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Best Hair Loss Treatment for Men (2021)

Topicals, pills, devices and surgeries -- which treatment is best for you? Our 2021 guide will help you decide

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Nathan LeDeaux, MD
Last Updated: Nov 8, 2021

Best Hair Loss Treatment for Men

For over 60% of men under 35 — and over 80% of men by age 50 – hair loss is a serious issue. With numbers like that, you can be sure of two things: the odds that you might lose your hair are high, and it’s common enough that it shouldn’t be a source of shame.

Some men resign themselves to increasingly patchy scalps or ever-receding hairlines. Others go nuclear and shave the whole thing at the first sign of loss. There is good news, though: your chances of stopping male pattern hair loss and even regrowing hair are excellent if you choose the proper treatment.

We’ve thoroughly tested the best products and services on the market and explored all the pros, cons, evidence, success rates, and deals so you can figure out which is the best hair loss treatment for you in 2021.

For those of you in a hurry, here’s the quick summary:

What is the best hair loss treatment for men?

Our Top Pick

Keeps

Keeps Finasteride + Minoxidil This is the most comprehensive and affordable way for most men to stop hair loss and regrow hair.

Keeps offers the most affordable package of finasteride and minoxidil, with the option to use minoxidil solution or foam. Shipping is only $3, and your initial doctor’s consultation is free.

Close Runner-Up

Hims

Hims Finasteride Finasteride is effective for stopping hair loss and stimulating regrowth along the hairline and at the crown/vertex.

Hims provides the most options for finasteride. In addition to the oral prescription, Hims offers a topical finasteride and minoxidil combination that provides all the benefits of minoxidil with a finasteride boost that doesn’t have any sexual side effects.

Why you should trust us

At Innerbody Research, we extensively test each health service we review, including those dedicated to hair loss. All told, our team has spent over 165 hours testing and researching the products and services of top companies to provide an accurate, unbiased analysis of how the products and services compare, free of marketing jargon and gimmicks.

Over the past two decades, Innerbody Research has helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions to live healthier lifestyles. We evaluate the service based on adherence to quality, the latest medical evidence and health standards, and a simple question: would we buy the product or service ourselves if it weren’t part of our job, and would we recommend it to family and friends?

Additionally, like all health-related content on this website, this guide was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.

Which treatment is best for you?

We’ve thoroughly tested the products and services in this guide and have analyzed data about the effectiveness of the treatment options. Along with this information, you need to consider what treatment path fits best into your life. The treatment should be a good, sustainable fit for you and the hair loss you’re experiencing to enjoy lasting success. Here are some essential factors to consider.

Where is your hair loss?

Androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness) can occur at the crown or top of the head and along the hairline. Both crown balding and a receding hairline can occur concurrently, as well. The location and nature of your hair loss will largely determine which course of treatment will be most effective.

If your hair loss is new and mainly happening at the crown, you can save a little money and avoid potential sexual side effects by sticking to minoxidil over finasteride. If you have a receding hairline — with or without crown balding — you may need finasteride to tackle the problem.

Of course, there are non-medicinal paths you can take if you prefer. We’ll dive deeper into those a little later, but these include laser treatments and replacement methods that can give you instant results.

What is your budget?

If money is no object, then you can double- or even triple-down on a set of treatments that work in different ways to maximize your potential for dramatic success. Those on a tight budget need to know which path is likeliest to succeed without breaking the bank. Both Keeps and Hims offer well-priced subscriptions to their most popular products, which invariably save you a little extra money. Unfortunately, most insurance carriers consider any hair loss treatments cosmetic — even for chemotherapy-induced hair loss. As a result, they seldom cover any of the available protocols.

Low maintenance is key

If given a choice, most men likely wouldn’t mind putting in a little effort if it meant keeping or even regrowing their hair. But you need to know yourself and your habits to understand which treatment option will be low-maintenance enough for you to see it through. Finasteride and minoxidil are forever treatments, which means that you have to keep using them for them to work. As soon as you suspend either medication, your hair loss will come back.

Between the two, oral finasteride is easier to use daily than minoxidil. You take a pill without having to apply anything to your scalp. There are trade-offs here, of course, such as the side effect profile. And if the side effects are too significant for you to continue treatment, you’d have been better off with the more cumbersome daily routine.

