15 Best Hair Growth Shampoos: Your Easy Guide

hair growth shampoo

123RF.com (Roman Samborskyi)

Hair loss can wreak havoc on your confidence. It’s an embarrassing issue that affects people of all genders and ages but the good news is the formulas of today’s hair growth shampoos are better than ever. With consistent use, these shampoos can deliver real results because they use ingredients that are proven effective in addressing hair loss through independent scientific studies. Plus, I’ve read through all the ingredients lists and scientific papers so you don’t have to. Don’t forget to pick up a dry scalp treatment to help improve circulation.

These Are the Best Hair Growth Shampoos

Black pump bottle of tame the beast shampoo Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Packed with proven DHT-blockers
  • Affordable
  • What I use in my home
Price: $19.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Purple and white bottle of Lipogaine shampoo Amazon Customer Reviews
  • DHT blocking
  • No harmful chemicals
  • Safe for color-treated hair
Price: $30.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Tree to Tub Soapberry shampoo Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Proven DHT blocking ingredients
  • All natural formula using soapberry
  • Restores pH balance
Price: $22.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Blue Pure Biology shampoo pump bottle Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Contains natural growth stimulants
  • Non-drying
  • Great scent
Price: $27.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Botanical Green Care shampoo bottle Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Proven anti-DHT ingredients
  • Sulfate-free
  • Plant-based with organic botanicals
Price: $35.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Ultrax labs Shampoo Amazon Customer Reviews
  • DHT blocking formula
  • Top rated hair loss shampoo of 2020
  • Fights dandruff
Price: $79.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Pronexa shampoo for hair loss bottle Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Made in America
  • Contains biotin and saw palmetto
  • Nourishing botanicals
Price: $29.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Blue Maple Holistics shampoo bottle with box Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Rosemary Oil
  • Biotin formula
  • Made in America
Price: $9.85 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Phytocayne shampoo bottle Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Improves hair density
  • Free radical fighting formula
  • Rich in botanicals
Price: $19.50 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Biotin Re:Line shampoo Amazon Customer Reviews
  • DHT blocking rosemary oil
  • Sulfate-free
  • Hydrating coconut, aloe, and hemp
Price: $19.97 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
white Nioxin shampoo bottle Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Six formulas for different needs
  • Anti-DHT green tea and peppermint oil
  • Has won awards
Price: $20.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Black korean beauty shampoo with box Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Affordable
  • Korean beauty
  • Anti-DHT and propolis
Price: $14.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Light purple shampoo and conditioner bottles Amazon Customer Reviews
  • DHT blocking caffeine and green tea
  • Two 16-ounce bottles
  • Nourishing biotin and argan oil
Price: $34.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
regenepure sulfate free hair growth shampoo Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Safe for color treated hair
  • Proven DHT blocking formula
  • Scalp nourishing botanicals
Price: $31.50 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Yellow Honeydew biotin shampoo bottle Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Biotin for hair growth
  • Affordable
  • No sulfates or parabens
Price: $9.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Tame the Beast Unisex Shampoo

    Pros:
    • Lots of DHT-blockers
    • Long list of scalp nourishing botanical extracts
    • Made in America
    • Free of sulfates, petroleum products, parabens, gluten, and phthalates
    • Cruelty-free
    • Economical refill bags available
    • Great matching conditioner
    • Hydrating shea butter
    Cons:
    • Contains PEGs
    • Too tingly for some
    • The scent isn't for everyone

    My husband and I both use Tame the Beast Shampoo and couldn’t be happier. This shampoo has rounded up most of the all-star ingredients that have been study-proven to either block folicle-harming DHT or stimulate hair growth including caffeine, guarana (which has around double the caffeine as coffee), rosemary leaf oil, green tea extract, ginseng, tea tree oil, and peppermint oil which has been shown to regrow hair even faster than the active ingredient in Rogaine.

    This is a shampoo with a lot of zing to it. If you like feeling that cooling, tingling sensation you get from some anti-dandruff shampoo, you’re going to love this. Between peppermint, menthol, tea tree, and eucalyptus, it’s the tingliest one I’ve tried.

    The thing my husband and I both noticed right away after switching is that we’ve had significantly less hair fall in the shower. Cut in half. Plus I’ve been really impressed at how nice Tame the Beast has been leaving my hair. I have an annoying combination of oily roots and dry split ends and this shampoo has tamed both of those. My ends are softer than ever and I can go longer between washes. My husband has thick, dry hair with dandruff and after switching to Tame the Beast, his hair is so much softer and shinier. We’ve never been able to use the same shampoo before so this is impressive.

