While there are much worse things that can happen to a person than losing their hair, there’s also no denying how incredibly frustrating it can be. There are many reasons for hair loss, including genetics, and even more products and solutions out there which claim to slow its progress while even growing new hair. Finding one that works for you, however, can be easier said than done. But we’re here to help.
We’ve come up with five best hair loss shampoos for men and women that work, led by Ultrax Labs Hair Surge – which is a relative newcomer on the market but one that consistently gets positive results.
Let’s dig in.
- 3 things you need to know before buying a hair loss shampoo
- The four key ingredients in hair loss shampoos
- Do most hair loss shampoos work?
- The 5 best hair loss shampoos for men & women
- A bit about women and hair loss
3 Things You Need to Know Before Buying a Hair Loss Shampoo
Before you grab just any bottle of hair-loss shampoo off the shelf – and many don’t work, which we’ll touch on a bit later – there are things you need to keep in mind:
- If you have something that works for you, don’t change. Search for products that have plenty of positive feedback and don’t just trust Amazon reviews, but dig deeper. Again, most shampoos that claim to halt hair loss and grow new hair are nothing more than snake oil. Stick with ingredients that are clinically proven to work and backed by scientific study.
- Ketoconazole is king. We’ll talk at depth about ketoconazole in a bit, but for now, just know that any hair-loss shampoo that doesn’t contain it won’t work as well as those that do. The biggest reason men lose hair is because of follicle DHT-sensitivity, and ketoconazole is proven to combat this.
- Use one shampoo that works and stick with it. You may also want to use a conditioner, preferably one that’s made for men who are experiencing hair loss.
The Four Key Ingredients in Hair Loss Shampoos
Whatever shampoo you use, look for the following four ingredients. Research, though in its preliminary stages in most cases, has shown that all four can not only slow hair loss but also generate new growth. And keep in mind that the only Food and Drug Administration medications used to treat male pattern baldness are topical minoxidil (a.k.a. Rogaine) and finasteride, more commonly referred to as Propecia.
For now, anyway.
You’ll find ketoconazole in Nizoral anti-dandruff shampoo, and preliminary research indicates that it may be effective in treating hair loss. Researchers found that both 2% ketoconazole and minoxidil regimens improved hair density, size, and proportion of anagen follicles. Ketoconazole also is effective in treating a fungus called Pityriasis that often inhabits the scalp.
Studies showed that the most effective use of 2% ketoconazole shampoo was one every two to four days and leaving the shampoo on the scalp for three to five minutes after it has been applied.
Yes, caffeine. Most use caffeine as an ever-important (if not mandatory) jolt of energy in the morning – or anytime our asses are dragging – but studies now show that caffeine “counteracts” the suppression of hair-follicle production by testosterone in males.
Specifically, caffeine enhanced the length of hair shafts, prolonged anagen duration, and stimulated keratinocyte growth. Keratinocyte is the most abundant cell found in the epidermis, the outer layer of your skin.
OK, we know what’s on your mind at this point, and the answer is no. Drinking massive quantities of coffee or other caffeine-laden drinks will not help make hair grow. As one scientist pointed out, you’d have to drink 40 to 50 cups of coffee for caffeine to have any kind of therapeutic benefit for your hair roots because caffeine is easily diluted and quickly excreted by the body. Besides, that amount of coffee would be toxic because caffeine is, well, kind of a drug.
However, there are a variety of topical products available with caffeine that can be directly applied to your scalp. Even better, research shows that hair follicles don’t build up a resistance to caffeine-included products as it does with some drugs.
The benefits of biotin are based on research that shows that hair loss is a consequence of biotin and zinc deficiency. Also known as Vitamin B7, Biotin is a compound that’s important for a wide range of bodily processes, including the synthesis of fatty acids, glucose, and some amino acids. But it also helps the strengthening of hair and nails.
Biotin is a crucial component to skin cells, which also play an important role in hair follicle health. If your follicles are weak or unhealthy, they’ll be unable to retain hair.
The good news is that you can get biotin from many, many food sources, including cooked eggs, peanuts, liver, Swiss chard, cauliflower, bananas, whole grains, mushrooms, and sardines.
Saw palmetto is hardly new; Native Americans have been using it as medicine and as a food source for hundreds of years. It’s a small plant with berries that shows promise as a way to treat hair loss (and it’s already used as an herbal remedy to treat an enlarged prostate and a decreased sex drive).
What’s the science behind it? An extract of saw palmetto berries may block an enzyme (5-alpha-reductbase) that converts testosterone to DHT. And DHT is responsible both for hair loss and enlargement of the prostate. In one study, nearly half of men who were treated with saw palmetto had an 11.9 percent increase in total hair count.
