative Veda Bond Repair Shampoo
- Best custom shampoo option: Prose Custom Shampoo
- Best natural shampoo: Love Beauty And Planet Sulfate-Free Coconut Water & Mimosa Flower Shampoo
- Best shampoo for dandruff: Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Shampoo
- Best shampoo for buildup: Olaplex No. 4C Bond Maintenance Clarifying Shampoo
- Best volumizing shampoo: Rossano Ferretti Parma Grandioso Extra Volume Shampoo
- Best budget shampoo: Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Strengthening Shampoo
- Best scented shampoo: Odele Moisture Repair Shampoo
- Best shampoo for men: Hims Thick Fix Thickening Shampoo
- Best dermatologist recommended shampoo: Dove Anti-Frizz Oil Therapy Shampoo With Almond Oil
- Best co-wash: Bread Beauty Supply Hair-Wash Milky Hair Cleanser
- Best shampoo for frizz: Biolage Strength Recovery Shampoo for Damaged Hair
- Best shampoo for flat roots: Michiru Fullness Shampoo
- Best sulfate-free shampoo: Hairstory New Wash
You may have heard once or twice that healthy hair starts in the shower. Well, allow us to hit the point home: A quality wash can elevate basically any hair goal you have. Looking for smooth locks with minimal frizz?
Look for hydrating ingredients that coat each strand and add some slip. Gunning for extra volume? Opt for an airy, clarifying formula that dissolves buildup and grime.
And if you're dealing with increased shedding (a very common hair care concern), select a shampoo specifically geared toward thinning hair. Not sure what ingredients to look for or where to start? Here, find our prized recommendations.
mbg's picks for the best shampoos for thinning hair of 2023:
Best splurge: Vegamour GRO Revitalizing Shampoo
- Mirrors a highly concentrated hair growth serum
- Pricey for a small bottle
Active ingredients:KarmatinRed cloverMung beanCurcumin
This formula is brimming with hi-tech ingredients for healthy hair growth: There's karmatin, a vegan keratin made from fermented silk protein to create a mirror image of the amino acids that naturally occur in hair; marula, baobab, and ximenia seed oils to provide moisture and nourish the strands; and red clover, mung bean, and curcumin to fortify the hair follicles and protect against inflammation.
- Does not strip curls
- Very low lather, so might not be best for buildup
Active ingredients:MethiopeptideRosemary leaf extract
Curly heads should gravitate toward hydrating shampoos and conditioners since the textured strands are more prone to dryness and breakage.
Living Proof's curl range keeps the ringlets extra juicy, with plenty of conditioning agents to help provide slip and softness, as well as peptides to strengthen the strands.
Not to mention, the formula includes rosemary leaf extract—a natural ingredient renowned for its hair growing abilities.
- Great for gray hair or hair with highlights
- Very pigmented, so can stain
Active ingredients:Hibiscus flower extractSilk amino acidsHydrolyzed silk protein
Silver strands can easily appear dull or brassy thanks to pollution, topicals, heat damage, and other stressors. "Gray hair grabs what's in the atmosphere, so it can turn yellow very quickly," says color and hair expert Christin Brown.
That's why many opt for a purple or blue shampoo to correct these subtle changes. dpHUE's blond- and gray-enhancing shampoo not only contains purple pigments to neutralize brassy tones, but it also comes loaded with vegan silk proteins, amino acids, and hibiscus flower extract to repair and protect strands from environmental aggressors.
Your hair will appear brighter, fuller, and most importantly, feel stronger over time.
Best strengthening: Briogeo Blossom & Bloom Ginseng + Biotin Hair Volumizing Shampoo
- Fast results
- Contains essential oils, if you're sensitive to those
Active ingredients:Ginseng root extractBiotinMaltodextrin
Your hair is made up of protein, but those amino acid chains can weaken over time, which can lead to breakage. That's where bond-building ingredients like biotin come in: "We can't recreate the exact protein that is in our hair [with topicals], but synthetic and naturally sourced proteins can repair and stand in place like a Band-Aid," explains hairstylist Matt Newman about protein treatments for hair.
That's precisely why Briogeo includes biotin in their volumizing shampoo, as well as ginseng root extract to combat free radicals and maltodextrin—a starch-like substance that creates a film-like coating on the hair, which thickens the strands and gives the appearance of a fuller mane.