    In addition to all the anti-DHT ingredients, Tame the Beast is full of botanicals to support scalp health and new growth like vitamins A, C, B, and E, shea butter, aloe vera, and extracts of arnica flower, lavender, pomegranate, cypress, orange, apple, grapefruit, and moringa. 

    One of the best things about this brand is that once you buy the bottle the first time you can buy a One-Liter Refill Bag which saves you a significant discount. This is available for their Caffeine Conditioner as well. 

    I love that Tame the Beast is made in America, is sulfate-free, cruelty-free, and lathers like a dream. I got to test out a media sample of Tame the Beast last year, with no promise of a review, and I have since gone out and re-bought the line with my own money. 

  2. 2. Lipogaine Big 5 Hair Growth Stimulating Shampoo

    Pros:
    • SLS Free
    • Uses proven DHT-blocking ingredients
    • Increases hair growth with regular use
    • Affordable compared to some
    • Made in America
    • Cruelty-free
    Cons:
    • Not the medical grade version of this shampoo
    • Doesn’t create great lather
    • Takes time and patience to see results

    With a blend of natural ingredients, this Lipogaine Big Five sulfate-free shampoo is among the most popular on the market for hair regrowth. Lipogaine features proven DHT blockers caffeine, rosemary oil, green tea, and to a lesser extent, saw palmetto, to minimize hair loss. DHT is the hormone that attacks hair follicles and is the cause of most age-related balding.

    Along with blocking DHT, caffeine is also thought to stimulate hair growth while rosemary oil has been shown to be equal to Rogaine in its ability to regrow hair. (Source links to studies are at the bottom of the article.)

    At the same time, it delivers a growth-enhancing formula of biotin, argan oil, and castor oil (which is one of the most popular eyelash growth products as well.)

    Mild and free from harsh chemicals, this shampoo features hair nourishing coconut and jojoba oils, along with a long list of essential oils and botanical extracts like settle, cedarwood, and sage to deliver results with consistent use. It adds volume to your hair, which is especially essential when you’ve got a thinning mane.

  3. 3. Tree to Tub Soapberry Activation Blend for Hair

    Pros:
    • Awesome naturally derived ingredients
    • Vegan, cruelty-free and fair trade
    • Usesp proven DHT blockers to reduce hair loss
    • Botanical ingredients improve hair growth
    • Free of SLS, silicone, PEGs, parabens, gluten, and artifical fragrances
    Cons:
    • Takes at least three to six months to see results
    • Can leave hair more tangled than usual
    • Price has recently increased
    • Too drying for some

    We love products that are vegan, organic, cruelty-free, plant-based, and fair trade, but there are some categories where that list comes as a welcome surprise, and that’s true of this organic hair growth option from Tree to Tub.

    With scientifically proven DHT blocking botanicals like caffeine, rosemary extract, and pumpkin seed oil, tea tree oil, and saw palmetto, it helps to effectively reduce hair loss and stimulate regrowth. (Source links to studies below.)

    At the same time, it helps to nourish the hair you have and support new growth with a wealth of vitamins A, B3, B5, B7, C, D, and E, along with biotin, sage extract, argan oil, and aloe vera. This refreshing shampoo uses eucalyptus and tea tree essential oils to give it some zing and a great scent.

    Soothing soapberry helps to unclog blocked follicles and restore pH balance to your scalp, while also providing a sustainable crop for the farmers who harvest it. All around, we love this natural approach to hair enhancement. This gentle formula is hypoallergenic and suitable for all hair types. 

  4. 4. Pure Biology Vitahair Growth Stimulating Shampoo

    Pros:
    • Smells delicious
    • Helps to reduce hair loss
    • Has a thickening effect
    • Contains proprietary hair growth ingredients
    • Made in America
    Cons:
    • Contains sulfates
    • Small bottle for the price
    • May strip color treatments
    • Takes consistent use to notice a difference

    The best shampoo should contain lots of ingredients that clean, refresh and stimulate scalp and hair, and this formula from Pure Biology has that and more. It also features two proprietary ingredients to amp up the results faster than some.

