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The best hair growth products for women, according to dermatologists and trichologists

If hair loss or thinning hair has you stressing over your tresses, stop and read this. We rounded up the best hair growth products for women, according to dermatologists and trichologists

The best hair growth products for women, according to dermatologists and trichologists

Here's some hard truth: One-third of women will experience hair loss at some point in their lives, and when it comes to postmenopausal women, as many as two-thirds experience thinning or shedding. Thankfully, effective hair loss treatments are available, but to find the best hair growth product for your needs, our experts stress the importance of understanding the root cause of the thinning and loss first.

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"There are several underlying causes of hair loss, so before you can figure out the best treatment, you need to understand the reason," Dr. Michelle Henry, a board-certified dermatologist, told us. While the most common cause of hair loss is androgenetic alopecia, a hereditary and progressive condition known as male or female pattern hair loss, genetics aren’t the only risk factor: alopecia areata is a form of hair loss that appears as patchy bald spots and is triggered by stress, illnesses, hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies and certain medications. Additionally, a growing body of research shows that those who experience a mild to severe case of COVID-19 will experience hair thinning and loss that can begin up to four to six months after recovering from the illness.

To help us better understand the various types of hair growth products and what key ingredients are most effective in promoting growth and density, we spoke with a panel of board-certified dermatologists, trichologists and plastic surgeons to learn what to look for and what products to avoid. We took that feedback and researched more than 50 hair growth products, ranging from serums and shampoos to supplements, vitamins, oils, red-light caps and combs, and then tested quite a few of those products ourselves.

Each hair growth product was evaluated based on key ingredients used, cost, ease of use, efficacy, the time it takes to see results, tester insights and user reviews. Whether you're looking for hair growth products to treat a current condition or get ahead of a genetic predisposition for hair loss, below we dive into the best hair growth products for women according to our research, how to choose the right product for you and what our experts had to say.

Type of Product: Serum | Best for: Hair thinning and shedding | Key Ingredients: Proprietary blend | Cost: $88 or $75 with a subscription

Even though Harklinikken's award-winning Hair Gain Extract is pricey, each bottle is customized specifically for you. In order to get your hands on a bottle of this serum, you'll start by filling out a brief questionnaire on the Harklinikken website that covers your hair type, hair thinning and shedding concerns, current and past medical conditions, diet and exercise, and any past procedures, illnesses or stressful life events that could have lead to your thinning or loss. After completing the survey, a tailored hair treatment regime is created that includes product recommendations for the serum, shampoo and conditioner (optional) that will improve the condition of your scalp, strengthen the hair at the roots, re-engage hair follicles, stimulate regrowth, and prevent future hair loss. 

Harklinikken comes highly recommended by one of our experts, board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Glenn Vallecillos, who tells us, "In our practice, we have seen great success with the Harklinikken line, which addresses specific types of hair loss by offering customized, targeted and responsive treatments, based on the patient's unique history, scalp profile and hair loss circumstances." 

You can purchase one bottle at a time for $88 or opt into auto-replenish and save 15% off the retail price ($74.80).

  • Doctor recommended
  • Custom-formulated for your needs
  • Clinically proven results
  • Requires a questionnaire and/or consultation to obtain the product
$75 with auto-replenish subscription at Harklinikken

Type of product: Foam | Best for: Thinning and shedding | Key Ingredient: 5% Minoxidil | Cost: $48 (Rogaine.com)

Rogaine is quite possibly the most recognizable and well-known brand when it comes to hair loss products, but there are two very good reasons for that: it's been around for three decades and its minoxidil products were the first to gain FDA-approval in the hair growth industry. As mentioned in the intro by our expert Dr. Taub, not only is minoxidil the oldest established remedy, and it is still the number one product used today by both men and women to promote hair growth. This 5% minoxidil foam penetrates the scalp to revive hair follicles and increase protein production in the cells to help regrow stronger, thicker hair. Even though Rogaine is often thought of as only having the best hair growth products for men, the company also makes great minoxidil-based products for women. Clinical studies showed the product helped regrow hair in over 80% of women in as little as 12 weeks, with visible results after continuous daily use after 24 weeks. 