Best for color-treated hair: Pureology Hydrate Sheer Shampoo
- Great for fine, color-treated hair
- Great for dry hair
- Not the best for thicker hair
Active ingredients:Green teaSageJojoba oil
Finding a wash that provides a deep clean without stripping the pigment off your strands can be difficult if you have color-treated hair.
A color-safe shampoo is key, like this Pureology number: The lightweight jojoba-oil-infused lather won't disrupt your gorgeous color, and it includes antioxidant-rich green tea extract to protect your strands and scalp, as well as sage to stimulate those hair follicles.
Best for damaged hair: JVN Undamage Strengthening Shampoo
- Makes hair shiny and frizz-free without silicones
- Luxurious fragrance
- Contains essential oils
No product can truly "repair" split ends, but JVN's strengthening range comes pretty close: Ceramides mask the appearance of dry, brittle ends; aloe juice drenches the strands in hydration; and jojoba oil simultaneously conditions with every wash.
The formula also swaps squalane and hemi-squalane for silicones—they provide a similar amount of slip and softness to the strands, but unlike silicones (which don't really benefit the hair aside from aesthetics), they simultaneously deliver moisture and improve hair health over time.
Best for dry scalps: Ranavat Regenerative Veda Bond Repair Shampoo
- Very hydrating
- Calms the scalp
- May need to rinse & repeat
Active ingredients:Hibiscus flower extractLotus flower waterAshwagandhaAmla extractJasmine extract
If you’re looking for a shampoo that promotes hair growth yet remains gentle enough for sensitive scalps, well, here she is. Ranavat’s blend contains antioxidant-rich amla and ashwagandha, as well as jasmine oil to stimulate those follicles (plus, it smells heavenly).
The shampoo also features a “champagne lather,” which refers to how it produces delicate bubbles throughout the hair to gently cleanse without stripping the scalp. So you can easily rinse and repeat without stripping the skin up top.
What our tester says:
Assistant beauty editor Hannah Frye also considers it one of her favorites. “Before using this shampoo, I looked at my scalp in the mirror: I saw flakes, dryness, and a bit of irritation,” she says. “Yet after just one use (I repeat, one single use), my scalp immediately looked and felt better.” And in case you didn’t know: A soothed, hydrated scalp free lays the groundwork for healthy hair growth.
Best custom: Prose Custom Shampoo
- Addresses unique hair goals
- Questionnaire requires some basic knowledge about hair type & porosity
- Small bottle
Active ingredients:Depends on custom formula
At the end of the day, hair thinning is personal: Shedding can happen for a number of reasons, which is why Prose offers a questionnaire to understand your specific hair type, texture, and length goals. From there, you'll receive a curated selection of high-quality hair care products, including a sulfate-free fortifying shampoo.
While ingredients may vary depending on your results, some common players include biotin to strengthen, silk proteins for repair, apple cider vinegar for shine, green tea water to protect, and peppermint extract to stimulate the scalp.
What our tester says:
After hearing borderline miraculous accounts from multiple friends (one even swore it stopped her hair loss), I had to give Prose a try. And their shampoo might just be my favorite offering! It’s lightweight yet lathers beautifully. It’s silicone-free and smells oh-so dreamy. And, most importantly, it makes my scalp feel refreshed and supple.
Frye also recommends taking the questionnaire, especially if you’re tired of testing options. "Trying heaps of shampoo just to hate them sucks, and it's a waste of money! If you can't find your perfect fit, I'd recommend choosing Prose,” she says. “While some folks can buy any shampoo and still have lush locks, those with nuanced situations like hair thinning may prefer the personalization from Prose."
Best natural: Love Beauty And Planet Sulfate-Free Coconut Water & Mimosa Flower Shampoo
- Smells great
- Contains essential oils
Active ingredients:Coconut waterCoconut oilMimosa flower
This 93% naturally derived formula is a coconut lover's dream: It uses gentle coconut-based surfactants from coconut to gently lift and dissolve buildup, coconut water to hydrate the strands without weighing them down, and coconut oil to create a glossy sheen.
Plus, mimosa flower provides a light, invigorating scent—this shampoo will elevate your senses and will leave your strands looking bouncy and rejuvenated.
Best for dandruff: Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Shampoo
- Removes buildup without stripping the scalp
- Contains essential oils, if you're sensitive to those
Active ingredients:Apple cider vinegarPeppermint extract
Flakes and buildup can suffocate the hair follicles and eventually lead to shedding. If you're dealing with dandruff, you might want to opt for a clarifying shampoo with apple cider vinegar.
