mbg Beauty Director
mbg Beauty Director
Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she’s held beauty roles at Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com.
Image by Mihajlo Ckovric / Stocksy
August 24, 2022
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If lush, thriving hair is your priority, a good shampoo needs to be at the top of your list: Healthy hair starts in the shower, and a good cleanser is the foundation of every routine. And for growth in particular it has an even more important function. A clean, refreshed scalp is vital to keep the hair follicle in good condition—and by allowing buildup to accumulate, you risk the chance of increased shedding. On the flip side, however, you want to make sure the hair fiber isn’t stripped in the process: Dry, brittle hair leads to breakage—putting a halt to any lengthening or fullness goals.
It’s a tall order, finding a shampoo that meets those requirements. Additionally, everyone has their own unique hair types and quirks—like if you highlight your hair, you’ll want something that can tend to the color as well.
But you’ve come to the right place: Here, our favorite shampoos for hair growth, broken down by individualized categories.
Can shampoo make your hair grow?
Hair growth is influenced by many factors, from your genes to stress, environment, nutrition, scalp health, and the products you use. It’s always best to approach any beauty goal from a holistic perspective—so we encourage you to think about all of these variables when crafting your hair care routine. There’s no one, single magic elixir that will do it all for you.
However, as part of that well-rounded routine, a shampoo that encourages hair growth is a wonderful addition. Shampoos play a very important role in hair growth as they are your primary scalp products, and having a clean scalp is high on the list of priorities.
When you neglect washing the scalp, it can lead to oxidative stress. “This oxidative stress will affect the quality of your hair growth. It happens when you have product, dirt, and oil building up around your follicle opening—which is where your hair grows out of—and that buildup starts to slowly suffocate your hair root,” says trained trichologist and hairstylist Shab Reslan.
So at the very least, shampoos can encourage a healthy environment for hair by making sure the follicles are free of debris. Many shampoos go a step further by adding ingredients that strengthen or hydrate the hair fiber, which won’t actively stimulate growth but will care for the strands you do have (and then limit breakage down the line). You can look for things like humectants, proteins, lipids (like from plant oils), castor oil, and antioxidants.
Finally, shampoos can also infuse ingredients to stimulate growth itself: There’s growing research that some plant-based actives (like peppermint oil, rosemary oil, and peptides) may improve growth rate and thickness.
In short: Shampoos can play a role in hair growth, among many other things. So if growth is your primary goal, absolutely look into one of these options below—but you should also address other factors like nutrition, stress, sleep, etc.
How we picked
Everyone has their own definition of clean, but of the below section most leave out the major questionable ingredients (such as parabens, sulfates, and phthalates). Most go far beyond that and follow EU guidelines or other standards set out by organizations.
These contain ingredients that help encourage hair growth by stimulating the scalp, keep the hair follicle clear to make sure the environment is right for growth, and strengthen the existing hair fiber.
Editor tested & user recommended
The following has been tested by mbg staffers or experts or comes with high praise from real users.
All hair is unique, and everyone’s needs are different. We selected a wide variety to cover all hair types and price points.
Our picks for the hair growth shampoos of 2022:
- Fuller-looking hair in 90 days
- Contains essential oils if you’re sensitive to those
Ingredient considerations:: All sulfate-free, Plant-derived cleansers, Antioxidants, Proteins, Cruelty-free, Vegan, Biotin, Plant oils, Phyto-actives
This brand’s cult-favorite hair growth serum has amassed a huge, loyal following thanks to its efficacy. Well, those powerful plant-based ingredients make a star appearance in this gentle shampoo: The micro-encapsulated phyto-actives penetrate the scalp, delivering the nourishing growth-enhancing ingredients. What makes it particularly useful for damaged hair is the vegan silk protein complex that helps smooth and restore damaged strands with continued use. As if that’s not enough, wild-harvested marula, baobab, and ximenia oils further condition the hair, too.
