Can Shampoo Cause Hair Loss: Hair Experts Reveal Myths and Tips

While a little hair fall during shampooing is okay, a lot of shedding is a matter of concern. But can shampoo cause hair loss? Read ahead to know everything!

Dr. Ipsita Johri
Reviewed by DR. IPSITA JOHRI , Dermatologist & Aesthetician | Written by Neha Tiwari , Copy Editor
Updated on Mar 28, 2024 | 12:10 PM IST | 458.9K
Can Shampoo Cause Hair Loss: Hair Experts Reveal Myths and Tips
Can Shampoo Cause Hair Loss: Hair Experts Reveal Myths and Tips

A shower seems relaxing until you find chunks of your precious hair falling from your scalp. While it is absolutely normal that you shed some hair when you shampoo, the red flags arise when your hair loss is severe. So, why does it happen? Is your shampoo causing hair loss? Will replacing your shampoo stop hair fall? Probably not. Because it is not the shampoo brand, but the ingredients in that particular formulation 3, that could be the root cause behind your excessive hair loss. Another point to notice here is how frequently you shampoo your hair and the quantity of shampoo you use.

So, here in this article, we will shed light on the ingredients in shampoo that may cause hair loss, a-k-a harmful ingredients you should avoid, some of the most common myths about shampooing, how often you should shampoo, and tips to reduce hair fall while shampooing. Read on!

Does Frequent Shampooing Cause Hair Loss?

Can Shampoo Cause Hair Loss: Hair Experts Reveal Myths and Tips

No - frequent shampooing does not cause hair loss or lead to hair fall. Interestingly, it is actually (natural) common to lose about 100 hair strands every day. So, when you shampoo, it merely dislodges your detached hairs from the follicle’s base. On the contrary, when you do not shampoo, most of these detached hair strands simply remain sitting loosely on your head, waiting to fall out until you wash or comb. In simple words, the less frequently you shampoo, the more hair you will lose.

As a matter of fact, frequent shampooing promotes healthy hair by stimulating the scalp and creating optimum conditions for healthy hair growth.


Shampoo Ingredients That Make Your Hair Fall Out and Should Be Avoided

Can Shampoo Cause Hair Loss: Hair Experts Reveal Myths and Tips

As per anecdotal reports, multiple ingredients in shampoos 1 (like sulfates, mineral oil or petroleum, alcohol percentage, and preservatives) might weigh your hair down and contribute to excessive hair loss.

Below is a list of 7 shampoo ingredients you should avoid 2 to lessen your hair fall -

1. Sulfates

Sulfates, such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, are common ingredients added to shampoos worldwide. These sulfates are powerful detergents with great foaming and cleansing properties. However, on the downside, these sulfates may make your hair dry, frizzy, limp, and tangled, causing damage and hair loss. Furthermore, sulfates even strip off natural oils from your hair, preventing healthy hair growth.

2. Sodium Chloride

Sodium chloride (salt) is added to shampoos as a thickening agent. While an optimum amount of Sodium chloride is fine for your scalp and hair strands (especially when you have an oily scalp), high concentrations may lead to an itchy scalp, dryness, and excessive hair loss.


3. Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde, a preservative, is added to shampoos to increase the product's shelf life and keep them shelf-stable. An optimum amount of this preservative in any cosmetic product is supposedly safe. However, a high concentration of Formaldehyde may cause hair damage, allergies, hair loss, and scalp rashes.

Furthermore, shampoos tend to contain numerous formaldehyde donors, i.e., chemical compounds. So, when you shampoo frequently, these donors slowly release this preservative into the air, causing irritation and allergies in your eyes, lungs, nose, and scalp.

While no clinical research has proved that Formaldehyde alone is the reason behind hair loss and damage, it alongside other chemicals 4, becomes one of the ingredients to cause hair fall.

4. Alcohol

Alcohols (like Cetearyl, Stearyl, and Cetyl) are added to many shampoos worldwide. These alcohols, when combined with sulfates, dry out your scalp and hair by stripping off your natural oils. This, in turn, again causes excessive hair fall.


5. Propylene Glycol and Propylparaben

Propylene Glycol and Propylparaben are added to shampoos as a humectant that helps the nutrients to penetrate through your scalp. However, a high concentration of humectant may irritate your scalp, resulting in hair loss. Also, it may disturb your hormonal balance leading to reduced hair growth.

6. Fragrances

Artificial fragrances and colors should always be avoided, especially if you have sensitive skin and hair. While they do leave a pleasant smell after shampooing, they cause severe scalp irritation and hair fall.

7. Phthalates

Phthalates are added to shampoos and cosmetics as perfume fixatives or solvents. The impacts of Phthalates are similar to that of artificial fragrances. Even these solvents may negatively affect your scalp and hair health by interfering with your hormonal systems, causing excessive hair loss. Moreover, these are also malicious to the atmosphere.

8 Most Common Myths About Shampoo and Hair Wash

Can Shampoo Cause Hair Loss: Hair Experts Reveal Myths and Tips

Myth 1 - It is bad to wash your hair each day

Not at all! Washing your hair every day will merely cleanse the dirt and oil build-up in your scalp and hair. This stops your hair strands from becoming greasy, dull, and smelly.

Myth 2 - Shampoo is bad for your hair

A correct shampoo that suits your scalp and hair type is never bad for your hair. On the contrary, a good shampoo deeply cleanses your scalp, removes any excess oil, dirt, and build-up, and allows a healthy regrowth of your hair.


