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15 Hair Growth Shampoos That Actually Work

By Chloe Hall, Sam Peters of ELLE | Slide 1 of 26: Hair loss is more common than you think and can happen to anyone for a myriad of reasons—from genetics to stress and even overuse of hot tools like your everyday flat iron. But the good news is, if you’re among the millions of women who suffer from hair loss, there are ways to help treat it. Alongside using hair growth vitamins and oils, hair growth shampoos (and conditioners) may actually help re-grow patchy sections, add density to thin hair, and prevent sparseness in the first place. When it comes to hair growth shampoo, you have two options: prescriptions or over-the-counter treatments. Prescription shampoos like ketoconazole are “anti-androgenetic,” which means they prevent two hormones associated with triggering hair loss from activating—testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT)—by “targeting hair growth at the site of the follicle and helping to interrupt the hormone cycle locally that causes thinning,” explains Dr. Eric Schweiger of Schweiger Dermatology Group in NYC. Meanwhile, “over-the-counter growth shampoos typically contain amino acids and antioxidants to provide the components to rebuild hair as well as reduce damage and inflammation,” Schweiger adds.According to Krupa Koestline, cosmetic chemist and founder of KKT Consultants, there are some ingredients to look for that have proven benefits in hair growth stimulation: zinc, keratin, procyanidin B2, biotin, ginseng, caffeine, peppermint, arginine, amino acids like cysteine and tyrosine, vegetable proteins from wheat or soy, and tri-copper peptides. If you think over-the-counter hair loss shampoos are for you or just want to promote growth and strength, Schwieger also backs these ingredients as effective and cautions against using shampoo with parabens, sulfates, and fragrances, which can irritate hair and reduce moisture. Additionally, cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson of BeautyStat says that ingredients like salicylic acid exfoliate the scalp and improve blood flow, and biotin, which may nourish the hair follicles, can also be beneficial in a hair growth shampoo.Depending on what’s causing your hair loss, consulting with a doctor, trichologist, or dermatologist is always a good first step. To find the best drugstore shampoos that can improve hair growth and density, we consulted some of the best minds in the industry—including the above experts as well as Dr. William Yates, board-certified hair loss expert and surgeon, and Dr. Nava Greenfield of Schweiger Dermatology Group. Ahead, shop 20 of the best hair growth shampoos available, per our experts and customer reviews.

Hair loss is more common than you think and can happen to anyone for a myriad of reasons—from genetics to stress and even overuse of hot tools like your everyday flat iron. But the good news is, if you’re among the millions of women who suffer from hair loss, there are ways to help treat it. Alongside using hair growth vitamins and oils, hair growth shampoos (and conditioners) may actually help re-grow patchy sections, add density to thin hair, and prevent sparseness in the first place.

When it comes to hair growth shampoo, you have two options: prescriptions or over-the-counter treatments. Prescription shampoos like ketoconazole are “anti-androgenetic,” which means they prevent two hormones associated with triggering hair loss from activating—testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT)—by “targeting hair growth at the site of the follicle and helping to interrupt the hormone cycle locally that causes thinning,” explains Dr. Eric Schweiger of Schweiger Dermatology Group in NYC. Meanwhile, “over-the-counter growth shampoos typically contain amino acids and antioxidants to provide the components to rebuild hair as well as reduce damage and inflammation,” Schweiger adds.

According to Krupa Koestline, cosmetic chemist and founder of KKT Consultants, there are some ingredients to look for that have proven benefits in hair growth stimulation: zinc, keratin, procyanidin B2, biotin, ginseng, caffeine, peppermint, arginine, amino acids like cysteine and tyrosine, vegetable proteins from wheat or soy, and tri-copper peptides. If you think over-the-counter hair loss shampoos are for you or just want to promote growth and strength, Schwieger also backs these ingredients as effective and cautions against using shampoo with parabens, sulfates, and fragrances, which can irritate hair and reduce moisture. Additionally, cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson of BeautyStat says that ingredients like salicylic acid exfoliate the scalp and improve blood flow, and biotin, which may nourish the hair follicles, can also be beneficial in a hair growth shampoo.

Depending on what’s causing your hair loss, consulting with a doctor, trichologist, or dermatologist is always a good first step. To find the best drugstore shampoos that can improve hair growth and density, we consulted some of the best minds in the industry—including the above experts as well as Dr. William Yates, board-certified hair loss expert and surgeon, and Dr. Nava Greenfield of Schweiger Dermatology Group. Ahead, shop 20 of the best hair growth shampoos available, per our experts and customer reviews.

© Christian Vierig
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