11 best shampoos and products for thinning hair of July 2024


Nothing inspires dread like glancing at the drain to see how much hair you’ve lost while showering. Though it’s normal for hair thickness and quantity to change over time, (a person might shed anywhere from 50 to 100 strands per day) sudden hair loss can signal an underlying medical condition. Regardless of the reason behind it, pattern hair loss is not pleasant for anyone, and can cause significant psychological distress to those experiencing it.

Though our experts say pattern hair loss is dictated by genetics, some hair growth products can help combat the issue and work to prevent it. But before you buy some too-good-to-be-true elixir in a panic, it’s crucial to figure out what is causing your hair loss in the first place. We talked to dermatologists and trichologists about what causes thinning hair and hair loss, as well as the best ingredients to combat thinning hair. We also compiled expert-recommended hair thickening shampoos, treatments and more, plus highly rated products with dermatologist-approved hair thickening formulas.

SKIP AHEAD How to treat thinning hair | The best treatments for thinning hair | How to prevent hair loss

How we picked the best thinning hair shampoos and treatments

The experts we spoke to agree that the best treatment for thinning hair depends on the cause of that hair loss. Below are a few things our experts recommend keeping in mind to aid regrowth:

  • Ingredients that promote hair growth: Minoxidil is proven to be the most effective treatment for promoting hair growth in men and women (more below). It is also the active ingredient in OTC products from brands like Rogaine and Minoxidil.
  • Ingredients that keep hair healthy: Beyond using minoxidil-based OTC treatments or professional treatments at the dermatologist’s office, the best one can do is use gentle, hydrating shampoos with ingredients like argan oil and glycerin.

The best treatments and shampoos for thinning hair of 2024

We rounded up dermatologist- and trichologist-approved options to help promote hair growth and keep your strands healthy.

Best overall kit: Nioxin System Kits

What we like

  • Three-step system
  • For multiple hair types
  • Spurs hair regrowth

Something to note

  • Nothing to note at this time

Nioxin’s System Kits rely on peppermint oil, niacinamide and biotin to thicken hair and is a favorite among Green’s patients. The kits, which include a therapeutic shampoo, conditioner and scalp treatment, are formulated based on your hair’s unique needs: the System 1 kits target light thinning in natural hair, color treated hair and bleached hair. The System 2 kits target the same hair types, but for progressed thinning. Nioxin sells their shampoos, conditioners, leave-in products and other styling tools separately, too. If you prefer a hair growth treatment from the brand that contains minoxidil, consider the Nioxin Hair Regrowth Kit.

Product type: Shampoo, conditioner, treatment | Key ingredients: Peppermint oil, niacinamide, biotin, minoxidil

Best thickening shampoo: Revitalash Thickening Shampoo

What we like

  • Gently exfoliates
  • Boosts hair volume
  • Hydrates hair

This shampoo, an NBC Select Wellness Awards winner for best fine hair shampoo. According to the brand, it can boost hair volume, improve strength, exfoliate the scalp and hydrate hair. It’s also oil- and paraben-free, which means it’s safe to use on color-treated hair, according to Revitalash. For application, the brand recommends gently massaging it into the scalp and letting it sit for up to two minutes.

Product type: Shampoo | Key ingredients: Loquat leaf, biotin, willow bark, panthenol

Editor’s pick: Vegamour Gro Hair Serum

What we like

  • Dropper application
  • Non-greasy
  • Strengthens hair

Something to note

  • For light thinning
  • Pairs with Vegamour gummies

Editorial director Lauren Swanson, who describes herself as having a lot of fine hair, has been a big fan of Vegamour, ever since her beauty editor days. “I have these thinner spots on my scalp from when I danced ballet and needed to wear tight buns for hours,” she says. “When I started to use the Vegamour serum many years ago and take the gummies, I noticed more hair density.”

Product type: Serum | Key ingredients: Turmeric, caffeine, biotin

Woman showing hair growth before and after.
Swanson used Vegamour Gro Serum twice daily for several months when she noticed thinning hair during the pandemic.Lauren Swanson

Best topical foam: Rogaine 5% Minoxidil Unscented Foam

What we like

  • Easy to apply
  • Stops early stages of thinning
  • No scalp dryness

Something to note

  • Takes a while to see results

“Rogaine is probably one of the few things that’s been actually FDA-approved and worked out to help grow hair,” says Dr. Michele Green, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. The active ingredient in Rogaine products, including this foam, is minoxidil, which stimulates hair growth. Both the men and women’s foams contain 5% of minoxidil, but Rogaine recommends men apply a half capful twice a day directly to the scalp in the hair loss area. For women, the brand recommends applying half a capful just once a day. You can expect to see results in 120 days, but keep in mind that continued use is necessary to maintain results, according to the brand.

