Doc Wordinger lives and works in central Manchester. He has a fondness for golf, poker, fine literature, art, and film.
Does Alpecin Actually Work? My Personal Review of Caffeine Shampoo
One of the more recent products on the male hair loss market is Alpecin C1, a shampoo containing... caffeine! Strange, you might think, but does it work? My own experience has produced some encouraging results.
About five years ago, a small bald patch started forming on the crown of my head. Soon afterwards, the hair at the front of my scalp started thinning too, thankfully with less enthusiasm than the bald patch. "Oh well," I thought. "Goodbye hair. You've been unruly and impossible but I've loved you all the same."
I wasn't overly concerned at first but the mischievous nature of my hair loss started to suggest that I was heading for a Friar Tuck-inspired disaster. This clearly wasn't acceptable. The Friar Tuck look has no place in a post-15th century, non-Sherwood Forest society.
The alternatives weren't appealing either. No way was I going to shave all my remaining hair off. That seemed too drastic and foolhardy. And I'm not the kind of person to take hair loss pills or consult a witch doctor either.
My gently receding hairline was a tolerable part of the aging process but the widening bald patch was simply too unsettling to ignore. Looking like the portly drunk member of Robin Hood's Merry Men was not how I'd envisioned myself in middle age. Faced with this looming problem, I turned to the age-old solution to the male crisis: I buried my head in the sand and prayed for a miracle.
In the meantime, my girlfriend began talking about this wonder shampoo that her cousins were using in Germany. It contained caffeine, she said, and apparently her cousins all had thick bushy afros thanks to this magic elixir. I laughed and thought about Germans tipping jugs of black coffee over their hair. Skeptical, I vowed to forget about such folly.
Four months ago, while shopping for toiletries, I came across this caffeine shampoo in the hair section. It caught my attention because it looked like a bottle of bicycle oil had been accidentally placed amongst the hair products. But the words 'caffeine shampoo,' 'hair energizer,' 'reduces hair loss,' 'stimulates hair roots' were all clearly printed across the bottle, which distinctly affirmed that it was not bicycle oil. This was Alpecin C1, the legendary caffeine shampoo. "What the heck," I thought, "why not?!" So I bought the shampoo and felt like a dupe.
So What Is Alpecin Caffeine Shampoo and How Does It Prevent Hair Loss?
Alpecin C1 is a shampoo that contains caffeine. Pretty weird, huh? I mean, why put caffeine in a shampoo? Well, Dr Wolff-Research, the people behind the product, claims that caffeine actually promotes hair growth and strengthens hair.
Alpecin caffeine shampoo is targeted at men who are losing their hair to male pattern baldness (also known by the sexier term Androgenetic Alopecia). This covers about 80% of all male hair loss victims. Hair loss in men occurs when the hair follicles (which grow the hair and hold it in place) start to shrink. Shrinking hair follicles leads to thinner, shorter hair, which eventually stops bothering to grow at all. For this, you can thank your genes and hormones, notably dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is converted from testosterone.
According to Dr Wolff-Research, Alpecin C1 works by penetrating the hair follicles with caffeine. By leaving the shampoo on your head for a minimum of 120 seconds, the caffeine is transported into the follicles where it stimulates growth and counteracts the undesirable effects of testosterone.
Although it only takes two minutes for the caffeine to be absorbed, leaving it sitting on your head for longer—5, 10, even 20 minutes—before rinsing it out results in larger quantities of caffeine being absorbed by the follicles. It is also recommended that you use the shampoo on a daily basis because the caffeine only remains active for 24 hours.
Alpecin C1: My New Shampoo
The guidelines on the back of the bottle advocate daily use, leaving it in your hair for at least two minutes before rinsing.
I decided that the logistics of my morning shower did indeed permit the necessary two minutes but using it on a daily basis seemed extreme. After consideration, I opted to use it every second day.
If there's one instant gratification from the shampoo, it's the cold, tingling sensation that spreads across your scalp; perfect for a dreary-eyed morning. It's similar to the feeling that you get from rubbing Vicks Vaporub on your skin but doesn't last as long.
