Does Caffeine Shampoo Help Hair Loss?

Have you seen the shampoo called Thicker Fuller Hair? It’s by Dr Hoting Thickening Solutions and contains caffeine which, the label eludes, will “energize” your hair. Dr Hoting Thickening Solutions appears to be a division of the German company, Schwarzkopf ( which is owned by the Henkel company (

Caffeine does wake people up but does caffeine wake up hair? In other words, does caffeine make hair stand up or add fullness, thickness or body to hair? I was curious so I wanted to take a close look at Thicker Fuller Hair to see if there is anything to this.

If you go to you see there there are several products. I want to focus only on the shampoo since that’s what I see the most in stores. Specifically I’m only interested in the “Caffeine Energizer” that is displayed prominently on the front of the bottle.

The ingredient Cell-U-Plex is said to be the secret sauce in the shampoo that’s supposed to make hair thicker and fuller.  The caffeine has been added to Cell-U-Plex to make it work better – at least that’s what I get from reading the Thicker Fuller Hair website.

The website says that Dr Hotings Caffeine Energizer is supposed to invigorate and energize the scalp. Well, I bought a bottle to try it out. I didn’t feel any tingling in my scalp and I don’t think my hair (what I have left) seems anymore energized or invigorated than when I use other shampoos. It’s not a bad shampoo. It cleans your hair like it’s supposed to. But I can’t notice any effect from the caffeine.

But my feelings dont matter. The important thing is can we find any science that caffeine helps hair? Specifically:

  • Does caffeine make hair thicker or fuller?
  • Does caffeine stop hair loss?

Well, the Thicker Fuller Hair website doesn’t list any proof that caffeine helps hair.  So I did some digging and to my suprise I did find some reserach on caffeine and hair.

Current thinking about baldness is that men lose their hair becuase DHT or dihydrotestosterone (a form of testosterone) shrivels up hair follicles, causing hair to get thinner and eventually fall out.

One study published in 2007 noticed that caffeine not only reduced the suppression of hair growth by testosterone treatment, but also that caffeine seemed to stimulate hair follicle growth.

This study did not use shampoo. Rather the researchers treated the hair follicles of 14 men with testosterone (which reduced hair growth) and again with caffeine which not only counteracted the effect of testosterone but also seemed to cause some hair follicle growth. The hair growth was seen in a test tube -not on the head. 

In another caffeine hair growth study published in 2007, it was found that a shampoo containing caffeine does indeed penetrate hair follicles. The shampoo was left on for 2 minutes. This study does not seem to have tested if the shampoo stopped hair from falling out.

Thicker Fuller Hair does not tell us how much caffeine is in the shampoo and I could not find any instructions about how long to leave the shampoo on the head.

Who is Dr Hoting?

I was curious who Dr Hoting was since his name is displayed on the shampoo bottle. According to the Schwarzkopf website his name is Dr Edo Hoting.  According to Schwarzkopf, he is a dermatologist. I did turn up scientific studies that had his name so he is a scientist and researcher.

So what can we make of all of this? Well, there are a couple of studies (I could only find 2) hinting that caffeine may play a role in slowing hair loss, and maybe that caffeine may help hair regrow. This is interesting but no study so far shows that any caffeine shampoo stops or slows hair loss in people who use the shampoo regularly.

The company that makes Thicker Fuller Hair shampoo doesn’t specifically claim its caffeine helps hair loss, but the statement that caffeine invigorates and energizes the scalp, makes me think they want people to believe caffeine has  some stimulatory effect. As I said, my scalp feels no different when I use Thicker Fuller Hair. It’s a fine shampoo but does it help hair loss any better than pouring diet Coke on your head?

What do you think?


  1. Chris says

    This is pretty interesting. I wonder if a simple mix of caffeine powder and regular shampoo would work just as well.

  2. Dave says

    I wonder if having a cup of coffee would be a cheaper and more effective way of getting caffeine to the hair follicles…

    • Clyde says

      I read that you would need to drink about 50 cups of coffee a day for caffeine to have any impact on your hair follicles. This is because when ingested coffee must go through your digestive system and the amount of caffeine that actually makes it to your scalp is so minimal it would have no impact. That is why these companies are developing topical solutions.

      • Joe says

        Clyde, I never saw that statistic of 50 cups of coffee so I couldn’t comment on it but since caffeine can be toxic /deadly in super high doses (about 10 grams if I remember) its good people dont drink that much coffee. I’d like to see a study on caffeine shampoos to see if they really grow hair or not.

    • Joe says

      AJ, I’m not sure of any supplements that will help beard growth. In theory Minoxidil might help some if you rubbed it on your face. A dermatologist would probably know the answer on this better than me though.