The berries from a saw palmetto plant can be taken in pill form or from local or online health food stores.
Do Most Hair Loss Shampoos Work?
The answer, to be brutally honest, is no. Combine that with the fact that many shampoo manufacturers are hungry for a quick buck and make false claims about ingredients that haven’t been proven to work, and you have a market that can be treacherous to navigate. There are even fake reviews – which is a whole additional layer of deceit when you think about it.
We’re going to list five for you that are the real deal when it comes to hair loss shampoos, but buyer beware when you’re roaming the hair care product aisle and thinking about buying anything less than the best. Again, use trusted brands with proven results (backed by scientific study) and with plenty of good, verified reviews.
And, remember, your hair loss may have many underlying causes, and your shampoo is just one part of your hair loss treatment. Lifestyle and nutritional changes may also be part of the solution.
That said, let’s take a look at five hair loss shampoos that are the real deal.
The 5 Best Hair Loss Shampoos for Men & Women
Alright, here are the 5 best hair loss shampoos of 2018 that actually work:
OK, maybe not the best analogy, but if there were Academy Awards for hair-growth products, Ultrax Labs’ Hair Surge would have its share of Oscars. And the company has only been around since 2012!
Seriously, the stuff works, and it has garnered a lot of attention since being introduced to the market. It was rated the best “Shampoo for Hair Regrowth Stimulation” in 2016 and is effective for men and women (and is one of only a few caffeinated hair shampoos made for both sexes).
One key reason that Hair Surge is a cut above other so-called hair loss shampoos is that it’s formulated to maintain the active ingredients on your scalp and hair until they’re absorbed. Average shampoos include a couple of ingredients that are easily washed away before they have any impact on hair loss and hair growth. Hair Surge is also safe for all skin and hair types.
Hair Surge contains three key ingredients: caffeine, ketoconazole, and saw palmetto. As already mentioned, all three are essential ingredients in any shampoo that’s truly targeted for hair growth. It doesn’t contain biotin, but you can always take biotin as a supplement if you absolutely feel that you have to have it. Besides, if you still have doubts that Hair Surge actually works, you can sift through the thousands of positive comments and testimonials about it online.
Yes, Hair Surge is a bit pricier than your average hair loss shampoo, but that’s the point – it’s not your average hair loss shampoo. It’s more expensive, but it also delivers where it matters most, on your head.
The folks at Ultrax Labs are confident enough that you’ll see results from Hair Surge that they offer a 90-day money back guarantee. They don’t make a lot of products – only three in their entire portfolio – but they have a firm belief in their formulas.
- Remains on hair until it’s actively absorbed
- Proven results
- Backed by a money-back guarantee
- More expensive than other hair-loss shampoos
Nizoral will keep the flakes off of your head while keeping hair on it. It’s a proven anti-dandruff fighter – good for even severe cases of those pesky white flakes – but, for our purposes, also designed to treat hair loss. And treat it well, at that.
The key ingredient in Nizoral is ketoconazole, which reduces hair follicle inflammation that contributes to hair loss. Ketoconazole also kills fungi that cause dandruff, but there’s not so much of it as to be toxic (which large amounts of ketoconazole can be). It has been argued that dandruff may contribute to hair loss; while there’s no direct link, it’s certainly worth noting here.
Nizoral’s A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo has 1% ketoconazole, but you can get a 2% version of it in the U.S. with a prescription. You can get the 2% percent version of it in Europe over-the-counter, although usually under a different name.
The beauty of Nizoral is that it performs three tasks simultaneously; 1) it cleanses the scalp, 2) its anti-fungal properties combat dandruff, and 3) it blocks androgen receptors to deter hair loss. Some caution should be taken when using Nizoral, however, because some studies have shown that leaving it on your hair for an extended period (i.e., five minutes or more) can cause rashes and irritation. Be careful if you have sensitive skin.
It’s certainly worth noting that Nizoral also comes in a tablet form but sustained long-term use of it (the pill) has the potential to cause liver damage. Besides, oral Nizoral hasn’t been shown to have any benefits for hair loss, so simply avoid the stuff altogether and stick with the shampoo.
- Fights dandruff and hair-loss
- Reduces hair-follicle inflammation
- Can cause dryness and irritation if left on too long
If you prefer all-natural ingredients, then Art Naturals Organic Argan Oil Hair Loss Shampoo is a good product to have in your fight against hair loss. As its name suggests, argan oil is a key ingredient in this shampoo (along with caffeine, biotin, and saw palmetto) and argan is full of fatty acids and Vitamin E to help provide overall hair care potency.
While, in and of itself, argan doesn’t necessarily reduce hair loss, it has been proven to be great for skin health, including the scalp, as it improves the elasticity of the skin. One of the other benefits of Art Naturals Organic Oil shampoo is that it has been said to be effective in undoing and reversing the damage left behind by harsh shampoos and conditioners.
