Many men feel embarrassed and alone when it comes to confronting hair loss, but the truth is that the majority of men experience some level of hair loss or thinning. In fact, the American Hair Loss Association estimates that 85% of American men experience significant thinning (or worse) by the time they’re 50. But hair loss doesn’t just affect middle-aged men — in fact, by the age of 35, two-thirds of men experience some hair loss. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to protect your mane, and, as with anything, it’s best to start early. That’s why we regularly update this page with the best anti-thinning shampoos, which are your first line of defense when fighting a receding hairline.
First, we reached out to one of our favorite experts, Dr. Michele Green, a board-certified dermatologist and hair loss expert with over 25 years of experience in diagnosing and treating patients with hair loss issues.
Dr. Green told SPY about the possible causes of thinning hair, ingredients to look for in the best anti-thinning shampoos, proactive hair maintenance, and even recommendations for a few good thinning hair shampoos.
So if you’re ready to take an active approach in treating thinning hair and hair loss, read on.
What Causes My Hair To Thin?
Dr. Green confirmed one thing you already know: There are so many factors that contribute to thinning hair and hair loss. But for most men, androgenic alopecia, aka male pattern baldness, is the likely cause. That’s driven by dihydrotestosterone or DHT, and DHT-blocking shampoos are a popular treatment option for thinning hair. (Whether DHT-blocking shampoo works is another question entirely.)
“DHT can bind to androgen receptors in your scalp and cause the hair follicles to shrink and stop producing new hair. This ultimately results in loss of hair around your crown (top of head), thin hair and a receding hairline,” Dr. Green said.
If not androgenic alopecia, psoriasis can also result in damaged skin and subsequent hair loss, and fungal conditions can “weaken the hair fiber, causing it to more easily break off,” Dr. Green said. There’s also the possibility of a biotin deficiency, and lifestyle can play a big role in hair thinning and hair loss too. If you’ve noticed a sudden change in your hair, factors including “stress, poor diet, chemical processing, use of frequent heat, not shampooing frequently or even shampooing too often” could be to blame.
What Ingredients Should I Look for in Anti-Thinning Shampoos?
Here are a few ingredients Dr. Green said to look for in the best anti-thinning shampoos:
- Niacin (Vitamin B3)
- Rosemary oil
- Coconut oil
Though they don’t come in shampoos, you could also consider adding a minoxidil or nanoxidil product to boost your hair loss effort.
Just as important as usinig the right ingredients is avoiding the wrong ingredients. Parabens and sulfates should be avoided because they can strip skin in an unhealthy way. If you want more details on picking the right anti-thinning shampoo, check out the Ingredients FAQ at the bottom of this post.
What Are the Best Anti-Thinning Shampoos for Men?
Alhough this post is targeted toward men, the best anti-thinning shampoos should work well for both men and women struggling with hair loss. Keep in mind that it’s virtually impossible to reverse hair loss once it’s happened, unless you want to explore hair loss surgeries, which is why prevention is so important. And if you aren’t getting the results from these over-the-counter hair loss shampoos, then we recommend investing in a hair loss subscription service like Keeps or consulting a dermatologist for prescription-strength medications.
1. Pura D’Or Anti-Thinning Shampoo & Biotin Conditioner
This anti-thinning shampoo from Pura D’Or may not work for everyone, but it does work for many; it’s backed by over 10,000 five-star reviews. Shampoo and conditioner are included in the set, and they’re both made in the U.S. with natural ingredients. The star ingredients across both products include saw palmetto, which may help block DHT, essential oils and biotin, also known as vitamin B7, which can bolster hair growth. It’s suitable for men and women and designed to work with all hair types.
2. Patricks SH1 Daily Thickening Shampoo
The Patricks SH1 Daily Thickening Shampoo is just an all-around excellent thickening shampoo, and some users have reported seeing results in as little as one week. Sure, it’s a bit expensive for most guys, but it smells fantastic and we love how transparent Patricks is about its ingredient list, telling you exactly what each active ingredient is doing to stop your hair loss, including three ingredients that may help slow DHT formation.
3. Hims Thickening Shampoo
There are a lot of brands that have been hailed as the “Warby Parker of X,” but few of these subscription services tackle issues as sensitive as men’s health. The startup makes direct-to-consumer products that focus on hair loss and erectile dysfunction. As the name suggests, the Hims Thickening Shampoo is designed to bolster hair for a thicker, fuller appearance. It also features saw palmetto, which may help reduce hair loss and block DHT. Dr. Green also recommended this anti-thinning shampoo.
4. Jack Black True Volume Thickening Shampoo
Thanks to the brand’s focus on natural ingredients, pleasant scents and stylish packaging, there’s nothing clinical feeling about using Jack Black’s products. The shampoo is made from a proprietary blend of ingredients that are designed to bolster natural hair growth and volume. Ingredients like tea tree oil and lavender provide soothing relief.