  3. Katie says


    There is a supplement called “Hair, Skin, and Nails” by Nature’s Bounty that can be found in any drugstore. They come in regular and extra strength (the extra strength contains more biotin, which is something the body makes naturally for hair, skin, and nail health, but an increased dosage increases the speed that hair and nails grow and makes skin “glow”) I’ve been taking these supplements for about 3 weeks and have noticed a slight increase in the rate that my fingernails grow, but that’s about it.

    It usually takes months before any noticeable difference occurs when taking supplements anyway. Other reviewers, though, claim that it works wonders for growing thicker, longer hair, and the female reviewers say that they notice the difference most with leg hair and eyebrows, because the hair grows back faster than it did before taking supplements. Some even claim it lengthens and thickens eyelashes. So if that’s true, it would probably work for facial hair too.

    Hope that helped a bit.

  4. Lisa Ling says

    My wife uses the Shielo Volume Shampoo to give her volume, and when I started using it and it has really thickened my hair and made it stronger. It has biotin in it which makes each follicle stronger so the hairs have really stopped falling out. It works much nicer than regular shampoo and doubles as a great face wash.

  5. Helen Pierce says

    I was devastated when the only shampoo that gave me volume and body no longer sold it. I was looking for a decent substitute with no success, until I tried Cell-U-Plex. Since using my first bottle, my hair has been more manageable, without having fly-away straggles around my ears, as all other shampoos did.

    I couldn’t find it any longer in the store where I bought it, so looked online to see if I could find out where it was sold. Apparently Walgreens has it. If so, I am delighted to have found it!

  6. April says

    Im only 24 yrs old and i have really really thin hair on the side of my head where my temples are. It looks like i have a bald spot. Are there any ideas of what to use to fill in any hair thats missing?

    • Joe says

      April, have you told your doctor about your thinning hair? just want to rule out any possible medical issues. If you are “healthy” I’m not aware of anything but there are hair thickening gels and creams that might help. A hair stylist may have a better idea. Do talk to your doctor first though, just to cover all your bases.

  7. Demi Ready-Kurylas says

    I’m a 23 year old female with extremely THICK hair. (My mama compares it to horse hair.) I never dye it. I seldom cut it. When it gets to… about… the top of my ass crack, I chop it off – up to my shoulders for Locks of Love. My hair donation usually makes at least one more wig then the average hair donation. I would love to find something to make my hair a little thicker, so I didn’t have to cut off so much length. I bought the Shampoo and Serum, haven’t tried it. But this forum poured down rain on my parade. (Only because of the reviews about the product.)

  8. mets says

    Bad product. Made my hair thin and stringy. Leaving shampoo on your head is bad news, has the same ingredients as paint stripper. Sodium Laurel Sulphate.

  9. c dixon says

    I am so devastated !!!!!!!! After reading several entries about this shampoo , I too suffer from really fine, limp hair . I noticed my hair was thinning with age. I went into wal greens looking to find a solution and came across dr. Hotings shampoo and decided to give it a try , as I surely did NOT want to lose any more hair…….Well…….. forget that idea!

    This shampoo completely dried my hair out so bad that it started breaking ….. all while I was using 2 conditioners….. not even a hotoil treatment seemed to help….. I am so devastated ! I would NOT , NOT, NOT, recommend this product to ANY living creature!!!

    I do need to add that it is STILL breaking off and my shoulder length hair is now 4-5 inches on top of my head!

    • Joe says

      C dixon, try some biotin. It doesn’t grow hair but it may help it grow a little faster. Also look at what you are eating. sometimes a very low fat diet can have an effect on hair. Thyroid problems can also play a role.

      • pkitty says

        Joe is right C Dixon. Diet can have a lot to do with hair and also the thyroid. I’ve had three friends that went with Weight Watchers and all three lost a LOT of hair along with weight. It stopped when they started adding some fat to their diet. I’m pushing 70 so mine is most likely old age.

        I started using Thicker Fuller Hair about six months ago. I have not grown more hair but the falling out has stopped. I purchased the moisture shampoo and the cream rinse plus the root lifter and the hair spray all from Thicker Fuller Hair. My hair has actually come back to life and has so much more body even though it is much more thinner than it has ever been.

  10. charlene says

    I have very thin hair on the top and sides of my head I am trying thicker Fuller hair along with vitamin b supplements I already see some improvement I only hope it continues

  11. Laumer says

    Although in laboratory circumstances caffeine may have an effect, in real life this is quite different. Caffeine in a shampoo can not penetrate the skin during a washing cycle. It will have no effect on hair growth whatsoever.

    Do not get fooled. Products like this are fraudulent and companies that market them should be seized and their assets sold and their management should be put behind bars.

  12. Donna says

    Join the Long Hair community boards. They have a lot of members talking about caffeine on the scalp. Most of us just brew and pour it on as a final rinse. Trouble is it can stain the hair. Some girls found it worked (a lot of maintenance) and others found no change. I personally wouldn’t buy it.

