5 best hair growth products in 2022 – Insider


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Hair loss is a natural part of life.
In fact, your hair starts thinning to one degree or another after puberty: “It’s all downhill after 14,” says Dr. Suzanne Friedler, a dermatologist at Mt. Sinai Medical Center.
But there are other factors, like stress, genetics, pregnancy, and androgenic hair loss, that cause tens of millions of Americans to lose hair faster or at a younger age than others. 
Whatever the cause, there are plenty of hair growth products to protect the hair you have and help it look more full. But some creams, gels, and sprays are more effective than others.
To narrow the field, I consulted three board-certified dermatologists to parse out what works, what doesn’t, and what’s worth the price.
Just to be clear: There are no products or medications that create new hair follicles on your scalp, so hair “growth” is a bit of a misnomer. What hair growth products do is stimulate the follicles you have to provide optimal conditions for hair to form by supplying essential nutrients and combating hormonal factors that result in hair loss.
Editor’s note: If you experience rapid or unexplained hair loss (more than 100 hairs a day or 200 on days you wash your hair), see a doctor. It could be an underlying condition or vitamin deficiency.
Additionally, folks who are pregnant, or who are thinking of becoming pregnant, should avoid ingredients that disrupt hormonal signaling since they can adversely affect a fetus.
Best overall: Men’s Rogaine 5% Minoxidil Unscented Foam, $49.99 for a 3-month supply
The classic Men’s Rogaine 5% Minoxidil foam is a favorite of clinicians and best for folks of all genders.

Best budget: The Ordinary Multi-Peptide Serum for Hair Density, $17.90
The Ordinary Multi-Peptide Solution for Hair Density is a fan favorite, with users across the internet proclaiming its efficacy.

Best topical, non-minoxidil: Bondi Boost Procapil Hair Tonic, $21.99
The Bondi Boost Procapil Hair Tonic is a favorite of “clean beauty” enthusiasts.

Best supplement: Viviscal Hair Growth Supplements, $27.41
Viviscal is a clinically-tested supplement that is often recommended by doctors.
Best vegan supplement: Naturelo Whole Food Multivitamin for Women, $44.95
The Naturelo Whole Food Multivitamin for Women isn’t technically sold as a hair growth product – it’s better.
The classic Men’s Rogaine 5% Minoxidil foam is a favorite of clinicians and best for folks of all genders.
Pros: Proven efficacy, easy to apply, easy to find in stores
Cons: May cause side effects like acne and increased hair growth on other parts of the body
Sometimes, the best-known product is best-known for a reason. Rogaine contains the active ingredient minoxidil, which has overwhelmingly been shown to effectively treat hair loss in clinical trials. And the clinicians I spoke to recommended it for women as well as men. 
The men’s version has been approved by the FDA for use twice daily in men and once daily in women – and it’s free of the “pink tax” applied by many retailers, wherein products designated “for women” are marked up to a higher price despite being effectively equivalent to the “men’s” version.
I chose the foam version of Rogaine rather than the liquid solution because even though they both come in 5% minoxidil formulations that are considered to be equally effective, users tend to prefer the foam version. It’s easier to apply to large areas, is less likely to make hair appear greasy upon application, and doesn’t contain the ingredient propylene glycol, which some users find irritating.
The Ordinary Multi-Peptide Solution for Hair Density is a fan favorite, with users across the internet proclaiming its efficacy.
Pros: Affordable, effective for many, no minoxidil-related side effects
Cons: Can cause oiliness, less clinical backing
Skincare line, The Ordinary, is a favorite among beauty enthusiasts for its affordable products with clearly-labeled concentrations of active ingredients, rather than mystery blends and lofty claims. It’s little surprise, then, that its hair density serum would be a hit as well. 
It doesn’t contain any of the active ingredients that have been clinically tested and FDA-approved to treat hair loss, like minoxidil or finasteride. But the ingredients it does contain – Procapil, Redensyl, and Baicapil, as well as caffeine and biotin, among others – have shown some promising results in limited studies. 
