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Which? Magazine Investigates Thinning Hair Shampoo Claims

At the first signs of hair loss many people turn to their stock of bathroom products for clues. Could it be that your shampoo, conditioner or shower gel are ravaging your follicles and causing what looks like a small wet tumbleweed to gather in the shower tray?

Which? Magazine, the respected British publication run by the UK’s Consumers Association, thinks that the answer is probably not. In an article published in the April 2016 issue of the magazine, Which? gathered a team of experts – a dermatologist, a chemist and a trichologist – to delve into claims that shampoo brands make about what they can do for ailing hair. “Whether you’re worried about your receding hairline, paranoid about parabens or just want to restore the sparkle to your crowning glory, there’s a shampoo out there to match every possible concern,” they write, with just a hint of cynicism.

Pointing out that claims about what shampoos can do are getting ever bolder, they then spell out their findings.

Which Magazine SurveyShampoo will not reverse hair loss

In a nutshell, their panel of experts seemed concerned by the claims that some of the products they tested were making. Their verdict on products which claimed to “reverse damage” was especially damning: “It’s not possible to reverse hair damage by using a shampoo – it can only prevent further damage and make hair look healthier through conditioning,” they said.

So-called “age-defying” products were given similarly short shrift. They say that people should look beyond “meaningless marketing claims” like this and find a product that suits them. Amusingly, the experts pondered how Pantene’s AgeDefy shampoo could claim to make hair look 10 years younger when hair only lasts between five and seven years before it is completely replaced due to the hair growth cycle.

On the subject of thickening shampoos designed to give hair more volume, the team suggested that a similar effect could be achieved simply by not using heavy conditioning. They also warned people to be on their guard when picking a product that made bold claims, as the small print hidden away on the bottle often explained (in tiny letters) that so-called benefits of the shampoo could only be achieved if it was used in conjunction with the brand’s other products. Naturally this could seriously hike up the price.

In summing up, the team said: “Beware of marketing ploys. Celebrity endorsements, apparent links to fashion and luxury such as ‘London, Paris & New York’ on the bottle, and distinctive product design can all heavily influence us.”

Says Which? Magazine editor Richard Headland: “It is simply not good enough to say their evidence is commercially sensitive and expect us to be satisfied with being told their products live up to claims on packaging, especially when they make substantial claims such as reducing hair loss.”

Medically-proven treatments

It’s important to remember that, in the same way that targeted food supplements can help to promote healthy hair growth from the inside, cosmetic products such as shampoos and conditioners can cleanse the scalp and nurture the condition of the hair from the outside, but they cannot treat hair loss conditions, as the Which? article clearly illustrates.

What well-made versions of these products can do, however, is to keep hair clean and healthy, and in some cases can help those with damaging hair breakage or scalp conditions to minimise further shedding, but there are no miracle products that will enable you to not just ‘wash and go’ but ‘wash and grow’.

The only way to treat prolonged cases of excessive shedding or sudden hair fall is to fight back with clinically-proven hair loss treatments. Different conditions – and even different people – require different solutions, which is why anyone concerned about hair fall is advised to visit a dedicated specialist as soon as they can so that a professional diagnosis can be made. From there the appropriate recommendations can be made for suitable treatments, as well as any supplementary hair growth supporting products.

Belgravia often includes a supply of premium shampoos and conditioners with certain courses and, whilst these can help with the condition of the hair and certain scalp problems, these are an ancillary benefit and do not combat hair loss.


The Belgravia CentreThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.


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