Caffeine has been proven to help hair grow

Caffeine and Hair Loss | 3 Ways To Use it for Thicker Hair Growth

Caffeine is almost everywhere these days. In this article I’ll go deep into the science of whether caffeine causes hair loss or hair growth and how it can do both.

Whether it’s a beverages like coffees or sports drinks, or in shampoos, after reading this article you’ll know how and why to use caffeine to your advantage so that you to get thicker, stronger hair and a lower hairline, instead of worrying about losing it.

This article goes deep and calls upon scientific research studies and my own personal experimentation and feedback from others after running this website for 5 years. So I recommend reading it right to the end or jumping to the section that interests you most by clicking on the section title below.

What is Caffeine?

Caffeine is a bitter, white crystalline stimulant that belongs to a group of naturally occurring alkaloids of the methylxanthine class. It is mostly found in coffee, tea, kola nuts and cacao beans.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, caffeine is used in both prescription and over-the-counter medicines to treat drowsiness, tiredness and is also known to work well alongside pain relievers.

For these reasons, caffeine is very popular among people across all age sets and chances are you have consumed it frequently.

How Caffeine Can Benefit Your Hair

It Helps to Suppress DHT

Research has revealed that caffeine is an effective suppressant of androgenetic alopecia (AGA), commonly known as male pattern baldness.

In one in-vitro study, scalp biopsy samples from patients suffering from AGA were cultivated with different concentrations of testosterone and/or caffeine for a period of 120-192 hours.

The biopsies were taken from 14 male patients, ranging in age from 20 – 45. Each patient was classified between a Stage III and IV on the Norwood-Hamilton scale for hair loss.

The cultivated hair follicles were split into three groups: control (which contained various levels of testosterone), caffeine (which contained various levels), and both (cultivated in testosterone first, and then cultivated in caffeine in various concentrations).

After a period of 120 – 192 hours, the follicles were removed and researchers studied hair shaft length to determine efficacy of caffeine:

Source.As shown above, the longer the follicle was exposed to caffeine, the longer the hair shaft became. There was even a slight difference in the elongation effects of the two different concentrations (0.001% and 0.005%), though it’s quite negligible.

However, this wasn’t the only thing that researchers found.

Surprisingly, hair follicles that were exposed to caffeine even after exposure to testosterone showed positive (and significant) elongation:

Caffeine and testosterone results

Addition of caffeine in amounts as small as 0.001% were found to counteract the suppressive effects of testosterone on hair growth, with higher shaft elongation achieved compared to the control group.

It Stimulates Hair Growth

Even more than just suppressing the effects of DHT, caffeine has been shown to actually stimulate hair growth in human hair follicles. Let’s take a closer look at the research behind this intriguing finding.

Whole human hair follicles were extracted from the scalps of both men and women. The men were confirmed to be a stage III to stage IV on the Norwood-Hamilton scale, while the women were ‘normal’.

After a 24-hour ‘recovery time’, the hair follicles were cultivated in one of three mediums:

  1. Testosterone only;
  2. Testosterone + caffeine; or
  3. Normal medium (as a control).

The total culture time was 120 hours.

So, what did this study teach us?

Caffeine Enhanced Hair Shaft Elongation

Just as the previous study showed, the presence of caffeine even after the hair follicle has been exposed to testosterone can elongate the shaft.

Interestingly, this elongation was shown to be different between men and women.

In the previous study, concentrations of caffeine as low as 0.001% were found to be effective in counteracting the effects of testosterone. However, these were shown to be too high for women, and the concentration was lowered to 0.0005%. This proved to be beneficial, and results were shown to be similar to those of male hair follicles.

Caffeine Prolonged Anagen Phase

There are three stages within the hair growth cycle:

  1. Anagen (active growth);
  2. Catagen (transition); and
  3. Telogen (rest).

In men and women with AGA, the process of follicle miniaturization shortens the anagen phase. This results in less hair growth.

By prolonging anagen phase, the effects of DHT (which trigger miniaturization) can be counteracted.