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My shower duration is usually around the three- or four-minute mark, so this gives me ample time to let the caffeine absorb. But I've heard horror stories about hardcore hair fanatics sitting down to breakfast each morning wearing a helmet of Alpecin C1, then washing it out 30 minutes later. There's nothing to stop you from doing this (except possibly a sensitive scalp) and the back of the bottle does claim that longer exposure yields greater results. Personally, I'm not so much of an extremist and if the basic two- or three-minute application procedure didn't produce the desired outcome, I would probably have given up and gone back to Head and Shoulders with my tail between my legs.
Alpecin C1: Scam or Saviour?
So, does Alpecin work? Having used it for about four months, on alternative days, for two or three minutes at a time, I can reveal with a certain amount of confidence that less of my hair is falling out. Although I wasn't shedding hair by the fistful before I started using Alpecin, it does seem to have halted the very moderate loss I was suffering before.
A quick search of the internet shows that although caffeine shampoo has its skeptics and detractors, the majority of Alpecin reviews are positive.
My recommendation would be to give it a try for a few months and see what happens. Depending on the scale of your hair loss, experiment with how often you use the product and how long you leave it on your scalp before washing it out. Although the instructions on the bottle prescribe daily use (apparently the caffeine is only effective for 24 hours) my own experience suggests that anyone suffering non-profuse hair loss might be able to limit its application to alternative days. At double the cost of regular shampoo (in the UK) this stuff doesn't come cheap. Using it sparingly has the added bonus of saving you money.
If you have a sensitive scalp then it would be advisable to start by using it on alternative days and upping the dosage if you don't experience any adverse effects.
Does Alpecin Work For You?
Have you tried caffeine shampoo? Does Alpecin work for you? Good or bad, share your comments below.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Freya Hanz on February 19, 2020:
So meaning - I can apply some coffee grounds on my hair? I have a lot of "used" coffee grounds stored inside my fridge.
John on February 13, 2020:
I've tried out many hair loss shampoos, lotions, pills, treatments etc over the last 10 years and seen varying results. Alpecin is one of the better ones but could be even better with a slight tweak to the formula...but first I apply Alpecin and leave it on for 2-3 minutes every morning when in the shower, and wash out. In only a few weeks I feel like my hair is falling much less than before.
The one issue I have with it is that it dries out my scalp a lot, causing mild dandruff. I asked around in online forums after coming across other people experiencing same and the consensus is its probably due to the Sodium lauryl Sulfate (SLS) detergent in here. Who knows? I use Divine Herbal's Hair Oil on my scalp at night to counteract any dryness/dandruff and it seems to be re-growing hair on my crown area too. Hope they reformulate this shampoo as most companies are phasing that ingredient out nowadays. Other than that its a good product and excellent value for money.
SeanMohamad on September 14, 2019:
I have never used the Alpecin Caffein C1 yet, but I am using the Alpecin Hybrid Shampoo together with the Alpecin Caffeine Liquid. I discover that several years ago, I began to loose hair and it was fast actually. My front and center heard were bold and there are little of baby hair left. So I decided to shave my head every months for several years until recently. I did go to see a professionals in my country and even asked for doctors advice, but nothing helps. My head began to bothered me when I faced almost every time of the day even during sleeping at night skin hair pains and itchiness. I tried both modern and traditional method including squeezing lime juice on my scalp. It relief, but for 5 minutes, I was so desperate as my head beginning to sweat excessively almost all day long. One company here said that they can treat my condition but it cost me a total of 10,000 in a year. I was surprised and I cancel it. Recently, about 2 months ago, I received an email looking for product tester and I just fill up details and agreed, caused it was free. And surprisingly, from the first morning I apply it on my head, 2 minutes after and for the rest of the day, I faced none of the problems I had before. That night, I do research and I found out about Caffeine Liquid, So I order it and been using it everyday ever since. The combinations of the two products has change my life and helps me a lot. I am thankful that I finally find a remedy and a product for daily use. Thank you alpecin, now my hair grows healthy, and no more premature hair lost. I am from Malaysia and I guess Alpecin helps me.
