Fortero Shampoo Review: Carbonic Acid for Hair Loss?

Fortero Shampoo Review: Carbonic Acid for Hair Loss?

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Fortero is a shampoo brand that’s used to stimulate hair growth. The brand claims that “The War Against Hair Loss Just Got Winnable” and that “carbonic acid shampoo stops men’s hair loss.”

But what is carbonic acid and can it really treat hair loss? Does Fortero Shampoo contain any other effective ingredients? Does it contain any harmful ingredients? And how do real users rate this shampoo and describe its effects?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we analyze the ingredients in Fortero Shampoo based on medical research to give our take on whether or not the shampoo is likely to be effective for weight loss.

We’ll explain why we don’t believe Fortero’s claims about carbonic acid, share our concerns about some of the brand’s marketing practices, and highlight real, unsponsored user reviews of Fortero Shampoo.

Ingredient Analysis

Fortero Shampoo ingredients

Fortero Shampoo contains a large number of ingredients, shown above. You will note that there is no listing of “carbonic acid,” the ingredient that the brand makes reference to throughout their marketing materials.

This is because carbonic acid only exists at room temperature for fractions of a second, according to UC Berkeley researchers, and is therefore not a suitable or logical ingredient for a shampoo formulation.

Fortero’s own ingredients list proves that there is no carbonic acid in this product, so we are confused about why the brand uses this chemical compound as the core of so much of their marketing.

This shampoo does contain some ingredients with research backing for natural hair growth.

Peppermint oil was shown in a clinical trial published in the Toxicological Research journal to cause hair growth when applied topically.

After 4 weeks, the animals receiving the topical peppermint oil treatment had 740% more hair follicles than the control group, and the treatment was found to be equally effective to minoxidil, which is the drug ingredient in hair growth products like Rogaine.

Hair follicle count in humans is determined at birth, but this study does suggest that this treatment may improve the speed and length of hair growth.

Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) extract was shown in a clinical trial published in the Phytotherapy Research journal to promote hair growth.

Serenoa serrulata extract has been shown to regenerate hair in clinical research, as we documented in our review of Routine Shampoo and Conditioner.

Caffeine was shown in a 2020 medical review to slow or even stop the progression of hair loss when applied topically.

Overall we consider this to be a very well-formulated product for natural hair loss. It’s unfortunate that the brand makes such strange claims about carbonic acid because otherwise this is one of the best-formulated hair loss shampoos we’ve reviewed on Illuminate Health.

There are no questionable additive ingredients in Fortero Shampoo like artificial dyes or fragrances, and we consider this shampoo likely to be effective at stopping or slowing the progression of hair loss, given that it contains multiple research-backed ingredients.

Is Fortero Lying About Media Appearances?

Fortero’s website claims that the brand has been “Featured In” four major media brands: GQ, Men’s Journal, GolfDigest and WIRED.

Fortero has never once been mentioned on the GQ website:

Fortero questionable media claim 1

Fortero has never once been mentioned on the GolfDigest website:

Fortero questionable media claim 2

Fortero has never once been mentioned on the WIRED website:

Fortero questionable media claim 3

The brand has been mentioned once on Men’s Journal in a sponsored piece, meaning the brands involved, or their PR firms, paid the journal for this inclusion.

Perhaps Fortero was featured in the print rather than online versions of these publishers, but we hope the brand clarifies this because this seems like a red flag.

Real Person Tests Fortero Shampoo

A YouTube creator called “GQReviews & Style” published a video on Fortero including an unboxing, a product demonstration, and an overall verdict on whether the product is worth the money:

Highly Questionable Health Claims on Fortero Website

Fortero questionable health claim 1

Fortero claims that “a large reason that men deal with hair loss is that the hair roots are buried under layers of dirt and grime.” There is no citation for this claim and we have not come across any medical evidence that male pattern baldness is caused by trapped dirt.

Male pattern baldness is a pretty well-researched and well-understood phenomenon, and is primarily hormonal. 

A 2022 medical review describes how hair follicles miniaturize due to the influence of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is a hormone that testosterone converts into. As documented in the linked study, pattern baldness “is a genetically predetermined disorder due to excessive response to androgens which affects up to 50% of males and females.”

Fortero questionable health claim 2

In the “Help Center” section of their site, Fortero claims that “according to the research, our products must be used continuously to see the best results.” There is no citation for this claim.

Our question is: according to what research? Fortero does not appear to have been tested in any clinical trials, so this sounds like a marketing claim disguised as a health claim to sell more products.

We recommend that consumers be wary about health claims made by brands that provide no proof of such claims.

Real Customer Reviews of Fortero Shampoo

Fortero Shampoo is sold on Amazon, which is a more objective resource for customer reviews than a brand’s website in our opinion.

The product has an average review rating of 3.2 out of 5 stars with over 100 total reviews.

The top positive review from a verified purchaser comes from a user named “daniel irizarryponce” who strangely gave the product a 5-star rating while claiming it hasn’t worked yet:

“It feels nice I haven’t seen results yet though”

The top negative review from a verified purchaser is written by a user named “michael simoni” who claims the product is ineffective for hair loss:

“I used this product every day until the can was empty, zero results other then a coolness on the scalp which did nothing for hair loss!!! And the cost is ridiculous.”

Where to Get the Best Price

Fortero Shampoo is sold online at a variety of retailers. Here’s the price breakdown at the time of publishing this article:

Amazon: $61.95 (link)

Brand website: $49 (plus shipping, link)

Walmart: $49 (free shipping, link)

Walmart is currently the best option for purchasing Fortero Shampoo.

Our Clean Hair Care Picks

Ingreendients Daily Shampoo is our top shampoo pick.

It's formulated 100% from plants and contains research-backed active ingredients like acetic acid, derived from apple cider vinegar (ACV), which researchers suggest "can condition hair making it softer, silkier, shinier."

Happy Head Topical is our top premium hair growth solution.

This formulation uses FDA-approved hair loss ingredients like minoxidil which is clinically shown to increase hair count by 11%.

Momentous Zinc is our top value hair growth solution.

A 2022 medical review on the use of zinc in dermatology concluded that "This review has found evidence to support the use of hair loss disorders."

All of the products recommended in this section are entirely free of ingredients we consider to be unhealthy.

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews


Fortero Shampoo is a strange product. It’s actually well-formulated and we believe it may be effective for the natural treatment of hair loss given that it contains several ingredients shown in clinical trials to be effective at stimulating hair growth and slowing or stopping the progression of hair loss.

However, the brand centers their marketing on a compound called carbonic acid which doesn’t appear to exist at room temperature. Like the other carbonic acid shampoo brand we reviewed called Simfort Shampoo, Fortero provies no clinical evidence that carbonic acid is effective against hair loss, or that it exists at room temperature, and this ingredient is not on the product’s ingredient list.

We don’t currently recommend this product due to the ingredient discrepancy and due to some of the strange marketing claims made by the brand, but Fortero Shampoo is free of any questionable or harmful additive ingredients which is a good thing.

User reviews on Amazon for this product are relatively negative compared to most shampoo brands we’ve reviewed.