do caffeine shampoos really work

Caffeine shampoo: does it really work to reduce hair thinning and loss?

Posted by for Hair

You’ve seen the adverts on TV, but are caffeine shampoos all they’re cracked up to be? We asked the experts.

Maybe you’ve noticed that your hair is getting thinner, or maybe there’s been an unexplained increase in hair loss, or perhaps you’ve always suffered with fine hair – but whatever the cause, it doesn’t always have to be as despairing or as heartbreaking as you think.

That’s where caffeine shampoo comes in. We’re sure you’ve seen the adverts on TV (and likely written them off) but, despite being around for a long time, they’re actually worth considering if you’re somebody who struggles with the thickness or density of your hair. 

“Healthy hair starts at the scalp, and much like it energises the body, caffeine is a great ingredient to help energise the scalp, too,” says Michele Burgess, executive director or product development at Oribe. “That’s important because it rejuvenates the hair follicles and promotes an environment for optimal hair growth.”

If you’re still not convinced, we spoke to the experts to find out exactly how it works and how you can benefit from incorporating it into your hair wash routine, plus the best products to try now. 

What is caffeine shampoo?

Put simply, caffeine shampoo has the same effect on your hair as that triple shot cappuccino you used to order every morning on your way into the office: it helps to stimulate and energise the scalp in order to help encourage hair growth, while restoring hair follicles.

How does caffeine shampoo work?

As Lisa Caddy, trichologist at Philip Kingsley, explains: “Caffeine is mild stimulant and can increase blood circulation, and although the ingredient alone will not noticeably stop hair thinning and shedding, it is often used in professional in-salon treatments, and there is some evidence to suggest that caffeine speeds up the hair growth cycle.”

How often should caffeine shampoo be used?

“I suggest using the product every time you shampoo and/or style hair, depending on the product type,” says Caddy. “It’s important that you give it a few months to work though as it can take a while to notice the difference. That way you can judge results for yourself.”

The best caffeine shampoo for all hair types

  • Philip Kingsley Trichotherapy Stimulating Weekly Scalp Mask


    This weekly scalp treatment helps encourage hair growth and leaves the scalp feeling rejuvenated. It’s formulated with a combination of anti-inflammatory camphor, cooling menthol and caffeine to help increase blood circulation.

    Shop Philip Kingsley Trichotherapy Stimulating Weekly Scalp Mask at lookfantastic, £19

  • Oribe Gold Lust Repair & Restore Shampoo


    Not only does this shampoo have Oribe’s signature – and totally decadent – scent, it also works to help protect hair against damage, colour-fade and oxidative stress. Formulated with a bio-restorative complex that includes caffeine, biotin and plant-derived collagen, it strengthens hair from the inside out and balances the scalp to help create the opimium environment for healthy hair growth. 

    Shop Oribe Gold Lust Repair Restore Shampoo at Cult Beauty, £50

  • Grow Gorgeous Intense Thickening Shampoo

    Grow Gorgeous Intense Thickening Shampoo

    Enriched with caffeine to stimulate the roots, the entire Grow Gorgeous Intense range works to increase the thickness of each hair strand up to 13%. 

    Shop Grow Gorgeous Intense Thickening Shampoo at lookfantastic, £16

  • Alpecin Caffeine Shampoo

    caffeine shampoo: alpecin

    Likely to be the product you recognise most, Alpecin works by penetrating through the hair shaft and directly into the follicles, helping to stimulate and strengthen the roots during the washing process.

    Shop Alpecin Caffeine Shampoo at lookfantastic, £5.99

  • Plantur 39 Phyto-Caffeine Shampoo

    Created with the help of the dermatology department of  Jena University Clinic, Plantur 39 is formulated with a unique active ingredient complex that helps protects the roots from so-called premature exhaustion of hair growth. 

    Shop Plantur 39 Phyto-Caffeine Shampoo, £9.75

  • Klorane Quinine & Keratin Strength Fortifying Spray

    caffeine shampoo treatments klorane

    This leave-in conditioner is specifically formulated to target thinning hair, helping to make strands stronger from the first use. Formulated with a blend of quinine, keratine and B vitamins, it ensures much-needed nutrients reach the core of the hair fibre. 

    Shop Klorane Quinine & Keratin Strength Fortifying Spray at lookfantastic, £12.25

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Lucy Partington

Freelance beauty editor Lucy Partington is obsessed with all things skincare, collecting eyeshadow palettes that she'll probably never use, and is constantly on the hunt for the ultimate glowy foundation.

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