It seems counter intuitive that any shampoo could significantly alter the progression of Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA). After all, a shampoo is lathered up and rinsed out, never staying on the scalp more than 5 minutes. Despite the seeming improbability of a benefit, there are shampoos that have a documented effect on their ability to stabilize hair loss and reverse the miniaturization of the hair follicle seen in AGA. Although I would never recommend using a shampoo as a sole intervention for treating hair loss, including the right shampoo in your treatment regime can significantly impact its overall effectiveness. We will review what we consider based on the evidence, to be the most effective shampoos to be integrated in your treatment regime.

1. Revita

Revita, the result of years of continuous research at Divine Skin Laboratories, is hands down the best shampoo for Androgenetic hair loss.

Significantly, Revita is by design, formulated without Sodium Laurel Sulphate,(SLS), a common lathering ingredient in most shampoos concluded by many in the research community to have a destructive effect on the protein structure of the hair. However, based on the documented hair growth effects of Ketoconazole and Piroctone Olamine based shampoos like Nizoral and Folicure, which do contain SLS, it is unlikely that its presence precludes their hair growth benefits. It does seem plausible though, that their hair growth effects would be even more significant without it. Despite the omission of SLS in Revita, it lathers as easily and as well as any shampoo that does include it.

Revita not only contains Ketoconazole, the active ingredient in Nizoral Shampoo, it also contains a host of other ingredients that have documented support in both the medical literature and patent registries for the treatment of hair loss.

This cutting edge shampoo maintains the non-balding anagen to telogen ratio of hair growth with a combination of anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antioxidant, and anti-DHT agents that synergize against androgen induced follicular atrophy and miniaturization. Revita also contains ingredients that are pharmacologically considered to be hair growth stimulants.

For optimal efficacy, DS Laboratories uses a gentle, chemical-free extraction process to preserve the molecular integrity and bioactivity of the active ingredients. Revita is also distinct in this regard.

Revita contains an ingredient extracted from apples recently discovered for its hair growth benefits in Japan, procyanidin B-2, which has demonstrated through clinical trials to promote growth at the hairline as effectively as extra strength minoxidil does at the vertex.

Several active ingredients simultaneously function to address the established mechanisms of AGA.: Copper peptide complex counters the age related degenerative processes of skin and hair, that are much accelerated in AGA. Spin traps neutralize free radicals. Ketoconazole, also the active ingredient in Nizoral Shampoo, which is documented to have hair growth effects, reduces irritation, inhibits dht binding to receptor sites, and down-regulates sebum emission. Rooibos stimulates micro-circulation and contributes anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Other compounds increase hair shaft diameter: Methylsulfonylmethane is a super nutrient for the skin. Amino acids construct proteins that add tensile strength to hair. Emu oil contributes fatty acids for conditioning and hydration. Biotin is the major B vitamin that is a membrane stabilizer and ameliorates shedding.

Hair growth stimulation components add to Revita’s effectiveness: Caffeine stimulates growth of the hair follicles. In fact there is a patented and published caffeine based shampoo sold in Germany under the name Alpecin, for the treatment of AGA Carnitine tartrate helps to generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the universal currency of bio-energy.

Besides cleansing the scalp gently, high-performance Revita, unlike Nizoral Shampoo, leaves the hair feeling soft, manageable, and smelling pleasant.

 Revita appears to work from early-stage baldness prevention through late-stage regrowth treatment. Again, this is because Revita simultaneously combines many highly effective compounds known to preserve and regrow hair.

These include gentle natural cleansers, plus anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antioxidant, and anti-hormonal agents, as well as compounds for hydration, nutrition, stimulation, and reconstruction.

Synergy between these leading-edge ingredients means Revita can immediately stave off hair loss and with continual usage, facilitate regrowth. 

Revita, is unique in that it is the first shampoo that comprehensively addresses the implicated mechanisms of Androgenetic hair loss. Virtually all shampoos on the market contain SLS, which as mentioned, can actually exacerbate problems. DS Laboratories formulated Revita as a breakthrough product, containing high concentrations of documented, evidence based, compounds, formulated with cost as no object. DS Labs occasionally tweaks Revita to keep it as cutting edge as possible.

The synergistic effects of these ingredients, especially the concurrent usage of Ketoconazole, Apple Polyphenols, and Caffeine, sets Revita light years ahead as a hair loss treatment, amazingly in the form of a shampoo.

