I Used a Drugstore ‘Anti-Breakage’ Shampoo for 2 Weeks, and My Fine, Thin Hair Looks Noticeably Thicker

Photo: Getty Images/ Goodboy Picture Company
When a recent consumer panel revealed half of all U.S. women have fine or thin hair impacted by breakage—and two out of three of them don’t do anything about it because they don’t know how—Nexxus's scientists sprang into action to find a fix. Their work focused on studying hair proteins to identify the underlying causes of breakage, and what they discovered in the process led to the formulation of the brand's new Unbreakable Care Collection, a three-step system designed to build fullness and keep fine hair intact.

Through proteomics (a fancy term for "protein science analysis"), researchers found that fine hair has a smaller inner core, thinner protective outer cuticle layer, and 40 percent less protein than thick hair. And according to Janel Parker Sr., Nexxus's brand manager, this combination of factors makes fine hair 10 times more prone to breakage than any other hair type.

To combat this, the Unbreakable Care line—which includes a shampoo, conditioner, and root thickening spray—targets breakage at the molecular level by infusing strands with a blend of proteins that thin hair typically lacks. “Knowing that fine hair is 10 times more prone to breakage, we used our Nexxus protein science expertise to distinguish which amino acid—or protein building block—is most prominent in hair’s inner core," says Parker. The winner? Arginine.

With that in mind, the Unbreakable Care products hero natural proteins that are high in arginine, including advanced keratin (which strengthens hair bonds and protects the cuticle from breakage) and spirulina (a microalgae superfood that's packed with hair-strengthening nutrients). The formulas also contain biotin, an essential vitamin that plays a role in hair and scalp health and helps contribute to growth, fullness, and shine; and collagen which combats free radical damage and enhances hair’s elasticity, flexibility, and strength. The line’s products are paraben free and suitable for all hair types, including chemically treated or colored hair.

According to the brand, visible benefits should occur after one wash, while strengthening benefits are most prominent after one week. And the best part? All of the products are under $17.

Putting it to the test

“Women with fine, thin hair most often complain their hair lacks body, thickness, and overall volume. They find it difficult to create volume and have it hold throughout the day,” says Parker. “In order to try to achieve these goals, women use volumizing products that tend to dry and stiffen hair to create friction, which then gives visible volume. This ends up causing hair breakage which starts a vicious cycle of trying more and more volumizing techniques but ending up with more and more breakage.”

I have fine, thin hair that regularly falls flat and struggles to hold a ponytail, and can certainly relate to this "cycle" Parker's talking about. I haven't found many drugstore-priced hair products that give my strands the type of lift I'm looking for, so I was eager to put the Nexxus Unbreakable Care line to the test.

The first thing that struck me about the shampoo and conditioner was their absolutely fantastic scent, which felt far more expensive than their $17 price tags. I loved getting out of the shower with my hair smelling like it does after leaving the salon.

As far as the actual benefits go, the products lived up to the brand's promises. After the first wash, my hair looked thicker, and after about two weeks of using the whole three-step system, my hair was noticeably fuller—so much so that it even garnered a couple of compliments. I also appreciated that the products lived up to their billing of  "weightless." I can’t count how many times I’ve used products labeled as “volumizing” that instead weighed my hair down and made it look lifeless. In this aspect, the collection delivered, leaving my hair feeling lighter even though it looked fuller. The Root Lift Thickening Spray was “non-sticky” and did the job without leaving my hair looking oily at the roots, like some sprays.

I also found I could go longer than my typical one to two days between washes and still have hair that looked presentable enough to go out in public. Although the system is appropriate for daily use, I was pleasantly surprised I didn’t need to use it that often. While I can’t change the fact genetics gave me fine hair, now I know I can change what I do about it, and Unbreakable Care will continue to be a part of that going forward.

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