It can’t boast the same, robust support from independent clinical trials the way Rogaine, a much older product, can; but anecdotally, users on review sites and TikTok rave about the increased hair growth they’ve seen. And it may be a good alternative for people who experience unwanted side effects from minoxidil products. 
From a user standpoint, the only real drawback is that it can make fine hair look oily, even when applied before bed and given the whole night to sink in. For that reason, I personally only apply it on nights when I’m already planning to wash my hair the next day. 
The Bondi Boost Procapil Hair Tonic is a favorite of “clean beauty” enthusiasts.
Pros: Affordable, leave-in, versatile
Cons: Less clinical backing, scented
Fans of “natural” or “clean” beauty will likely gravitate towards this solution, sold by the Australian brand Bondi Boost – it’s chock full of vitamin-rich plant ingredients like aloe vera juice and coffee seed extract. 
Like The Ordinary’s solution above, the primary active ingredient in Bondi Boost’s tonic is Procapil, which to date has limited but positive support from clinical trials. It also contains saw palmetto, which is believed to work as a DHT inhibitor, similar to minoxidil. Other ingredients include biotin and horsetail, both of which have some, albeit limited, support from scientific research as topical treatments for hair loss.
The reviews on Ulta.com are overwhelmingly positive, with people of all ages and hair types swearing that continued use of the product resulted in new growth. People also like the easy application onto wet or dry hair, and find it to be neither greasy nor drying like some other topical products were for them. 
This tonic does contain some added fragrance, which sensitive users may find irritating, while on the other hand, some reviewers note that they would have preferred a stronger scent.
Viviscal is a clinically-tested supplement that is often recommended by doctors.
Pros: Strong clinical backing, holistic health benefits
Cons: Not suitable for vegans/vegetarians or those with fish allergies, pricey
Vitamins and supplements work from the inside out, providing your body with the materials necessary to support healthy hair growth. In some cases, vitamin deficiency can even be the cause of hair loss, so supplements can help ensure your hair follicles have everything they need to function optimally. 
All three dermatologists I spoke to for this article mentioned Viviscal by name as a supplement that’s been proven to dramatically increase hair growth, as compared to a placebo. It’s a supplement that contains iron, zinc, vitamin C, and niacin, all of which support hair growth as well as numerous other bodily functions. 
But its primary weapon is the proprietary AminoMar Marine Complex, which provides marine collagen to support the growth of healthy, strong hair. According to Dr. Engelman, Viviscal works by increasing the growth phase – called the anagen phase – of the hair’s life cycle.
The AminoMar complex, however, is derived from shark, making it unsuitable for folks with certain allergies or dietary restrictions. It’s also $40 for a single month’s supply, which can be a pretty significant cost, especially over time. That said, given how strong the clinical evidence is, you might say it’s well worth the price.
The Naturelo Whole Food Multivitamin for Women isn’t technically sold as a hair growth product – it’s better.
Pros: Blend of dermatologist-approved vitamins and minerals, good for all-over health, vegan
Cons: Not specifically designed to aid in hair growth
There’s a sea of vegan supplements out there that promise to grow your hair faster and stronger but for the top choice in this guide, I went with a regular multivitamin. Hear me out: many of the vegan hair growth supplements on the market primarily contain overwhelming amounts of biotin and little else. 
But, “More isn’t necessarily better,” said Dr. Friedler. “You only need about 2500 micrograms or 2.5 milligrams [of biotin daily]. If you’re taking more than that, you’re just peeing it out.” 
Instead of taking a gummy that contains more biotin than your body can actually use, Friedler recommended that folks who are concerned about hair loss take a multivitamin that includes iron, vitamin D, and vitamin A. Naturelo’s multivitamin is one of few vegan/vegetarian supplements on the market that includes those three as well as biotin.
