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More than 50% of women will experience hair loss at some point or another, according to research. The most common causes of this hair loss? Stress, hormonal changes, medications, genetics, and hair products that irritate the scalp, says dermatologist Dr. Peterson Pierre.
Depending on the causes of your hair loss, you may need to use both a topical hair loss solution as well as take a hair loss supplement to truly treat your issue, says William Gaunitz, a certified trichologist (hair and scalp specialist) and founder of Advanced Trichology, So which hair loss products are worth trying?
Here, we've researched the best hair loss treatments to help you out.
Best Overall: Rogaine Women's 5% Minoxidil Topical Aerosol Hair Regrowth Treatment
“OTC minoxidil has a long-standing history of being effective in slowing down hair loss while promoting hair growth,” says Pierre. That’s why we’ve chosen this 5% minoxidil foam from Rogaine as our top pick. The unscented foam is easy to use and has been clinically proven to help boost hair growth. In addition to minoxidil, it also contains botanical extracts and emollients to keep strands nourished as well as alpha-hydroxy acids to gently exfoliate the scalp. One box comes with a four-month supply, making this a budget-friendly pick, too.
Best Overall, Runner-Up: Nioxin Hair Regrowth Treatment For Women
This hair loss treatment is another highly-reviewed product with minoxidil, which is why it's one of our top picks, too. The topical solution, which comes with a 30-day supply, helps stimulate hair follicles and has clinical validation behind it. Users of all ages say this treatment has helped with hair loss around the crown area and that it’s easy to apply.
Best Budget: Keranique Hair Regrowth Treatment for Women 2% Minoxidil Topical Solution USP
This budget-friendly hair loss treatment also contains effective minoxidil, with a 30-day supply coming in under $30. The spray applicator makes this hair loss treatment a breeze to use. In addition to minoxidil, it’s formulated with a slew of other ingredients that may help promote hair growth. It’s no wonder users say this product helped them score longer, stronger strands.
Best Drugstore: Hairgenics Minoxigaine Minoxidil Hair Growth Solution and DHT Blocker
This drugstore hair loss treatment is very affordable—it's priced under $30 for a 30-day supply. It combines 5% minoxidil with azelaic acid, vitamin B6, and zinc to help promote healthy hair regrowth and block DHT, which can lead to hair loss. Other ingredients in the formula the brand claims may help promote healthy growth include biotin, retinol, and caffeine.
Best Shampoo: Advanced Trichology HairStem DHT Blocking Treatment Shampoo
This shampoo was developed by Gaunitz and has years of research behind it. It’s formulated with a blend of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory, anti-androgen ingredients to help combat pattern hair loss in women and men. It does a great job of soothing dandruff and itchy scalps, and it also eases shedding. Users note that this shampoo leaves their hair feeling clean and looking shiny.
Best Conditioner: OGX Anti-Breakage Keratin Oil Conditioner
When it comes to hair loss, using an anti-breakage conditioner is key, and this one fits the bill perfectly. Keratin and argan oil strengthen strands so they stop breaking off. These ingredients also add shine and smoothness. Users with thick, coarse, curly hair, in particular, say this conditioner does a good job of preventing breakage of their fragile strands.
Best Serum: Vegamour GRO Hair Serum
Because hair thinning and fallout can be caused by any number of issues, this serum takes a 360º approach to hair wellness. The multi-tasking formula is packed with plant-based phyto-actives that, according to the brand, support a healthy and balanced follicular ecosystem, soothing the scalp and revitalizing hair roots along the way. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the vegan and cruelty-free formula is also free of any toxins or hormones.
Best Oil: Miss Jessie’s Mafura Hair Oil
This hair oil was designed specifically for curly and coily hair types. Packed with super-nourishing ingredients like avocado and jojoba seed oils, the formula encourages healthy hair growth, prevents breakage, and calms an aggravated scalp. Oh, and it boosts shine, too.
Best Supplement: Nutrafol Women Hair Growth Supplement
Pierre says Nutrafol is one of the few supplements with research backing up its claims. It might be pricey for a one-month supply, but users say it really works. Ingredients include marine collagen, ashwagandha, and a tocotrienol complex, a combo that the brand claims helps to strengthen hair, balance stress hormones, and improve hair density.
Best Supplement, Runner-Up: Viviscal Hair Growth Supplements for Women
Pierre says Viviscal is another supplement that also has research to show it works. Viviscal contains a blend of healthy growth-boosting nutrients like biotin, iron, and horsetail extract. The formula not only helps to promote hair regrowth but can also help strengthen your existing hair. Users rave about how much thicker and fuller their hair appears when taking this supplement regularly.
Best Strengthening : Reserveage Keratin Hair Booster Supplements
Stressed-out hair experiencing breakage and shedding could benefit from the strengthening prowess of keratin, which is where these supplements come in. In addition to hair-loving ingredients like biotin and resveratrol, they’re formulated with cynatine HNS keratin (comprised of soluble keratin), which can help your hair combat the daily stresses of styling and coloring. According to the brand, adding these to your routine can nourish and strengthen the hair, boosting both thickness and shine.