2. Folicure para Caspa

Folicure para Caspa,(translated-Folicure for dandruff) is a Piroctone Olamine (PO) based anti-dandruff shampoo available over the counter in Europe and Latin America. PO shampoo has been shown to reduce shedding and increase hair shaft diameter in those with Androgenetic hair loss (AGA) even better than Nizoral Shampoo when analyzed in side by side studies. Being that AGA is a progressive miniaturization of hair in the pattern areas, the reversal of this process-actually increasing hair shaft diameter would be considered curative. PO shampoo, compared to Nizoral and Head and Shoulders, was found to be the best at increasing hair shaft diameter. 

3. Nizoral Shampoo

The hair loss prevention benefits of this shampoo were spuriously discovered by the bodybuilding community and steroid users in the 90’s.

In a nutshell, those who were on cycles of steroids – notorious for creating scalp itching and inflammation, and accelerating Androgenetic hair loss – found that this shampoo substantially reduced, and in some cases eliminated steroid induced hair loss. This effect was detailed by Michael Mooney in several articles on Nizoral and hair loss in Muscle Media 2000. Subsequent studies published in the Medical literature confirmed that its active ingredient, Ketoconazole, effectively counters MPB via several mechanisms, namely the neutralizing of inflammatory cytokines, malesszia yeast, and the inhibiting of dht binding to receptor sites.

Do not confuse the shampoo with Nizoral tablets, (prescribed for chronic and severe yeast infections) which are so toxic I wouldn’t give them to my dog. Nizoral shampoo has been tested and shows no traces of systemic absorption.

Nizoral , like PO shampoo, is effective at a usage rate of 2-3 times a week. One can optimally rotate Nizoral Shampoo with another hair growth stimulating shampoo, such as Revita, Follicure, or Dr Proctor’s Hair Regrowth Shampoo, none of which require daily usage for therapeutic effect.

4. Dr. Proctor’s Hair Regrowth Shampoo

A shampoo developed by Houston based Dr. Peter Proctor, MD, PhD, one of the top reseachers and leading authorities in the world in the treatment of hair loss. He personally holds 7 patents in the area of hair loss treatment, and has developed state of the art comprehensive topical treatments which combine NO up-regulators, vaso-relaxants, hair growth stimulants, and 5 alpha reductase inhibitors.

This shampoo addresses hair loss from a pure hair growth stimulant mechanism as opposed to an anti-inflammation or anti-DHT mechanism of action. It contains an abundant supply of Pyridine-N-Oxides, which is a vasodilator that has the same core technology as minoxidil, without the documented acute effluvium, (shedding) that is documented to occur with Rogaine upon cessation of usage. Like Nizoral and Folicure, the hair growth benefits of Dr. Proctor’s Hair Regrowth Shampoo occur at a 2-3 times a week usage rate. Due to its unique mechanism of action in regards to hair growth stimulation, it can be rotated with other shampoos for a comprehensive shampoo based treatment effect. The sole usage of this shampoo is enough, in many cases, to halt further progression of MPB, according to Dr. Proctor.

5. Head and Shoulders

Yeah, you read that that right!! The same anti-dandruff mainstay that has been around longer that I can remember was shown to actually stimulate hair growth the same amount as minoxidil in one study. Don’t get too excited-to say something grows hair as well as minoxidil isn’t saying a whole lot. Its effects in this regard are likely due to its active ingredient, Zinc Pyrithione’s ability to partially inhibit 5 alpha reductase. In another side by side study, with Ketoconazole and PO shampoos, it reduced shedding and sebum emission. However, unlike the other two, it failed to reverse the progressive miniaturization of hair diameter seen in MPB. Nevertheless, the evidence does suggest that Zinc Pyrithione shampoos do have some benefit to those with MPB, and essentially cost nothing.

Again, there are shampoos that address several of the underlying mechanisms of AGA, not shampoos that simply add temporary hair shaft volume via coating the hair shaft, such as Biotin, keratin, and Panthenol based shampoos. Many of these volumizing shampoos cleverly imply they help with thinning hair, but don’t do a damn thing for hair loss itself, only temporarily helping with the appearance of thinning hair. That would be a non-issue to us if only it didn’t cause people to inadvertently turn their backs on those shampoos that actually do.