Anyone who has experienced hair loss before knows how difficult it can be. The psychological toll can lead us to try every hair growth product on the market. Yet all too often, after a significant investment in time, money, and emotions, we wind up right back where we started: in search of answers and help. That’s why it’s important to understand what hair growth products, like shampoos, can and can’t do before you commit, and know how to choose the best one for you.
Not all hair growth shampoos are created equal. They range in their medicinal ingredients, therapeutic benefits, and effectiveness. Understanding the different proven results and how those results will affect your hair, will help you as a consumer decide which product to incorporate into your complete health and beauty regimen.
Drug-based vs. Drug-free Hair Growth Shampoos
Drug-based treatments for hair loss are well known since they’ve been around for many decades. Minoxidil and finasteride are two of the most common hair loss solutions available. While they have proven results, they are also FDA-regulated due to their potency and potential to cause serious side effects. They also require constant, perpetual usage in order to remain effective. In fact, discontinuing use of many drug-based treatments can actually unwind, or reverse, gains that are achieved, leaving you even further behind than when you commenced treatment
Most hair growth shampoos on the market today are non-drug based. They’re on average less potent than drug-based treatments, but many still have proven anti-aging, anti-thinning, pro growth effects--, especially those with premium, salon-grade formulas. Higher-quality formulas – not the kind with harmful, cheap ingredients that you find in a drug store – can deliver cosmetic benefits as well as therapeutic ones.
Limitations of Drug-free Hair Growth Shampoo
While drug-free hair growth shampoos can deliver touchable, feelable, noticeable, and sustainable results, they also have their limitations. It’s important to understand what they can and can’t do before you invest.
Firstly, these solutions can’t grow hair where there is none. That means they’ll have little to no impact on peach fuzz or baldness. However, where there is hair, no matter how thin it may be, these solutions will get to work. Regardless of genetics, environmental factors, or other potential causes of hair loss, drug-free treatments can restore a level of growth as long as there’s at least some hair to begin with. Even in trouble spots, such as the crowns for men or towards the center for women, they can thicken the hair that’s there and help protect against future loss.
Secondly, the effectiveness of a drug-free shampoo essentially comes down to its active ingredients, which is why it’s important to be an informed consumer and to do your research. Understand what’s in each formula and how the active and inactive ingredients work together. Check for any disclaimers of the shampoo’s results. Beyond that, compare different shampoos to see which ingredients they have in common, and which ones they don’t. Customer reviews are also extremely helpful in helping you assess a product’s effectiveness. Reach out to fellow customers or to the company itself if you still have more questions. Be sure you’re confident in any purchase before you make it.
What You Can Expect
Hair loss will never fully revert on its own, but a quality hair growth shampoo can turn back your hair’s biological clock, giving you between three to 10 years of prolonged, better hair. It will protect your scalp while restoring hair density, increasing hair length, and creating fullness in thin areas. It will also help to reduce shedding by normalizing hair growth cycles. After about four to eight weeks of using a good hair growth shampoo, you should start to see functional and cosmetic improvements.
A drug-free hair growth shampoo can be an effective alternative solution for early to middle stages of hair loss, rather than adopting a drug-based routine. It won’t pause mother nature, but it will pump the breaks on further deterioration. It isn’t a miracle cure, but it can be both a roadblock to forestall future loss and a catalyst to restore optimal health to your scalp and hair.
What You Should Consider
Drug-free hair growth shampoos still have their risks, which are important to consider in choosing the best product for you. Drug-free treatments are often made up of harsh formulas, which can include things like alcohol and propylene glycol. These ingredients can irritate your skin or leave it dry. They may also damage your hair follicles, leaving your scalp irritated and your hair dry or unmanageable.
That’s why it’s critical when looking for a good drug-free hair growth shampoo to invest in a salon-grade product. It will be gentler on your scalp and you’ll have fewer unwanted cosmetic results while still getting the effective therapeutic benefits you’re looking for. Seek out formulas with high concentrations of known hair growth compounds, like Follicusan and Trichogen, developed by established cosmeceutical laboratories. Other natural ingredients your hair will thank you for include: essential oils like argan and menthol, which are loaded with vitamins A, C, and E; copper peptides, which can block the hormones that cause hair loss; and keratin, which strengthens your hair.
Another important consideration is your lifestyle. Drinking habits, smoking, stress and diet can all wreak havoc on the health of your body – and your hair. If you want to give your hair growth shampoo its best shot at success, consider making healthy choices holistically.
How to Spot and Validate Claims
Nearly all hair growth shampoos will make claims about their products but how do you know if they’re true? Here are the three major claims that a good hair growth shampoo should be able to stand behind, and how you can check:
- Functional and cosmetic improvements within four to eight weeks. Although slightly slower than a drug-based regime, a good drug-free hair growth shampoo will be able to deliver results within this time frame. Start to see if you notice a difference.
- Prevents further degradation and protects hair. Check your shower drain or hair brush. A good hair growth shampoo should reduce shedding within four to eight weeks.
- Restores hair in trouble areas. You should see thicker, longer growth in areas that have been compromised within four to eight weeks
The truth is that no shampoo will 100% succeed in restoring your hair or stopping hair loss. There are limits to what they can do and what they can’t do. Any manufacturer that claims otherwise should be met with skepticism.
How to Choose the Best Shampoo for You
Choosing the best hair growth shampoo for you may not be easy, but by doing your research and being proactive about your decision, you can reap the rewards of a fuller head of hair. Here are some steps you can take:
- Start by understanding your hair loss. Talk to a doctor to make sure you know what is at the root of your changing hair. This will help inform the best treatment possible.
- Read the labels. If you’re looking for a shampoo that targets hair loss, make sure it says that on the bottle.
- Look for products with healthy ingredients. What you put into your body can impact your overall health, so steer clear of shampoos with potentially dangerous chemicals or cheap ingredients.
- Make sure the ingredients are proven effective. A drug-free hair growth shampoo is only as effective as its active ingredients. You want to buy a shampoo that has ingredients known to stimulate hair follicles.
- Be wary of allergies. Read through the formula a second time to make sure it doesn’t contain anything you might react negatively to.
- Read the directions and possible side effects. Every product has a trade-off. Make sure you’re ok with whatever may come with using that shampoo.
Be the Conscious Shopper
Take your time when searching for a hair growth solution that works best for you. With a specialized product like this, you might not want to pluck the first thing off the shelf. Understand the benefits of drug-free shampoos, as well as the risks you’re willing to take with each product. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to keep reading, keep learning, and keep asking questions. You may never experience any of the side effects, but it’s important to be aware of the possibilities. Look up product reviews, ask current users, and most importantly (if you think it’s helpful to your needs) talk to your doctor about what will be most effective for you.
The more information you have, the easier it will be to make your choice. If you’re stuck between two products, weigh the pros and cons of each. Hair growth shampoos, when you find the right ones, can be extremely effective, and can help give you back the hair – and the life – you deserve.