- Contains prebiotics to feed the scalp microbiome
- Clinical results show it reduces dryness and flakes
- Pricey, especially with the set
Ingredient considerations:: All sulfate-free, Plant-derived cleansers, Antioxidants, Proteins, Cruelty-free, Vegan, Plant oils, Phyto-actives
From the makers of hair-focused nutraceuticals comes this scalp-focused shampoo. Since a healthy scalp is a vital part of the hair growth equation, finding a shampoo that nurtures the environment is top priority. This helps restore the pH and microbiome of the skin in the area, resulting in balanced sebum production and improved hydration—with clinical results to back it.
- 94% naturally-derived
- Some found it to be drying for the scalp
Ingredient considerations:: All sulfate-free, Plant-derived cleansers, Antioxidants, Cruelty-free, Vegan, Biotin, Plant oils, Phyto-actives
While fine hair and thin hair are often used synonymously, there’s technically a difference. Fine hair refers to the diameter of the strand itself, while thin refers to the density (or how many strands you have on your head). So when speaking about the needs of fine hair in particular, you should find formulas that will give hair lift and won’t weigh the style down with too much moisture or heaviness. This shampoo offers a deep clean, lightweight hydration, as well as feeding it antioxidants and biotin—somehow, all in one bottle.
- Highly effective
- Contains SCS, a coconut-derived sulfate, if you avoid all sulfates
Ingredient considerations:: SLS- & SLES-free, Plant-derived cleansers, Antioxidants, Fragrance-free, Plant oils, Phyto-actives
Harklinikken is a hair growth clinic internationally renowned for its innovative botanical ingredients and astounding results. The brand takes in-person and remote appointments to create a personalized treatment plan—and if you’re looking for serious hair regrowth, it’s worth considering—but you can also get a lower-dose version of the formula with its hair care line. The restorative shampoo in particular uses the same actives found in the famously effective special scalp treatment: burdock root, flavonoids, and glycosides.
- Contains fragrance, if you’re sensitive
Ingredient considerations:: All sulfate-free, Plant-derived cleansers, Antioxidants, Proteins, Cruelty-free, Vegan, Biotin
With a light lather that’s never drying, this gentle number is safe enough for daily use. It’s infused with biotin, vitamin B5 (also called panthenol), and a protein complex to strengthen the hair fiber while also neutralizing free radicals at the scalp. This means the hair you do have is less prone to breakage, and the scalp is in prime condition for healthy growth. For those who appreciate scents—this juicy one is not to be missed, with light, easy notes of jasmine, red apple, and peach.
- Targeted nozzle for easy application to the scalp
- Some are sensitive to salicylic acid
Ingredient considerations:: All sulfate-free, Castor oil, Hyaluronic acid
Thanks to a few innovative highlights, this option is perfect for those with curly or coily hair. The sulfate-free formula uses micellar water and salicylic acid to lift off buildup and sebum on the scalp; then the hyaluronic acid and castor oil help lock in long-lasting moisture for the skin and hair. The result is a refreshed scalp and bouncy defined curls.
- Contains fragrance if you’re sensitive
Ingredient considerations:: All sulfate-free, Plant-derived cleansers, Antioxidants, Amino acids, Cruelty-free, Vegan, Biotin, Rosemary extract, Plant oils
The go-to brand of hair colorists everywhere, Olaplex’s bond-building technology mends damaged hair fiber to encourage healthy hair growth. This is particularly important for color treated hair, as the process is notoriously hard on the cuticles (and why you may experience increased shedding and breakage post coloring appointment if you’re not mindful). The strengthening technology is used throughout the line, including this gentle shampoo.
