Alpecin Shampoo Review

The Giant-Alpecin team is off to a great start with Marcel Kittel winning the first race of the year. New for 2015 is sponsor Alpecin, a brand of shampoo from Germany. It’s got caffeine inside, the idea is it will stimulate the roots of your hair. Does it work?

Dr. August Wolff started out making pharmaceuticals in 1905 and Alpecin appeared in 1930, designed to help combat dandruff. Today over two million bottles are sold a year in Germany and the company is launching its product around the world and the cycling team is part of the marketing effort.

Unique Selling Point
It’s got caffeine inside. Does it allow you to shorten the morning routine by combining your shower with an espresso? Luckily not as the stimulant is absorbed into the hair follicles rather than going direct to gut or bloodstream plus the caffeine content is smaller, about one fifth of a cup of coffee per rinse. There is a label on back warning athletes “Alpecin Caffeine can be detected in hair follicles” but don’t get yourself in a lather as caffeine’s no longer WADA’s banned list.

Cheapskates beware because the Alpecin website advises that massaging coffee grounds into your head won’t help stimulate the roots much. The shampoo has a galenic formulation to help transfer the active ingredient to the roots of the air. Some can get a headache from caffeine but having tried it there was no immediate effect.

The Science Bit
If this was a TV an actress would appear wearing glasses and a white lab coat to accompany fast-moving on-screen charts showing good things happening. But you’ll have to make do with plain text on this blog. Like most shampoos, Alpecin has the usual cleansers and surfactants and contains more parabens than a Portuguese awards ceremony.

The big deal is the caffeine ingredient. The idea is lab tests on in vitro hair roots demonstrate caffeine provides protection against the hormone testosterone, a possible cause of hair loss – ask many a balding pro cyclist from the 1990s. These lab tests are suggestions and not the stuff of three-phase clinical trials so it’s possible, but not proven. Perhaps if you’re losing your hair you’ll try anything. But it did make me worry, you’re supposed to let the caffeine soak in for two minutes but be sure to rinse your hands while waiting and keep the suds off your neck otherwise you might end up looking like Laurent Brochard.

The Test
A lot easier than riding up the Zoncolan or parsing the accounts of Team Sky. A missed airport connection the other day resulted in vouchers to buy toiletries at the airport and a purchase duly followed.

The red and gunmetal blue lend a masculine touch and the bottle has a solid feel. There’s a spout rather than a screwtop. The shampoo is perfumed but not too strong. It lathers up in no time, only a small amount is needed to get it frothing like a cappuccino. Despite the caffeine content there’s no post-shower buzz, it’s not embrocation for your head.

Haircare and champion cyclists, a long story

The caffeine is the unique selling point but there’s no noticeable buzz. Does it work? Yes, it’ll wash your hair but anything more isn’t certain and it won’t replace an espresso in the morning either. If it doesn’t make your hair spout, purchasing a bottle will stimulate the sport of cycling.

44 thoughts on “Alpecin Shampoo Review”

    • Good stuff. I am now going to see if I can replace my hair dye with coffee grounds followed by a lemon juice bleach for the streaks. A couple of crushed beetles should add a bit of red and squid ink for blue, and I will stand out for the cameras, by the finish line of the TDU 2016!

      • Reviews should include:
        – Buying lottery tickets (FdJ, Lotto, LottoNL)
        – Renting a car at Europcar
        – Purchasing a Movistar mobile phone (and trying to get out of your contract)
        – Installing Quick-Step flooring in your home
        – Using Lampre steel in a construction project
        – Getting a subscription to Sky TV services (and again, trying to break your contract)
        – Traveling to Kazakhstan
        – Getting a Tinkoff credit card (evaluate the rewards!)

        However, don’t bother with the teams that are sponsored by bike manufacturers. That’s what Bicycling magazine is for.

        • You can combine buying lottery tickets from the two national lotteries with trading foreign currencies with Saxo Bank all in the one review. As a way to make money, all three options are essentially equivalent…

        • Turns out I’ve had some Quick Step flooring installed in my home – in my attic conversion. It was budget flooring but reasonably good quality suitable for the purpose. I am however way beyond the need to put caffeine in my hair.

          Supplements of many varieties with dubious claims are pretty common as sponsors of cyclists (and other athletes and teams).

          Ergogenic effect of such is typically inversely proportional to the marketing budget.

  1. A bit ‘flaky’ read, but very stimulating… When will the Starbucks version be out in the States, I wonder. But the real question, is the caffeine organic and from coffee beans that have been harvested ethically with no harm to the trees, being only those beans that have fallen to the ground naturally?

    And can you use this as hair coloring, to hide the grey?

    First blood doping, now hair doping. The old East Germany was probably on to this ages ago.

  2. Is there a contractual link between Alpecin’s sponsorship and Kittel’s hairstyle? In other words, would Alpecin ever sponsor a team lead by Chris Horner?

    Thanks for not posting photos of your 2-minute-delay clinical trial πŸ˜‰

    • If alpecin could resurrect Chris Horner’s hair as spectacularly as he resurrected his career on the Angliru, they really would be onto something. Although there would certainly be demands for him to publish his data to make it believable!

  3. Poulidor in the old advert looks like he had quite the head of hair in his heydays–enough to give Kittel a good run for the money! Nice article…^.^

  4. ‘…but don’t get yourself in a lather…’
    predictable but still amusing

    ‘…contains more parabens than a Portuguese awards ceremony…’
    much more hilarious and up to your usual standards

    Excellent review!

    • you could try it, and could end up with a full head of hair that continues over your shoulders, down your back and over your, whatever you cyclists (I am just a spectator) call your buttock muscles. πŸ˜†

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