The 12 best shampoos for fine hair and thinning hair in 2024 to boost volume and support healthy growth

Our fine-haired writer reviews the best shampoo for fine hair and thinning hair in this need-to-know guide

Collage of three of the best shampoo for fine hair and thinning hair featured in this guide from KEVIN.MURPHY, Shea Moisture and Living Proof
(Image credit: KEVIN.MURPHY/Shea Moisture/Living Proof/Future)

For those with very fine strands, a sparser head of hair or both, the best shampoo for fine hair and thinning hair will deeply cleanse strands and help to amplify volume – not, of course, weighing things down and leaving your hair looking flat or limp. 

You don't need to be a trichologist or hairdresser to know that the key to a good hair routine is choosing products that suit your hair type and tend to its unique needs, from the best shampoo and conditioner to styling products. Long before we consider slathering on the best hair masks or investing in the best hair dryer, it's vital to get that cleansing routine down pat.

Several factors can contribute to fine or thinning hair, including genetics, ageing, and hormones. I have personally experienced hair thinning and my hair is slightly wavy, bleached and gets greasy super quickly – so I'm all too familiar with what to look for in a good shampoo for fine hair. Ahead, I've reviewed products that will boost your scalp and haircare routine to encourage healthy growth and add an injection of volume. (When you're done here, I've also tried the best conditioners for fine hair to pair with your brand new shampoo.)

The best shampoo for fine hair and thinning hair, tested by our beauty experts

How we tested the best shampoo for fine hair and thinning hair

A selection of the best shampoos for fine hair and thinning hair tested for this guide

A selection of the shampoos tested for this guide

(Image credit: Aoife Hanna)

I took on the task of testing several products for this guide, well versed as I am in choosing the best hair products for baby fine hair. To pare down a list of the best of the best, I tried dozens of products ranging in price points. 

I used each one for several days, testing both with and without using conditioner afterwards, to get a clear idea of how they made my hair look, feel and behave. I also paid attention to packaging, how much of the formula was needed to wash my full head of hair and how well the results lasted between wash days. 

Many of the best shampoos for thinning hair come up a little more expensive than regular hair wash. With this in mind, you might be wondering if expensive shampoo is better – in my honest opinion, if you have thin hair and can spend a little extra on your products, it's an investment you won't regret. Apart from the fact that pricier shampoos can last longer, these brands can be more transparent about the ingredients used, while many formulas are gentler on your strands.

How to choose the best shampoo for fine hair and thinning hair

As for what makes a product join the ranks of the best shampoo for fine hair and thinning hair, I considered the following factors when whittling down this list.

  • Cleansing: It's important that your chosen product cleanses your scalp thoroughly to help remove any build-up on the scalp. As fine hair can show an excess of grease more easily, deeply clarifying and removing build-up is one of the most important parts of your haircare routine.
  • Consistency: Anything with oils, butter or simply a heavier consistency in general is a huge no-no for very thin and/or fine hair. This can weigh the hair down and also cause more scalp build-up, which can even impact healthy hair growth. 
  • Ingredients: it's as important to consider what's in the shampo as it is to consider what's not in it. Ingredients like protein, Vitamin B5, lactic acid and hyaluronic acid are all beneficial to fine hair. However, sulphates can strip more moisture from weaker strands, while silicones can be heavy and film-forming, which is worth bearing in mind.

What ingredients can boost fine hair and thinning hair?

"Specific ingredients like caffeine are linked to hair growth and can provide invigorating effects," says Tyler Moore, expert stylist at Live True London. "While lighter moisturizing ingredients like aloe vera and hyaluronic acid can provide hydration without weighing your hair down."

Leading trichologist Ricardo Vila Nova tells us that there are loads of volumizing products that build density and texture containing polymers. But when it comes to rebuilding and strengthening the internal bonds of the hair he says, "I always suggest products with protein or lactic acid if we’re dealing with fine, dry hair."

Although choosing a shampoo filled to the brim with all the right ingredients for thin hair is helpful, healthy growth comes from within, says Lauren Marr, Artistic Colourist at Gielly Green. She suggests a good healthy diet that is, "high in proteins, leafy greens and vitamins to naturally increase hair volume."

Tyler Moore
Tyler Moore

Tyler Moore is an experienced hair stylist working for Live True salons in London. 

Ricardo Vila Nova

Ricardo Vila Nova is a trichologist and former biochemist. Known around the world as "the hair whisperer", he has clinics in London, Portugal and Bahrain and is the only trichologist who uses DNA profiling. 

Lauren Marr

Lauren Marr is an experienced colourist based at London's Gielly Green salons. As well as colour, she also specialises in hair extensions. 

What ingredients should you avoid if you have fine hair and thinning hair?

Vila Nova advises we "avoid deep-cleansing shampoos containing salicylic acid as it may tangle the hair." Meanwhile Moore recommends avoiding ingredients such as oils and butter if your hair is on the fine side. "These can work well in hair masks and oil treatments, but in daily use shampoos and conditioners, these will weigh your hair down and cause it to become oiler faster," he explains. "These include coconut oil and argan oil."

Another potential concern for those with more delicate hair is sulphates. "They strip the hair of its natural oils, which can make your hair dry and flyaway," Marr says. "This can also cause scalp irritation."

What's the best way to shampoo and condition fine hair and thinning hair?

According to Vila Nova, when washing fine hair you should distribute the shampoo evenly on the scalp and massage, "thoroughly yet gently so as not to tangle middle lengths and ends." 

Incorporating a lovely little scalp massage into your cleansing routine is not only a delicious bit of self care, it will increase blood flow to the scalp and can, in turn, benefit hair health and support growth. The best way to massage your scalp is to use the fingertips of both your hands and apply gentle pressure on your scalp, moving them in small circles.

Moore notes that temperature is also important, noting that it's best to wash and rinse your hair with lukewarm water to avoid damage and breakage. "First, make sure to wet your hair thoroughly before applying shampoo to ensure the hair shaft [or] follicles will be open enough to absorb the product and also to create a good lather," he says. "After 1-2 minutes, rinse your hair thoroughly with lukewarm water." 

How often should you wash fine hair and thinning hair?

The age-old question as to how often should you wash your hair varies depending on your scalp type, whether you're oil-prone or have a dry scalp - as well as what your lifestyle is like and the kinds of products you use.

"There is no set rule on how often one should wash the hair, but fine hair usually requires a more frequent wash to help build structure and volume," says Vila Nova.

"Those with finer hair might find their hair getting oiler quicker due to product build-up," adds Moore. "Products can weigh down fine hair causing it to look greasy faster, even if you are prone to a drier scalp. Oil build-up will also look heavier on finer hair, meaning you might need to wash every one to three days, depending on your personal preference."

Aoife Hanna
Junior News Editor

Aoife is an Irish journalist and writer with a background in creative writing, comedy, and TV production.

Formerly woman&home's junior news editor and a contributing writer at Bustle, her words can be found in the Metro, Huffpost, Delicious, Imperica and EVOKE.

Her poetry features in the Queer Life, Queer Love anthology.

Outside of work you might bump into her at a garden center, charity shop, yoga studio, lifting heavy weights, or (most likely) supping/eating some sort of delicious drink/meal.