The antimicrobial, anti-yeast, and antifungal ingredient is a popular addition to many natural dandruff shampoos. When dandruff-causing bacteria don't like the acidic environment, they tend to stop multiplying. "When used for short contact, such as in a shampoo, it is generally safe and well tolerated," board-certified dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, M.D., previously shared with mbg.
To keep it moisturizing, the formula also loops in Jamaican Black castor oil and shea butter, so your scalp won't feel too tight or squeaky.
Best for buildup: Olaplex No. 4C Bond Maintenance Clarifying Shampoo
- Less drying than other clarifying shampoos
- Not for everyday or frequent use
Active ingredients:Bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate (Olaplex patented bond-building ingredient)Panthenol
If you're in need of a deep clean, you can't go wrong with this Olaplex number. The clarifying formula removes product buildup, excess oil, and even hard water minerals (mineral buildup can lead to duller hair color).
It also includes the Olaplex signature bond-building technology to repair broken hair bonds for stronger, healthier hair. Translation? This clarifying shampoo simultaneously cleans and strengthens the strands.
What our tester says:
I love the natural volume I notice after using a clarifying shampoo. What I don’t love? My scalp feeling too tight and my strands dried out. However, I’m happy to report that this Olaplex number does not give me that same squeaky-clean feeling. A feat that doesn’t go unnoticed!
Best volumizing: Rossano Ferretti Parma Grandioso Extra Volume Shampoo
- Contains 92% natural ingredients
- Can create lift at the root
- Pricey for a small bottle
Active ingredients:CreatineGinseng root extractAvocado oilMacadamia oilHydrolyzed sweet almond protein
Thinning hair often appears flat at the root, so opt for a volumizing shampoo to lift your strands and create the illusion of fullness.
Not only does this stylist-approved formula instantly give your mane more body (thanks to creatine), but it also includes ginseng root extract for antioxidants, avocado and macadamia oils for moisture, and hydrolyzed sweet almond protein to help repair broken hair bonds. Your hair will look and feel thicker, for sure.
Best budget: Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Strengthening Shampoo
- Made with certified organic ingredients
- Stimulates hair follicles
- Essential oils can be irritating for some
Active ingredients:BiotinCoconut oilPeppermint oilRosemary oilBabassu seed oil
As we mentioned up top, rosemary oil has impressive hair growth abilities. In fact, a 2015 randomized comparative trial found that rosemary essential oil was just as effective as minoxidil (the active ingredient in many commercial hair-growth products) for reversing hair loss caused by androgens—also known as male- or female-pattern baldness—after six months.
To further stimulate the follicles, you’ll also find peppermint oil, as well as biotin to strengthen strands; finally, coconut and babassu seed oil provide some glorious slip.
Reviewers are also quick to sing praises: “Before I started using this shampoo, my hair was thinning and I couldn’t do anything with my hair,” one shopper writes. “Ever since I started using this shampoo my hair is thicker, longer and manageable and soft.”
Best scent: Odele Moisture Repair Shampoo
- Provides deep hydration while cleansing
- Low lather
Active ingredients:Hydrolyzed rice proteinHydrolyzed quinoaAloe vera juiceAmaranth oilGlycerin
With hydrolyzed rice protein, hydrolyzed quinoa, aloe, amaranth oil, and glycerin, this shampoo is equally strengthening and moisturizing—with a $12 price tag, to boot.
Plus, the scent is simply divine (luxurious, even!): Odele combines cucumber, oakmoss, ylang-ylang, and other florals for a 100% natural fragrance blend that smells nothing short of spa-grade.
What our tester says:
This shampoo is so moisturizing and gentle, I could literally use it every day (I don’t wash my hair that often, but if I did, I would totally use Odele’s nourishing set.) That said, if you’re looking for a lather, I suggest searching elsewhere. There is little to no foam with this formula—but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work! You’ll just want to really work it in with your fingertips to make sure you lift up all the gunk.
- Eucalyptus smell can be strong
Active ingredients:Lactic acidSaw PalmettoEucalyptus
We don’t believe in gendered hair care around here (gents, feel free to use any shampoo on this list!), but we can’t ignore how many men flock to Hims for a thicker and fuller mane.
With saw palmetto to encourage hair growth and eucalyptus for scalp stimulation (and a rejuvenating scent), this bottle belongs in your bathroom, no matter your gender.