    It contains 3HC Stimulation Complex, a blend of plant-derived actives that have been clinically shown in their trials to stimulate growth. It does this by increasing the number of HFDPC (Human Hair Follicle Dermal Papilla Cells), which are stem cells that control the production of hair follicle development. More of these crucial HFDPC means increase hair growth. 3HC was also shown to increase the length of a hair’s anagen stage–the growth stage, and delay the telogen stage–the stage when your hair falls out.

    This shampoo also contains Amino Kera NPF, keratin-derived amino acids designed to strengthen hair and help prevent loss. In addition, it features hair-enhancing biotin an anti-DHT rosemary oil.

    With a natural citrusy scent, this shampoo is terrific for both men and women who want to diminish hair loss and increase growth. The non-drying formula is great for all hair types, and doesn’t strip or dry normal hair. Although it claims to be safe for color-treated hair, the fact that it does contain sulfates, might be a deal-breaker. Give your head of hair an even greater chance of recovery by adding Pure Biology Growth Stimulating Conditioner to the mix, as it contains the same powerful ingredients as the shampoo and gets rave reviews from users.

  5. 5. Botanical Green Care’s Hair Loss Therapy Shampoo

    Pros:
    • Lots of DHT blockers
    • Made in America
    • Sulfate-free and safe for color-treated hair
    • Gender neutral
    • Organic botanicals to nourish scalp
    • Supports with keratin, silk protein, and vitamins A, B-5, B-3, and E
    • First ingredient is aloe vera
    Cons:
    • Pricier than others
    • Drying for some
    • Best used with their conditioner

    For those looking for a greener option with lots of organic botanicals, go with Hair Loss Therapy Shampoo by Botanical Green Care. It includes five evidence-based active ingredients that are study-proven to block DHT and/or stimulate hair growth: pumpkin seed oil, caffeine, guarana (second source of caffeine), rosemary oil, and peppermint.

    In addition to that, it also has saw palmetto and ginseng which have lots of anecdotal evidence but require more study on topical use. See the end of the article for study source links. 

    It has more botanical essential oils than I can list including passion fruit, bay laurel, chamomile, lemon myrtle, juniper berry, and clary sage. Plus extracts like He Shou Woo root, nettle, grape seed, and gotu kola.  Plus its first ingredient, which is normally water in other brands, is aloe vera for a much more nourishing formula. Plus, they also include argan, grape, and apple fruit stem cells to support new growth. 

    Like all regrowth shampoos, it takes time to see results so you need to stick with it for at least three to six months. Also keep in mind that this shampoo can be drying so you’ll want to follow it up with a good conditioner like their Anti-Hair Loss Conditioner with jojoba, avocado, coconut, and argan oils.

  6. 6. Ultrax Labs Hair Surge Caffeine Hair Growth Stimulating Shampoo

    Pros:
    • Effectively stimulates hair growth
    • Made in America
    • Reduces hair loss with DHT blocking caffeine, ketoconazole, and saw palmetto
    • Lathers well
    Cons:
    • A lot of cash for a small bottle
    • Contains SLS and PEGs
    • Recommended usage means you’ll use this bottle really fast
    • Not equally effective for all users

    Hair Surge Shampoo uses caffeine along with ketoconazole and saw palmetto extract to produce visible results. Caffeine and ketoconazole is a great combination to stimulate the scalp and address any flakiness you might have.

    Caffeine has been shown to block DHT as well and stimulate hair growth. Ketoconazole is anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-dandruff, but it has also been shown to be as effective as Rogaine in studies. See the end of the article for source links to these studies. Saw Palmetto is a DHT blocker when taken internally though more research is needed to really nail down its effect topically. 

    The fact that this shampoo comes with a 100 percent money back guarantee is a pretty good sign as well.  So all you’ve got to lose is more hair if you don’t try it.

    For maximum effectiveness, it’s recommended that you use this hair growth shampoo at least five times per week and as expensive as it is, it might be out of your budget. As with many products in this category, there is a recommended oral supplement, in this case, Ultrax Labs Hair Rush.

