The best shampoo for hair loss to help with thinning and boost volume

Even though it’s totally normal to lose hair (the NHS advises that an average per day is between 50 to 100), finding your hair thinner than it once was, or noticing it falling out more than usual, is not only disheartening but downright distressing, too. This is why the best shampoo for hair loss can be an invaluable aid.

Fagron Tricho Test (a genetic test for hair loss) recently found that 40% of women experience hair loss in their lifetime. Pair that statistic with the 8,000 plus monthly UK Google searches for ‘hair loss in women’ and you come to realise that it’s an issue that many are experiencing and are looking for products to help. According to The Insight Partners, searches for ‘hair loss’ and ‘hair growth’ jumped to their highest rates during COVID-19 and are yet to go down.

The thing to remember is when we talk about shampoo for hair loss or shampoo for thinning hair, these can help make your hair appear thicker, but not magically reverse hair loss (sadly). Unfortunately, there isn’t a shampoo for hair growth. ‘Even if a shampoo contains ingredients that could help with hair loss, they are not left on your scalp for long enough to take effect,’ trichologist Anabel Kingsley at Philip Kingsley tells us. ‘As you’re applying them to a damp scalp and under running water, the formula will also be thoroughly diluted – again, making it ineffective.’

Don’t be disheartened, as that’s not to say that your shampoo can’t help your hair look and feel bouncy and full. Keep reading for what you need to know about thinning hair, and the shampoos to shop now.

What causes hair loss and thinning hair?

According to the NHS, hair loss is not normally anything to worry about. However, sometimes it might be an indicator of a medical condition. So you should see a GP if you’re concerned.

‘Many people will experience some degree of hair loss and thinning at some stage in their lives,’ explains Dr Sara Kayat, Viviscal’s medical ambassador. ‘Common causes are post-pregnancy, menopause, ageing, diet, seasonal shedding, illness, stress and medications.’

Dr Kayat gives us the lowdown:

Post-partum hair loss

‘This is usually noticed 3-6 months after giving birth. This is because when you are pregnant you have high levels of oestrogen, which is thought to keep the hair in the growth phase. After childbirth, the oestrogen levels drop, and this causes the hair to enter the resting phase. When these hairs shed and new hairs push through around 3 months later, you notice the sudden loss of hair.’


‘Due to the drop in oestrogen and progesterone that occurs after the menopause, the hair cycles are affected, causing increased shedding.’


‘Nearly everyone notices hair loss as they age. This is because the rate of hair growth declines, the strands become thinner, and the hair is less pigmented. So hair can look thinner, finer and lighter in colour.’


‘Hair is primarily made from protein, so a diet deficient in protein can contribute to hair loss. We also require a number of nutrients for healthy hair follicle growth including iron and zinc, so any nutritional deficits may result in hair loss.’

Seasonal shedding

‘The cause of seasonal shedding is unknown, but studies show that more women than men suffer with it, and it often occurs in the autumnal months.’

Illness and stress

‘These events can “shock” your hair into staying in the resting phase rather than the growing phase. COVID-19 is a very good example of this. People who have suffered from COVID-19 may experience hair loss or thinning, which could occur up to three months after contracting. The resting phase usually lasts three months, and then it will shed when new hairs start to grow through.  The best thing you can do to help manage this hair loss and thinning is to optimise your lifestyle to support your hair growth.’


‘Certain medications can alter the hair growth cycle, forcing hairs into the resting rather than growing phase.’

In terms of actual hair loss, there are several different types. ‘The two most common are androgenetic alopecia aka hair thinning, female pattern hair loss, reduced hair volume). And telogen effluvium, which is excessive daily hair shedding,’ Anabel Kingsley explains. ‘They are caused by completely different things and need different treatments.’

If you suffer from androgenetic alopecia, you will notice thinning hair at the top, frontal area and just behind your hairline. While hair at the back stays thick. Kingsley tell us that this is mainly down to genes, causing your hair follicles to be sensitive to normal levels of androgens, aka male hormones. It can be exacerbated by any conditions that affect your hormone levels, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and is a progressive type of hair loss, meaning it’s very important to be consistent with treatment.

On the other hand, telogen effluvium is characterised by very obvious, excess hair shedding, which is caused by some sort of internal disruption. This can be because of multiple factors, for example iron or vitamin D deficiencies. However, once you identify the cause and fix it, it almost always goes away.

‘A third, and quite common, hair loss I want to mention is alopecia areata – a hair loss that occurs in patches. This is an auto-immune hair loss and occurs when your immune system attacks certain hair follicles that are in the anagen (growth) phase of the hair growth cycle.

‘Currently, there is no proven treatment, but in many cases, hair will spontaneously grow back on its own. Please do not buy products that claim to re-grow patchy hair loss – they do not work. The only treatments that “may” work are prescription-only.’

How to spot thinning hair

‘There are common tell-tale signs of hair loss that we can identify before the problem escalates,’ says Dr Kayat. If your ponytail feels thinner or your parting appears wider, those could be signs that your hair is thinning. You might also notice that when you wash your hair in the shower or brush your hair before bed, there’s more hair coming away.

Dr Anita Takwale, Consultant dermatologist and hair specialist for Stratum Dermatology Clinics, explains how most people notice hair thinning and shedding, but many overlook scaling, itching and burning in the scalp linked with thinning, mistaking it to be due to dandruff. This can be an early sign of certain types of scarring alopecia which if ignored can lead to permanent hair loss.

The best shampoo for hair loss and thinning hair – what should you look for?

‘Frequent shampooing is important to hair growth,’ Kingsley tells us. ‘This is because it helps to keep the scalp environment clean and in good condition – and a healthy scalp encourages the growth of healthy strands.

‘A flaky scalp can cause hair loss, so it is important to keep your scalp clear. If you have a scaly scalp, look for a shampoo that is specifically geared towards clearing flaking and itching. I recommend our Flaky/Itchy Scalp Shampoo (£25.50 | Lookfantastic).

‘Avoid heavy-weight, oil-rich shampoos, as these can weigh fine hair down,’ she adds. ‘Instead, choose a volumizing shampoo that adds immediate body and texture. However, keep in mind that volumizing shampoos will not actively make your hair grow faster or thicker – they will simply make your hair appear fuller.’

We also recommend using a shampoo that nourishes the hair and the scalp, which will create the optimal environment for hair growth.

Ingredients to look out for in a shampoo for thinning hair

Certain ingredients can help to optimise the scalp environment and may in turn encourage growth, Annabel tells us. They include:

Menthol – a stimulant Piroctone Olamine – an antimicrobial that helps to clear flaking and itching

Methyl nicotinate – a vasodilator that can also help to aid in the effectiveness of other ingredients

A combination of zinc sulphate, vitamin B6 and azelaic acid – Combined in topical drops they can help to block the conversion of testosterone to the more damaging dihydrotestosterone.

Betaine salicylate or salicylic acid – exfoliants that can be formulated into scalp masks to gently remove dead-skin cells.

Time to volumise? We’ve pulled together the best shampoos for hair loss to help give your hair the volume boost you’re after. Keep scrolling to find your new hair hero.

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