Hair loss can be a symptom of iron, vitamin D, or possibly vitamin A deficiencies, so taking a multivitamin can address those while also supplying other nutrients your body needs. We like that a serving (four capsules) of this one contains your daily recommended intake of D3, A, and 78% of the iron you need in a day, along with several B vitamins, zinc, selenium, and more. If you’re trying the inside out route to healthier hair, we think this multi is a great choice.
For this article, I focused on products that are specifically and primarily intended to promote hair growth and prevent hair loss, either from the outside in or inside out. 
Here are some other items in those categories that didn’t make our top picks but come highly recommended from doctors, as well as a few other types of hair care products those looking to thicken their hair might find useful. 
Keeps and Hims are exclusively meant for male patients, and Hers for female patients; Keeps is focused on hair loss treatments while Hims and Hers offer treatment for other mental and physical health conditions as well. Prices will vary depending upon which treatments you are prescribed. 
As with anything, you probably want to spend your money on products that are known to work. As Dr. Colombo said, “Only topical hair growth products with proven scientific efficacy are products containing the following active ingredients: minoxidil, finasteride, dutasteride, spironolactone. Minoxidil can be found in OTC formulation (aka Rogaine solution or foam, or minoxidil solution or foam). Other active agents are typically found in prescription compounds.” 
For the purposes of this article, I focused on products that are available to purchase without a prescription.
As of now, minoxidil and finasteride are the only active ingredients approved by the FDA to treat hair loss. Finasteride is usually administered orally, via a pill, and minoxidil can be either oral or topical. Minoxidil is FDA-approved to treat hair loss in both men and women, so while many hair growth products are marketed toward a specific gender, they tend to be more alike than they are different.
Both work by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone into the more potent hormone DHT, which is associated with hair loss in men and women. Additionally, minoxidil is a vasodilator, meaning it increases blood flow to the hair follicles and helps stimulate growth. 
You’ll also find topical products that have none of the above, but feature different active ingredients, such as procapil, saw palmetto, and red clover extract. There’s less clinical evidence backing up the efficacy of these, though some studies do show promising results. 
If you’re going the supplement route, Dr. Friedler recommended that you look for a multivitamin that contains vitamins D, A, iron, and biotin. 2.5 mg of biotin is plenty – any amount higher than that, your body probably won’t be able to absorb (read: you’ll just pee it out).
Stress, tight hairstyles, malnutrition or vitamin deficiency, and aging are some of the main reasons hair loss happens.
If you’re experiencing hair loss or thinning, talk to a doctor if possible to rule out any health conditions that may be contributing to the problem. Depending on the cause, your hair loss could be reversed by lifestyle changes or other treatments that aren’t specifically for hair loss.
Many do, yes. Often, the cause is actually the same: it’s called androgenetic alopecia, and it has to do with hormonal activity
Androgens, like testosterone, are the sex hormones associated with male sexual development and functioning but are present in everyone, not just men. Excesses of testosterone may be converted by the body into another, more potent androgen called DHT, which is believed to cause hair follicles to shrink.
Many of the active ingredients used in hair growth products work by inhibiting your body’s production of DHT, including FDA-approved active ingredients minoxidil and finasteride, as well as a type of palm called saw palmetto, and a newer ingredient called Procapil. 
Unfortunately, no – there’s nothing out there (yet) that will dramatically make your hair thick and dense if it’s naturally finer or more sparse. What they will do is support the health of the hair follicles you do have, generally by increasing blood flow and inhibiting the deleterious effects of certain sex hormones.
“Healthy blood flow and nutrients moving to the follicle are essential for normal hair growth,” Dr. Dendy Engelman, a dermatologist, and dermatologic surgeon told Insider. “Healthy hair may appear shinier and fuller, and will be more resistant to breakage.”
Some products also or instead contain vitamins and other ingredients that are meant to support the growth of strong, healthy hair, or mitigate conditions like dandruff that can worsen hair loss.
For topical products, gendered labels are typically little more than marketing tactics. Dr. Colombo explains: “One common example is Rogaine foam for women or men. They both contain 5% minoxidil in a foam formulation and are basically the same.