Best Scalp Scrub: Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo
As the experts have told us, taking care of your scalp is so important when it comes to combating hair loss. Enter this gentle scalp scrub, which gets rid of follicle-clogging buildup and other impurities so new hair has the ideal environment to grow. Users note it also does a good job of keeping itchiness and irritation at bay.
Best Mask: Bread Beauty Supply Hair Mask
Another way to nourish your hair to encourage healthy growth? Add a hair mask to your routine. This one is formulated especially for curly or coily hair with Australian kakadu plum oil and starflower oil. The formula aims to maintain your hair’s collagen and elastin levels, as well as strengthen existing hair so you experience less breakage, according to the brand.
Tackling the root causes of your hair loss is key to treating your issue. That means avoiding harsh products and styling tools and using moisturizing products, like our favorite OGX Anti-Breakage Keratin Conditioner and Bread Hair Mask, to help prevent breakage, as well as addressing nutritional needs.
When it comes to hair loss treatments specifically, it’s best to temper your expectations. “Other than minoxidil, Nutrafol, and Viviscal, there are no other OTC products with any significant studies that show efficacy so you should have low expectations if you decide to try such products,” says Pierre. Because they have research, and reviews, behind them, Rogaine Women’s 5% Minoxidil Topical Aerosol Hair Regrowth Treatment, Nutrafol Women Hair Growth Supplement, and Viviscal Hair Growth Supplements for Women all score big thumbs up from Team Byrdie.
What to Look For in a Hair Loss Treatment
Trichologist Kerry Yates of Colour Collective stresses that there is a multitude of reasons why you could be experiencing hair loss (more on that, below) and that there is no single cure. However, she says there are many products out there that support both scalp and hair health, so it's important to get to the root of your issue and treat accordingly.
She says there is truly only one ingredient approved by the FDA to help regrow hair, which is minoxidil. “It was initially created to support patients with hypertension and later found to help regrow hair,” she says. “It’s reported to push the hair from the resting phase to the growing stage, however, there is no defined reason for how this happens.” She also mentions that there may be some adverse side effects when using a Minoxidil product, so be sure to do your own research before trying it for yourself. Of course, there are plenty of products on the market that can improve hair health, though they don’t boast growth benefits.
Scalp Health-Boosting Ingredients
A healthy scalp is the key to healthy hair, so Yates also suggests reaching for products and ingestibles that contain scalp health-boosting ingredients. If you’re dealing with an itchy scalp, dandruff, or irritation, she recommends topical ingredients like salicylic acid or natural options like rosemary, peppermint, and tea tree oils.
With that in mind, she also recommends avoiding products with silicones and heavy oils. “Silicones or heavy oils of any type combined with your hair’s natural sebum can clog the follicles, causing follicle stress and negatively impacting overall follicle fitness," she says.
Yates says it could be beneficial to try a DHT-blocking product if your hair loss is related to hormones or genetics. “Fluctuations in hormones can negatively impact your hair’s life cycle,” she says. “For example, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), derived from testosterone, can shrink the follicle, basically ‘killing’ it and causing hair loss and future hair growth challenges. It’s thought that topically applied DHT blockers like saw palmetto and pumpkin seed oil could help eliminate DHT from attacking the follicle.”
What are the causes of hair loss?
Gaunitz explains that genetic hair loss in both men and women is connected to a sensitivity to DHT and revolves around certain levels of androgens connected to hair follicle receptors. “This type of hair loss only affects the top of the scalp,” he says.
Gaunitz adds that inflammatory hair loss—the kind caused by stress, medications, and lifestyle factors—is the most challenging to deal with because everyone is different. “This type of hair loss can be patchy and unpredictable and also be associated with itching and burning,” he says.
Another big cause of hair loss? Lack of nutrition. “Nutritional hair loss in my opinion is the most prominent form of hair loss worldwide and is also the most easily correctable,” he says. “Nutritional hair loss causes general thinning throughout the entire scalp and can exacerbate other types of hair loss.”
To get your mane back to its thickest, fullest potential, it’s important to address all the root causes of your hair loss. “Hair is very sensitive to inflammation so it's important to avoid anything that irritates the scalp such as certain hair dyes,” says Pierre. “The frequent use of heating tools can cause breakage. You should also condition your hair and moisturize your scalp regularly to minimize your chances of hair loss.”
As for nutrition, you’d want your doctor to run a full blood panel so they can recommend key nutrients you could be lacking. For healthy hair, key nutrients are iron, zinc, ferritin, folate, and vitamin D3, says Gaunitz.
Meet the Expert
- Dr. Peterson Pierre is a board-certified dermatologist specializing in both medical and cosmetic dermatology.
- William Gaunitz is a certified trichologist and the founder of Advanced Trichology.
- Kerry Yates is a trichologist, beauty expert, and the founder of Colour Collective, a brand development agency and incubator for new hair products, concepts, and trends.