Product type: Foam | Key ingredients: Minoxidil

Best topical serum: Rogaine 5% Minoxidil Solution

What we like

  • Helps hair regrowth
  • Improves hair density
  • Easy to apply with dropper

Similar to Rogaine’s foam product, this topical minoxidil solution is sold separately in men and women’s versions. The women’s product, however, is less concentrated and contains just 2% minoxidil. You can expect to see results after 120 days of daily use, according to the brand.

Product type: Serum | Key ingredients: Minoxidil

Best hair growth system: BosleyMD Revive Volumizing System

What we like

  • Three-step system
  • Prevents future thinning

Something to note

  • Not for color-treated hair

Apply this three-step system, which includes a shampoo, conditioner and hair thickening treatment, daily to help reduce hair loss and thinning. It is formulated for non color-treated hair and uses botanical DHT inhibitors like rosemary extract, according to the brand. BosleyMD has many options for thinning hair treatments, so you should be able to find the right one for your unique situation.

Product type: Shampoo, conditioner, treatment | Key ingredients: Rosemary extract

Best for volume: Revitalash Volume Enhancing Foam

What we like

  • Pump application
  • Lightweight formula
  • Targets specific sections

An NBC Select Wellness Awards winner for best hair treatment, this volume-enhancing foam is great for dry or wet hair to prevent breakage and brittleness, according to Revitalash. For application, Revitalash recommends parting your hair into sections and thoroughly massaging the product into your scalp and on roots.

Product type: Foam | Key ingredients: Lipids, peptides, biotin, panthenol

Best with tea tree oil: Avalon Organics Tea Tree Oil Shampoo

What we like

  • Soothes scalp irritation
  • Softens hair

Something to note

  • Does not help hair growth
  • Unscented

While this Avalon Organics shampoo isn’t formulated to spur hair growth, it is a notable favorite among Green’s patients that have an irritated scalp — in our guide to the best shampoos for head acne, multiple experts recommend tea tree oil-based products to soothe irritation. Tea tree oil also has antibacterial properties, according to our experts.

Product type: Shampoo | Key ingredients: Tea tree oil

Best hydrating: Art Naturals Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo

What we like

  • Helps retain moisture
  • Gentle formula
  • Adds volume

Something to note

  • Does not help hair growth

Many of Green’s patients love this argan oil shampoo. Argan oil (also an ingredient in an NBC Select-favorite clarifying shampoo) can help hydrate dry hair and retain moisture. It’s also formulated with the cleanser cocamidopropyl betaine, which is a gentler alternative to harsh detergents and sulfates, according to Dr. Hadley King, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City who specializes in medical and cosmetic dermatology.

Product type: Shampoo | Key ingredients: Argan oil, betaine

Best for scalp health: Nutrafol Root Purifier Shampoo

What we like

  • Improves dry scalp
  • Balances oil production
  • Adds volume

Something to note

  • Does not help hair growth

Nutrafol, a natural, drug-free shampoo line that makes oral supplements and various hair care products, comes recommended by both King and Green. While it may be best to consult your doctor before taking any supplement, you could start by trying the Root Purifier Shampoo. Swanson tried the shampoo in the past and found it to hydrate the scalp without being overly greasy or weighing hair down, she says. The sulfate-free shampoo is formulated with gentle cleansers like cocamidopropyl betaine that cleanse while optimizing your scalp’s pH levels for improved hair health, according to the brand.

Product type: Shampoo | Key ingredients: Betaine

Best for frizz: Grown Alchemist Anti-Frizz Shampoo

What we like

  • Prevents frizz
  • Gentle formula
  • Prevents heat damage

Something to note

  • Does not lather
  • Higher price point

“Generally, it is best to use a gentle shampoo free from harsh ingredients to ensure you are not contributing to the problem further,” says Taylor Rose, a hair health expert and trichologist. She recommends this gentle option from Grown Alchemist, which helps smooth the hair follicle and protects it from heat damage, according to the brand.

Product type: Shampoo | Key ingredients: Ginger, flavonoids

How to treat thinning hair

The best treatment for thinning hair depends on the cause of that hair loss, according to our experts. “There is no magic button,” says Green, but there are a few things that can help regrow hair, or at least protect the hair you still have.

