Do hair growth shampoos really work?

We investigate if regrowth shampoos are an effective tool in the fight against hair loss

Hair loss shampoo
(Image credit: Getty)

There are several causes as to why hair loss can occur in men. While a lot of it is to do with genetics, other reasons can include hormonal changes, medications, excessive hairstyling or even just stress. A full list of reasons can be found on the NHS website. The most common, though, is a hereditary condition called male-pattern baldness which, unfortunately, has no cure. 

However, there are still things you can do to help prevent that receding hairline, or at least delay it from happening. One of the most popular is hair regrowth products, from thickening and caffeine shampoos to regrowth vitamins. But can something as simple as the best hair growth shampoo really make a difference to that receding hairline? We’ve asked some of the UK’s biggest hair experts to find out. Here’s what they told us:

Do hair growth shampoos really work: not in all cases

Ricky Walters, Director at high end soho hair salon and member’s club, SALON64, says hair growth shampoos give the tools you need to give your hair the best chance in growing. 

“They of course do not put more hairs on your head but treat the existing hair and scalp to allow your hair to be the best it can be and encourage further growth.”

Neagle Cathcart, managing director of Mane UK (a brand which started in a Harley Street clinic specialising in hair transplants and is now a hair thickening product company), says an effective hair growth shampoo can make all the difference to the health of the hair. However, he adds that this depends on the type of hair loss and the stage of which it is in.

“In cases such as male pattern baldness, when the hair loss is genetic and the hair has already gone – they will not help,” Cathcart says.

“However, if you are in the early stages of hair loss or the hair’s health has been compromised, a hair growth shampoo can work to transform this and give thicker hair with consistent use.”

Do hair growth shampoos really work: depends on the ingredients

Cathcart says that there are a host of certain ingredients to look out for when buying a hair regrowth shampoo. 

Procapil - a combination of a vitaminated matrikine with apigenin and oleanolic acid from olive tree - is one of the main ones. 

“This hones in on the follicle’s metabolism and structure, anchoring hairs into the scalp to fortify and rejuvenate them,” he says. 

Biotinyl-GHK is another. This is a clinically proven amino acid that works to fortify the root follicles, helping to stop hair from shedding and strengthening your locks. 

“In clinical trials it was found to improve hair growth by 70% more than Minoxidil, one of the leading treatments for hair loss,” Cathcart adds.

Lastly, Root Extract from Lovely Hemsleya works to inhibit the formulation of DHT, a pesky hormone that causes our hair follicles to shrink and delay their growth. 

“By providing prevention rather than a cure, it can effectively help to stop hair loss or shedding in its tracks for a fuller, healthier mane.”

Moreover, Dr Knut Moe, Medical Director and male healthcare brand Sons, adds that shampoos can also be useful in improving the quality of the hair. He says that we should look out for those that contain essential oils and nutrients including Argan oil, iron, Vitamin B3/Niacin, Amla Oil, Sage Oil, Rosemary and Saw Palmetto, which is a natural plant-based ingredient with a host of other health benefits. 

Do hair growth shampoos really work: hair-washing myths 

Dr Moe also tells us that anything you hear about washing your hair causing hair loss is a myth. So those worried that hair regrowth shampoos will cause more harm than good is nonsense.

It’s a common misconception that washing the hair can contribute to hair loss, and many are refraining from washing their hair ‘too often’ just in case this is true,'' he explains. 

“If you are noticing hair falling out from washing, you are likely just dislodging hairs that are ready to fall out due to male pattern hair loss, with combing and running your hands through your hair also having the same effect.”

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Lee Bell
Lee Bell

Lee Bell is a freelance journalist & copywriter specialising in technology, health, grooming and how the latest innovations are shaking up the lifestyle space. From national newspapers to specialist-interest magazines and digital titles, Lee has written for some of the world’s most respected publications during his 11 years as a journalist.