As someone who has kicked his hair retention into high gear these past five years, I can say firsthand that the efforts do pay off, especially if you act within the first couple of years of progressed thinning or recession. And while the best hair loss treatments for one guy may not always be the best for the next guy, what is important is combining a number of products, supplements, and even prescriptions in order to counter hair loss from every possible angle.
Independent of that, though, the most important advice I can give you is to establish rapport with your dermatologist. Visit them every 6 months to get an assessment of your hair, since they can get a microscopic perspective on things like scalp wellness, hair proliferation, and density, as well as measured progression or regression. They will also be able to prescribe (and monitor) any of the most effective medicines that many men take to treat and prevent hair loss — and some of them do require monitoring.
Below are the best hair loss treatments I’ve found across a variety of categories. I’m not saying you need to unleash every single one of them on your head at the same time, but you should consider making changes to your routine across the board, and this should give you a good starting list.
Best Hair Loss Treatments
I’m choosing to group these two medicines together since they are the two things you should speak about with your dermatologist. Similarly, I’m reluctant to pick a single best provider of them, because I’ve tried all of the above brands’ offerings, and they all work fantastically. (Besides, they’re the ones branding and selling the medicines, not the ones producing them.) So, pick one, or get a prescription through your dermatologist, though topical minoxidil is available OTC.
Finasteride and Minoxidil are the two things that can make the biggest, most definitive difference in your hair retention, without any question. They are not interchangeable, though, as they reach the solution in two different ways. You can use them together, which is often recommended if you want the best results. (I can vouch for this).
Minoxidil, the generic for Rogaine, increases blood flow and nutrient delivery to the hair follicles. It also shortens the amount of time your hair spends resting between growth cycles and minimizes the time spent between shedding and new growth. This results in consistently thicker, stronger strands, and fuller hair overall. It is available OTC in topical forms (serums and foams), and your dermatologist can advise whether or not you can try an oral option, which is otherwise known as Loniten and will require a prescription and careful dosing, since it is foremost a regulator of high blood pressure. Minoxidil is more commonly suggested for guys who experience baldness on the crown of the head, as well as uniform shedding. Typically, men should use a 5% formula, while women use 2%.
Finasteride, the generic of Propecia, is more commonly prescribed for men who experience recession. While recessed hairlines cannot be restored, this medication can halt things from worsening. Finasteride works by preventing the conversion of testosterone into its byproduct, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is the culprit that shrinks hair follicles in male-pattern alopecia. Finasteride is usually prescribed in daily 1mg pills (though in its medical-grade 5mg form, it is used to treat enlarged prostates). Topical finasteride is growing in popularity, too, since studies prove that users experience fewer sexual side effects when the drug is applied locally rather than consumed orally. (When consumed orally, some 2% of users experience decreased libido or ability to maintain erections, which emphasizes the importance of a dermatologist monitoring usage.)
Topical finasteride is often combined with minoxidil, too, for a single application with double the benefits. Whether taken orally or topically, both drugs work well in providing a full-court press against hair loss. Even on their own, using one will make a much bigger difference than others on this list. Speak with your dermatologist (or those working with the abovementioned brands) to see which solution is best for you.
Nutrafol is an investment, but it’s well worth it if you’re serious about hair health. This is the most comprehensive supplement in terms of its range of 21 medical-grade ingredients — biotin pills, eat your heart out. It has one of my absolute favorite ingredients that counters DHT from the inside out (saw palmetto), and also targets things like stress (with ashwagandha), oxidative stress like alcohol consumption and poor diet (with vitamin E and resveratrol), aging’s impact on hair resilience, scalp hydration (with marine collagen peptides), and metabolism (with curcumin).
While I still recommend pairing it with the above medicines (if you’re willing to use them), this is the next line of defense and a proactive and healthy one at that. And between us, the brand suggests taking four pills a day for maximum efficacy. I know they’ve got this down to a science, but I’ve always halved that in order to make the pills last longer, since their daily intake percentages are through the roof anyway.
Start with four if you’re new to the journey, then steadily dial back when you feel like you’re at a good cruising altitude.
This is one of the best shampoos for hair loss, but in a roundabout way, so take this walk with me. First of all, “hair loss shampoo” is more or less a marketing term. No shampoo will be on your scalp long enough to make a significant difference unless it has active ingredients. And you’ll never find a minoxidil shampoo or anything like that, so true “hair loss shampoos” that tout biotin, saw palmetto, pumpkin seed oil, and the likes aren’t going to move the needle as proper hair loss treatments.
What you want for your thin strands on a twice-weekly basis is a shampoo that doesn’t dehydrate your existing hair and one that also plumps or volumizes them in order to maximize their presence. Even then, the best route to choose (instead of a thickening or volumizing shampoo) is to choose a thickening and volumizing conditioner, since that’s the last product you’ll apply in the shower, and since it’s the one with more of a lasting impression on how your hair looks throughout the next couple days.
