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Do shampoos and conditioners grow hair?

Hair products that claim to grow your hair are a dime a dozen, and shampoo/conditioners are no exception. To help answer this question we should know one quick bit of biology: the hair shaft that we wash is made up of dead cells arranged in tightly packed layers. There is nothing that can bring these dead cells back to life. All the new growth happens at the bottom (similar to how grass grows). The ingredients in hair wash products doesn’t get down to the root to affect hair growth. Some people suggest that ketoconazole, a medication with some anti androgen activity, can help combat hair loss but the one study I’ve seen on this was poorly designed with unimpressive results.

Shampoos and conditioners can help however if your hair is damaged. Different hair types and scalp types (oiliness levels) require different products. Poor hair care can lead to brittle hair that breaks easily or doesn’t grow to its full length. A good stylist or someone knowledgeable with washing hair and deep conditioning can really help. I highly recommend Dr Crystal Aguh’s book, 90 Days to Beautiful Hair.

- Dr. Kumar


Dr. Kumar Sukhdeo is the Chief Medical Officer and founder of Pilaris Hair Clinic. A board-certified dermatologist physician-scientist and stem cell biologist, he is an expert in the field of women's hair loss and restoration. Learn more at

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