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Hair requires regular care to stay healthy — but for those who experience breakage and hair loss, that can feel difficult. Cue the best shampoos for hair breakage and loss, which may be able to help the growth process along. According to a dermatologist, moisturizing, non-damaging ingredients are the key to effective hair-growth shampoos.
Hadley King, MD is a board-certified dermatologist who specializes in medical and cosmetic dermatology. She is also a clinical instructor of dermatology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Dr. King graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College with a degree in biochemistry. She received her MD from Columbia University, trained in medicine at Greenwich Hospital (affiliated with the Yale University School of Medicine), and completed her dermatology residency at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University.
What To Look For In A Hair-Growth Shampoo
According to Dr. King, once a strand of hair reaches beyond the scalp, it is “physiologically dead” and “cannot be nourished, only preserved.” For that reason, you should seek out highly moisturizing ingredients that will allow the “protective layer, or cuticle, to remain intact for as long as possible,” which in turn minimizes dryness and therefore breakage like argan and sunflower seed oils.
That said, protecting your hair is as much about skipping damaging ingredients as it is about choosing protective ones: “If you are experiencing hair breakage,” Dr. King wrote to Bustle, “avoid shampoos that contain harsh detergents or other potentially drying ingredients (like salicylic acid) that can dry out the cuticle.” Some also choose to avoid sulfates, which can be a harsher cleaning agent. (You may also want to limit styling tools, harsh gels, and overly drying hair sprays.)
Shop The Best Shampoos For Breakage & Hair Loss
In a hurry? Here are the best shampoos for thicker, longer hair.
- The Dermatologist-Recommended Shampoo: Dove Hydration Spa Therapy Shampoo
- The Fan-Favorite Anti-Thinning Shampoo: PURA D'OR Original Gold Label Anti-Thinning Biotin Shampoo
- The Best Shampoo For Extreme Damage: Redken Extreme Shampoo
- The Best Thickening Shampoo & Conditioner Set: Luseta Biotin & Collagen Shampoo & Conditioner Set
- Also Great: Not Your Mother's Smooth Moves Instant Shine Lamellar Water Hair Rinse
1. The Dermatologist-Recommended Shampoo
- Made with scalp-nourishing ingredients like hyaluronic acid
- Large pump bottle for an affordable price
- Dermatologist recommended
- Some reviewers find that it leaves hair greasy
“I recommend Dove Beauty Hair Therapy Hydration Spa shampoo with hyaluronic serum,” Dr. King wrote. It’s “sulfate-free so it gently cleanses,” plus it “hydrates and moisturizes with hyaluronic acid and emollients.” Most importantly, though, potent ingredients protect strands at a cellular level — like Dr. King spoke about earlier on — so breakage is minimized. Since it comes in a huge 1-liter bottle, and it still costs less than most hair-growth shampoos, it’s easily an incredible value, too.
One reviewer wrote: “I have been using this shampoo daily. It's a nice big bottle of shampoo. It makes my hair smell really good. It seems to be treating my hair very well. My hair is staying nice and strong and it looks great too. My scalp is also staying healthy with this shampoo as well.”
2. The Fan-Favorite Anti-Thinning Shampoo
- Clinically tested to protect strands and reduce thinning
- Has earned over 20,000 reviews on Amazon
- Made with hydrating herbal ingredients
This PURA D'OR shampoo has been clinically tested to reduce thinning — and according to its 17,000-plus positive reviews, it works. Ingredients like argan oil, aloe vera, and grapefruit seed all provide ample hydration to protect the cuticle, but this shampoo also skips the harsh ingredients like parabens, synthetic preservatives, and sulfates which might dry strands out. It also features nettle extract (a DHT blocker) and saw palmetto (to promote thickness).
One reviewer wrote: “I use this shampoo to help with thinning hair. It seems to prevent some breakage and leaves my hair soft, shiny and with lots of volume. I love this shampoo!”
3. A Shampoo For Damaged, Over-Processed Hair
- Designed for damaged, over-processed hair
- Provides three types of nourishment with RCT Protein Complex
- Leaves hair soft and voluminous
- Has sodium laureth sulfate
For those who have a lot of hair damage from bleaching, heat, or over-processing, Redken’s Extreme shampoo may be able to help. Even though it provides a thorough cleanse, its targeted RCT Protein Complex treats breakage and repairs brittle areas from root to tip. The result, according to reviewers, is hair that grows longer, looks thicker, and has plenty of volume and shine. However, this one does have sulfates, if that’s something you’re trying to avoid.
One reviewer wrote: “As a professional hairdresser I always use Redken and it's the best protein shampoo for highly distressed hair caused by chemical damage. Amazing on bleached hair. [...] Prevents further breakage.”
4. The Best Thickening Shampoo & Conditioner Set
- Comes with both shampoo and conditioner
- Formula includes growth-encouraging ingredients like biotin
- Some reviewers report that it might be too heavy for super fine hair
Argan oil, biotin, sunflower seed oil, and collagen are the moisturizing key ingredients in this Luseta shampoo and conditioner set, and according to over 3,500 five-star ratings, they’re shockingly effective when it comes to minimizing breakage and encouraging growth. The formula also skips sulfates and parabens. Last but definitely worth noting, you’re getting both the shampoo and the conditioner (in pretty sizable bottles) for $30, making it a good value.
One reviewer wrote: “Really like this product. I don't usually spend this much on my hair, but was willing to spend the money to save the hair I had. I had been losing a lot of hair due to surgery. This product really helped in the decrease of hair loss. Plus, they lasted forever, which was an added bonus!”
5. The Best For Thin, Fire Hair
- Hydrates without weight
- Works in seconds
- Detangles and creates shine
- Might take some getting used to due to its liquid consistency
I have especially thin, fine hair, so I’m hesitant to use products with tons of moisturizing ingredients for fear of my hair looking greasy. That’s where Not Your Mother’s Smooth Moves Lamellar water rinse comes in. This product (made with hyaluronic acid) softens, detangles, and hydrates in seconds, and then it rinses right out. Even though it’s deeply moisturizing, it’s also shockingly lightweight, so even thin hair doesn’t feel oily or dull. It’s also sulfate-, paraben-, and phthalate-free.
Hadley King, MD is a board-certified dermatologist who specializes in medical and cosmetic dermatology. She is also a clinical instructor of dermatology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University.