Among non-medicinal options like the replacement methods provided by HairClub, you can get instant results that require infrequent trips to a clinic or a more dramatic surgery that can require little to no maintenance moving forward.

How quickly do you hope to see results?

It’s important to set realistic expectations to avoid disappointment. You also don’t want to risk abandoning a potentially effective treatment prematurely.

While the medicinal treatments in this guide start working positively as soon as you begin, their positive effects will not be visible for a while. It takes about four months before you predictably begin to see positive results from finasteride or minoxidil. So once you choose a plan, stick to it unless there are adverse side effects. You won’t know if it’s effective until you give it enough time.

  Best value Best use Best value price Wait for results Success rate: stopping loss Success rate: regrowth
Finasteride + Minoxidil Keeps Global $35 monthly 3-6 months 83% 65%
Minoxidil Keeps Crown $10 monthly 3-6 months 62% 48%
Finasteride Keeps Crown $25 monthly 4-6 months 80% 65%
LLLT HairClub Global $799 3-4 months >80% 40%
Concealment HairClub Global $289 monthly Same day N/A N/A
Restoration surgery HairClub Global $4,000+ 3-4 months N/A N/A

Minoxidil

Pros

  • Most affordable treatment option
  • Effective for thinning at the crown area
  • Doesn’t require a prescription
  • Generally safe, with few side effects

Cons

  • Not recommended for receding hairlines
  • May irritate sensitive scalps
  • Application can be annoying and messy

Our bottom-line recommendation:

If you believe minoxidil alone is your best treatment path, we recommend Keeps. They save you a few dollars each month compared to competitors like Hims and Roman. Over a year, ordering from Keeps saves you about $60 compared to the nearest competitive price. Read more about Keeps in our comprehensive review.

What is minoxidil?

Minoxidil from Keeps

Scientists discovered minoxidil’s hair growth potential while studying it as a blood pressure treatment. Suddenly the vasodilator minoxidil was making a splash that its pioneers never intended. Clinical testing persisted through the 1970s and 80s until Rogaine, the branded form of minoxidil, finally hit the market. To this day, minoxidil remains one of the most trusted hair loss treatments, widely used either by itself or in conjunction with one or more other treatments.

When you use it as directed, minoxidil can not only arrest hair loss in many men but also regrow some hair for a significant portion of users. You simply apply it to your scalp twice a day and let it dry for several hours before touching your hair, showering, or sleeping.

It’s important to note that while minoxidil can reactivate follicles that have gone dormant, it cannot revive follicles that have died completely. Your best bet is to start a course of treatment as soon as possible and stick with it.

How effective is minoxidil?

Here are the facts based on data from clinical studies:

  • For about 66% of men, minoxidil stops hair loss.
  • About 52% of men enjoyed moderate hair regrowth when applying minoxidil at the crown and top of the head.
  • About 20% of men enjoyed significant regrowth using minoxidil in these areas.

What kind of hair loss is minoxidil best at treating?

Minoxidil is best for hair loss at the crown around the top of your head. There is some evidence that it can help stop a receding hairline and maybe even regrow some of that hair, but we don’t recommend relying on minoxidil for this hairline regrowth if that is your hair loss pattern.

Try Minoxidil

Are there potential side effects?

Minoxidil users report few side effects, and when they do, those reports usually include scalp irritation and mild discomfort. Most men find that the solution form of minoxidil is more likely to cause adverse reactions than the foam, and the foam is a bit easier to apply. That’s one of the reasons we like Keeps, as they have the best deal on the foam form of minoxidil. If you notice severe discomfort, you should speak with a physician.

You need to wash your hands thoroughly after applying minoxidil to your scalp and wait several hours before touching your application area or going to bed after applying it. Until it’s completely dry, minoxidil can spread and absorb in places where it may cause unwanted hair to grow.

As minoxidil works, it can shift the growth phases of your follicles, causing some of them to prematurely shed their current, weakened strands and begin growing thicker, stronger ones. This process usually kicks in several weeks into treatment, and at the outset, you may experience a heightened degree of shedding. This additional hair loss is actually a sign that the minoxidil is working. Don’t stop your minoxidil routine if you experience this side effect, as it is temporary, and a phase of healthy growth will soon follow.