As for the Rogaine solution, the only difference is the percentage of minoxidil, with the female solution containing 2% minoxidil and the male version 5%. The male version is perfectly fine in women and actually preferred.”
When it comes to treatments in the form of prescription pills to be taken orally, sex does matter. Doctors typically will not prescribe premenopausal women oral finasteride, dutasteride, or saw palmetto, and for men, they won’t prescribe spironolactone, as these medications all affect the endocrine system and can cause unwanted side effects.
There are plenty of vitamins and supplements that can help support healthy hair growth, and it’s also the case that vitamin and mineral deficiency can be a cause of hair loss for some people. Drugstores and beauty supply stores tend to stock multivitamins and supplements that are expressly designed to improve hair health (and sometimes skin and nail health, too).
Many of these contain ingredients like collagen or biotin, for both of which the jury is still out as to whether or not they can actually support hair growth when taken orally. But vitamins D, A, and iron can support hair growth as well as lots of other bodily functions. Dr. Friedler recommends taking a multivitamin that includes iron, vitamins D and A, and biotin.
It’s also important to note that more does not always equal better when it comes to supplementation: you’ll likely find some hyped-up supplements that contain hundreds of micrograms of biotin.
An excess of biotin won’t hurt you, but it won’t help either – your body just won’t be able to absorb it. You’re probably better off getting a supplement blend that includes less biotin and more of other vitamins and minerals that your body needs.
Ultimately, it depends on the kind of product. Dr. Friedler cautioned that because minoxidil and finasteride products work on hormone production, they may cause hormone-related side effects like increased hair growth on other parts of the body. Ideally, anyone thinking of using any product that may interfere with hormone production should consult with their doctor first to make sure it’s appropriate for them. 
Iron, vitamin D, vitamin A, and biotin supplements, however, come with virtually no side effects and can support other bodily functions in addition to hair growth. For this reason, Dr. Friedler recommends starting with supplements as your first line of defense in DIY hair loss treatment.
It is possible (though rare) for the body to contain too much iron, vitamin D, and vitamin A, so avoid taking more than the daily recommended dose of any supplement that contains one or more of these.  
There’s often overlap between Rx and OTC hair growth products. Minoxidil is often found in both, though Rx products may sometimes contain a higher concentration. Finasteride tends to be Rx-only. For the purpose of this article, I focused on products that are available to purchase without a prescription. When it comes to prescription-only treatments, your doctor can best guide you through your options.
Dr. Colombo advised folks to avoid using products with heavy oils, not just in hair growth products but in any kind of hair care products, as they can aggravate dandruff and worsen hair loss. 
Also, patience is a virtue. You’ll notice that all of the products in our roundup estimate that it will take at least a few months for results to be visible. Dr. Engelman cautioned shoppers to be skeptical of any product that makes fantastical claims.
“Always be aware of anything claiming to have miraculous or fast results,” she told Insider. “Healthy and sustainable results take time, especially when it comes to hair growth.”
Lots of those certainly exist. For the sake of fair comparison in this article, I stuck to products for which the primary purpose is to support hair growth and prevent hair loss, rather than something like shampoo which is primarily meant to clean hair but may also have ingredients that, as a secondary function, support hair growth. 
But as Dr. Engelman said, “hair growth and health starts with the scalp,” so shampoos and other products that encourage healthy cell turnover and prevent product or cell buildup are a good tool for fighting hair loss. 
See the “what else we considered” slide for other doctor-recommended scalp health buys.
Suzanne Friedler, MD, FAAD, is a board-certified dermatologist and clinical instructor at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City. She is also on the dermatology faculty at St. John’s Episcopal Medical Center.
Morgana Colombo, MD, a board certified dermatologist, successfully completed a four-year dermatology residency at Washington Hospital Center in June 2011. She has published articles for the Journal of Dermatological Science.
Dendy Engelman, MD, FACS, FAAD, is a board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, American Society of Dermatologic Surgery and American College of Mohs Surgery.
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Disclosure: Written and researched by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our partners. We may receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at [email protected].

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