When you desperately want longer hair—whether trying to grow out a haircut you’re not feeling anymore or dealing with hair loss, a problem that affects 40 percent of women—looking in the mirror can get depressing and waiting can feel like an eternity. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to speed up the process, like incorporating special shampoos into your routine.
Before you try to give your hair a nudge, it’s essential to understand the science. Diet, genetics, stress, and age can all cause thinning and breakage. “Hair growth is a cycle and many issues can disrupt this, such as hormonal shifts, medications, diseases, and illnesses,” explains New York City dermatologist Dendy Engelman, M.D., adding that life changes, like pregnancy, menopause, and weight loss, can interfere with hair growth. And chemical treatments, hot tools, brushes, and other styling tools can reduce or damage the hair. What’s more, “as we age, most hair is reduced either in the form of balding, receding, or thinning.”
Dr. Engelman recommends shampoos that nourish the scalp and strengthen hair, making it less brittle and healthier, as well as reduce oil buildup, which can help hair growth by reducing breakage. Pro tip: Healthy hair growth doesn’t stop with topical products. To really speed up your hair growth, supplement your shampoo with a diet rich in protein (found in lean meats, leafy greens, nuts, beans, and fish), fats (“Fish, nuts, flax and avocado can help keep hair soft and silky,” says Dr. Engelman), vitamin A (milk, eggs, and yogurt to improve scalp health), and iron (try a supplement or eat more lentils, eggs, and spinach).
Now that you know why your hair might not be growing as fast as you’d like, it’s wash time. Here, celebrity stylists and dermatologists share the shampoos that will give you Rapunzel-like locks.
Resistance Bain Extentioniste Length Strengthening Shampoo
Giovanni Vaccaro, celebrity hairstylist and artistic director of Glamsquad, believes that when it comes to repairing hair, it’s essential to find the right shampoo and conditioner that can actually penetrate the hair follicle, impart strength, and add moisture. “Recently, I’ve been loving Kérastase Resistance Length Strengthening Shampoo and Conditioner. It’s built with creatine and taurine, which is an amino acid that protects the hair fiber and scalp, in turn your hair will definitely feel stronger and healthier. If you are looking for even more moisture, use the Resistance Length Strengthening Mask ($59). You won’t regret it.
Don’t Despair, Repair!™ Super Moisture Shampoo
“I am also a big fan of Briogeo’s Don’t Despair, Repair line,” Giovanni adds. “It’s cruelty-free and 95-percent of the formula is naturally derived. The shampoo and conditioner have algae extract and biotin, which promotes hair strength and elasticity. It also has a lovely feel that won’t weigh your hair down.
Fructis Active Grow Strong Fortifying Hair Shampoo
Ashley Streicher, celebrity hairstylist for Garnier Brand Ambassador Mandy Moore, is a fan of this drugstore gem. “This shampoo and conditioner fortifies hair with a power dose of active fruit concentrate and ceramides,” Streicher says. “The formula goes deep to fortify each strand from core to cuticle and reinforces hair’s natural substance from root to tip. Plus, Fructis packaging contains 50% Post-Consumer Recycled Waste.”
Thick & Full Biotin & Collagen Shampoo
Celebrity stylist Takisha Sturdivant-Drew swears by this inexpensive option, which results in hair that looks super-thick and full. “The biotin and collagen pump up the volume on fine hair and leaves all textures with a beautiful shine,” she says. “Most of all, its ingredients brings brittle hair back to life with new growth.” Dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, M.D., also recommends this shampoo to her clients. “In terms of anti-inflammatory and strengthening shampoos, I recommend OGX, which is sulfate-free and less drying than many shampoos. The keratin proteins and argan oil strengthen the cuticle for stronger hair.” That means less breakage.
Elvive Extraordinary Clay Rebalancing Shampoo
This $4 steal is another favorite of Sturdivant-Drew’s because the clay-infused formula rids the scalp of excess buildup, which can hinder growth. “This shampoo purifies and hydrates the hair from root to tip,” she explains. “If you use it regularly, you’ll end up with fresh-flowing, beautiful hair.”
Kendall Dorsey, stylist to the stars (think: Teyana Taylor, Cardi B., Bella Hadid), says this is the very best shampoo for hair growth. Here’s why: “It’s specially formulated with a blend of actives and antioxidants such as baobab, rosa multiflora and swertia chirata to block the production of FGF5, a protein that causes hair loss,” he explains. “This line was developed by hair biologists and is backed by clinical results—I’ve seen the results for myself on clients, but it’s nice to have science to prove it.”
Dorsey’s also a fan of this biogen-infused shampoo. “It’s blended with biotin, collagen, and wheat protein, which have all been shown to increase hair health, length, and volume,” he says. “The formula also rinses out really well, helping you to avoid follicle buildup, which leads to hair loss.” Gina Rivera, hairstylist and founder of Phenix Salon Suites seconds Dorsey, noting the shampoo’s hardworking ingredients, and calling it a “multivitamin for the hair.” “The biotin in this product stimulates blood flow to the scalp,” explains Rivera. “It’s important to remember a healthy scalp will promote healthy hair growth.”