How minoxidil works

The actual science behind how minoxidil works for hair loss remains unsettled, but there are some theories based on what it does when you apply it. Minoxidil acts as a vasodilator, and it widens blood vessels to allow better blood flow to hair follicles. The blood brings oxygen and nutrients to keep follicles alive and healthy and restore weak follicles to fuller health and thickness. The increased blood flow also resets the growth stages for struggling hair follicles, kicking them into an anagen phase (the initial new growth stage).

Finasteride

Pros

  • Proven effective for hair loss anywhere on the scalp
  • Affordable compared to many other treatments
  • Pill form makes it easy to maintain treatment

Cons

  • Some serious potential side effects and drug interactions
  • Prescription required

Our bottom-line recommendation:

If you have hair thinning on multiple parts of your scalp, and you’ve never taken finasteride before, then try it with Hims. Your initial doctor’s consultation is free, as are all follow-up consultations. With a treatment like finasteride, being able to see your doctor for free with questions or concerns is paramount. Hims also offers treatments for some of the side effects commonly associated with finasteride, allowing you to cover all your bases. Keeps proves to offer better long-term value for finasteride use, but for anyone starting out, Hims is the best bet. Learn more about Hims by reading our full review of their services.

What is finasteride and how does it work?

Finasteride works differently from minoxidil in treating hair loss. This medication is what’s known as a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor. Rather than improving blood flow, finasteride prevents 5α reductase from converting testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is the primary culprit in androgenetic alopecia, and reducing its presence on the scalp will have a dramatic effect on its ability to harm your follicles.

Try Finasteride

How effective is finasteride for hair loss?

Here are the facts, based on studies:

  • For about 80% of men, finasteride is effective at preventing further hair loss around the crown.
  • For roughly 65% of men, it is effective at preventing further receding hairline.
  • About two-thirds of men experience hair regrowth from taking finasteride.

Is finasteride safe?

Finasteride is widely prescribed, so it’s hardly a rare treatment. The medical community generally regards it as safe, but there are potential side effects, some of which are serious.

Though they are not common, side effects can include:

  • Lower sperm count
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED)
  • Decreased libido

Close to 2% of men experience decreased libido, while closer to 1% of men experience ED or ejaculation problems.

Other possible side effects, though also uncommon, include:

  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Skin irritation
  • Breast tenderness

Finasteride may not be ideal if you have underlying health conditions or take certain medications that could negatively interact with it. This is why it’s available only by prescription; a doctor will work with you to determine whether this is a suitable treatment path for you.

We recommend Hims finasteride for several reasons:

  • Free initial and follow-up consultations
  • Available in pill and topical forms
  • Medications available to treat potential side effects

The only downside to Hims is that they can’t quite beat out some of the competition in terms of pricing, so you may find yourself switching to Keeps down the line. Still, we believe this is the way to go for finasteride for the continued medical attention you can receive throughout the early months and years of the process.

Combination of finasteride and minoxidil

Pros

  • Increased rate of hair retention and hair regrowth from effective drugs working in different ways.
  • The drugs are safe to take together.
  • Often available bundled for a reduced price

Cons

  • Finasteride requires a prescription
  • There are potential side effects and contraindications that could make it unsuitable for you
  • Increases the number of steps in your daily routine

Our bottom-line recommendation:

Finasteride + minoxidil is undeniably the best choice for men experiencing global hair loss. The treatments work together to help stop hairline recession and thinning at the crown.

It’s a tight race between Hims and Keeps for the best company to provide this combination, but Keeps edges out Hims in the end. Hims’ free shipping and follow-up consultations are certainly a benefit, but we found that Keeps’ prices and ability to bundle finasteride with either the foam or solution forms of minoxidil gave them the edge.

How effective is the combination treatment?

Each of these two medications separately is quite effective for many men with male pattern baldness, but neither is universally effective. Because of this, your chances of seeing dramatic positive results improve if you take both of them. Data from clinical research suggests that as many as 90% of men with male pattern baldness can experience at least moderate hair regrowth by taking this combination.