  13. nox_lumen says

    if the caffeine needs to sit on the scalp for a while to work, why would you put it in a shampoo? any shampoo (even sulfate free) is designed to break down the same oils that condition hair to prevent the breakage that can make hair thinner and duller and slow visible growth. gentle shampoos just do it a bit slower to prevent over stripping, but if left to sit, you defeat the point.

    to me, the logical path would be to add the caffeine to conditioner which works better when it has some time to sit on the hair anyway or as a final rinse. my hair is dark, so i can stir espresso in my leave in and spritz away, but blonds may want to look at white tea (low caffeine, not low caffeine) or the super charged blond coffee that brews up with tons more caffeine than Italian roast and looks golden in a shot glass.

    there is also a way to make gel with flax and hot water, and may people with thin hair may spritz the roots with styling product for loft. when i tested the recipe, i added coffee, and despite being called gel, it dries like hair spray but without the drying alcohol that can also lead to breakage. I can’t promise it will make your hair grow faster, but it should cause no harm and is ridiculously cheap to make.

  14. Sally says

    I’ve been using “Thicker Fuller Hair – Weightless Conditioner” with Caffeine energizer for several years and love the extra volume of my naturally straight hair. I’m happy to know that Walgreens sells it. I’m heading there tomorrow. I’ve tried many other products to enhance volume. This is the only one that works for me.

  15. David says

    I am a 25 year old male, suffering from receding frontal hairline due to severe weight loss in the past and genetics. My hairs are thin and straight.

    I have tried a conditioner (not a shampoo) with caffeine in it made from a company called Ultrax Labs. This conditioner incredibly worsened the hair loss problem. Every time I applied the conditioner more, hairs fell out. One may say that is just “an illusion,” but trust me, it’s not. I tried it a few times to see if my hypothesis was correct (conditioner makes more hair fall out) and every time I applied the conditioner, my hypothesis became more solid.

    I am not saying any product with caffeine in it would do the same, but that was my experience with caffeine conditioner. I returned the product in panic and started using different product right away.

  16. jazzbirdie says

    My husband’s hair has been getting thinner since his 20’s (about 20 years now) and we have tried a lot of products. He LOVES this shampoo and the serum. We have to have ‘back up’ supply in the closet. While everything doesn’t work for everybody, and the caffeine in personal care products is not exactly the same as that in your coffee, it IS beneficial in many topical applications – including (apparently) this shampoo line as well as some face creams (my own personal experience and tested by Dr. Oz.).

  17. Mick says

    But caffeine only works as a stimulant by absorbing into the liver and making it dump stored sugars into the bloodstream. I don’t see how it can stimulate your hair?

    • Joe says

      Mick, good question. I’m generally skeptical myself but will keep an open mind to any human research that can be located.

      • nox says

        Some things that can be absorbed through digestion also can benefit you through topical application. This may be one of them.

          • Joan Johnson says

            I know that Sodium Laureth Sulfate, is the hair loss ingredient that is causing the problem & maybe caffeine?
            :) Jj

          • Joe says

            Joan, yes sodium laureth sulfate is in a lot of shampoos as well as other things.

  18. Rebekah says

    My hair started falling out, and NOT growing back in my 40s. Then I went to a naturo-path health care provider that recommended I start taking a protein shake in the morning. I do not work for this company, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE their product. It is a non-soy veggie protein powder called-
    NATUR-ADE vegetable protein powder. Here in Denver I buy it at Vitamin Cottage but it is available everywhere.

    I make a chocolate protein drink with skim milk. After about three weeks of this, my hair started changing for the better.

    I am now 60, and have hair between my shoulder blades, and it is thick, not thin. I have been post-meno for about 15 years. Still my hair looks GOOD!!!! No one believes I’m 60 with this hair!!!

    Hair also grows more in the Summer time, At this writing it is August 2014. In all fairness, I am also 1/8th Cherokee. I think genetics also plays a role. but I’ve seen people of all ages helped by the protein drink mentioned above. Try it. It won’t hurt anything if your hair doesn’t grow back and could help!!! Also under active thyroid contributes negatively to thinning hair and hair loss in general.
    Get your thyroid checked!

  19. Dolly Brown says

    I have thin hair and have tried every product, and for the price nuhairrx is the clear winner. Makes my hair fuller and does not weigh it down.

    • Joe says

      Dolly, is nuhairrx a shampoo or a serum you put in your hair? I tried to find out more info about it but could not see much. I was curious what its ingredients were. I could not find them.

  20. scott says

    Caffeine is a white, colorless chemical which is dirt cheap because there is so much of it left over from coffee decafination. I would use that, probably with plain water as a solvent. Scalp penetration might be enhanced with the addition of some drinkable ethyl alcohol like Crystal Clear, or moonshine or vodka


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