Caffeine Shampoo: Does Alpecin Work At Preventing Hair Loss?

Updated on April 25, 2016

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 although 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 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 ageold solution to 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.

Alpecin C1 Shampoo: Looks like a bottle of bicycle oil.
Alpecin C1 Shampoo: Looks like a bottle of bicycle oil. | Source

So what actually 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 the caffeine actually promotes hairgrowth and stengthens 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) - 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 minmium 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.

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 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. Dependent 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 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 affects.

Does Caffeine Shampoo Work For You?

Have you tried Alpecin C1 yet?

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Try It For Yourself!

Alpecin C1 Caffeine Shampoo Hair Energizer (250ml)
Alpecin C1 Caffeine Shampoo Hair Energizer (250ml)

Note to European customers: Alpecin is widely available in retailers throughout Europe. Check with your local shop.


Does Alpecin Work For You?

Have you tried caffeine shampoo? Does Alpecin work for you? Good or bad, share your comments below.

Questions & Answers


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      • profile image

        Nick 18 months ago

        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

      • profile image

        Domenico 19 months ago

        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 :/

      • profile image

        rogue g 21 months ago

        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,..

      • profile image

        jasmine 22 months ago

        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 profile image

        PAnderson1 2 years ago

        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.

      • Alexis Cogwell profile image

        Ashley Cogdill 2 years ago from Indiana/Chicagoland

        This has been an interesting concept for me. Thank you for providing more information on the topic. :)

      • Doc Wordinger profile image

        Doc Wordinger 2 years ago from Manchester, UK

        Thanks for your feedback White Plains

      • profile image

        white plains 3 years ago

        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

      • profile image

        Northerner 1999 3 years ago

        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 profile image

        Doc Wordinger 3 years ago from Manchester, UK

        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.

      • profile image

        James 3 years ago

        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 profile image

        Doc Wordinger 4 years ago from Manchester, UK

        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.

      • KawikaChann profile image

        KawikaChann 4 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place

        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 profile image

        Doc Wordinger 5 years ago from Manchester, UK

        Haha better to be Bieber than Bald, no? Thanks for your comment.

      • profile image

        Anonymous 5 years ago

        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 profile image

        Doc Wordinger 5 years ago from Manchester, UK

        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.

      • profile image

        B.Sasse 5 years ago

        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, but it seems a bit spendy to keep up.

      • Doc Wordinger profile image

        Doc Wordinger 5 years ago from Manchester, UK

        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 profile image

        Richycholmes 5 years ago from Moseley, Birmingham, England

        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 profile image

        Doc Wordinger 5 years ago from Manchester, UK

        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 profile image

        Richycholmes 5 years ago from Moseley, Birmingham, England

        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 profile image

        Doc Wordinger 6 years ago from Manchester, UK

        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.

      • xstatic profile image

        Jim Higgins 6 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

        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?