5. SACHAJUAN Thickening Shampoo
If you weren’t paying close attention, you could confuse the name of this product for a popular dipping sauce. But the name is actually a portmanteau of the brand’s founders’ names. The company has a focus on simplicity, and this thickening shampoo promotes volume and smoothness. Plus, it even acts as a barrier against harmful UV rays.
6. Lumin Keratin Recovery Shampoo
BEST FOR FRAGILE, THINNING HAIR
Lumin makes some of SPY’s all-time favorite grooming and skincare products, including the Lumin Keratin Recovery Shampoo. This shampoo hits your hair from root to tip, and the formula contains both collagen and keratin. Lumin says that their Keratin shampoo can help cleanse your hair and scalp while also minimizing thinning hair. Plus, the menthol, tea tree oil and peppermint oil leave your hair feeling unbelievably fresh and tingly.
7. Briogeo Blossom & Bloom Volumizing Shampoo
This volumizing shampoo from Briogeo features biotin, which helps stimulate hair growth and add volume. It’s also packed with natural ingredients, so it’s an anti-thinning shampoo that you can feel good about using. It features ginger root and ginseng extract to stimulate blood flow to the scalp and maltodextrin to add natural fullness.
8. Every Man Jack 2-in-1 Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner
As their brand name suggests, Every Man Jack is designed with the everyman in mind, and that democratic approach is reflected in the products’ ease-of-use and attainable price. One of our favorites and also recommended by Dr. Green, this anti-thinning shampoo features a conditioner too, streamlining your morning routine. It’s designed as a way to improve thin or thinning hair, and ingredients like tea tree oil also reduce scalp discomfort.
10. Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
BEST FOR DANDRUFF + THINNING
If dandruff is coming alongside thinning hair, the Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo can help. With a ketoconazole-based formula, this shampoo fights dandruff at the source and is especially effective if your dandruff is caused by a fungal issue. Ketoconazole may also reduce DHT, making it even better for stemming hair loss, Dr. Green said.
Also Consider: Other Hair-Loss Treatment Options
1. Hims Finasteride
BEST HAIR LOSS MEDICATION
The best anti-thinning shampoos for can help thicken and restore thinning hair, but the truth is they’re unlikely to win the battle against baldness long-term without some help. Hims Finasteride is the extra ammunition you need to keep hair loss at bay because it’s scientifically proven to block the development of DHT.
We’ve used Hims before, and the brand makes it really easy to get a prescription. You just fill out a few questions online, take a picture or two of your scalp and then an actual medical professional checks your info. Once approved, Hims ships the meds straight to your door every few months, depending on your preferred schedule.
BEST TOPICAL HAIR LOSS SOLUTION
A pill like finasteride is the easiest thing you can do to fight hair loss and thinning hair, but if you want to pour gasoline on the regrowth fire, minoxidil is what you want.
Like finasteride, minoxidil is scientifically proven to regrow hair and, even better, it attacks a different growth mechanism, meaning you’re hitting hair loss on two different fronts. Instead of fighting DHT, minoxidil affects the hair growth cycle, shortening the rest phase and promoting the growth phase. All you have to do is apply the minoxidil to your scalp twice a day for best results — even once a day is better than nothing.
If you’re already subscribed to Hims, go ahead and add on the Hims Minoxidil Drops or the Hims Minoxidil Foam. If you’d prefer something you can buy over the counter today, the Rogaine Men’s Minoxidil Foam is a classic hair loss treatment used by millions of men.
In our experience, the foams are easier to apply, but it’s harder to monitor the volume compared to a liquid drops solution. Liquid solutions also run more easily and can spill more easily, so keep that in mind before buying.
3. DS Laboratories Spectral.DNC-N Redensifying Hair Therapy
BEST WITH NANOXIDIL
If you’d like to give nanoxidil a try, check out the DS Laboratories Spectral.DNC-N Redensifying Hair Therapy. The 5% nanoxidil works similarly to minoxidil to help men with hair loss.
ALSO CONSIDER MINOXIDIL SOLUTION
Dr. Green also mentioned Lipogaine as an alternative or an additional treatment to anti-thinning shampoos. It’s a minoxidil solution, but it also contains azelaic acid and saw palmetto extract, “which are both effective at treating hair loss.”
5. Original LaserCap
BEST ALTERNATIVE HAIR LOSS TREATMENT
When covering the best hair growth products for men, Dr. Green told SPY that her patients swore by the Original LaserCap for hair loss. Deeply skeptical of any products that claim light or lasers can help regrow hair, we talked to the company’s founder, who explained how the right kind of sustained light exposure promotes hair growth.
We’d still be skeptical, but the Original LaserCap is one of only three treatments approved by the Food and Drug Administration — a necessary hurdle to claim scientific benefits — for male pattern hair loss. That standard can only be achieved if, and we can’t stress this enough, the treatment actually worked.