- Full of timeless & hair-healthy ingredients
Ingredient considerations:: All sulfate-free, Plant-derived cleansers, Antioxidants, Cruelty-free, Vegan, Castor oil, Plant oils, Phyto-actives
Castor oil has long been hailed as the secret to achieving long, flowing locks. (Certainly, the oil can help keep your strands conditioned, and therefore less prone to breakage. You can read more about the science behind the ingredient here.) This shampoo uses it as it’s namesake ingredient, plus a few other actives that aid the scalp and hair itself. For example, the refreshing peppermint oil has been shown to be beneficial for the scalp, with some research indicating it can boost circulation and growth. Apple cider vinegar balances pH and provides shine. Shea butter gives a boost of moisture. All around a solid pick.
- 25,000 testimonials & reviews
- Works best when used with the entire line (which can be pricey)
Ingredient considerations:: SLS- & SLES-free, Plant-derived cleansers, Antioxidants, Amino acids, Cruelty-free, Vegan, Biotin, Plant oils, Phyto-actives
This jam-packed formula feeds strands loads of ingredients to bolster hair from all angles. It uses a plant-derived glycerol, a humectant, for hydration. Then it’s enriched with 70+ fulvic minerals and 18 amino acids to infuse strength. There’s also several vitamins to fight free radicals and neutralize oxidative stress. Finally, it’s rounded out with biotin and caffeine to encourage hair growth. It’s topped with orange extracts for a delightfully bright scent.
- 94% naturally derived
- Salicylic acid can be strong for sensitive skin
Ingredient considerations:: All sulfate-free, Plant-derived cleansers, Antioxidants, Amino acids, Cruelty-free, Vegan, Plant oils, Phyto-actives
Break down oil, buildup, product, and dead skin with this exfoliating cleanser. The formula contains a wintergreen-derived salicylic acid; the BHA effectively break down oils, which will helps unclog pores and clears out hair follicles. (As we’ve covered: A clean, fresh scalp is essential for hair growth.) It’s also infused with turmeric and ginger for anti-inflammatory properties.
Which shampoo is best for hair growth?
There are many great options to choose from when looking for a shampoo for hair growth (the list above is a great place to start!). From there, it’s really just about your personal priorities. If basic hair growth is what you are after, Vegamour’s Gro Revitalizing Shampoo comes out on top. The formula uses innovative delivery technology and potent actives—and comes with clinical results to back it up. But other people may be looking for additional benefits: For those who color treat their hair, Olaplex No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo will keep the hair fiber strong and dye fresh. For those with curls and coils, L’Oreal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Curls Micellar Shampoo adds some spring. And for those with limp roots, Briogeo Blossom Bloom Ginseng Biotin Volumizing Shampoo adds loads of lift. For more, check out our full list.
Can hair growth shampoo really work?
Hair growth is influenced by many factors (genetics, stress, sleep, topicals, and nutrition—just to name a few). So no single product is going to be a magic, missing step. For healthy hair growth, you need to think holistically. However, shampoos can be an important part of a broader routine.
Hair growth shampoos work in three ways. The first is by cleaning the scalp and therefore creating a healthy environment for hair. The second is by strengthening and fortifying the strands that you do have. The final step is by feeding the follicle-stimulating ingredients that can encourage growth.
So if you find a shampoo that can address these three angles, yes, hair growth shampoos can work as part of a larger routine to improve length and fullness.
mbg’s review process
At mbg, high standards are earned—and there are no shortcuts. Our beauty editors stay up to date on the latest ingredient research and innovation. It’s a dynamic, continuously evolving space, and it’s important we look into the science so we can make informed choices about which formulas earn our stamp of approval (figuratively speaking).
Our high standards also come from testing products—many, many products. Our editors and writers rigorously test and research the products featured in our roundups to offer you the best, most informed recommendations. When we write reviews, you can trust we spend quality time with the formulas: We don’t simply rave about products we’ve slathered on the back of our hand. We endorse products we’ve tried and loved.
Learn more about our testing process and clean beauty standards here.
If hair growth is your primary goal, you need to craft a smart routine from top to bottom. That starts with a shampoo, like one of the above. To take your hair growth plan to the next level, check out our favorite hair growth serums.