The formula is unscented, and unlike messy liquid drops, it comes in an easy-to-use aerosol foam that you only need to apply once a day — your hair can be wet or dry. The only downside is the side effects that come with medicated minoxidil hair loss treatments, including (while rare) irritated skin, rash, inflammation or soreness on the scalp at hair follicles, and headaches. If you are in panic mode over your hair loss, this might just be the best product for you, as long as you can dodge the rare, yet possible, side effects. That said, since it is a "medicated" solution, a trip to your doctor first to ensure it's safe for you to use may be a good bet.

  • Mess-free foam
  • Clinically proven to work
  • Four-month supply
  • May be irritating for those with sensitive skin
$41 at Amazon

Product type: Oil | Best for: Promoting density and hair regrowth | Key Ingredients: 30 essential oils and biotin | Cost: $12

Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Strengthening Oil is not only a viral phenomenon, but it's also a favorite amongst Yahoo staffers, including myself. I truly love and use this hair oil and recommend it to all who ask me what they should use to help with hair loss and thinning. First and foremost, it's formulated with all-natural organic ingredients that are safe for all skin- and hair-types, yet is still incredibly effective, so I never have to worry about sending family and friends down a path riddled with side-effects and wasted time and money. Second, rosemary oil is hair-growth powerhouse that has been clinically proven in multiple studies to work as well as minoxidil. In fact, one major study found that rosemary oil not only worked as well as minoxidil at promoting hair growth, the participants in both the minoxidil control group and the rosemary control group experienced the same amount of hair growth. The study also found that participants in the rosemary group stuck with the treatment longer than the minoxidil group. 

The oil works by creating an all-over healthy scalp environment for hair to grow, starting with nourishing the scalp, hair follicles and hair shaft root to tip while also reducing inflammation and increasing vasodilation, which is a fancy word for opening blood vessels and promoting blood flow and circulation, which has also been proven to help promote hair growth. The most important thing you must do to see results is stick with it for at least a few months, with application at least every other day. This is the case for all hair growth products; hair can only grow so fast. If you would like to learn more about hair oils, read our round-up on the best hair oils

Pro tip: For those with fine hair, rub one to two drops between just the fingertips and massage straight into the scalp for at least a minute. This will minimize excess oil transfer from your palms to hair and leave your hair with extra volume. While some feel the rosemary and mint scent is a little too strong, I love it!

  • All-natural, organic ingredients
  • Rosemary oil is clinically proven to be as effective as Minoxidil
  • Nourishes scalp and hair root to tip
  • Will weigh hair down with overuse
$9 at Amazon

Product type: Shampoo, conditioner, topical solution, gummy vitamins | Best for: All hair types experiencing thinning and loss, and those that want to be proactive before thinning and loss occurs | Key Ingredients: 2% minoxidil solution, biotin gummies, shampoo with salicylic acid, saw palmetto, and pumpkin seed oil | Cost:

Hers is a telehealth platform devoted women's health, providing medical support and prescription services for everything from hair growth treatments to mental health support to prescription-strength skin care and more. You may have seen the commercials featuring brand ambassador Kristen Bell speaking about how Hers helped with her mental health. Hers Complete hair growth kit Kitis a four-step hair care regime to promit hair growth from the inside out. The four-step system begins with the Triple Threat shampoo, including salicylic acid, which works to promote scalp health by removing excess sebum and dead skin cells. It’s also formulated with two natural DHT blockers, pumpkin seed oil and saw palmetto. The next step includes the Triple Threat Conditioner, a blend of argan, coconut and sunflower seed oil to keep your hair shiny and scalp moisturized. The next step is the 2% Minoxidil Solution, which has proven efficacy and FDA approval for women experiencing hair loss. Last but not least, Biotin builder gummies - taken once a day - are fortified with biotin, Vitamin D, and folic acid to help support healthy hair, skin and nails.

The kit will run $55 for a single purchase or $38-$44 per month with an auto-replenish subscription in intervals of 1, 3 or 6 months; the products can be purchased separately as well.

