Caffeinated shampoo: uses, benefits and preparation at home

Caffeine shampoo became popular on the market as a supplement to combat excessive hair loss. Is there evidence? Here we detail it.

Last update: 09 September, 2021

Caffeine can be taken as an infusion to stimulate the central nervous system and boost brain activity and wakefulness. In addition, it is used in the treatment of headaches, as an ingredient in some pain relievers. But, Did you know that there is also caffeinated shampoo?

Certain cosmetic properties are attributed to this substance, such as the prevention of alopecia. It is believed to help stop some of the effects of androgens on the hair follicle to promote the growth of strong and healthy hair.

Right now, this product can be purchased in many commercial establishments and pharmacies. In addition, It can be made in a homemade way with few ingredients. In general, it is recommended to apply it three to four times a week. To know more about it, continue reading.

Main uses of caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant in the alkaloid family. It is found naturally in coffee, chocolate, and tea; however, in some such as white tea, the proportion is quite low (15% less than green).

The most common use of caffeine is as a tea. It is estimated that more than 2.5 billion cups of coffee are consumed per day in the world, according to research. In addition, this trend is increasing in terms of per capita consumption.

On the other hand, this substance is included as a main ingredient or supplement to enhance the effect in a variety of drugs. These include those used to treat colds, headaches, and migraines. It has even been experimentally tested in the prevention of Parkinson's disease.

Apart from this, it is believed to have a stimulating effect in combating alopecia. That is why you can find caffeinated shampoo on the market. In particular, It is said to activate hair follicles, which makes hair grow.

Caffeine is not only present in coffee, but also in teas, chocolates, medicines, and cosmetics.

Caffeinated shampoo, commercial or homemade

Although it may not be familiar to you, this is nothing new. The first commercial brands of caffeinated shampoo they are from the early twentieth century. At present, there are several presentations and varieties. There is even a whole line of cosmetics with this ingredient and not just for hair. Some are as follows:

  • Rinses.
  • Conditioners
  • Fixation gel.
  • Scrubs
  • Rejuvenating and anti-acne creams.
  • Cellulite creams.

In their formulas, apart from this substance, caffeinated shampoos include ingredients that may promote hair regrowth, such as zinc, biotin, niacin, castor oil, among others.

In any case, all the presentations ensure that, with its use, the follicle will become stronger and the hair will not fall out so easily. Of course, it is also possible to make a homemade preparation. How? Primer gathers the following implements:

  • Water or liquid coconut oil.
  • Neutral shampoo (although it can be your usual shampoo).
  • 5 tablespoons of ground coffee.
  • Cinnamon or baking soda (optional).
  • Container for mixing.
  • A funnel.


  • Start by steeping the coffee in the oil. Pour this mixture into a pot, and simmer for five hours. Stir every thirty minutes.
  • If you are using water, preheat it and place it in the mixing bowl, along with the coffee.
  • Then add the other ingredients. Pour the preparation into the container using the funnel. When applying, shake a little.

How do you use caffeinated shampoo?

  • The caffeinated preparation is used like any other normal shampoo. It is enough to wet the hair well and apply a vigorous massage on the scalp.
  • You must allow the product to come into contact with the hair follicle. Therefore, do not wash your head immediately. Wait at least 5 minutes before rinsing.
  • Preferably, you better wash your head using cold water, since showering with hot water is harmful, in addition to increasing the rate of hair loss by damaging the hair follicle.

It is advisable to use the caffeinated shampoo two to four times a week, or one day in and one day at the most. Using it more often is not going to increase its effectiveness.

Possible benefits of caffeinated shampoo

The evidence supporting the benefits of caffeinated shampoo is limited. Still, proponents of this product suggest that it may be helpful for the following:

  • Stimulate circulation in the scalp.
  • Prevent hair loss.
  • Nourish both the hair and the hair follicle.
  • Stimulate hair growth.
  • Exfoliate the scalp.
  • Eliminate chemical accumulation.
  • Rebalance pH levels.
  • Soften dry hair.
  • Straighten frizzy hair.

What do the studies say?

There is little research in favor. A 2007 study found that washing hair with a caffeinated shampoo can stimulate hair growth. In this sense, it is considered that this substance helps to block the effects of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the follicle.

Another study reached similar conclusions; caffeine can lengthen the shaft, even if the hair follicle has been exposed to testosterone. However, unlike the first study, which was done with a group of volunteer subjects, in this case the evidence was obtained in the laboratory.

In an experimental investigation, caffeinated shampoo was applied to the chest in two groups of people. It was washed after two minutes, and blood samples were taken at intervals for 72 hours. In both groups it was found that caffeine can be absorbed through the follicles.

Now, most of the studies have been done in the laboratory or have been with few individuals involved. Therefore, more long-term controlled clinical trials, in larger groups, are required to draw definitive conclusions.

Some studies suggest that caffeine shampoo contributes to the treatment of alopecia. However, the evidence is limited.

Possible side effects

For now, few side effects of caffeinated shampoo are noticed. There may be some risk of temporary irritation on the scalp, especially in people sensitive to any of the ingredients contained in the product.

This is more common in commercial brands than in homemade preparations. The reason? Some use synthetic preservatives, such as methyl paraben, propyl paraben, and phenoxyethanol. According to research, these ingredients can cause scalp irritation and allergic reactions such as itching, redness and a burning sensation.

On the other hand, there are those who warn that, despite continued use, the hair continues to thin. And while many claim to benefit, in others the effectiveness is rather reduced. Even with prolonged use of caffeinated shampoo, the results may eventually be less noticeable.

Final Recommendations

Despite the years that some brands have been on the market, the effectiveness of caffeinated shampoo in terms of stopping the progression of alopecia is not yet fully proven. Some research weakly points to saying yes. As long as no more studies are done, it cannot be affirmed and even less generalized.

Until now it is known that caffeine molecules penetrate the hair follicles. But from there to believing that this is the cure for baldness, there is still a distance. What is noticed is that some may have allergic reactions with its use. In this case, rinse with plenty of water and discontinue use.

So, if you are beginning to show signs of alopecia, and if you have thought about trying caffeinated shampoo, you can do it, but with precautions. Preferably, consult a dermatologist to see if any of the ingredients can cause irritation.

In the early stages of baldness, caffeinated shampoo can have an additional effect if it is combined with other more proven treatments, such as minoxidil or finasteride. It is not very likely that by itself it will make such a significant difference.