Can a Hair Growth Shampoo Really Give You Longer Locks?

Roberta Schroeder
·6-min read

From Women's Health

Hair vertically challenged? If so, you’re far from alone. It's the reason why myriad hair growth shampoos, gummies and supplements have flooded your local Boots in recent years.

And yet with so many formulas out there promising to give you strands long enough to rival a Love Island contestant, how do you know if they really work? Or, rather than truly having the ability to add inches to your strands, are these products money down the drain?

WH spoke to the experts to find out if these next-gen shampoos are miracle workers or marketing BS. Stay with us for the honest truth.

What makes your hair grow faster?

First things first, it’s important to assess why your hair isn’t growing as you’d like it to. Of course, if it’s hair thinning or loss you’re dealing with, then it’s best to consult a doctor. (If you’re noticing too much hair in your hairbrush, or think you might be struggling with a medical condition like alopecia, there may be a prescription-only solution that’s open to you.)

That said, if you’re simply struggling to grow out a bad haircut or get your ends to creep past your shoulders, a hair-growth shampoo might be your first port of call.

When it comes to environmental factors, there are many things that could be slowing down your hair growth.

There is some evidence that sulphates (lather-inducing detergents used in many mainstream beauty products) can irritate a sensitive scalp. And, when it comes to lengthy hair, this is an issue. 'The scalp is the bedrock for the hair follicle, and if it is not in good condition the chances of you experiencing problems with hair growth and health increase significantly. In fact, research has proven that a flaky, itchy scalp can cause and/or worsen hair loss in certain individuals, Anabel Kingsley, Trichologist at Philip Kingsley, tells WH.

Or perhaps it’s the way you’re brushing your lengths: attacking tangles with a hairbrush is likely to snap your strands, which results in hair that just won’t reach the mile-long lengths of your dreams.

What foods help hair growth?

Plus, ensure that your diet includes plenty of hair growth-supporting Biotin, AKA water-soluble vitamin B. You can find this in egg yolk, yeast and wholegrains – or pop a supplement.

Now, onto the big question.

Do hair growth shampoos really work?

According to aesthetic dermatologist and hair-restoration surgeon Dr Max Malik, hair growth shampoos may not live up to the hype.

‘As far as over-the-counter options go, shampoos and other treatments are very widely sold and it’s a huge industry. However, there is actually very little evidence in support of these treatments,' is his take.

Kingsley agrees that the buzzy claims made by hair-growth shampoos may be misleading, drawing attention to the many factors that can hamper their success.

‘It’s important to note that the effectiveness of a product is not just reliant on the ingredients inside: it’s heavily dependent on the concentrations of the ingredients, the quality of them and how they are formulated into the product,’ she explains.

What’s more, Kingsley suggests that the way these shampoos are used may determine whether they work or not.

‘For instance, many ingredients need to be left on the scalp for an extended period of time and/or be used daily, in order to be effective.’

What is the best product for hair growth?

However, Kingsley does highlight several ingredients contained in some hair growth products, that can help to optimise the health of your scalp, which can in turn support healthy hair growth.

These include:

  • menthol (a stimulant)

  • piroctone olamine: an antimicrobial that helps to clear flaking and itching.

  • caffeine and peppermint oil can help boost circulation at the scalp

  • amino acids and proteins can strengthen the hair strands

Effectively, the most effective ‘hair-growth’ shampoos don’t actually give your hair a growth spurt, but rather play a supporting role in ensuring your lengths reach their natural full potential.

So, there you have it: nothing on the shelves will give you hip-skimming hair in a fortnight, but you can ensure your strands are growing at optimal natural rate. Scroll down to discover the best ‘hair-growth’ shampoos for the job.

8 of the best hair growth shampoos

1. Lee Stafford hair growth shampoo

A good budget option, this hair-growth shampoo works by encouraging blood flow to the follicles, enabling them to work at maximum capacity. The protein-packed formula does make hair feel thicker and bouncier after a few uses.

2. Watermans hair growth shampoo

A cult hero, this UK-made shampoo contains a huge list of hair-boosting ingredients that work together for maximum effectivity: think biotin, caffeine, allantoin, rosemary extract and hydrolyzed protein. It’s sulphate free, so suitable for sensitive scalps, and comes in a fully recyclable bottle. There’s a reason it’s one of the most popular shampoos on Amazon.

3. Revitalash

The brand behind Meghan Markle’s go-to eyelash growth serum recently launched a shampoo and conditioner, based on the same root-stimulating technology. This sulphate-free shampoo contains flax proteins to prevent breakage as well as stimulating ginseng to wake up your follicles.

4. Philip Kingsley

If a stressed-out scalp is the source of your hair-growth issues, Philip Kingsley’s Flaky Itchy Scalp Shampoo could be the answer. Especially gentle, it’s the best non-drying dandruff treatment we’ve tried.

5. Grow Gorgeous

Grow Gorgeous specialises in hair-boosting products, and this supercharged shampoo is one of its best.

It contains a whole host of strengthening and stimulating ingredients, including amino acids and bamboo extract, and is great for hair that’s been weakened by heat styling or tightly pulled ponytails. It won’t make your hair grow faster, but it will make it grow stronger.

6. Kérastase

A fan favourite and staple for the shower, Kérastase relies on amino acids in this shampoo to cleanse, fortify and protect damaged hair - promoting brighter, healthier and stronger locks.

7. Viviscal Densifying Shampoo

You'll know this amazing brand for their hair growth supplements, but did you know they also do a shampoo? Packed with biotin, keratin and zinc, it helps to promote the appearance of healthy-looking hair growth. Plus, the botanical fragrance leaves hair infused with a refreshing scent.

8. Aveda Botanical Repair Strengthening Shampoo

Six years in the making, this clever plant-powered shampoo instantly fortifies hair that has been dealt some serious damage. Specialist PhD chemists have harnessed three individual technologies that treat the hair on three levels meaning the formula is able to reinforce hair integrity at the core, treat the cuticle and prevent breakages. Expect fuller, longer, healthier strands.

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