Neil on August 11, 2018:
I used to be very vain about my hair, unfortunately started going thin around my crown in my late 20s. I'm 34 now and have a nice bald patch round my crown and a line of thin-ness running down the middle of my scalp. I persevered with my hair for as long as I could, trying to hide the loss as much as possible but finally gave up as it was beginning to look like an obvious combover. Started shaving my head about 2 & a half years ago. I've thought about buying products like this, or even Regaine, especially when it first started, but ultimately I feel much better owning my baldness.
Nick on October 02, 2016:
Just turned 31 and I started using Alpecin. I can't wait to see what will happen. I would like to share a few products, the Dermocan-horse shampoo, that prevented my further hair loss, and the Antisedin that my father uses to return his original hair colour. Also I found a chineese shampoo that prevents hair loss, but haven't tried it yet - TianDe Master Herb
Domenico on September 02, 2016:
TO me it stopped the hair loss, and made my hair thickker, but after 2 months I realized that my scalp was very irritated and I wanted to scratch it everytime.
After 3 months realized I had lot of dandruff , probably pieces of dry scalp.
I stopped it, and i stopped having these problems. SO I have to decide if I want stronger hair or clean :/
rogue g on July 20, 2016:
I am only just now seeing the results of using the Somaluxe Shampoo (after about 1 month). I noticed that my hair isn't falling out like before,..
jasmine on June 17, 2016:
I'm a 21 year old woman and used it and my hair rapidly free I tell everyone about it I used it everyday in conjunction with coconut oil and in 6 months my hair was 3x the length and thick and healthy uv recently just start using again ad I died my hair with bleach and is very badly damaged iv been using for 3 weeks and already notice the big difference in length I 100% believe it works without a shadow of a doubt we'll for me anyway
PAnderson1 on April 15, 2016:
Amazing product ! It not only stopped any hair loss my hair has returned to what it was in my 20's I am now 50 and I have a full head of very thick hair. I would point out that I did start with Propecia fairly early on when I begun worrying about hair loss, (start as soon as you notice and then you minimise any hair loss) but gradually weaned myself off that when I discovered this shampoo. I get regular comments about my thick head of hair. Now can you come up with a product that reverses the greying process. I have learnt to embrace my silver fox status but that doesn't mean I wouldn't want my original hair colour back. But hey grey hair is better than no hair, for me any way.
Ashley Ferguson from Indiana/Chicagoland on February 18, 2016:
This has been an interesting concept for me. Thank you for providing more information on the topic. :)
Doc Wordinger (author) from Manchester, UK on June 09, 2015:
Thanks for your feedback White Plains
white plains on April 02, 2015:
Hair loss runs in my family. I'm 26 years old and I started to lose my hair right after high school. My hairline started to recede and was becoming thin around the temple area. I've been using the Shielo Volume Shampoo now for 4-5 months now and I love it!
Once I started using this shampoo with the conditioner as well, I've noticed a HUGE difference! My hair stopped falling out. My hair grows faster and its thicker....Don't expect this to grow hair where you lost it. It's not going to happen. But to stop and prevent hair from falling out, this is the stuff for you
Northerner 1999 on September 17, 2014:
Is Alpecin still working for you? I have been using the C1 Shampoo and Liquid daily for two and a half years. I have had some good results with it, but early this year it seemed to lose its effectiveness, then picked up again. Lately it seems that it is losing its effectiveness again and the hair is going thinner where I apply it. I don't know if this is the temporary 'shedding' that is described in the FAQ's on the Alpecin site or not, or I have just built up a tolerance to the stuff. Any info would be grateful from yourself or any other users.
Doc Wordinger (author) from Manchester, UK on August 05, 2014:
Thanks for your comment James. Anything that prevents a ten car collision on a busy road on a sunny day has to be a good thing.
