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If you’re worried about your hair thinning or falling out, you’re not alone. Millions of men and women deal with hair loss. While it is perfectly normal to shed between 50 and 100 strands of hair per day, hair thinning and loss occurs when hair doesn’t grow back at the same rate. What causes that discrepancy — and how to deal with the resulting hair loss — is different for everyone.
“The main cause of thinning hair is often a combination of genetics and hormonal changes. Androgenetic alopecia, also known as male or female pattern baldness, is the most common cause,” says Dr. Hannah Kopelman, dermatologist and chief medical officer at DermOnDemand. “Other factors can include stress, nutritional deficiencies, certain medications and underlying health conditions.”
Hair loss can spark self-consciousness about one’s appearance, but the good news is that simple tweaks to your grooming routine might help correct the problem. From topical hair loss shampoos and styling products to hair growth supplements, a wide range of products targeting hair loss can be found at your local drugstore or purchased online. These products contain ingredients that have been medically tested and proven to help combat hair loss and even promote regrowth.
Jump To: Best Overall for Women | Best Overall for Men | Best Complete Hair Care Kit For Thinning Hair | Best Serum For Thinning Hair | Best Budget Serum For Thinning Hair | Best Thinning Hair Serum for Dry Hair | Best Personalized Product Line | Best Supplement | Best Shampoo and Conditioner Set | Best Treatment Kit for Men
Below, we talked to doctors to ask them about the ingredients and products for managing hair loss and thinning hair.
What To Look For
Minoxidil, biotin and collagen are common ingredients in hair loss products, but Minoxidil is FDA approved specifically for androgenetic alopecia.
“It works by stimulating the hair follicles to produce more hair,” says Dr. Chaudhry of Scandinavian Biolabs.
Biotin is a vitamin that can stimulate the production of keratin in hair, thereby speeding the follicle regrowth rate. The amino acids found in collagen have been proven to aid in keeping your scalp healthy. In terms of strengthening thinning hair, ingredients like argan oil, rosemary oil, and caffeine may also help.
Avoiding certain ingredients also factors into a smart treatment plan.
“If you are struggling with thinning hair, you especially want to avoid ingredients such as sulfates, alcohol, silicone and even synthetic fragrances,” says Dr. Samuel Hetz, Medical Director of Concept Medical.
Sulfates strip the hair of oils, which can lead to breakage. Alcohol can lead to your hair becoming brittle, while silicone can prevent nutrients from properly penetrating the scalp. Synthetic fragrances could cause scalp irritation.
To get the most bang for your buck, look for hair care products that increase the amount of time the active ingredients remain on your scalp, as these have been found to be most effective. Shampoo with minoxidil may not be effective enough on its own, as it doesn’t sit on the scalp for very long, so it might be best paired with a foam or serum treatment that sits on the scalp longer. Adding a supplement with biotin and collagen can also help with overall efficacy. Keep in mind that the best treatment options are also not one-size-fits-all.
“Results may vary depending on the individual’s cause of hair thinning and the active ingredients in the product,” says Dr. Yoram Harth, Board Certified Dermatologist and Medical Director of MDhair. Identifying the specific cause of your hair loss will help point you to the most suitable products to treat it.
Additional Factors to Consider
Because effectively treating hair loss depends on many individual factors that can vary from one person to another, consider taking a holistic approach to treating your thinning hair or hair loss.
“It is crucial for a healthy scalp and hair growth to maintain a nutrient-rich diet,” advises Dr. Harth.
“My top tips to promote a healthy scalp and hair growth include avoiding harsh hair treatments and heat styling, using gentle hair care products, managing stress and not smoking. Regular scalp massages can also help to improve blood flow to the scalp,” adds Dr. Kopelman.
Our Recommendations for Best Products for Thinning Hair
1. Best Overall for Women — Rogaine Women’s 5% Minoxidil Foam for Thinning Hair & Loss
Ingredients:: Minoxidil | Treatment type:: Foam, also available in other topicals
Rogaine 5% minoxidil foam is specifically formulated for women’s hair, to effectively promote hair regrowth by stimulating follicle activity, with once daily application. The unscented foam is easy to apply before styling, allowing it to penetrate into the scalp for maximum effectiveness all day long.
- Pros: Affordable, Unscented, Non-sticky formulation
- Cons: Some reviewers found it ineffective
2. Best Overall for Men — Men’s Rogaine 5% Minoxidil Foam for Hair Loss and Hair Regrowth
Ingredients: Minoxidil | Treatment type: Foam, also available in other topicals
Formulated specifically for men’s hair, this Rogaine foam contains 5% minoxidil, proven effective at stimulating hair follicles and maintaining hair density over time.
- Pros: Easy to use foam, No stickiness or odor, Affordable
- Cons: Some reviewers reported an itchy scalp upon using this product
3. Best Complete Hair Care Kit For Thinning Hair — Nioxin System Kits
Ingredients: Biotin, Amino Acids, B Vitamins, Peppermint Oil | Treatment type: Shampoo, Conditioner and Foam
Nioxin System Kits are designed to cleanse, condition and restore thickness to thin hair. With six different versions formulated for specific hair types, each kit contains a shampoo, conditioner and scalp treatment that work together to protect against hair breakage and reduce hair loss.
“I like Nioxin the best as it uses natural ingredients in a variety of formats that fit different lifestyles,” says Ghanima Abdullah, a cosmetologist at The Right Hairstyles.