Try Keeps

Is the topical combination just as good?

Hims offers a topical finasteride and minoxidil combination. It’s a great choice if you’re determined to include finasteride in your treatment plan, but you have reservations about potential side effects. Unfortunately, topical finasteride won’t work quite as well as oral finasteride. It’s also more expensive to compound in topical form, and it costs more for consumers as a result.

Hims Finasteride and Minoxidil Combination

The good news is that studies show an increase in effectiveness for the topical finasteride and minoxidil combination over simple minoxidil. So, if you want to spend the extra money to work with a topical formulation of finasteride, it will certainly have its benefits.

Low-level laser therapy (LLLT)

Pros

  • No drugs involved
  • Shows effectiveness in clinical trials and studies
  • FDA regards it as safe for men and women
  • Can stop hair loss and regrow hair
  • An easy routine to maintain long-term

Cons

  • Much higher up-front cost
  • Lack of studies on long-term effects
  • Requires more time per application than a pill or a solution

Our bottom-line recommendation:

Based on the design of one of the first laser bands to hit the market, the HairClub Laser Band 82 is neither the most nor the least expensive laser product in the HairClub catalog. The 655 nm wavelength of its lasers is firmly within the range that shows success in several studies. Its toothed design also separates existing hair strands to prevent them from blocking the light on its way to your scalp.

What are LLLT devices and how do they work?

You may have seen laser hair loss devices advertised on TV or online. Some look like ballcaps, others like helmets or strange hair decorations that fit like a wedge over a portion of your head. Others take the shape of combs that you slowly run through your hair in the thinning area.

All of them glow red (but note: you shouldn’t look at the light), and all of them claim to help you stop your hair loss and potentially regrow hair.

These devices glow red because they rely on low-level laser diodes to promote vasodilation and stimulate blood flow. Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is sometimes called cold laser therapy (because the diodes emit no heat) or photobiomodulation. Wavelengths of these lasers range from about 600 to 1100 nanometers in hair growth products, with a wavelength of roughly 655 nm included in the bulk of scientific research.

To be clear, these are not simple LEDs. Laser diodes are more precise and more powerful than LEDs. There are some cut-rate products on the market that claim to stop hair loss with LEDs. Beware of these, as they are pure examples of charlatanism.

Researchers who have studied the effectiveness of LLLT theorize that several mechanisms might be at play in achieving hair regrowth. One of the likeliest is that the powerful laser light penetrates to a deep layer of the scalp. It effectively improves blood flow to follicles, allowing them to benefit from increased oxygen and nutrients delivered by our blood.

If this sounds familiar, increased blood flow to hair follicles is likely why minoxidil works as well. Unlike minoxidil, though, you don’t need to apply anything to your head and let it dry, and then wash your hands to prevent growing unwanted hair on yourself or a loved one. With an LLLT device, all you have to do is set aside a few minutes each day to wear or utilize it.

LLLT devices for hair regrowth are available in numerous forms — combs, ballcaps, or headbands. Prices tend to increase in direct proportion to the number of laser diodes built into a device. Several high-quality companies manufacture them, and most models are available through HairClub, including:

  Cost Design Diode Count Treatment Time Treatment Frequency
HairClub Laser Band 41 $549 Headband 41 3 minutes 3x/week
HairClub Laser Band 82 $799 Headband 82 90 seconds 3x/week
HairClub Ultima 9 $199 Comb 9 11 minutes 3x/week
HairClub Ultima 12 $399 Comb 12 8 minutes 3x/week
Capillus Ultra $799 Cap 82 6 minutes Daily
Capillus Plus $1,699 Cap 202 6 minutes Daily
Capillus Pro $2,399 Cap 272 6 minutes Daily
Capillus RX $3,499 Cap 312 6 minutes Daily
EXT Laser Cap $549 Cap 81 30 minutes 3x/week
HairMax Flip 80 $799 Cap 80 15-30 minutes 3x/week
Bosley Revitalizer 164 $1,099 Cap 164 5-10 minutes Daily
Bosley Revitalizer 272 $1,799 Cap 272 6 minutes Daily

Effectiveness of laser hair regrowth devices

While the medical community has not endorsed them, LLLT devices show a lot of promise in clinical studies.