  • All-in-one complete hair growth kit
  • Clinically proven to work
  • Industry-leading brand from women
  • A four-step hair care regime may be too time-consuming for some
$44 with subscribe and save at Hers

Product type: Shampoo | Best for: All hair types, especially those with thinning and loss | Key Ingredients: Biotin, saw palmetto, pumpkin seed oil | Cost: $19 at Hers

If the Hers complete system is a too daunting, then I have to say the shampoo is worth a try. I was skeptical that a shampoo alone could make a difference, but by the end of the bottle, I was so pleasantly surprised I bought a second bottle. And while I did use the rosemary oil in conjunction with this shampoo, what made me a believer was how much thicker my hair felt, especially my ponytail. What makes this shampoo effective is its trifecta of hair growth ingredients: Biotin, saw palmetto, and pumpkin seed oil. Biotin, while it can be found in nearly every hair growth product, its not as well backed up with clinical trials as say minoxidil or rosemary oil, but that said, a few studies have found biotin to promote significant hair growth in people, hence it being so prevalent in hair and nail growth topicals and supplements.is similar to biotin in having a few solid studies to back up its efficacy as well, but the real star and proven winner is the saw palmetto. Saw palmetto has been found in clinical studies to reduce hair shedding and improve growth as well as improve scalp health. I can attest to all of this and now use Hers Tripple Threat shampoo every other shampoo to maintain scalp health and be proactive since so many factors can lead to hair loss, especially stress and anxiety, which, as a mom, b

  • Packed with hair growth essential oils
  • All-natural ingredients
  • Gentle enough for all hair and skin types
  • Best if paired with a second product such as a growth serum or supplement
$25 at Amazon

Product type: Supplements | Best for: Promoting hair growth and density | Key Ingredients: Ashwagandha, collagen peptides, maca, saw palmetto, antioxidants, horsetail | Cost: $88 at Nutrafol; $79 for monthly deliveries; $224 for three month supply

Nutritional supplements work internally to support hair cell production. Nutrafol is a natural, physician-formulated supplement that promotes hair growth and overall wellness. The products use a blend of vitamins, minerals, botanicals and antioxidants to tackle the six root causes of hair loss: hormones, stress, lifestyle, metabolism, nutrition and aging. There's also a mix of DHT blockers, including curcumin, saw palmetto, resveratrol and horsetail to help reduce thinning and hair loss. Other science-backed ingredients, such as ashwagandha, marine collagen peptides and keratin (the primary protein in hair), are included as a way to strengthen hair follicles and encourage growth.

We especially love that the company has made research a priority. In a clinical trial, women taking Nutrafol supplements had longer, thicker hair after six months and improvements in overall hair growth, volume and color. Many of the participants reported improvements in other aspects of their well-being, including stress levels, anxiety, sleep quality and skin health.

  • Clinically proven to reduce hair shedding and improve volume
  • Formulated for women for specific age groups
  • Free from gluten, dairy, soy, hormones, artificial additives, and GMO
  • Must take four pills a day
  • Pricey
$88 at Amazon

Product type: Laser cap | Best for: Reversing thinning and growth from the hairline to the crown 

The iRestore Essential Laser Hair Growth System employs an FDA-approved treatment for hair growth: low‐level light therapy. The laser cap promotes blood flow and new cell growth by stimulating mitochondria and promoting protein synthesis. Low‐level light therapy has been found in clinical studies to help encourage hair growth over time with regular use — every other day for six months. In an iRestore independent lab study, there was an average hair count boost of 43.2% over four months in all of its participants - which is likely why the company offers a full money-back guarantee.

Light therapy is ideal for those who prefer non‐invasive hair growth options and want to avoid the ongoing expense of hair growth products; the laser cap requires a one-time purchase only. All you need to do is wear the laser cap for 25-minute intervals every other day. You can use it with other hair growth treatments, and the best part is the company will give you your money back if you don't notice results within six months.

  • FDA-approved treatment
  • Money-back guarantee
  • Mess-free and easy to use
  • Must wear cap for 25 minutes every other day
$599 at Amazon

What hair growth treatments are approved by the FDA?

There are only two OTC treatments approved by the FDA to help both men and women with hair loss: minoxidil and low-light therapy. There are three prescription medications: finasteride, which requires a prescription from a health care provider and is approved for men and postmenopausal women; baricitinib was approved by the FDA to treat androgenetic alopecia while ritlecitinib was approved by the FDA to help treat alopecia areata in people as young as 12.

How do I choose the best hair growth product for me?