Myth 3 - Using the same shampoo will stop working when my hair will get used to it

Not at all! It is always advisable to pick and stick to a shampoo that suits your hair type and concerns. In case, your shampoo stops giving you the desired result, maybe the needs and condition of your hair have changed or improved.

Myth 4 - Switching your shampoo frequently causes hair fall

This myth, too, is bizarrely similar to our above explanation. We advise you not to settle for just about any shampoo. Just because someone else recommended a particular shampoo to you or a shampoo brand is trending, you do not have to pick it for yourself. Change shampoos until you find the one that best suits your hair needs, hair type, and other issues.

Myth 5 - Frequent shampooing will either dry out my hair or make my hair oilier

As a matter of fact, shampooing your hair frequently will wash off any bacteria-laden oil or dirt present in your hair, thus giving you supple, soft hair strands and a nourished scalp.

Myth 6 - Shampooing daily will cause excessive hair fall and damage

On the contrary, a good shampoo will only clean your scalp, promoting healthy hair.


Myth 7 - Don’t wash your hair, it will clean itself

If you do not wash your hair, the dirt and old oil will continue to build up in your scalp and hair. This, in turn, will lead to excessive damage, dry and itchy scalp, and severe hair fall.

Myth 8 - Rinse your hair with cold water to make it shinier

Using lukewarm water allows your scalp pores to open up and breathe. Once you are done with your hair wash, finish off with cold water to re-seal your scalp pores and retain the moisture.

How to Prevent Hair Loss Caused by Shampoo?

Can Shampoo Cause Hair Loss: Hair Experts Reveal Myths and Tips

Below are some vital tips that may help you prevent excessive hair fall while shampooing -

  • The first and probably the most crucial step in stopping hair fall is to know your exact hair and scalp type.
  • Create a proper hair care regimen that suits your scalp, hair type, and concerns.
  • Before every hair wash, remember to massage your scalp with hot oil, such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, argan oil, almond oil, etc.
  • Always opt for a sulfate-free shampoo that is gentle and mild, especially on your scalp.
  • Never brush your hair wet or while in the shower. Your hair strands are the weakest when wet. Brushing in that condition will only make you lose more hair than usual.
  • Always apply your hair conditioner after every single hair wash. A good hydrating conditioner seals in moisture and reduces the chances of hair fall, dryness, and damage. Also, check the ingredients of your hair conditioner. It should contain natural oils, butter (like mango butter, shea butter), hydrolyzed keratin, etc., which helps to make your hair stronger.
  • Use hair care products that contain Vitamin B5 and Vitamin E.
  • Once you have dried your hair, use a soft brush and lightly comb your hair.
  • Put a limit on the usage of heating and styling products and tools, like a curling rod or dryer, on your hair.
  • Avoid tight hairstyles and accessories that may pull or bind your hair roughly or uncomfortably. Doing so regularly or for long time intervals will damage your hair roots, causing more hair loss.

When to Consult a Doctor?

Can Shampoo Cause Hair Loss: Hair Experts Reveal Myths and Tips

If none of our mentioned tips work and you continue to notice severe hair loss, reach out to a healthcare professional or trichologist (hair expert). Seeing a hair expert sooner rather than later will largely help you identify the actual cause of your excessive hair loss. This, in turn, will help you to develop and start the required specific treatment to combat further hair loss and steps to remedy it.


Factors Other Than Shampoo That May Cause Hair Loss

Can Shampoo Cause Hair Loss: Hair Experts Reveal Myths and Tips

Although the ingredients present in shampoo may lead to hair fall, there are some other factors that may cause hair loss, including the pH level in shampoo 5. These potentially include -

  • hormonal changes
  • diet changes
  • nutritional deficiencies
  • hereditary issues
  • any ongoing illness
  • other medical troubles
  • medications
  • excessive stress
  • severe weight loss, weight gain, etc.

Wrapping Up

Most of us pride ourselves on having fuller locks. And it seems to affect us when we start seeing chunks of our precious hair after shampooing or combing. As we now know, hair loss happens due to a lot of reasons 6, including some harmful ingredients present in your shampoo. So, in order to protect your hair from further damage, loss, or thinning, make sure to go through our curated list of toxic ingredients before your shampoo shopping.

Also, remember to follow our mentioned tips to reap maximum benefits before and after shampooing! Time to flaunt your healthy locks!


1. Evaluation of physical-chemical properties of shampoo product from coconut oil (Cocos nucifera) in Ben Tre province, Vietnam

2.Common Causes of Hair Loss


What will happen if I stop shampooing my hair?
Old oil and dirt will start to build up in your hair. This eventually will lead to more breakage and hair loss.

Will the shampoo stop working if my hair gets used to it?

If I wash my hair every day or shampoo frequently, will it strip my hair of its natural oils?
There is no exact answer to this question because it completely depends on your scalp, hair type, texture, and other issues. For example, if you have dry hair and scalp, so we would avoid not to shampoo too often as it may lead to even dryer hair. On the contrary, if you have oily hair, washing your hair frequently will remove old oils from your scalp, making them appear healthier.

Will shampooing frequently dry out my hair?
No. Frequent shampooing will only remove the excess dirt residues from your scalp and hair.

Will shampooing frequently make my hair oilier?

Will shampooing frequently make my hair fall out?
No. Contrastingly, frequent shampooing will allow your scalp and hair to breathe, promoting healthy hair regrowth.

How much hair fall is common?
About 100 strands per day.

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About The Author

Neha Tiwari, a certified Haircare coach, an experienced writer, educator, translator, and editor, has been catering to the content



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