Are you worried about thinning hair? If the answer is yes, then you’ve probably considered a hair-thickening shampoo or conditioner at one time or another. However, there are hundreds of different products to choose from. Finding the proper treatment means knowing which ingredients are the most successful at growing thicker strands.
What is a Hair Thickening Shampoo?
The simple act of shampooing already helps to thicken your hair. Removing grime and grease releases substances that weigh hair down, giving it a lighter, fluffier appearance. Hair thickening shampoos, however, have the added benefit of including ingredients that make hair thicker, nurture hair growth, and, in some cases, slow or stop hair loss.
Getting past exaggerated claims and scientific-sounding words can be challenging when hunting for a hair-thickening product that works. While many products are filled with over-the-top promises they fail to deliver, others are exceptionally effective. Not all hair-thickening shampoos or conditioners are the same. But how do you know which one to buy? Check for the right ingredients.
What Hair Thickening Ingredients Should a Shampoo Include?
The most efficacious ingredients in hair-thickening shampoos work in one of two ways:
- Blocking dihydrotestosterone (DHT)
- Encouraging hair growth
Both men and women produce the hormone DHT, the primary hormone responsible for hair loss. At normal levels, DHT doesn’t cause balding. Unfortunately, some people experience higher levels of DHT. High levels of DHT can shrink or injure hair follicles, preventing healthy hair growth. Blocking DHT helps to reduce hair loss and maintain follicle health. (01)
Hair doesn’t contain living cells, but the scalp and follicles that manufacture and grow strands of hair do. Therefore, ingredients that help to keep the scalp healthy, increase blood flow, or feed nutrients to hair follicles can help thicken hair and accelerate hair growth. To grow healthy hair, you need a healthy scalp.
Popular hair brands may have cache in the drugstore aisle, but they aren’t necessarily more effective when treating thinning hair. When it comes to thickening shampoos and conditioners, it’s what’s inside that counts. The following are the most potent hair-thickening ingredients to look for.
Hair Thickening Shampoo and Conditioners: DHT Blockers
About 50% of men and women experience some degree of a hair loss condition called androgenic alopecia, which stems from excess levels of DHT. Therefore, ingredients that block DHT keep DHT from harming hair follicles and keep more strands from falling out. (02)
Saw palmetto extract is derived from a fruit grown in the Southeastern United States. This extract is an effective DHT blocker in many studies. For example, one two-year study of a group of 100 males with mild-to-moderate androgenetic alopecia was published in the International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology. The study found that 38% of participants who used saw palmetto saw an improvement in their hair loss. (03)
For men, the prostate is very sensitive to DHT levels. One study saw a significant reduction in DHT levels in the prostate of men who were administered saw palmetto, compared to men who were given a placebo. Although more studies are necessary, saw palmetto is proving to have strong DHT-blocking effects and could help with DHT-induced hair loss. (04)
Hair Thickening Shampoo and Conditioners: Growth Enhancers
An effective hair thickening shampoo or conditioner contains ingredients that create the right environment for optimal hair growth. Substances that nourish and strengthen the scalp and strands are essential for a thicker head of hair.
Hair is mostly made up of keratin, a protein that’s also found in nails and skin. Keratin is an exceptionally strong material, which makes it an ideal protective protein. Tissues made up of keratin, like your fingernails and hair, are tougher and less prone to damage. As a result, shampoos and conditioners that contain keratin work well as hair thickeners and strengtheners.
Thinning or damaged hair experience a loss of structural integrity, where keratin cells have gaps in between or overlap unevenly. When applied on these hair strands, keratin products fill in spaces in between those cells. The keratin acts like a filler or glue for the hair, which makes the keratin-infused strands smoother and stronger as a result. (05)
Biotin, also referred to as vitamin B7 or vitamin H, promotes keratin production. Because hair is mostly made of keratin, biotin ensures healthy hair. A deficiency in biotin can lead to weak, brittle strands of hair and slow hair growth. Although rare, biotin deficiency can occur in people with medical conditions or who use alcohol frequently. Supplementation of biotin, whether orally or through topicals and shampoos, may foster hair thickness. (05)
Popularly known as “liquid gold” from the area it comes from (Morocco), argan oil has been used for centuries to counteract hair loss. This oil is made from the fruit kernels of the Moroccan argan tree. Argan oil has anti-inflammatory properties, making it an ideal ingredient for scalp treatments.
Hair loss resulting from conditions like psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis, which may inflame the scalp, may benefit from shampoos and conditioners containing argan oil as an ingredient.
Perhaps more importantly, however, argan oil also contains linoleic acids that moisturize the scalp and hair. By strengthening and moisturizing the scalp, hair follicles, and strands, argan oil can assist in thickening hair. (06)
Choosing a Multi-Pronged Approach to Thicken Hair
Most people who have hair thinning or balding know that the causes typically stem from more than one source. While genetics may be one risk factor, other elements like scalp health, nutrition, and external influences also play apart. The American Academy of Dermatology Association lists the following possible risk factors that may lead to thinning hair: (07)
- Increased age
- Inherited genes
- Immune system disorders (such as alopecia areata)
- Medical treatments
- Overall health
- Hair care
- Hormonal imbalance
- Scalp health and infections
There’s no one magic bullet for hair loss, because the causes may stem from many different areas. Because of this fact, combating hair loss should be a multi-faceted approach. For example, eating a nutritious diet, practicing appropriate hair care, and using a medicated treatment to combat hair loss will yield better results than relying on a one-track approach.
Do Thickening Shampoos Work?
So, do thickening shampoos actually help with hair loss? Yes! Although finding the right ingredients and utilizing thickening shampoos alongside other approaches is vital for success.
If you’re experiencing balding or thinning hair, let Happy Head help you manage your hair loss. Our experienced board-certified dermatologists will work with you to find the right prescription topical to regrow your hair. You can also try a multi-faceted approach with our Happy Head hair thickening shampoo and conditioner. Filled with high-quality hair-healthy ingredients like saw palmetto and biotin, our hair thickeners will give your strands volume and depth, as well as strengthen the health of our scalp. Subscribe and save on your purchase!