So if you’re looking for a straightforward, scientifically-backed solution to fight thinning hair and hair loss, talk to your doctor about the Original LaserCap. The science relies on hair follicles, so it will be minimally effective for men who are fully bald. But for men dealing with thinning hair, this product will supercharge hair regrowth, especially if used in conjunction with topical minoxidil.
Applying Anti-Thinning Shampoo: Best Practices
Applying anti-thinning shampoos isn’t rocket science, but here are a few tips to keep in mind from SPY and Dr. Green:
- Read the ingredient labels and be on the lookout for any ingredients you don’t recognize or that you suspect irritate your scalp.
- Don’t over-shampoo or wash your hair too often, especially with a regular shampoo. If you’re using proven treatments like minoxidil daily or an anti-thinning shampoo, then you should wash regularly.
- Make sure to apply the shampoo directly to your scalp, not your hair, as best as you can to maximize delivery of the active ingredients.
- Many shampoos should rest for a few minutes on your head but follow the instructions for best results.
- Adding additional products like a hair serum can help.
- Massaging hair oil into your scalp once a week can help “strengthen hair follicles and promote scalp and hair health.”
What Else Can I Do To Keep My Hair?
The best thing to do is seek out a board-certified dermatologist for a consultation. Not only can doctors get to the root of the problem and identify the cause, but they can offer optimal treatments and cutting-edge services to restore your hair. For example, Dr. Green offers treatments such as platelet-rich plasma therapy and Keravive HydraFacials for hair.
But before you go seeking services you might not need, give some of the best anti-thinning shampoos below a shot. The sooner you start saving your hair, the sooner you’ll see results or know if you need medical guidance.
Do DHT-Blocking Shampoos Fight Hair Loss? We Asked the Experts
Even though many conditions may lead to hair loss, anti-thinning shampoos have ingredients that can help promote scalp health and help minimize hair loss. Here are a few Dr. Green recommended looking for.
- Biotin (Vitamin B7): Biotin helps comprise keratin, which is found in hair, skin and nails. Most people don’t need biotin supplements, but “shampoos containing biotin are great for hair volume and growth as it strengthens the hair shaft, increasing its density.”
- Niacin (Vitamin B3): Niacin improves hair follicle health and reduces scalp inflammation through increased blood circulation, bringing more nutrients and oxygen to the follicle. “Niacin-containing hair products can also increase the moisture of your scalp, preventing dandruff and dry hair,” Dr. Green said.
- Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that can address redness, itchiness and scalp swelling and promote good scalp health.
- Rosemary oil: With antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, rosemary oil is useful to fight dryness, dandruff and hair loss. “It contains carnosic acid, which has been shown to improve circulation to the scalp, leading to increased hair growth,” Dr. Green said.
- Coconut oil: Coconut oil is “one of the best oils for hair” and “contains large amounts of fatty acids that allow it to penetrate the hair deeply and protect your scalp and hair.” The added protection from bacteria, irritants and environmental damage will help promote a healthy hair and scalp.
- Ketoconazole: Ketoconazole, an antifungal, may help decrease testosterone, which can reduce DHT. “By reducing testosterone levels, less DHT is made, and your hair follicles are healthier.” It would also address fungal causes of thinning hair and hair loss.
- Minoxidil: Minoxidil is the gold standard topical treatment for hair loss. It’s not present in shampoos but can be purchased over-the-counter as a foam or solution and is federally approved to restore hair loss. “The solution works by relaxing the blood vessels, making it easier for increased blood circulation to the scalp. The increased blood flow strengthens the hair follicle, promoting hair growth,” Dr. Green said.
- Nanoxidil: Similar to minoxidil only “not in the mainstream,” nanoxidil is a newer treatment that’s “proven very effective in treating hair loss” by regrowing hair and increasing hair density. Dr. Green said it has a smaller molecular weight, “which allows it to penetrate the scalp faster, resulting in a better absorption rate.” This does not come in shampoos but can be found in a few over-the-counter products.
Some buyers might also consider products with DHT blockers. Dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, is a hormone derived from testosterone and is naturally produced by the body. DHT affects the development of hair follicles. When your body has too much DHT, the hormone can travel up to the scalp where it shrinks follicles and shuts down the growth process. Shampoos with DHT blockers may help mitigate this effect, which promotes hair growth. Though the science isn't conclusive, natural ingredients like saw palmetto have been shown to promote hair growth through supplements. The benefits of topical applications remain anecdotal.
Parabens, such as methylparaben, propylparaben, benzylparaben, and butylparaben, absorb into the scalp and “can strip the natural oils from your hair and scalp,” leading to irritation, Dr. Green said. She also recommended avoiding sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, surfactants that bind with scalp sebum, because they can “cause serious scalp irritation, hair loss and damage to hair follicles.”
Many anti-thinning shampoos and other grooming products avoid including parabens and sulfates for these reasons.