Fortifying Shampoos: What Are They & What Do They Do?

Fortifying Shampoos: What Are They & What Do They Do?
Written by
Morgan German

Personal care can be confusing. The global shampoo market was valued at 29,38 billion in 2019. If you ask me, that's a lot of shampoos.

With a market that big, you need more marketing ingenuity to make your product pop out. One short visit at the local supermarket is all it takes to see all the different variations.

You see words like clarifying, volumising, thickening, strengthening, revitalising. It doesn't take long to see one shampoo claiming to have fortifying effects.

But is it a marketing ploy? What does it do? We'll answer them in this article.

What is a fortifying shampoo?

To put it in one sentence, fortifying shampoos are the same as strengthening shampoos.

They are formulated to make your hair looks healthier, fuller and more voluminous.

It often includes ingredients such as hydrolyzed protein, amino acids and minerals. - according to hair stylist Dawn Clemens.

Of course, each brand and each line will have their own "special ingredient" that sets it apart.

hair strengthening shampoo

How does fortifying shampoo work?

These shampoos are jam-packed full of nutrients your hair needs. Your hair and scalp absorbs these nutrients when you are lathering.

First, it coats each strand with revitalizing protein.

Then, another ingredient - panthenol (posh way to say vitamin B5) works to build up a natural protective barrier against:

  • Moisture loss (from excessive exposure to heat or salt)
  • Irritating agents
  • Hair styling damage
  • Environmental damage (UV lights is a culprit)

Additionally, panthenol can improve your hair shine, softness and strength.

Fortifying shampoo is a great fit for damaged, over-worked and brittle hair. It restores the necessary nutrient needed for healthy hair structure.

If you are battling hair thinning, this type of shampoo can be your best friend. This peer-reviewed study concludes that panthenol may help slow down hair thinning and alter the hair appearance.

How to use fortifying shampoos?

We recommend massaging the shampoo into your scalp for a good few minutes before rinsing. This allows the nutrient to fully work and absorb into your hair.

Who shouldn't use fortifying shampoos?

After reading that, who wouldn't want to have a bunch of protein and nutrients added to their hair right? Even if your hair is healthy, there isn't a reason why not.


Fortifying shampoos do supply nutrients to the hair, that's a fact.

Dermatologist Dr. Sharleen and trichologist Shab advised against it.

In their interview with Byrdie, they advised people with dry and flaky scalp to avoid fortifying and strengthening shampoos. The reason is - it can strip your scalp off moisture.


Now that you have a pretty broad understanding of what fortifying shampoo is, how does it work, how to use it and whether if you are the perfect candidate or not.

To sum it up, fortifying shampoos is marketed to strengthen your hair. It works by adding nutrients to your hair, making it look fuller and healthier. You should massage the shampoo to get the best result out of it.

You should also avoid it if you are have dry scalp.

Last but not least, you should always consult a dermatologist if you have special scalp conditions to avoid worsening it.


Davis, M., Thomas, J., van de Velde, S., Boissy, Y., Dawson, T., Jr, Iveson, R. and Sutton, K. (2011), A novel cosmetic approach to treat thinning hair. British Journal of Dermatology, 165: 24-30.

Ebner, F., Heller, A., Rippke, F. et al. Topical Use of Dexpanthenol in Skin Disorders. Am J Clin Dermatol 3, 427–433 (2002).