Just take it from this rave review: "After a few days my hair looked noticeably thicker. It even worked on my beard, which is nice because my beard does not grow in as thick and full as I'd want it to."
Dermatologist recommended: Dove Anti-Frizz Oil Therapy Shampoo With Almond Oil
- Smooths & strengthens the hair shaft
- Moisturizes hair & reduces frizz
- Contains mineral oil, if you tend to avoid that ingredient
Active ingredients:Coconut oilArgan oilSweet almond oil
Board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, M.D., was quick to praise this almond oil-infused option, especially if you have brittle hair prone to breakage. “For thinning hair, it's important to help support the integrity of the hair shaft to help prevent breakage,” she says. “Look for shampoo formulations that contain emollients and occlusives and are free of harsh detergents.”
That’s precisely why she prefers Dove’s smoothing formula: “The almond oil and other emollients help to support and protect the hair shaft,” she adds.
Best co-wash: Bread Beauty Supply Hair-Wash Milky Hair Cleanser
- Great for dry hair
- Can use more frequently
- Softens strands
- Not great for oily scalps or lots of buildup
Active ingredients:Aloe vera juiceArgan oilTea tree oil
Those with curls may have a less frequent wash schedule since curly hair textures are more prone to dryness.
That said, many curly-haired folks love to co-wash—aka, a “conditioner wash” that gently cleanses the hair with mild surfactants.
This Bread Beauty Supply formula is actually a hybrid between a shampoo and a co-wash, but it will leave your curls looking soft and juicy. A bonus? It smells like yummy cereal milk.
Best for frizz: Biolage Strength Recovery Shampoo for Damaged Hair
- Protects hair from heat
- Encourages shine
- Contains fragrance
Active ingredients:SqualaneShea butterSalicylic acid
Oh, the nostalgia that bubbles up from Biolage. Every time I smell that classic fragrance, I’m instantly transported to my mom’s bathroom in my childhood home.
Though this strengthening shampoo has the same beloved scent, it also has some impressive updates: It’s formulated with vegan squalane, which acts as an alternative to silicone; it gives the hair that quintessential slip and shine without causing buildup (or accumulating in waterways).
What our tester says:
This is the shampoo I’ll use (along with the Biolage Strength Recovery Deep Treatment Mask) on days I decide to blow-dry. I find it fends off frizz quite nicely and it provides a thick lather to lift any trace of buildup—a fluffy, bouncy blowout, after all, requires a scalp that feels light as air.
Best for flat roots: Michiru Fullness Shampoo
- Has a good lather
- Visibly thickens hair after one use
- Some reviewers say it smells like a cold cream
Active ingredients:PanthenolCoconut oilNiacinamideSenburi extractSilk proteins
Silk protein and Japanese-sourced senburi extract help strengthen brittle strands, but this shampoo also includes flexible polymers to actually create bond structures between your strands; this noticeably thickens hair with every wash. And for a sulfate-free formula, it generates a pretty good lather.
According to reviews, it offers instant volume: “I have very thin hair [and] as I get older it’s getting worse, and this shampoo [has] made my hair very full,” one shopper writes. “I didn’t have to use as many other products in my hair because it gives such nice volume.”
- Can use every day without stripping hair
- Replaces both shampoo and conditioner
- Pouch is sustainable but not as user-friendly
Active ingredients:PanthenolAloe vera juiceGlycerinPeppermint oilEvening primrose oilSunflower seed oilHydrolyzed keratinLavender flower extractCalendula flower extract
Not only is this creamy lather sulfate-free, but it’s also 100% detergent-free, meaning it cleanses your scalp with all-natural astringents like peppermint oil and evening primrose oil.
Plus, you’ll find hydrolyzed keratin, panthenol, and a host of botanical extracts to strengthen strands and protect them from environmental aggressors.
Your scalp and hair will feel refreshed and conditioned (in fact, this wash doubles as a conditioner, so you can streamline both steps!).
What our tester says:
“As someone who limits their full shampoo routine to once weekly, I opt for a co-wash on the days I want to refresh my hair, but I don't need the full routine. If you're not prone to greasiness, then you may even be able to use a co-wash every time. The fact of the matter is over-shampooing your hair can disrupt your scalp health and lead to hair thinning, so having a co-wash like this on hand is important.” —Frye
How we picked the best shampoos for thinning hair
- Ingredients: We always select products that are clean- and -natural leaning—and with shampoos, we always recommend sulfate-free options that won’t strip the strands. On top of that, we sought out ingredients known to encourage hair growth, including amino acid-rich proteins, antioxidants, and thickening actives.