  7. 7. Hairgenics Pronexa Clinical Strength Hair Growth Therapy Shampoo

    Pros:
    • Certified organic ingredients
    • Saw palmetto block DHT to decrease hair loss
    • Made in the USA
    • Scalp nourishing aloe and seaweed
    • Biotin supports new growth
    • Vegan and cruelty-free
    Cons:
    • Pretty spendy
    • Works best if you also use growth serum and supplement at the same time
    • Noticeable results could take up to six months
    • Doesn’t lather really well
    • Contains PEGs

    Hairgenics Pronexa Hair Growth Therapy Shampoo is full of certified organic ingredients that claim to block DHT while nourishing your scalp, a combination that is key to reducing hair loss and promoting growth. 

    Organic saw palmetto is the key DHT blocker in this formula. I can’t find studies that show it does indeed block DHT when applied to the scalp but it has been shown to block DHT when taken internally. The shampoo also contains hair supporting biotin, along with aloe vera and seaweed extracts to deeply moisturize and heal your scalp, while reducing hair thinning and shedding. These natural ingredients also add body, thickness, and volume.

    While it’s recommended that you’ll need to use this product for six months to begin to see true results, it seems worth the investment of time for long-term hair health. If you’re looking really go in, add in their Pronexa Hair Serum and Pronexa Oral Supplement which can add a boost to your regimen.

  8. 8. Maple Holistics Biotin Shampoo for Hair Growth

    Pros:
    • Improves overall hair and scalp health
    • Gets rave reviews from folks with thinning hair
    • Very affordable
    • Contains effective rosemary oil
    • Made in America
    • Moisturizing argan, coconut, and olive oil
    Cons:
    • Clarifying formula can leave hair feeling stiff and dry
    • Not effective for every user
    • Need to use conditioner to avoid lots of tangles
    • Can cause itchy scalp

    Biotin Shampoo by Maple Holistics is a super-cleansing hair growth shampoo that teams up an impressive list of ingredients that help to reduce hair loss and improve scalp health, which can lead to increased hair growth. It touts biotin, a long-known as a building block of healthy hair, as well as provitamin B5, zinc, coconut oil, and other nutrient-rich botanicals–but the most effective ingredient isn’t advertised in bold letters.

    It contains rosemary oil which has been found to be as effective as Rogaine–see the section at the end of the article on ingredients for source links to the study. 

    But this shampoo doesn’t stop there. It also includes conditioning natural herbs and oils that promote hair and scalp health. It’s a virtual cocktail of goodness that you can feel great about using with tea tree extract (a known anti-androgen), evening primrose oil, and phytokeratin.

    Argan oil is another key ingredient that has been used since ancient times as an elixir for both hair healthy and overall beauty. There are no studies that prove Argan oil can regrow hair but it has been shown to reduce hair loss and hair breakage.

  9. 9. PHYTOCYANE Botanical Densifying Shampoo

    Pros:
    • Improves hair density and luster
    • Uses botanical extracts to create a healthier scalp
    • Works well for temporary hair loss
    • Free radical fighting formula
    Cons:
    • Pretty expensive
    • May be irritating to sensitive scalps
    • Lacking lather so hair doesn't feel super clean
    • Contains PEGs and SLS

    If your hair is temporarily thinning due to stress, hormones, or medication, this Phytocyane Shampoo is intended to densify hair as well as encouraging new growth. It uses potent botanical extracts like ginkgo biloba and cinchona bark (where we get quinine) to improve your hair’s density and luster. Grapeseed extract helps to fight free radicals and protect your hair at the critical root.

    It stimulates the scalp, encouraging more keratin production, the key to improved growth. This shampoo works best when used in conjunction with Phytocyane Botanical Densifying Scalp Treatment, a treatment that supports natural and healthy hair growth.

  10. 10. Re:Line Biotin Thickening Shampoo

    Pros:
    • Anti-DHT rosemary oil and saw palmetto
    • Nourishing biotin
    • Free from sulfates, GMOs, parbens, phosphates, and perservatives
    • Moisturizing aloe vera, coconut oil, and hemp oil
    • Color-safe
    • Money-back guarantee
    • Made in America
    Cons:
    • Contains fragrance
    • Not as many anti-androgens as other brands
    • Supposed to sit for three to four minutes

    This Biotin Thickening Shampoo by Re:Line is a good option for people looking for an all-natural, preservative-free alternative. It contains rosemary oil, a proven anti-DHT agent that promotes growth equally as well as Rogaine. To support new growth the shampoo includes the hair building block biotin and vitamin B.

    It also has saw palmetto extract which has studies backing it as an anti-DHT ingredient when taken internally though no studies have nailed down its effectiveness for topical use. 

