By Victoria Moorhouse
Updated Mar 28, 2018 @ 10:00 am
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Thinning Hair Shampoo - Lead
Credit: Eduardo Parra/Getty Images

I sometimes spend hours scanning reviews before making online purchases, so discovering PURA D'OR Original Gold Label Anti-Thinning Shampoo while I was at work was dangerous to my productivity levels. The $33 shampoo—one I had never even heard of before—currently has over 10,000 reviews on Amazon, over 8K of which are absolutely glowing. Eight thousand is a pretty significant number to ignore, so I did some digging into its formula and what users were claiming it can accomplish (spoiler: miracles?).

The product includes biotin (essential for a strong hair shaft), argan oil (a popular moisturizing agent), soothing aloe vera, and something called Red Korean Seaweed, which the brand says is the superstar in protecting against hair thinning. It's marketed as utilizing certified organic and botanical-based ingredients, while being free of items like sulfates, parabens, and even gluten.

After skimming the comments for way longer than I'd like to admit, I noticed that, in addition to users noting the shampoo made their hair softer, smoother-to-the-touch, and more voluminous, many believed they saw a vast improvement in thickness or hair growth. "In the past few years, I have struggled with thinning hair due to menopause. I have found that using the PURA D'OR line of hair products for anti-hair loss has helped a lot," revealed one customer.

Others revealed they're experiencing less breakage overall, and even said they noticed more baby hairs growing in sparse spots.

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Has the secret to thickening your hair been on Amazon all along? "There is no evidence that these ingredients, applied topically, can improve hair growth," says dermatologist Heidi Waldorf, MD Waldorf Dermatology Aesthetics, when I asked for her opinion on the formula. "However, using a shampoo with gentler surfactants, the cleaning and foaming agents, and including ingredients that add moisture and flexibility to the hair shaft can make the hair shaft stronger and more supple, and thereby reduce breakage."

She notes that it's difficult to judge the effects of natural and botanical ingredients because there isn't enough evidence, and because these substances aren't regulated. "Some botanicals and naturals have shown biologic effects, but only in specific forms that can be absorbed to the relevant depth and in adequate quantities. Interestingly, there is also some zinc pyrithione in this product, which is used for psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, and dandruff, but it is near the end of the list so there is likely very little."

The brand markets the product as an anti-thinning shampoo, not a hair-loss shampoo—two very different things. Realistically, an anti-thinning shampoo would just supply the scalp the perfect environment for growth, while strengthening hair and reducing the chance of breakage.

Whether you give the shampoo a go is ultimately up to you, but if your main goal is hair growth, Waldorf has a few suggestions.

"The key is to be realistic—none of these shampoos will help you grow hair," she says. Instead, she says to look for ingredients that help with your hair issue, like anti-dandruff ingredients for a scaly or oily scalp, and strengthening and moisturizing ingredients that won't strip hair if you have breakage.

If your thinning hair is noticeably worsening, isn't linked to recent physical or emotional severe stress, or is a general cause of concern, Waldorf suggests talking to your dermatologist for a proper diagnosis.