One 2017 study showed that nearly all subjects experienced moderate hair regrowth (averaging a 40% increase in hairs considered normal size, compared to pre-treatment hair count).

HairMax LaserBand 82

In another clinical study, hair count among participants improved by 19 hairs per square centimeter after six months of using LLLT (compared to the control group, which lost on average seven hairs per square centimeter in the same period).

A different study of laser combs demonstrated that a 12-beam laser comb resulted in an average of 26 more hairs per square centimeter in the treated area after six months of use. And in one study, a 655 nm laser array proved effective in achieving robust hair growth in 40% of men.

One tricky aspect of LLLT is that the application for human hair growth hasn’t been studied long-term yet, so the most effective wavelength is unclear. We also don’t know if any long-term side effects might be associated with laser applications at a specific wavelength.

Is LLLT safe for hair loss treatment?

Scientists first discovered the capacity for LLLT to trigger hair regrowth in a study of mice over 50 years ago, and testing since then has yielded no major cause for concern. Occasional adverse reactions include mild skin pain, headache, redness, or itching, but in most studies, these resolve within days or weeks.

But if you have any unusual, questionable freckles on your scalp, you should talk to your primary care provider or dermatologist before using a laser device. And you shouldn’t use LLLT if you have active skin cancer of the scalp.

Analyzing the price and our recommendation

The main downside of LLLT devices is a high up-front cost. The average price of the devices we recommend here is just over $1,300. However, if you have the capital, it’s likely worth it, especially considering that a laser device can save you money over time compared to minoxidil, a treatment with comparable effectiveness in many studies.

Suppose you opt for minoxidil and stay on the treatment for 45 years. At $10/month from Keeps — the least expensive source — that’s $5,400. And that’s not anticipating inflation. If you purchase the Capillus Plus, it’ll cost you $1,699 and no more.

Of course, the warranty on a Capillus Plus is just two years, and there’s no guarantee it will last longer than that. Still, the company makes them in the USA, and laser diodes with consistent, reliable wavelengths are pretty durable in and of themselves. So, if you think laser treatments might be right for you and you take good care of your belongings, this might be the way to go.

The most aggressive home treatment plan

If you want a comprehensive regrowth plan that doesn’t involve surgery, we recommend combining three treatments: Keeps finasteride + minoxidil and the HairClub Laser Band 82.

Several studies suggest that using finasteride and minoxidil together has a synergistic effect without any additional adverse reactions. Because minoxidil and laser treatments can each have mild skin-related side effects on the scalp, you could reasonably worry that combining those treatments would double your risk of such a reaction. Fortunately, another study shows that combining minoxidil with laser treatments is safe and effective, with no apparent uptick in side effects and a noticeable increase in the speed of treatment.

Using all three simultaneously should deliver the most dramatic results on a slightly accelerated timeline.

The only real downside to this approach is that you may never know which treatment or combination of treatments is helping you most. Unless you want to risk your progress by using an experimental process of elimination, you’ll have to continue with what might be a hefty investment over time.

Hair replacement

Hair replacement strategies have a few enormous advantages over medical treatments, the most prominent of which is their ability to treat just about anyone with balding issues. Treatments like finasteride and minoxidil are usually only effective in cases of androgenetic alopecia, where DHT is the primary cause of hair loss. But chemotherapy patients and those suffering from stress-related hair loss are unfortunate people for whom these drugs are often ineffective.

Because hair replacement is a practical, physical fix, it can apply to anyone. And these are advanced techniques with highly realistic results. Gone are the days of cringeworthy toupees. There may be a few patients whose scalps might be sensitive to the adhesives used in the most advanced methods, but those may be the only ones for whom these treatments aren’t ideal. You could find yourself in a few uncomfortable conversations if you go from an advanced stage of baldness to having a full head of hair overnight, but that’s a minor inconvenience many men would happily suffer.

It’s also important to note that access can be an issue. A limited number of clinics perform hair replacement, and costs can be prohibitive for many. Replacement also won’t stop or reverse hair loss, and some methods make it impossible to apply topical treatments. You could combine replacement with oral finasteride, thickening shampoos and conditioners, and even supplements, but minoxidil, topical finasteride, and even some laser treatments will be off the table.