That brings me back to shampoo, and the best one for hair loss. My choice, then, is one that targets the scalp and prevents anything that might interfere with a healthy scalp and the environment that it provides the hair follicles. I’ve been using this shampoo (along with a couple of other anti-dandruff shampoos I’ve cycled through) once a month for many years on end. In doing so, I nix any buildup of (and the potential for) fungus and subsequent itching and peeling. I find that these shampoos can overdry the hair strands, so unless you are treating an active bout of dandruff, you need only use it once a month as a detox and reset — +and always follow it with your best conditioner.
Thus, by being your monthly reset, and by delivering the active ingredient ketoconazole (a fast-acting, no-holds-barred defense against fungus), this shampoo is hereby deemed the best hair loss shampoo. We got there, folks!
Many of the hair loss serums out there tend to focus solely on scalp wellness. Thus, they’re actually scalp serums, which isn’t a bad thing, but the brands aren’t always able to articulate what the product actually does to counter hair loss. MDhair bucks the trend with this terrific product — aptly named Regrowth Serum.
First and foremost, its use of saw palmetto counters DHT right at the site of follicular deterioration (again, saw palmetto is my go-to ingredient for supplemental hair retention efforts). On top of that, horsetail extract improves circulation at the site, much like minoxidil, to improve nutrient delivery and fortify hair density. Unlike many serums, this one won’t dry out your scalp or interfere with your hairstyle or texture; instead, it nourishes and hydrates with argan oil and wheat proteins, to improve shine and strength in the process. It’s even got tea tree oil to neutralize fungus and bacteria as well as inflammation.
If you made a checklist of all the dream ingredients in a non-medical-grade topical serum for hair loss, MDhair ticks all of the boxes with a big, fat permanent marker.
Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is one of the few clinical treatments your dermatologist will recommend you get in order to improve and maintain consistent hair growth. There are a small handful of FDA-approved LLLT caps for in-home use, too, and the only ones worth mentioning are steep in cost. But when you consider what these infrared laser treatments cost at the clinic (thousands per month, sometimes), then you very quickly get your money’s worth. And believe it or not, I find the current cost of this Capillus cap a reasonable one, given its impressive 304 laser diodes in a single cap (many have a third of that and cost half as much).
In any effective LLLT treatment, the lasers penetrate the scalp and reach the follicles to drastically boost circulation to improve oxygen and nutrient delivery (and thus stimulate thicker, more anchored growth). The process is pain-free, and the efficacy of these top-tier at-home devices really does rival those in-clinic treatments, especially if you can stick to the Capillus PRO S1’s suggested daily regimen of 6 minutes per day (hey, pair it with the morning coffee or evening nightcap). Other devices might force you to do a 30-minute session every couple of days, which I find entirely unsustainable. I also love that this one doesn’t turn on until it is unquestionably fastened onto the head so that it protects your eyes from unwieldy infrared lasers.
The hat is a little geeky, but it’s not like you’re wearing it out and about. It’s also easy to travel with since you just turn it upside down in your carry-on and fill it with clean socks and underwear.
Also Consider: iRestore Professional Laser Hair Growth System
With similar specs and technology but a lower price tag, the iRestore may be a better fit for men who don’t have unlimited funds to spend on their hair growth journey. The downside? It’s definitely a bulkier system compared to the flexible cap of the Capillus PRO S1.
The Capillus PRO S1 isn’t going to be in every man’s budget, so if you’re looking for a relatively affordable alternative, then the iRestore Hair Loss Cap is the best option for you. Like the Capillus, the iRestore uses low-level laser light therapy, and it’s designed to treat androgenic alopecia. Even though it has a lower sticker price than the Capillus PRO S1, it has similar specs. The iRestore has 282 laser diodes compared to the Capillus’s 272 and total power output of 1410 compared to 1360.
Also Consider: Happy Head Topical Finasteride & Minoxidil
As mentioned above, the most potent hair loss treatments for men typically include a combination of topical finasteride and minoxidil, although for maximum results, you may want to continue using other treatments as well. And if you’re looking for the most potent minoxidil treatment available, then you’ll want to go with Happy Head over Hims, Keeps or similar subscription hair loss clubs.
Happy Head uses a more potent minoxidil formula (the most potent option available online), with a maximum concentration of 8% compared to 5%. This means Happy Head’s hair loss treatments for men are up to 40% stronger than competitors, so for guys who want to do everything possible to stop hair loss, consider Happy Head.
The company’s proprietary hair growth formula was created by Dr. Ben Behnam and Dr. Sean Behnam, well-known hair loss experts and dermatologists. Like other hair loss clubs, Happy Head will customize your treatment based on your age, sex and type of hair loss, so you’ll get treatments personalized to your exact needs.