James on July 17, 2014:
Very amusing posts guys. I use the stuff regularly - plus the clear liquid. The jury is out on whether it eorks for me but anything is worth a try when one is at risk of blinding passing motorists with the glare off my napper
Doc Wordinger (author) from Manchester, UK on May 19, 2013:
Thanks for reading and commenting, KawikaChann. Have you tried researching some of the other hair loss products on the market? There are many other options available (although some are quite costly) that have pretty good success rates. Good luck.
Kawika Chann from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place on May 06, 2013:
What's up Doc? Nice article, although I am also going through the phases of hair loss, my wife doesn't want me to shave my head. I think I'll wait for the sure-shot remedy that's quickly approaching. It's gotta be! Can you imagine the guy that comes up with a remedy that works within weeks??? It's coming men! Sooner than later, there's too much money to be made for scientists to let this one go by... Nicely done Doc, upvoted/useful/following. Peace. Kawi.
Doc Wordinger (author) from Manchester, UK on February 05, 2013:
Haha better to be Bieber than Bald, no? Thanks for your comment.
Anonymous on January 29, 2013:
I'm youngish, just 24 and I have used it in the past, just started again now. I think it works, it drastically enocurages hair growth, although I cannot vouch for whether it prevents hair loss, but beware- it gave me bieber hair!
Doc Wordinger (author) from Manchester, UK on September 13, 2012:
Thanks for reading B.Sasse and leaving your comment. My own experimentation in hair retention is limited to Alpecin and it appears to be working. If my bald patch does start widening again, I think I'll just surrender. I can't see myself trying other, more expensive products but I can't rule it out completely. Can any other readers provide some feedback on Regenepure? It retails for between £15 and £20 here in the UK according to a quick Google search. To borrow your own phrase, that's very spendy.
B.Sasse on September 13, 2012:
I haven't heard of this one yet, but I do like caffeine shampoos for hair loss. Niacin is another good ingredient to look for as well. Has anyone else used regenepure? I just started using it (for the caffeine), and was wondering if others like it? I bought it from regenepure.com, but it seems a bit spendy to keep up.
Doc Wordinger (author) from Manchester, UK on May 10, 2012:
Haha thanks for the link Richy. That mouse didn't look too happy with its new haircut.
I'm close to you in age and I'd like to hang on to my hair until I'm 50 too. After that it can do whatever it wants.
Richycholmes from Moseley, Birmingham, England on May 09, 2012:
Doc, they have done it on rats mate here is the link. Its not that far off bud:
In a way I feel like once I hit 50 I am less likely to care but I am only 32 and recently single again so it's a confidence thing.
Have a good one bud
Doc Wordinger (author) from Manchester, UK on May 09, 2012:
Thanks for your comment Richy. I'm not sure about Stem Cell. I always figured that was something for the distant future, something to help paraplegics walk again and deaf people hear. I never connected it to hair regrowth.
When, and if, my hair completely disappears, I'm not sure I'd want to regrow it anyway. I'm just trying to find a few preventative measures so I can buy myself a few extra years. Alpecin definitely seems to be working so far.
I hope you find something that works for you. Thanks again for your comment.
Richycholmes from Moseley, Birmingham, England on May 09, 2012:
I am receding from the front right now and I do not care what any guy says it does really hit your confidence.
I have used this in the past and I have to say that my hair did grow quicker but it is hard to tell whether it had a great impact on further loss.
The good news is that Stem Cell research is moving at a massive rate now so hopefully a cure will be available for all soon.
Doc Wordinger (author) from Manchester, UK on April 18, 2012:
Thanks for your comment xstatic. I don't expect Alpecin to fertilise my scalp into sprouting an Afro, however it does seem to be doing a good job of keeping the remaining hairs in my head where I hope they'll stay for a few years yet. Any news (such as the appearance of aforementioned Afro) and I'll update this hub.
Jim Higgins from Eugene, Oregon on April 17, 2012:
If only I had heard of it 30 years ago! I'm afraid the follicles are long past reviving now. Sounds interesting though, maybe an update at the one year mark?