There are several factors to consider when choosing the best hair growth product:

Type of hair loss:

All our experts agree that understanding the underlying cause of your hair loss and thinning should be the first thing you consider before trying any hair growth treatments. Is your hair loss due to genetics? Or are you experiencing sudden hair loss that's leaving you with bald patches caused by stress, illness, medication, the environment or even COVID? "COVID-related hair loss is likely due to stress, says Dr. Henry, "but there are some studies suggesting that the virus can cause damage to the hair follicle," she adds.

Type of product:

When it comes to hair growth products, there are plenty of options to choose from. There are a few in-office procedures you can try, such as microneedling or laser therapy, along with getting a prescription medication from your provider. A few of the best over-the-counter options include topical solutions, foams, shampoos, serums, supplements, vitamins and oils. Consider what type of product you can commit to using on a regular basis since you will need to stick with the product for at least three to six months.

Prescription vs. non-prescription treatment:

“When seeking the right hair growth product, it's essential to consider two main categories: those containing FDA-approved drugs like minoxidil and finasteride, and natural alternatives,” says certified trichologist Meerika Khanna. While finasteride is not available without a prescription, minoxidil can come in both oral and topical forms. Oral minoxidil will require a prescription, whereas topical solutions can be purchased over the counter at a lower dose.


According to dermatologist Dr. Rekha Singh, over-the-counter products can be highly effective as long as they use the right ingredients. “Look for ingredients such as minoxidil, biotin and keratin that are known to stimulate hair growth and strengthen hair,” she says.

If you’re looking for more natural hair growth products, Khanna suggests ingredients like rosemary, nettle extract, caffeine and peppermint, which can help stimulate scalp circulation.


Regardless of the type of treatment you choose, results don’t happen overnight. “It is important to be patient and consistent when using hair growth products,” says Singh. In other words, it’s an investment. Take that into consideration when looking for a hair loss treatment and choose something that you can afford to use consistently.

How we tested the best hair growth products for women

To determine the best hair growth products for women, we spoke to a panel of eight hair growth experts made up of dermatologists, trichologists and plastic surgeons to learn more about the different types of hair growth products and what key ingredients to look for and what to avoid. We then researched over 50 different hair growth and anti-thinning products, evaluating each based on key ingredients, available clinical studies, cost, ease-of-use, in-house testing results, efficacy and published user reviews.

Frequently asked questions

Do hair growth products really work?

“There are many effective hair regrowth treatments,” says Dr. Alan J. Bauman, hair transplant surgeon. However, that doesn’t mean success is guaranteed. “There is no miracle cure for hair loss, only treatments that optimize scalp health and improve/protect hair follicle function,” he says, adding that efficacy isn’t universal. “What will work best for each person will vary from patient to patient.” The best products for hair growth and thickness for you will depend on the cause of the loss or thinning, so make sure you understand that before making a purchase to ensure the product will meet your needs.

Are hair growth products safe?

Prescriptions and other medicated products always carry the risk of side effects. Minoxidil, for example, can cause skin irritation and headaches when used topically. Even products with natural ingredients can cause some sensitivities, although it’s not as common. Regardless of the type of product you’re using, it’s important to talk to a doctor if you experience any side effects.

How long does it take to see results from hair growth products?

If you are looking for fast hair growth products, it's important to understand the time it takes to see results from a growth product can vary depending on the product and the person using it. Some people may see improvement within a few weeks with thickening shampoos, while others may need upward of six months when using low-light therapy or supplements. In general, though, most hair growth products take between three to six months to see results. The key is to use the product consistently and as instructed.

When should I talk to my doctor about my hair loss?

You should talk to a doctor if you experience sudden or excessive hair loss, bald patches or accompanying symptoms such as pain, redness, rash or itching on your scalp. If you are unsure which product is best for you, consulting a doctor is a great first step. "There are many effective hair regrowth treatments," Bauman tells us. "What will work best for each person will vary from patient to patient. Everyone is unique and will need a consultation to determine an accurate diagnosis and treatment goals to determine what will work best for them."

Meet our experts

Dr. Amy Taub, board-certified dermatologist

Dr. Andy Goren, board-certified dermatologist and trichologist

Dr. Glenn Vallecillos, MD Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Jodi LoGerfo, DNP, APRN, FNP-B

Dr. Michelle Henry, board-certified dermatologist and Mohs surgeon

Dr. Alan J. Bauman, board-certified hair transplant surgeon

Dr. Rekha Singh, board-certified dermatologist

Meerika Khanna, certified trichologist