    Hemp seed oil, coconut oil, and aloe vera soothe and hydrate your scalp, laying the foundation for healthier, thicker hair growth over time. It’s sulfate-free and safe for color-treated hair of all types. 

    I like that it’s made in America and is cruelty-free. 

  11. 11. Nioxin Cleanser Shampoos 1 Through 6

    Pros:
    • Different formulas available
    • Different sizes available
    • Anti-DHT peppermint oil and green tea
    • Supportve biotin and botanicals
    Cons:
    • Pricier
    • Harder to find ingredient lists
    • Works best as part of their system
    • Some formulas contain SLS

    One-size-fits-all barely fits all, and with this in mind, Nioxin created their One-Through-Six System.

    The cleansing shampoo which promotes hair regrowth comes in six different formulas for a range of hair types, needs, and levels of thinning. The formulas are: Natural Hair with Light ThinningNatural Hair with Progressed ThinningColor-Treated Hair with Light ThinningColor-Treated Hair with Progressed ThinningChemically-Treated Hair with Light Thinning, and Chemically-Treated Hair with Progressed Thinning.

    Each formula is a little different but they all contain DHT-blocking green tea and peppermint oil along with supportive biotin. They also have a list of nourishing botanicals including bilberry, hops, and sugar maple extract.

    As a cleansing shampoo, it can be quite drying so don’t forget to add a moisturizing conditioner and occasional hair mask. It’s also available in one-liter bottles and as a Three-Piece System with conditioner and scalp treatment. If you’re looking for an all-natural, sulfate-free shampoo, this one isn’t for you. 

  12. 12. Mr. Zaranda Anti-Thinning Shampoo

    Pros:
    • Cheap compared to others
    • Anti-DHT rosemary and peppermint oil
    • Stimulates growth with honeybee propolis
    • Gluten-free
    • Free of silicone, parabens, synthetic fragrances and dyes
    Cons:
    • Contains SLS
    • Not vegan but claims to be
    • Needs to be used at least five times a week

    Obsessed with Korean beauty products? Mr. Zaranda’s Anti-Thinning Shampoo is made in Korea and uniquely formulated with both anti-DHT agents and honeybee propolis.

    Honeybee propolis is a substance created by honeybees that is used to seal up gaps in their hives. It’s antimicrobial, antifungal, and great for skin conditions but it’s also been demonstrated to stimulate hair growth by inducing the reproduction of epidermal cells. You don’t see this in every hair growth product so if others haven’t worked for you, this one is affordable enough that it’s worth a shot.

    To combat DHT, Mr. Zaranda’s includes rosemary oil, green tea, and peppermint oil, all proven in studies included at the end of the article to be anti-androgens. The shampoo also supports scalp health and the growth of new hair with biotin, and botanicals you don’t tend to see in western formulation like Chinese cypress, chameleon plant, and tuber fleeceflower.

    One issue I have with this shampoo is that it claims to be vegan but it includes honeybee propolis which is an animal product. 

  13. 13. Luseta Biotin B-Complex Shampoo & Conditioner Set

    Pros:
    • Caffeine and green tea are proven anti-androgens
    • Vitamin-rich argan oil
    • Bioitn supports hair growth
    • Cruelty-free
    • Free of parabens, sulfates, and gluten
    • Safe for color-treated hair
    Cons:
    • Contains PEGs
    • Only available as shampoo and conditioner set
    • Not all natural
    • Not formulated for oily hair

    This Biotin B-Complex Shampoo and Conditioner set from Luseta is great for people looking for an affordable option that includes a matching shampoo. I know this isn’t Dollar Store prices, but considering how many quality eight-ounce hair regrowth shampoos cost this much on their own, a set that includes a 16-ounce shampoo and a 16-ounce conditioner is a relative steal. 

    Both the shampoo and conditioner use caffeine and green tea to block DHT to help protect your hair follicles from pattern baldness. Caffeine is proven to both be an anti-DHT agent and increase hair growth. (See study source links below.) To nourish your scalp and support new hair growth, the shampoo and conditioner contain biotin (a building block of hair), argan oil (rich in vitamins E, C, and A), and Niacin  also called vitamin B-3 (anti-inflammatory and promotes keratin production.) Argan oil is also greatly hydrating and good for dry hair.

    I like that it’s color-safe, gluten-free, sulfate-free, paraben-free, and cruelty-free.