As shown by researchers, this is exactly what caffeine was able to do:

The percentage of follicles in catagen and anagen phases due to caffeine

When exposed to testosterone, the percentage of male and female hair follicles in anagen phase reduced dramatically (to 39% and 55%, respectively). When conincubated with caffeine, though, these percentages raised to 70% in men and to 63% and 65% in women.

This shows that caffeine can not only suppress DHT, but it can also make it possible for the hair follicles to function even in its presence.

Caffeine Stimulated Hair Matrix Keratinocyte Proliferation

The hair follicle is a complex organ, containing multiple parts that work together to produce hairs from the skin. One major component of the follicle is the hair matrix, which is where the hair shaft (and the inner and outer root sheaths) are actually produced.

Within the matrix are cells tasked with producing keratin, the protein that makes up the majority component of hair.

One major finding within this study was that caffeine actually stimulated the proliferation of keratinocytes.

An increase in keratinocyte proliferation due to caffeine

The above shows an increase in the presence of Ki-67, a protein that marks cellular proliferation. As the concentration of caffeine goes up, so too does the amount of Ki-67 present within the follicles.

What does this mean for hair growth?

If keratin is necessary for the growth of hair, then an increased presence of keratin-producing cells can be beneficial during the anagen phase of hair growth. This can lead to more hairs being produced over time.

It Can Be Absorbed Through the Scalp

Caffeine can be absorbed through the scalp! Amazing, right?

But how did this discovery come to be?

Researchers from Berlin, Germany and Tashkent, Uzbekistan recruited six healthy, Caucasian men to take part in their study. The goal was to determine the ability of caffeine to penetrate the skin and absorb into the hair follicles.

The six volunteers underwent two separate experiments, which took place one week apart:

  1. In the first experiment, a shampoo with caffeine (1%) was applied to a test area on their chest. The follicles in this area remained open.
  2. In the second experiment, a shampoo with caffeine (1%) was applied to a test area on their chest. The follicles were then closed with a varnish-wax mixture.

Each volunteer had their caffeine levels tested via blood test before beginning.

The shampoo was washed away after two minutes, and blood samples were taken at 5, 10, 20 and 30 minutes, as well as 1, 2, 5, 8, 24 and 72 hours after the caffeine shampoo application.

In the first group, it was found that caffeine levels could be detected in the blood as early as five minutes post application. The concentration showed at 6.3 ng/ml.

In the second group, though, caffeine levels were only detected once 30 minutes had passed. Researchers theorized that the inability to permeate the follicles significantly slowed its absorption (as its only way through was the skin).

A comparison of caffeine levels in the bloodstream between open and closed hair follicles

This shows that, when in the presence of follicles, caffeine is able to be significantly absorbed. This makes it a great addition to shampoos, which is why I included it in my own Grogenix line.

What Amount of Caffeine is Healthy for Your Hair?

Scientists estimate that you’d have to consume about 60 cups of coffee (the main source of caffeine) for you to ensure that the amount reaching the hair follicles is significant.

However, that would be a detriment to your body and would put you at risk of a heart attack. It is also known to be addictive: if you take more than two cups a day, you can form a dependence and might experience headaches, anxiety, or even depression.

So, instead of taking caffeine in the form of drinks, a caffeine-rich solution rubbed on your scalp would be the best treatment for your hair. Luckily, there are caffeinated shampoos out there that you can readily buy.

Moreover, you can make your own coffee oil shampoo at home.

A Simple Coffee Oil Shampoo

Coffee grounds can be dried and infused into oil which can be rubbed on the scalp either directly or when combined with pre-made shampoo treatments and leave-in conditioners.


  • Green or roasted whole coffee beans (3 ounces)
  • Coconut oil (3 cups)


  • Pour the coconut oil into a small glass crock pot
  • Add the 3 ounces of coffee beans
  • Cover the beans and the oil and cook for approximately 5-6 hours over a slow heat. Regular checks might be necessary to ensure the oil and the beans do not burn up. Be sure to stir the mixture every half hour or so.
  • When the mixture is cooked, turn off the crock pot and use a paper coffee filter to strain the oil and remove the beans, which can now be disposed.
  • Pour the oil into a clean container, ready for use.
  • Apply the oil directly to the scalp, either on its own or combined with shampoo and leave it for 5-8 minutes.
  • Rinse thoroughly with plenty of cold water.


