Let’s start with the stats: Hair loss and thinning hair is common, and it occurs for a myriad of reasons. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), 80 million Americans (30 million women and 50 million men) experience hereditary hair loss. Countless more deal with temporary thinning and shedding at some point in their lives due to factors like stress, hormones, and nutrition. And then there are those who were simply born with a lack of volume, body, and/or fullness.
Regardless of which category you fall into, limp, lifeless strands can feel like a difficult pill to swallow in a culture that celebrates big, bouncy blowouts. Depending on the cause and severity of your hair loss, medical intervention may be necessary. But the good news is that you have plenty of options to treat hair thinning or boost naturally thin hair (only if it bothers you, of course!) starting right in the pharmacy aisle. Below, we talked to leading trichologists and hairstylists for their recommendations on the best hair thickening shampoos and treatments worth trying.
Briogeo Ginseng + Biotin Volumizing Shampoo
Just as it’s important to peruse the ingredient list when purchasing skincare, the actives in your hair care matter, too. “Popular ingredients you'll find in volumizing products include polymers, biotin, proteins, vitamin B5, hyaluronic acid, caffeine, and ginseng,” says celebrity hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons. “For the most part, it's the polymers that are doing the heavy lifting here.” With that in mind, the mane man likes this formula because it uses “maltodextrin, ginseng, and biotin to help build moisture without adding weight.” $26, ulta.com
Kevin Murphy Plumping.Wash
“Scalp health is essential for hair growth,” explains David Adams, a New York City-based trichologist and co-founder of FOURTEENJAY Salon. “A good, clean, healthy scalp is where thicker, fuller hair begins.” Ginger root, nettle, aloe vera extract, rice amino acids, bamboo extract, and acai berry extract are just a few of the hydrating powerhouse antioxidants and vitamins found in this reparative and volumizing formulation that is specifically designed to coat every strand with healthy, strengthening goodness. $39, kevinmurphy.com
Oribe Shampoo for Magnificent Volume
“When shopping for volumizing shampoos, it's pretty important to be diligent, as not all are created equal,” Fitzsimons explains. “A lot of volumizing shampoos can be quite stripping, which leaves your hair dry, brittle, and more prone to damage.” Basically, you are looking a Goldilocks formula. “You really need to strike a balance between building the volume and keeping the hair well-moisturized, but not so much so that your products are weighing it down,” he says. This surprisingly weightless, creamy formula energizes the hair follicle without weighing the rest of the strand down to lift straight from the root. $46, sephora.com
NatureLab Tokyo Volumizing Shampoo
You may or may not be aware that hair is made of protein, and this ‘poo from NatureLab is “loaded with great proteins to help build weightless volume,” Fitzsimons says, noting that the formula moisturizes the hair without causing any buildup. “It also contains apple stem cells to help maintain your scalp’s overall health,” he adds. $15, ulta.com
Moroccanoil Extra Volume Shampoo
Wispy, super-fine strands have met their match with this antioxidant- and nutrient-rich formula that plumps hair at the root as it cleanses. Bonus: Like all Moroccanoil products, this shampoo is packed with hydrating argan oil to amp up the shine and softness. Legendary celebrity hairstylist Sally Hershberger says that a “thorough cleanse of the root is the most important part of a wash day routine, especially when voluminous hair is the desired end result.” So, no scrimping here! $24, sephora.com
SEEN Skin-Caring Shampoo
Hair restoration isn’t just about regrowth. “You want to do everything you can to take the best care of the hair you do have,” says Iris Rubin, MD, a board certified dermatologist and founder of SEEN Hair Care. “Treat your hair gently and consider a mild, sulfate-free shampoo, which is less likely to strip the moisture from your hair.” Since hair without moisture equals more split ends and breakage, try this mild wash that can reduce hair breakage by 59 percent when used as a regimen. $29, ulta.com
R+Co Dallas Biotin Thickening Shampoo
“Biotin is good for strengthening and growing hair,” explains Gretchen Friese, a BosleyMD certified trichologist. “The bigger and stronger the follicle, the thicker and healthier the strand of hair will be.” Suds up Texas-style with this biotin-based shampoo that is formulated with advanced polymers to create body and volume. Moringa seed extract, meanwhile, protects against free radicals and repairs existing environmental damage. $29, bluemercury.com
BosleyMD Women’s Hair Regrowth Treatment with Minoxidil
While not a shampoo per se, this treatment can be used as a preventative measure or for regrowth. “Hair thinning and hair loss can be genetic,” Dr. Rubin says. Since it’s much easier to prevent hair loss than promote hair growth, she says “it’s a good idea to start treatment early.” For strands that need a jumpstart, this topical treatment features 5 percent minoxidil, which is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat hair loss in men and women. It is clinically proven to regrow hair and slow future hair loss. $45, ulta.com
HAIRtamin Biotin Botanical Blend Shampoo
With more than a dozen plant, seed, and flower-extracts brewed together, this is the kind of TLC thinning hair needs. “I always look for products that are botanically-based, or the main ingredients are more natural,” Friese shares. A few key ingredients to look for that are found in this formula? Biotin, rosemary oil extract, and panthenol. Ones to steer clear of? Avoid “any formulation with sulfates, parabens, or phthalates,” she says. $20, ulta.com
Pureology Pure Volume Shampoo
For color-treated or grease-prone hair, reach for this sulfate-free shampoo that feels lightweight but packs a heavy punch of nutrients. “Volumizing ingredients are usually lightweight, so they don’t weigh the hair down,” Adams says. “They are all about lift.” All the while, it's important to avoid anything “too moisturizing” that “will make the scalp oily and weigh down the ends.” $31, sephora.com
Philip Kingsley Body Building Weightless Shampoo
“People usually want volume because they feel they have flat, limp hair,” Adams notes. The main culprits are usually an oily scalp, not washing hair enough, or using an oil- or silicone-infused shampoo that leads to buildup on the scalp. After all, that’s where volume lives and dies. He says a proper wash begins with a good brushing “to loosen debris on scalp” and detangle, followed by thoroughly massaging shampoo (like this body-building option) straight into the root. $31, bluemercury.com
All products featured are independently selected by our editors, however, AEDIT may receive a commission on items purchased through our links.
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