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Not just a nice cuppa: Do caffeine shampoos work for hair loss?

Not just a nice cuppa: Do caffeine shampoos work for hair loss?

Did you know that we consume around two billion cups of coffee worldwide each day? That makes it a pretty popular drink, don’t you think? While you may be using your daily cuppa to awaken the senses, there are plenty of other functions for its main ingredient – caffeine. In fact, many hair growth products on the market contain varying amounts of caffeine, especially shampoos.

black coffee and coffee beans

So, do shampoos that contain caffeine actually work for hair loss? There are many claims that caffeine is a powerful ingredient for reversing hair loss and promoting healthy hair. But there is also the issue that there isn’t much scientific evidence to prove this.

Let’s unpack this debate so you can decide if this is a hair care ingredient you want to include in your regimen.


What is caffeine shampoo? 

Marketed as a hair loss treatment, this type of shampoo is designed to stimulate hair growth using caffeine or coffee bean extracts in its formulation.

You’ve probably heard of Alpecin, which is one of the most popular caffeine-infused shampoos out there. Its ingredients are based on a 2007 study that showed that caffeine stimulates hair follicles which results in hair growth. However, this study was done in a laboratory dish and not on humans.

In fact, in 2008, the UK Advertising Standards Authority said that Alpecin would no longer be able to advertise how it reverses hair loss because there is no actual evidence to support this.

According to people who have used Alpecin regularly, the product prevents premature hair ageing, which can lead to hair loss. The shampoo’s manufacturers say that it makes the hair stronger at the root, preventing them from falling out.

woman washing hair in the shower

It’s worth noting, though, that shampoo isn’t on our hair or scalp for very long when we wash our hair. This means there’s not much time for the caffeine in the shampoo to interact with our hair and scalps. 


Does caffeine shampoo work?

Just by quickly searching the internet, you’ll quickly see that this is a hot topic of debate. This is because there is no clinical evidence that caffeine shampoos actually work for fighting hair loss. However, people who use these shampoos stand by the fact that they truly work for hair growth.

While research continues into the efficacy of caffeine shampoos, there is still a lack of scientific evidence that these products impact the hair growth cycle.

Of course, whether this shampoo works for you or not will come down to the type of hair loss you are experiencing.

If your hair loss is being caused by a hormonal imbalance, for example, a caffeine shampoo may help.

Typically, when we experience increased testosterone levels in our bodies, it creates a sensitivity to an androgen hormone called Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which causes our hair follicles to weaken and shrink. It has been said that caffeine shampoos help to block DHT and prevent it from affecting our hair follicles.

There are other types of hair loss that ingredients like caffeine extracts may help with. Take Androgenic Alopecia (AGA), for instance. There is scientific evidence that caffeine may suppress this type of hair loss.


Lab studies vs real-world studies 

As many of you know, at bia, we always look at the science behind hair loss remedies and claims before we reach a final verdict.

Most of the studies that prove that caffeine shampoos work have been conducted in a lab dish and not on real human hair follicles.

The studies that have been carried out on humans show that caffeine certainly does get absorbed into our bodies via our hair follicles, but no further research was done into whether this stimulated hair growth.


Some benefits of using caffeine shampoos 

Again, no current scientific evidence exists that caffeine shampoos can combat hair loss. However, people that use these products have reported some of these benefits:

  • Healthy hair growth.
  •  A higher hair count than before using the product.
  • Stronger hair roots and less hair fall.
  • Effectively removing product build-up on the scalp.
  • Softening and smoothing dry and frizzy hair.

two women shopping for beauty products


Our final verdict on caffeine shampoos for hair loss

Although no significant scientific studies currently prove that caffeine extract in the form of a shampoo can prevent or reverse hair loss, those who have used these shampoos often report its excellent benefits.

The great thing about caffeine shampoos is that they generally aren’t too harsh on the hair or scalp, which means you can try them out for yourself without any side effects. Feel free to let us know via our Instagram if you’ve found a caffeine shampoo that works for you – we’d love to hear your thoughts!


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