There is overwhelming evidence that strongly suggests caffeine is a good natural product for your hair.

Besides helping you to fight off scalp conditions like androgenetic alopecia, caffeine can help grow your hair quickly and also improve its vitality.

Its ability to penetrate the scalp pretty easily makes it a good addition to your favorite hair shampoo.

*This article was reviewed by Dr. Anil Simhadri

21 thoughts on “Caffeine and Hair Loss | 3 Ways To Use it for Thicker Hair Growth”

  1. You can buy liquid caffeine on the market. Is there any you would recommend as a more effective form from coffee?

    • I haven’t tried enough different products to recommend one, but make sure you look at the ingredients and that there are no additional chemicals added to the product.

      • The ingredients in liquid caffeine claim to be 100% pure caffeine.. Would this be worth a shot, or could it have adverse effects?

        • You would definately need to make sure you dilute it down using a carrier oil. You could try emu oil or magnesium oil instead.

        • You would definitely need to make sure you dilute it down using a carrier oil. You could try emu oil or magnesium oil instead.

  2. I will try that. Do I really need the coconut oil, or will it work with maybe egg white, for example?

    • I wouldn’t recommend egg white – that seems a bit messy. But if you try it and get good results then please let us know. Thanks Debra.

  3. In the video he said we have to target the hair bulb which is right at the end for caffeine or anything to be effective. How do we get it too reach the bulb wouldn’t we have to dermaroll with 2mm at least? Or is their another way.

    • Hi Jason,

      There is scientific evidence to suggest that caffeine can penetrate the scalp deeply enough to reach the hair follicle.

      While you can certainly use a dermaroller (and we highly recommend it), we’d suggest you only do so once per week. We’d also recommend you start at 1mm.



  4. I wouldn’t use anything oily as an oily scalp is not advised when you have alopecia. Moist scalp but not oily/ fat. I’ve been advised to wash my hair everyday in order to prevent scalp from getting oily ..

  5. Does drinking coffee have a prohibiting effect against DHT as well, or is it just when topically applied? I’m a bit confused because from my research I’ve seen that caffeine tips the body’s ph level away from alkaline, wouldn’t that contribute to hair loss?

    • I don’t think that drinking coffee would have a meaningful effect on bodily pH. I also don’t think it would prohibit DHT internally. Generally I’m not a fan of coffee, but thats more of a personal preference. I don’t think it hurts your hair to drink it. As long as it is not affecting your sleep or increasing your stress levels. If you need coffee in the morning then this may be a sign that your under-slept.

  6. I’ve heard coffee and cotton are some of the most ‘heavily sprayed’ crops. So these days I stay away from Starbucks and buy my own organic, ‘Bird friendly’ beans and limit myself to 2, maybe three cups a day. Aside from your findings, I’ve noticed my hair feels thinner, softer, maybe even more silky when I drink coffee. Really been wondering if it’s indeed effecting my hair loss/regrowth?
    Caffeine on Adrenal Gland hinders hair growth?
    Maybe hearing so from you would be just the nudge I need to finally quit once and for all.
    Thanks Will!

  7. Will the caffeine stimulate hair growth where it has thinned out, or just thicken hair you already have?

    • Hi Pam,

      Great question!

      The studies on the topic seem to indicate that caffeine is particularly good at increasing the length of hair. But one other finding, that caffeine “stimulated hair matrix keratinocyte proliferation” may indicate that it can also lead to thickening of the hair.

      If the hair follicles in the area you’re targeting are alive, even if they aren’t currently producing hair, then there’s a good chance that caffeine may help.



  8. I just saw the hair loss essential supplement. If I could only get one product, which would you recommend, the supplement, or the elixir? I am a woman with thinning hair.

    • Hi Pam, thanks for your question. Firstly I would make sure your nutrition is on-point, and also work on reducing your stress levels. After these are sorted then consider adding on of their Hairguard products to your regime.

  9. I have never drank coffee in my entire life until 3 months ago. I drink one cup of coffee in the morning to prevent a headache. And my hair has been falling out ever since! It has gotten so thin that I cannot style it any longer!


Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.