3 Hair Thickening Ingredients that Actually Work!

Skin Care


When I was a child, I used to envy other girls who were born with nice, thick hair that never seemed to fall into piecey-looking strands. “Don’t worry,” my mother would say, “yours will grow in thicker.” Well, with yet another birthday approaching next week (with no less than twenty-seven candles), it’s suddenly occurred to me: this is it. So it’s time to make the most of what I’ve been given with the following ingredients.

1.  Poly Beta Amino Ester-1

The Langer lab (at MIT) developed poly beta amino ester-1, an ingredient that coats each hair shaft with “thickening points” that essentially work like Post-It notes, grabbing at one another while leaving space between each strand. In essence, this means you get all of the punch (volume) with none of the crunch (stickiness)! The ingredient is available in Living Proof Full Thickening Cream ($28, amazon.com) and all of the Living Proof products.

I’ve used Living Proof Full Thickening Cream on the crown of my head for a few months now. From my personal experience, it is best to use only a small amount of Living Proof Full Thickening Cream evenly on your hair, or else your hair will look more “wet” than “thick.” I’ve also noticed better results from the Living Proof Full Thickening Cream than the shampoo or the conditioner.

2.  Intra-Cylane

Cosmetic giant L’Oréal introduced the Fiberceutic line ($19.99, amazon.com), which fills the hair with Intra-Cylane, a flexible soft fiber. Activated by water, Intra-Cylane deposits in the hair as evaporation takes place. It is designed to help reinforce the protective keratin layer of hair. According to L’Oréal celebrity stylist Eva Scrivo, “L’Oréal’s Fiberceutic line is similar to Restylane or Juvederm in its effect…similar to how these fillers help to plump and smooth the lines on the face, Intra-Cylane fills each hair strand with a flexible soft fiber, increasing the density.” If the strand-plumping Fiberceutic line is used first, followed by the strand-separating Living Proof products, hair can seem quite a bit thicker!

3. Viviscal®

Viviscal®, a marine protein supplement, is the currently the best-selling supplement worldwide. Although it has been around for years, it recently gained popularity as Hollywood stylists started using it on celebrities like Kate Hudson (In StyleMakeover, 2011). Viviscal® has been shown to treat alopecia areata and androgen-related hair loss in a 1992 study in the Journal of International Medical Research. It has been suggested that marine protein may provide missing amino acids to the hair follicle that aid in hair growth (Journal of International Medical Research, 1992). It has also been hypothesized the silica compound component of Viviscal® may be important, as silica supplements have been associated with increased hair growth, though there are few studies to substantiate this (Hair Savers for Women, 2000).  At any rate, a few readers have written to me after my first review of Viviscal® and have told me they noticed thicker and/or longer hair in five to eight weeks.

[Related: Do Hair Growth Supplements Really Work?]

Bottom Line

You don’t have to resort to hair extensions if you want thicker hair;  the developments of poly amino beta ester-1, Intra-Cyclane, and Viviscal can make your own hair thicker!

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  • kev

    am 24 yrs male and am black afro…my hair is the typical kinky type and i want a product that will transform it to something like abit indian american or asian..(you get me)…i dont want to do the weekly chemical and such…something that will change my hair roots and follicle…is any of this 3 proucts ideal

  • Jakka

    What do you think of Shen min

  • @Mollance – The two biggest issues when it comes to hair color maintenance are: 1.) the pH of the products you are using; 2.) the amount of UV exposure that you get.

    When it comes to pH, most hair dyes are alkaline, which opens up the hair cuticle, allowing for color to be deposited. Afterwards, using acidic products can reclose the cuticle, allowing for the color to be “sealed.”

    UV exposure is also important, as UV light causes the hair color to fade. I like using hair sunscreen, like those from Redken and other brands.

    As for the treatments above, I think the Living Proof should be fine, as it deposits “space” between hairs and does not treat the hair itself. The Viviscal vitamins should be fine as well. There is a higher risk of losing color with the Intra-Cyclane, as you’re re-opening the hair cuticle, but I have a feeling it’s safe.

    Thanks for a great question!

  • Mollance

    Any idea which of these would be best for use with a semi-permanent dye? Just wondering which would leach the colour the least.

  • @Marlayna – LOL! So glad you like it! 🙂

  • Marlayna

    Ironic, but I have been using Viviscal for a couple of weeks and it works!!! Even a second layer of eye lashes have become more prominenet. Now, I purchased L’Oreal’s Fiberceutic and it is on my hair as I type. I am thinking about sleeping with this on my hair and hopefully, I will awaken with a new name: Rapunzel

  • Very nice suggestions. Please add the advice to take food that is rich in vitamin A,vitamin B complex, vitamin C, vitamin E, protein, omega 3 fatty acid, zinc and minerals.

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