Hair Thickening Shampoo – How to Use & What It Is

A hair thickening shampoo is a type of shampoo that many men have heard of but that many don’t know what it really is or what it actually does. We go in this quick tutorial through the 101 of hair thickening shampoos and offer you a good list of hair thickening shampoos to choose from that actually work!

Hair thickening shampoo tutorial for men

A hair thickening shampoo, also known as a hair volumizing shampoo, serves to temporarily swell the hair strands and thus augment the strands’ thickness; what this means is that all of your approximately 100,000 hair strands in your scalp will become a tad thicker with a hair thickening shampoo, which will give an overall thicker and more-voluminous hair effect. A hair thickening shampoo will state its type (i.e. thickening) in the label, hence hair thickening shampoos are easy to spot when shopping for them; other names that a hair thickening shampoo can go by include thickening shampoo, hair volumizing shampoo, volumizing shampoo, extra body shampoo and strengthening shampoo. A hair thickening shampoo can also come as a 2 in 1 shampoo, which means that not only it offers a shampooing solution but also a hair conditioning solution (plus its temporary hair thickening effect).

As said above, thickening shampoos only work temporarily; the effect lasts until you shampoo again, unless you choose to shampoo again with the same hair thickening shampoo. Because hair thickening shampoos work by artificially swelling the hair shaft and depositing a thin film of the active ingredients on the hair strands, hair thickening shampoos tend to create residue buildup over time if used daily; this buildup of residue will then require a stronger shampoo such as a clarifying shampoo to have it (residue) removed.

In my bestselling second book, The Men’s Hair Book, I dedicate a huge section to all the types of shampoo available for men, for which hair thickening shampoos span one of the 7 types of shampoo available.

A hair thickening shampoo for men and their hair care

As aforementioned, a hair thickening shampoo will normally state its type in the label or packaging

How to use a hair thickening shampoo

A hair thickening shampoo is to be used and applied as a normal shampoo, albeit the frequency of use of a hair thickening shampoo should be lower due to the risk of residue accumulating on your hair over time. As per my No Shampoo method in my second book, The Men’s Hair Book, I recommend you to, once you’ve worked out your optimal shampooing frequency, use a hair thickening shampoo for 50% of your shampooing frequency. Thus, if you’ve worked out an optimal shampooing frequency of 1 on/3 off, then use your conventional shampoo for a “1 on/3 off” block, and then use a hair thickening shampoo for the following “1 on/3 off” block.

You can also use a hair thickening shampoo for those times when you want to rapidly enhance the volume of your hair; must I note though, that a hair thickening shampoo is not a magic shampoo that will instantly double the volume of your hair. Rather, the volume increase offered by thickening shampoos is mild, so don’t expect to look like a lion after just using a hair thickening shampoo! For best volume effects, I recommend you to use a hair dryer when you are styling the hair after the shampoo.

What is a hair thickening shampoo useful for?

Hair thickening shampoos work great for on and off use as aforementioned so that you look like you have thicker hair whenever you want. Likewise, hair thickening shampoos are typically (and best) used as part of a hair-loss regimen by balding men to fight male pattern baldness (male-type hair loss). Hair thickening shampoos can aid in giving the illusion of having more hair (and thus taming the inflicted hair loss seen in male pattern baldness), which, when used together with hair-regrowing products, can yield some great results for those men suffering from male-type baldness.

It must be said, however, that hair thickening shampoos do not regrow hair or stop or revert the balding process; thickening shampoos merely help in temporarily defeating the overall visually-manifested hair loss.

A funny lion making a comment on his use of a hair thickening shampoo

Richard was a gentleman lion who used to drink and gamble his life throughout the 1920s.

He died in 1937 from arsenic poisoning

Best hair thickening shampoos

There are quite a few good hair thickening shampoos on the market; I would not go as far as claiming one to be the best hair thickening shampoo since their volumizing effect is mild anyway. What’s more important is to choose a hair thickening shampoo that actually works, as there is a lot of snake oil being sold in the hardly-regulated hair care industry.

Below you can find some hair thickening shampoos that work for men, including Paul Mitchell hair thickening shampoo and L’Oreal Vivepro hair thickening shampoo:

Overall, a hair thickening shampoo should not be seen as a magic shampoo; instead, a hair thickening shampoo should be seen as a useful tool in one’s hair care arsenal that can yield an effect rapidly and reliably. A hair thickening shampoo will be of use to you if you have already got your hair grooming and hair care sorted (as detailed in The Men’s Hair Book); if you don’t have a good hair care foundation, no matter how many hair thickening shampoos you use, you won’t still get any beneficial effects. The take-home message for you is that a hair thickening shampoo can be the icing on the cake of an already-excellent head of locks atop your head!

All the best.


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Rogelio is the go-to guy when it comes to men's hair. Having embraced his natural curly hair for over a decade while living in 5 countries, Rogelio has learnt a thing or two along the way. Rogelio is the author of the two bestselling men's books "The Curly Hair Book" and "The Men's Hair Book", and his motto when it comes to hair is, "Gentlemen, having a good head of hair should not cost us our testosterone".

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