  14. 14. Regenepure DR Shampoo

    Pros:
    • Reduces hair loss with DHT blockers
    • Increases hair growth over time with caffeine
    • Contains soothing aloe vera, jojoba, and emu oil
    • Free of harsh chemicals
    • Best when used with whole series
    Cons:
    • Can leave hair looking a bit flat
    • Spendy for a small bottle
    • Heavy mint fragrance is off-putting to some
    • Individual results may vary
    • Not vegan
    • Contains PEGs and silicone

    Regenepure DR Shampoo combines many of the best ingredients from a variety of others to help minimize hair loss and encourage growth. Free of SLS, DEA, and other harsh chemicals, it’s safe for color-treated hair and formulated for all genders.

    It relies on the gold standard ingredients known to effectively work on thinning hair by either blocking follicle-damaging DHT or stimulating new hair growth–or both: caffeine, ketoconazole, green tea extract, spearmint extract, and saw palmetto. See below for source links to studies on these ingredients. 

    It also contains hair nourishing ingredients to support new growth with emu oil, castor oil, aloe vera, and vitamin B6. This shampoo is effective at helping to add moisture, shine, volume, and suppleness to thin and lifeless hair. Plus ketoconazole is also antifungal so it helps to tackle tough dandruff. Bonus.

    Regenegpure DR is part of a whole system including a Biotin Conditioner and Minoxidil Spray, the active ingredient in Rogaine.

    Keep in mind that if you’re trying to avoid animal products that this does contain emu oil and guaranine (fish scales).

  15. 15. Honeydew All Natural Biotin Shampoo

    Pros:
    • DHT blocking formula
    • All natural ingredients
    • Safe for color treated hair
    • Makes hair look and feel healthy
    Cons:
    • Formula can be drying
    • Some bottle leakage reported
    • Doesn’t produce results for everyone
    • Odd scent

    This creamy Biotin Shampoo from Honeydew has a nourishing formula that helps stop your healthy hair from shedding, giving you a naturally fuller, thicker look. Biotin acts to reduce shedding as well, and it helps to nourish your follicles to increase hair growth.

    Tea tree has been shown to be an anti-androgen (see the end of the article for links to studies) and is the part of the formula that helps to block DHT. Coconut oil works together with mulberry root extract, essential oils, and argan oil to cleanse, clarity, and condition your scalp to create a mane that’s healthy, strong, and impressive. This shampoo is paraben-free, sulfate-free, and cruelty-free. We think you’ll also love the fact that it is backed by a 100 percent money-back guarantee. You can’t go wrong with that.

    Since this shampoo is clarifying, it can be somewhat drying. We’d recommend Honeydew Mint and Tea Tree Oil Hydrating conditioner as a follow-up to shampooing. The conditioner also includes anti-DHT rosemary oil, green tea, and tea tree.

Can we really stop balding? 

That’s a more complicated question than a simple yes or no. First, we need to break down what balding is and then we can go over what treatments have been shown to regrow hair in scientific studies--not just in advertisements.

And that’s key. Hair regrowth treatments have long been considered an example of “snake oil,” a product that claims lots but doesn’t deliver. I’m including products with ingredients that have been proven to work and providing links to credible sources.

What does hair regrowth look like? What results can I expect?

Every body is different and your results can depend on your genetics, hormonal makeup, and the cause of hair thinning--but one thing is universal: this process isn’t quick.

You won’t notice any difference in the first week. You won't notice results in the first month, but that doesn't mean it's not working. On average your hair grows about half an inch per month so new hair growth will take a while to notice.

You generally want to give a treatment six-months to a year to get visible results. I know that isn't what most people want to hear but the best thing you can do if you actually want to get the benefits is to stick with your treatment and manage your expectations of how quickly you expect to see a difference. 

The human head sheds about 100 hairs a day without thinning so seeing the amount of hair in your drain getting smaller is one of the first indicators that your treatment is working--though keep in mind that many treatments will trigger a temporary increase in hair fall which is nothing to worry about. This is the same as starting a new acne treatment system and seeing an initial increase in skin issues. It's part of the process. You just have to wait it out. 

What causes balding?

According to Harvard Medical School, what we call balding can actually be a wide variety of things with a laundry list of causes. 

Temporary balding from pregnancy, anemia, chemotherapy, or stress is called telogen effluvium and your hair will likely recover in a few month's time. 

