Hair loss impacts millions of people in the U.S., and not just aesthetically; it's linked to a greater risk of developing stress and depression. To add insult to injury, hair loss is complicated, and the right solution requires understanding the underlying cause of the thinning and loss. "The most common cause of hair loss is androgenetic alopecia, aka male pattern hair loss or female pattern hair loss," explains Dr. Amy Forman Taub, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant professor at Northwestern University Medical School. "The second most common is called telogen effluvium and can be caused by many things, including severe stress, childbirth, certain drugs and thyroid abnormalities," Taub says.
Thankfully, in most cases, hair thinning and loss can be treated and reversed with great success. Given that the market is flooded with products for thinning hair and hair loss, we consulted with multiple dermatologists and hair loss specialists to learn the key ingredients to look for and what to avoid, and if there were any products or brands they recommend to their patients. We then took that information and researched, reviewed and tested the top products on the market (prescription and non-prescription) to find the best hair growth products for various concerns, skin types, stages of thinning and loss and other factors. We also made sure to include a range of products at various price points to fit any budget. The final list comprises the best oils, serums, shampoos, conditioners and supplements for hair loss so you can find the best fit for your needs.
Type: Serum | Key ingredients: Curcumin stem cell extract, mung bean and red clover | Best for: Pattern baldness
Pros: Plant-based, multi-beneficial, targets hair shaft, hair follicles and scalp
Cons: Not budget-friendly, must stick with the product for at least three months to see full results
Vegamour GRO Hair Serum is both a celebrity favorite — Nicole Kidman, Bella Hadid and Mandy Moore to name a few — and a cult favorite because it's gentle and works! Its ingredients are clinically proven to be effective in reducing 5-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) production, a naturally occurring hormone that stifles hair follicles and slows or completely hinders growth while also promoting a healthy scalp environment and hair growth.
The curcumin stem cell extract blocks DHT production while the red clover works to reduce inflammation. The mung bean extract finishes the trifecta by strengthening the follicle to promote growth. There's also bergamot, which almost immediately works to soothe the hair follicles and reduce stress from within. Research conducted by the company found that 52% of users had more than half as much density as when they started using the serum and up to 76% less shedding after four months of use. A slew of Amazon shoppers also swear by this serum. "I've noticed baby hairs sprouting along my hairline and in areas where I've applied the serum," says a happy customer. "I was losing a lot of hair due to weight loss and kind of panicking. I picked this up hoping it would help along with the collagen I take. My hairdresser commented on the new growth and when I told her I was using this product she said she has a lot of clients who have sworn the combination of this product and the collagen has helped them so much!"
Cons: Must stick with the system for a minimum of three months
Nioxin's System Kits offer a unique approach to thinning hair, using minoxidil-infused products in the form of shampoo, conditioner and foam to ensure you're really getting the best overall treatment for your hair shedding. The company offers six different system kits, each tailored for specialized needs, including products to help with natural hair, bleached hair and color-treated hair. One fan shared that the kit "greatly improved my hair texture and manageability." They continued, "After 35 days of use, I see obvious improvement. The short, fine hairs at my hairline (particularly at the temples) never seemed to grow until I started using Nioxin. Hair at my temples was very sparse and my scalp showed through. Now it’s nearly filled in."
Rogaine has been a leader in hair growth products for over 30 years, so it's no surprise that one of its products made the cut. Its extra-strength 5% minoxidil topical solution is FDA-approved to treat pattern hair loss and has been clinically proven to show results for most people within 12 weeks of regular use. It's also easy to apply and can be used in the shower. As with many hair growth products, the best results with Rogaine come the earlier you address hair shedding. While this particular 5% solution treatment is recommended for men, there is also Rogaine for women with a specially formulated 2% solution. "On month two, I could already see results, and month three I am clear that this product works for me," says a happy customer.
Nutrafol's shampoo is designed to be a gentle cleanser that exfoliates away dryness and flakiness without leaving an oil field in its wake. The goal is to promote a healthy scalp so you can get back to growing hair. The shampoo is designed to preserve the diversity of your scalp microbiome while still providing a deep scalp cleansing. Consider this testimonial from a happy customer: "My hair loss was getting worse and worse. ... It has been 3½ months, and my husband and I both can see a difference. Not to mention, no longer am I shedding every hour of the day. I used to dread washing my hair due to the hair loss afterward. Now only two to three hairs come out."
Cons: May cause irritation for those with sensitive skin
Hims is rapidly gaining a fanbase in the hair growth space. The brand's Hair Regrowth Treatment features a minoxidil solution that you apply twice a day directly to the areas of your scalp where hair is thinning. Consistency is key with this, the company says, and you can expect to see results in three to six months. "So far, I’m seeing positive results after using one bottle," a fan says. "I really wasn’t expecting to see any results, but to my surprise, I now have hair growth, and I still have another bottle to get through."
Pros: Extra-strength FDA-approved 2% minoxidil solution, clinically proven to work
Cons: May cause irritation for those with sensitive skin
Hers Hair Regrowth Treatment is essentially the female-formulated rival to Hims (it's the same company). This formulation uses 2% minoxidil instead of 5%, which has been proven to be a much safer formulation for female scalps. The oil is unscented, so it won't interfere with the smell of your go-to shampoo or perfume. Just apply the oil to the problem areas and let it dry. It's that easy. "This stuff seriously works!" says a fan. "I'm a therapist in the city, so I stress a lot and noticed a few months ago I started losing my hair around the crown of my head. I got the drops per a co-worker's recommendation and it is working!"