- Testing & Testimonials: We tested out products firsthand to see what worked and what didn't. When this wasn't possible, our editors utilized verified customer experiences to ensure the products listed performed at the level needed to meet our strict standards.
- Hair Type: Those with curls may prioritize hydration and a lower lather, those with fine hair might want to encourage lift at the roots, and those with mature hair might want a shampoo that also brightens silver strands. We made sure to cover several bases here.
- Variety: Thinning hair happens for a number of reasons, so we made sure to include a wide range of shampoos meant for every concern. For example, someone dealing with buildup might need a different option than someone looking for bond-building and repair.
Comparing the best shampoos for thinning hair
Do shampoos for thinning hair work?
Your shampoo can help encourage fullness in a few ways: First, a clean scalp is imperative for hair growth since too much buildup (via oil, grime, or styling products) can suffocate the follicle root and create scalp inflammation—and too much inflammation over time can limit growth and eventually lead to shedding.
Take it from Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, M.D., board-certified dermatologist and founder of Mudgil Dermatology: "If buildup is really extreme, it can even pull the hair down because there's so much inflammation around the hair follicle," he previously told mbg. You don't want to completely strip the scalp of moisture, though, so cleansing with gentle, sulfate-free washes is key.
As you gently scrub in your shampoo, you also stimulate the scalp, which can help encourage growth. "While shampooing, massage the scalp to increase the flow of blood, relieve stress, and stimulate hair follicles. It's a win-win!" says hairstylist Miko Branch.
In fact, regular scalp massages have been shown to increase hair fullness1 in small studies, and in some self-reported cases, individuals who gave themselves daily scalp massages, over the course of months, saw hair loss stabilization or regrowth2.
Plenty of shampoos even feature the same ingredients found in your favorite hair growth serums—they just come with a shorter contact time, since these products are meant to be washed out.
Why does hair thin in the first place?
We have a full guide to the types and causes of hair shedding here, but if you’re experiencing severe thinning or hair loss in patches, it’s best to consult a doctor to get to the root of the issue. Then once you understand your own reasons for hair loss, you can find the right hair and scalp products to set the stage for healthy regrowth.
Frequently asked questions
How do you prevent hair loss?
We highly suggest you head over to our full guide to hair growth, as shedding is a pretty complex issue that may require multiple approaches. However, to prevent hair loss, you’ll want to think about it in two ways: stimulating the follicles and keeping the hair you do have healthy. Cleaning and massaging the scalp (better yet, with one of the shampoos above!), using antioxidants, moisturizing your hair, protecting your lengths from physical stressors, supportive serums, and even targeted supplements can encourage fullness and keep your strands thriving.
Can you grow back thinning hair?
Short answer? It depends on the cause. Many times, though, the hair loss is temporary—especially when it comes to traction alopecia (caused by too-tight hairstyles), stress, or postpartum hair loss. Of course, treating thinning hair doesn't happen overnight, but with time and a diligent routine, you should see some thickness return or at least stop the shedding in its tracks.
Just know that your hair does lose density as you age, and sometimes a receding hairline is unavoidable. According to hair restoration specialist Craig Ziering, D.O., FAOCD, FISHRS, FAAD, owner of Ziering Medical, your hair ultimately reaches what's known as its "mature hairline," a new normal for your aging hair, so to speak. It's when that thinning doesn't slow or stop that it becomes an issue.
What is the best shampoo for thinning hair?
It ultimately depends on your hair growth goals. Vegamour’s GRO Revitalizing Shampoo is a fabulous all-around option, but it is a bit pricey. If you’re looking to infuse the strands with moisture on a budget, Odele’s Moisture Repair Shampoo is a great formula to snag. Or if you’d like to fake more volume by providing lift at the root, Rossano Ferretti’s Parma Grandioso Extra Volume Shampoo is a wonderful option to try.
How can you make thinning hair look thicker?
To address thinning hair, it's important to approach shedding from multiple avenues—but switching up your shampoo is a great place to start. After all, healthy hair really does start in the shower with a quality wash.
What we've changed since publishing
5/12: Our team added original photography, along with tester quotes and takeaways, to better help readers find the right shampoo for their individual needs. We also added a few more products to better reflect the current market. Finally, we added a table comparing the best shampoos for thinning hair, so readers can easily scan through each product's differences.
6/6: We had a certified trichologist review and fact check our content.