Balding can also be caused by a variety of medications so check with your doctor to see if you’re on any medications that might be contributing to your thinning hair.

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition that leads to bald patches so if what you’re seeing is random little completely bald areas make an appointment with your doctor. 

Pattern baldness. This is the big one. As we age, our hair tends to begin to thin in specific patterns depending on our hormones. It's also called androgenetic alopecia--hair loss caused by androgens.

People with a lot of androgens/testosterone tend to bald in a horseshoe pattern (called Male Pattern Baldness) and people with more estrogen tend to have more diffuse thinning on the top of their head (Female Pattern Baldness.) Female Pattern Baldness is generally less noticeable than Male Pattern Baldness as well as less widespread.

This is largely a result of genetics and while it can’t be completely stopped, with certain treatments it can be slowed and often even reversed.

What is DHT?

You’ll see these three letters everywhere when you’re looking at regrowth products. Dihydrotestosterone is a hormone that naturally occurs in your body. It’s an androgen derived from testosterone and one of the things that it does is shrink your hair follicles, negatively affecting the health of your hair. This is why people with higher testosterone levels tend to have more hair loss than people who have higher levels of estrogen. 

Since dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, is the main culprit when it comes to hair loss, you'll see the most effective shampoos for hair growth call out DHT blockers, specifically to reduce how much of your hair is going down the drain. DHT also reduces the length of your hair's natural growth cycle, so minimizing its effect is key.

Hair growth treatments are aiming to disrupt and block the actions of DHT, halting the progress of the thinning. Many treatments also support hair growth with key vitamins and stimulate the scalp to grow more hair for a two-pronged approach.

Vitamins or shampoo?

Both. Shampoo delivers treatments directly to the scalp to soak into the hair matrix but growing hair requires materials like biotin, keratin, and iron so a double approach of topical and supplements is a great way to go.

What to look for in a shampoo for hair growth.

Here are some of the top ingredients to look for that have been proven to be effective.

Rosemary for hair loss.

A study published in the National Library of Medicine for the National Center for Biotechnology Information compared rosemary oil with Minoxidil (the active ingredient in Rogaine) and found both treatments were equally effective. After six months of treatment, both groups had significant hair regrowth with no significant difference between the two groups.

Something to note: both groups didn’t have any visible results at three months of treatment. The takeaway is that you need to stick with a treatment and give it time to work.

So if you’re worried about how to regrow hair naturally, find a shampoo with rosemary oil.

Caffeine for hair loss.

It sounds funny to caffeinate your shampoo but caffeine has been shown in studies to be a DHT blocker. Can you just drink more coffee? Sadly no. It works best when delivered topically through the hair follicle.

In a 2007 study published in the International Study of Trichology (the study of hair), scientists treated lab-grown hair follicles with testosterone and then treated some of these additionally with caffeine. Comparing the samples showed that the application of caffeine counteracted the negative effects of testosterone.

Caffeine alone was also shown to increase hair growth compared to controls. 

Green Tea for hair loss.

According to an article published in the International Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, green tea contains epigallocatechins which act to reduce the amount of testosterone being converted into DHT, the hormone that attacks hair follicles. 

Other botanicals.

There are a variety of other botanical sources that have been found in medical studies to have anti-androgen properties making them great ingredients to find in your shampoo for hair regrowth. This includes red reishi, peppermint, spearmint, pumpkin seed oil, and tea tree.

Biotin for hair loss.

Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin also known as Vitamin B7. The human body can’t synthesize this vitamin and it has to be obtained from diet or other supplementation. It’s a key part of your body’s process of building proteins like keratin, which is what your hair and nails are made of. Increasing the availability of biotin in the body has been shown in studies to create a 25% increase in the thickness of new nail growth.

Studies have shown improvement in hair and nails for those with biotin deficiencies but there has been less evidence that it can improve hair in those with normal biotin levels. Biotin is a good one to have in your shampoo but it’s best when combined with other ingredients.

Ketoconazole for hair loss.

This is an anti-fungal medication found in many anti-dandruff shampoos. Studies and clinical trials found that ketoconazole performed as well as Rogaine and was shown to stimulate hair growth.

Finally, some studies have used near-infrared light to stimulate hair growth so if you're salon has an infrared hair dryer, maybe ask for that at your next cut.

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