- Pros: Ideal for thinning hair, not hair loss, Specific formulations for different hair types, Promotes thick, shiny hair, Cost effective
- Cons: Does not contain minoxidil
4. Best Serum For Thinning Hair — Evolvh Better Roots RootBoost Serum
Ingredients: Plant-Based Amino and Fatty Acids | Treatment type: Serum
Better Roots RootBoost Serum is made with a blend of natural ingredients including Swiss Apple Stem Cells, which delays deterioration of hair follicles. “Use a hair growth shampoo and serum or hair growth oil in conjunction. This will help your hair grow back faster. Use the serum or hair growth oil at night,” advises Abdullah.
- Pros: Ideal for thinning hair, not hair loss, Pleasant smell, Non-greasy, absorbs quickly, Active ingredients within a gentle formulation
- Cons: While reviewers cite fuller looking hair, they can’t pinpoint it to this specific product when it’s used as part of a holistic multi-product hair care routine.
5. Best Budget Serum For Thinning Hair— The Inkey List Caffeine Stimulating Scalp Treatment
Ingredients: Caffeine, Amino Acids, Redensyl | Treatment type: Serum
The Inkey List is known for its wallet-friendly vegan hair and skin products. This serum includes 1% Redensyl, an ingredient that has been compared to Minoxidil, according to a study done by The Journal of Cosmetology & Trichology.
- Pros: Affordable, Fragrance and alcohol free, Reviewers report significant decrease in hair loss after regular use
- Cons: Redensyl has not been as widely tested as Minoxidil, nor is it FDA-approved for hair regrowth
6. Best Thinning Hair Serum for Dry Hair — Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Hair Growth Oil
Ingredients: Biotin, Rosemary Oil | Treatment type: Serum
This TikTok-viral product has been popular for years among the Black community and those with protective hairstyles like braids and weaves. Its blend of 30 essential oils in one serum makes it a great budget pick to add to your routine. “Mielle offers excellent support for textured hair,” says Anna Peterson, dermatologist and owner of Salon Route.
- Pros: Thousands of 1st-person success stories on social media, Lively rosemary-mint scent, Tingly sensation
- Cons: Strong scent and tingly sensation might be unpleasant to some
7. Best Personalized Product Line — MD Hair Kits
Ingredients: Collagen, B Vitamins, Argan Oil, among others | Treatment type: Serum, Shampoo, Conditioner, Supplements
“MDhair products are developed based on a unique online image analysis of the scalp and a comprehensive approach to hair loss, which may offer more effective solutions than generic products,” says MDHair Medical Director Dr. Harth. These kits combine Minoxidil with dermatologist-recommended natural ingredients. Customized sets include shampoo and supplements that are formulated after you take a quiz on the MDHair site about your specific hair type and concerns.
- Pros: Personalized hair care routine and products, Wide variety of treatments, from shampoos to serums
- Cons: Only available to purchase online
8. Best Supplement — Nutrafol Women’s Hair Growth Supplement
Ingredients: Biotin, Marine Collagen, B Vitamins | Treatment type: Supplement
Nutrafol was recommended by multiple doctors we spoke with. “Nutrafol has good evidence supporting its efficacy, especially for stress-related thinning,” says Dr. Kopelman. Blending biotin, marine collagen and vitamins, Nutrafol is a widely-recommended supplement for effectively promoting hair regrowth. “I endorse Nutrafol for its holistic approach to hair health,” says Dr. Peterson.
- Pros: Thousands of positive reviews, Supplements are unflavored, Marine collagen can also promote skin and nail health benefits
- Cons: With instructions to take up to 6 supplements per day, this is a pricier treatment option for long term usage.
9. Best Shampoo and Conditioner Set — Pura D’or Anti-thinning Biotin Shampoo and Conditioner
Ingredients: Biotin, Amino Acids | Treatment type: Shampoo and Conditioner
Pura D’Or products are known for their natural ingredients to promote thicker, fuller hair. Formulated for both men and women, this set has thousands of satisfied customers who praise its scent and its effectiveness at slowing hair loss.
- Pros: Very affordable and easy to find at drugstores or online retailers, Thousands of 5-star reviews
- Cons: Results can vary person to person
10. Best Treatment Kit for Men— Scandinavian Biolabs Hair Growth Routine
Ingredients: Niacinamide, Amino Acid Complex | Treatment type: Shampoo, Conditioner, Serum
With a science-based approach to its blend of ingredients, the kits from Scandinavian Biolabs were developed through stem cell technology to help nurture hair follicles and increase hair density. “Harsh shampoos and conditioners can strip the hair of its natural oils, making it more susceptible to damage and breakage,” says Dr. Chaudhry. Scandinavian BioLabs hair activation routine is gentle yet effective.
- Pros: Non-medicated formula offers an all-natural alternative option to products containing minoxidil.
- Cons: Not the most affordable option on this list
- Dr. Yoram Harth, Board Certified Dermatologist, Medical Director of MDhair
- Dr. Hannah Kopelman, Dermatologist and Chief Medical Officer, DermOnDemand
- Dr. Ahmad Chaudhry, MBBS, Consulting Dermatologist for Scandinavian Biolabs
- Anna Peterson, Dermatologist and Owner of Salon Route
- Dr. Samuel Hetz, Medical Director of Concept Medical
- Ghanima Abdullah, Cosmetologist, The Right Hairstyles
This story originally appeared on Don't Waste Your Money.