But back to the “naturals” aspect of this shampoo. For starters, it’s paraben-free, but also hypoallergenic- and irritant-free, and will work equally well for people with different hair and skin types. Without abrasive and harmful sulfates, it will clean and restore the scalp while restoring an ideal pH balance. Some of its many natural ingredients include peach, almond, jojoba, and avocado oils, and more, but it’s worth mentioning that Art Naturals Organic Oil shampoo does not contain ketoconazole – which some consider a “must” ingredient in hair loss products. But if it works, it works.
This is a relatively new player on the hair loss game but one that’s gaining popularity because of its effectiveness. It’s also relatively inexpensive when compared to other hair loss shampoos and comes with a 100% money back guarantee. There’s certainly nothing to lose by trying this product.
- All-natural ingredients
- Restores hair damaged by other products
- Money-back guarantee
- There’s no direct link to argan oil and hair loss prevention.
What’s in a name? Well, that depends on what or who you’re talking about, but the name is meaningful when discussing Lipogaine’s Big 5 All-Natural Shampoo (which is different from its Big 3 option).
The Big 5 shampoo is a newer addition to the Lipogaine product line, and its five primary ingredients are biotin, caffeine argan oil, castor oil, and saw palmetto – all of which help to fight hair loss. It does not include ketoconazole, unlike the Big 3 version, at least according to its list of ingredients.
The rest of the ingredients are the same for Lipogaine Big 5 and Big 3 and work together to strengthen and nourish hair while preventing thinning and breakage. Included in the long list of organic ingredients are rosemary oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, green tea, cedarwood oil, and more.
A quick word on castor oil: it’s effective for treating hair loss and promoting hair growth because it has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties that fight dandruff while helping to prevent scalp infections.
One of the positives of buying a hair-loss shampoo that contains most of the important ingredients in fighting hair loss is that separately purchasing the ingredients isn’t cost-effective. A bottle of castor oil costs in the $20 to $30 range, for instance.
Lipogaine’s Big 5 is good for men and women and also safe to use on color-treated hair. It also comes with a 100% money back guarantee.
- Safe for all hair types
- Gentle formula
- Good for men and women
- May dry out your hair if not used with a conditioner
The people at Regenpure DR aren’t in it for the hype – they prefer that their shampoo does all the talking, instead. And why not? While not as popular – yet – as some of the big names on the hair loss shampoo market, Regenepure DR has been proven effective in restoring hair while adding moisture, shine, and volume.
Regenepure DR (the DR stands for doctor recommended) has a variety of ingredients that are all good for hair loss, hair growth, and just simply making your hair look good: saw palmetto, Emu oil, Zinc Oxide, Vitamin B6, Aloe, and Jojoba seed oil.
Unlike some hair loss shampoos, Regenepure DR is gentle enough to be used every day and doesn’t leave hair feeling dry and brittle. It’s also great for treating dandruff and dermatitis with reviewers who’ve had scalp conditions saying that their symptoms were improved after using Regenepure DR. Others say that, unlike other hair loss products, it didn’t leave their hair looking worse after application.
- Also good for treating dandruff and other scalp conditions
- Purchasers say their hair felt thicker immediately after using it
- Some reviewers said the aloe left their hair flat and limp.
A bit about women and Hair Loss
Hair loss can be devastating to many men, but perhaps even more so for women, who have often suffered in silence. But, fact is, women make up nearly 40 percent of hair-loss sufferers in the United States. The psychological damage associated with hair loss is, for many women, extensive, especially in a society where hair-loss in men – though usually unwanted – is more or less an accepted fact of life.
What’s equally frustrating for women is that their hair loss is not as clearly understood as hair loss in men and, according to an article in www.dermentz.org, “..presents itself quite differently from the more recognizable male pattern baldness which usually begins with a receding frontal hairline that progresses to a bald patch on top of the head.” The same article also says that it’s uncommon for women to follow a male pattern unless there is excessive production of androgens in her body.
Some factors that are thought to play a role in female hair loss include high androgen birth control pills, menopause, pregnancy, ovarian cysts, and other factors tied to the actions of hormones. The American Hair Loss Association said it’s important that women who have a history of hair loss in their family to be made aware of the potential effects of birth control pills on normal hair growth.
Be careful when it comes to choosing the best shampoo for hair growth and thickening. There are plenty of companies out there that make lofty claims but don’t walk the walk. Finding one that works for you will take some research and even trial-and-error, but the five we’ve listed here should serve you well.
We’d love to hear your comments regarding hair loss shampoos. We want to hear what you think and we promise to respond promptly.