Pros: Clinically proven to promote reduce shedding and increase hair thickness, suitable for all hair types
Cons: Must take twice daily, results take more than six months
Viviscal supplements are a fan favorite in the hair growth community. Viviscal's supplements block DHT, one of the drivers of androgenetic hair loss, and can help slow down the process of hair loss. The supplements also contain biotin, which can help strengthen existing hair. (Worth noting: There's also a formula for men.) "I was skeptical, but this works," says a happy customer. "I have hair growing back in, and my part no longer shows my scalp. The little wispy baby hairs right by my ears and forehead have never been much, maybe an inch long. They're growing and are almost three inches, a very noticeable change! It will take a long time for my hair to look fuller again, years, but I will be taking this pill every day forever because it works!"
Type: Derma roller | Key ingredient: Not applicable | Best for: Alopecia
Pros: Clinically proven to work, doubles as a facial roller, helps products reach deep into the dermis
Cons: Can be painful, avoid direct sun exposure
Derma rollers offer a relatively new approach to hair regrowth that's showing great promise in studies. The rollers are covered in tiny little needles designed to mimic the hair follicle–stimulating effects of micro-needling, which is typically only performed at a dermatologist's office. Though long-term study data on the use of home derma rollers is still lacking, an army of Amazon fans swear by the Sdara Skincare Derma Roller. This roller is simple to use: Just gently roll it over your scalp or problem areas to exfoliate away dead skin cells. "I have been using this for several weeks and am already seeing some regrowth in areas I haven't seen in a long time!" said one fan who has alopecia. "Highly recommend this product and this practice for anyone with alopecia/hair loss."
How do I choose the best hair growth product for me?
The best hair growth product for you ultimately depends on what's causing your distressed tresses, Dr. Michelle Henry, a board-certified dermatologist and Harvard-trained Mohs surgeon who specializes in hair loss, tells Yahoo Life. "For cases related to genetic hair loss, two commonly prescribed and FDA-approved treatments are minoxidil and finasteride," she says. "These treatments have demonstrated positive results in stimulating hair regrowth, although individual responses may vary." If your hair loss is extreme or you're concerned about the cause, consulting a board-certified dermatologist is recommended.
Type of hair loss
One common cause of temporary hair loss and thinning is illness, including COVID-19, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). "While there isn't a specific immediate cure for COVID-induced hair loss, there are several steps you can take to promote regrowth and improve the overall health of your hair post-illness," Dr. Jake Woods, a board-certified dermatologist at Gya Labs, tells Yahoo Life. If you notice hair loss three to four months after a mild to severe bout of Covid or the flu, you can almost bet that is the cause. "People can also develop hair loss from underlying medical conditions like alopecia areata," Taub says. And, of course, there's the genetic role our DNA plays in hair loss. The good news is that regardless of the source of your thinning and balding, there is a treatment to help reverse or reduce the shedding.
Type of hair loss products
There are a range of products on the market that can help with hair loss and thinning. These include:
Vitamins and supplements
Hair growth products can be costly, so it's important to figure out in advance how much you can comfortably spend. Keep in mind that spending more won't necessarily get you better results. Instead, focus on finding the right treatment plan for your particular type of hair loss, as well as your individual needs.
How we chose the best hair growth products
To find the best hair growth products, we consulted with top dermatologists, a trichologist and two surgeons for their input on what key ingredients to look for in hair regrowth products. We then researched over 70 hair growth products ranging from vitamins and supplements to serums and oils to shampoos and topical medicated solutions and rated each based on the key ingredients, brand reputation, clinical studies, user results and reviews among other factors. We then tested quite a few in-house for a first-hand experience.
Frequently asked questions
Do hair growth products really work?
Everyone is different, and it's hard to say for sure that any one product will be your magic fix. However, dermatologists say you can generally expect results from hair growth products. "Effective hair loss treatments have come a long way and are getting better by the day," Dr. Glenn Vallecillos, a board-certified plastic surgeon who focuses on hair loss, tells Yahoo Life. "With advances in gene therapy and the generation of patient-specific hair follicles in the lab, we can expect hair loss to one day be a thing of the past. Until then, it's important that we control the things that are controllable, such as our nutrition, our haircare routine and minimizing undue stress."
How long does it take to see results from hair growth products?
It depends, and it's usually better to intervene early on. "Most patients only notice hair loss when approximately 50% of the hair has been lost in a region on the scalp," Dr. Andy Goren, clinical dermatologist, trichologist and professor at IMCAS, tells Yahoo Life. "Thus, early diagnosis with tests such as a genetic test for androgenetic alopecia could provide the best chance for successfully treating hair loss before it is visible."
Lifestyle factors may play a role in recovery as well, Dr. Jose Diego Mie, a board-certified dermatologist, tells Yahoo Life. "It's crucial to maintain a healthy lifestyle," he says. "Eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and proteins can provide your body with the essential nutrients it needs to support hair health and growth. Additionally, staying hydrated and managing stress levels through exercise, meditation or any activity you enjoy can contribute to healthier hair."
Are hair growth products safe for everyone to use?
Hair growth products are generally considered safe to use. However, if you have an underlying health condition, it's a good idea to check in with your doctor to make sure. (Ditto if you're taking any medications.) Keep in mind that products that contain finasteride are not safe during pregnancy, so women who are expecting or considering getting pregnant should take a pass on these.
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