  • Minoxidil: Minoxidil is the most proven treatment for both men and women, according to King. Used in shampoos and popular products like Rogaine, it essentially widens the blood cells, allowing “more oxygen, blood and nutrients to reach the follicles,” she says.
  • Argan oil and/or tea tree oil: “Argan oil is rich in fatty acids and will protect your hair,” says Green. Plus, it can help your hair retain moisture. Green says many of her patients also like shampoos that contain tea tree oil, which has antimicrobial and antifungal properties that can soothe an irritated scalp.
  • Glycerin-based styling products: Glycerin-based products are also good for keeping the hair hydrated, says King. “A hair care regimen that allows the protective layer or cuticle to remain intact as long as possible will decrease breakage,” she says.

Products like shampoos and serums can be used in conjunction with oral medication and various dermatology treatments, like platelet-rich plasma injections (PRP) or prescription-only laser caps. Most importantly, topical treatments need to remain on your head to work. If you’re washing it in and washing it out, as you would with shampoo, how much benefit you get “is arguable,” says Green. The most important ingredient of all is hard data. “There are many products out there that promise results that aren’t backed by hard science,” says King.

As for what else to avoid, look for shampoos free of harsh detergents, like Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), according to Rose. Some alcohols may dehydrate the hair too: “The ones to avoid usually have ‘prop’ in their name, like isopropyl or propanol,” she says.

What causes thinning hair?

“The most common cause of hair loss is androgenetic alopecia, which is called male pattern or female pattern baldness,” says Green. With this form of hair loss, hair follicles shrink and eventually stop growing. In women, it presents as a gradually widening part. In men, pattern baldness usually brings a receding hairline or bald spot.

But there are other things that can cause hair loss too, like underlying medical issues or stress, says Green. She recommends paying attention to the nature of your hair loss: is it suddenly all over, or is it gradually thinning in the front? Take note of those symptoms and consult a doctor, who will likely request blood work to check if you’re anemic, vitamin D deficient or if you have a thyroid disorder or autoimmune disease, according to Green. A lot of Green’s patients are shocked to learn their hair loss is a symptom of something like lupus, or even a tumor in one bizarre case.

Or, a patient might have telogen effluvium, a form of hair loss caused by stress to the body or mind. A loss of a loved one or job, a high fever, pregnancy or having surgery could all cause sudden hair loss. 

“Hairs are usually found at all different stages of the hair cycle,” says King. But during an intense stress, the hair can become synchronized, leading many to fall out at the same time. “The good news is that this kind of hair loss is reversible,” says King. “It does grow back.” During the early stages of the pandemic, for example, many of Green’s patients’ hair loss worsened, not necessarily from infection, but the stress of isolation. (You can learn more on the causes behind hair loss at this fact sheet from the American Academy of Dermatology).

How to prevent hair loss

Frustratingly, genetics play a huge role in hair loss, but tackling the problem sooner rather than later can help: “You’ll want to stop it before it gets bad because once you lose your hair, and those hair follicles are dead, they’re not growing back,” says Green.

But you need not despair; there are multiple ways to stall the seemingly inevitable and some simple hair care tips and tricks to prevent hair loss in the first place:

  • A healthy lifestyle: Practice habits that reduce stress and are good for your physical health, like meditation, yoga, journaling and eating a diet of whole foods, says Rose. “Make sure you are eating enough protein in your diet, as hair is made up of protein,” she says. Avoid alcohol and cigarettes as much as possible, too: “They definitely weaken hair and they are just bad for you in general. No crash dieting either,” says King.
  • Protect your remaining hair: Wearing a really tight bun day after day pulls on your hair and can cause permanent damage, says Green. So can frequent use of heated hair styling tools. “A hair-care regimen that allows the protective layer, or cuticle, to remain intact for as long as possible will decrease breakage and drying out of the hair strands,” says King.
  • Use gentle fabrics: Hair is very fragile when it’s wet. Rose recommends using a microfiber towel after showering and sleeping on a satin pillowcase or in a satin bonnet.

If you notice your hair thinning, don’t hesitate to see a specialist and advocate for yourself during your appointment. “One of the most frustrating things is how many women get dismissed,” says Green. Don’t be afraid to speak up — a good doctor will make time to chat and assess your unique situation.

Meet the experts

At NBC Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure that all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and with no undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

  • Dr. Hadley King is a board-certified dermatologist in New York City who specializes in medical and cosmetic dermatology.
  • Dr. Michele Green is a board-certified dermatologist in New York City who specializes in cosmetic dermatology.
  • Taylor Rose is a hair health expert and trichologist who runs the @thehealthyhur TikTok account.

Why trust NBC Select?

Christina Colizza is a former editor at NBC Select and has been a product reviewer since 2018.

Catch up on NBC Select’s in-depth coverage of personal finance, tech and tools, wellness and more, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok to stay up to date.


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