The best provider we know of to deliver safe, effective, and reliable hair replacement is HairClub.

HairClub Xtrands

Men with balding in the crown area have an opportunity to address the problem that doesn’t require any medications or surgery and that can deliver results in just a few hours. HairClub’s Xtrands system invites customers into an in-person clinic, where a specialist will evaluate their hair’s color, thickness, density, and texture and discuss how they’d like their head of hair to look after the procedure. More often than not, HairClub will special-order your Xtrands hairs, and you’ll return for a follow-up visit during which they’ll apply the new hairs.

Your specialist will artfully integrate the new Xtrands hairs into your existing hair, blending them to create a full, durable result that you can treat like your regular hair. You can swim with it, wash it, style it, etc.

Xtrands+

The basic Xtrands package is ideal for men with balding in the crown area and ideally those in the early stages of baldness. Xtrands+ applies to men with much more advanced hair loss. Instead of just weaving new hairs into your existing locks, an Xtrands+ specialist will work with you to design a head of hair that you love. It can recreate the hair you lost or be a completely new style from the color to the whirl.

At first glance, the hairpiece that arrives at the clinic may remind you of a toupee, but it’s critical to remember that this has been custom-made for your head. If you aren’t entirely bald on top, your specialist will shave your head, leaving any frontal hairline intact. Then, they will adhere the hair to your head utilizing a medical-grade adhesive that can last for years at a time. Along the edges of the main hairpiece, your specialist will use the original Xtrands technique to blend the piece into your existing hair and create a seamless appearance. Once everything sets, you can utilize this hair as your own.

Despite the convenience and instant gratification of these processes, cost and maintenance are serious considerations. As the hair you still have naturally grows, it can reduce the effectiveness of the Xtrands+ adhesive or make the integration points of regular Xtrands hairs seem less natural. That’s why HairClub charges for Xtrands and Xtrands+ on a subscription basis, allowing you to go into their clinics for maintenance and adjustments as needed.

The big problem with this system for many men is that HairClub runs its clinics on a franchise model, and at the time of this writing, there are only a little more than 100 clinics in the entire United States, with most located around major cities. If you live in a remote area or simply a part of the country unfortunate enough not to have a clinic nearby, it may be more trouble than it’s worth to make those many trips for maintenance.

However, if you live within striking range of a clinic and can afford the subscription, it would likely be well worth it. If money is no object, and you aren’t opposed to surgical intervention, you can even combine these Xtrands methods with hair restoration surgery.

Hair restoration surgery

Hair transplantation is a surgical procedure, making it very different from all other treatment options. There are two main types of hair transplant surgery:

  • Follicular unit transplantation (FUT)
  • Follicular unit extraction (FUE)

FUT involves a surgeon removing a sizable batch of healthy hair follicles from somewhere relatively inconspicuous (like the back of the head, commonly) and surgically transplanting it in the area of hair loss. This method is best suited for men with more severe hair loss, and HairClub clinics pair it with an Xtrands or Xtrands+ treatment for maximum efficacy.

FUE, by contrast, removes much smaller follicle count with each pass and transplants them individually into areas of thinness. It’s ideal for men with thinning hair and those with receding hairlines.

Hair transplant surgery can cost from $3,000 to $15,000 depending on where you live and the extent of transplantation.

As with other cosmetic surgeries, you should also consider the recovery time and caring for the surgical sites. Complications may arise from these procedures. And, as with any cosmetic procedure, the positive outcome depends on the skills of the surgeon who operates on you. Surgeries have advanced enough over the years that scarring is primarily a thing of the past.

Because of these factors, we don’t consider surgery a recommendable treatment path for most men, compared to the non-invasive and effective options that cost much less.

RestoreInk

HairClub also provides a service similar to tattooing that can create a realistic hairline or manufacture the appearance of an extremely short haircut. It’s a minor, non-surgical procedure that provides fast results, and you can combine it with medical treatments such as finasteride. We would not recommend using any topical treatments until the tattoo sites have completely healed.

RestoreInk doesn’t provide particularly dramatic results on its own. Still, it is a nice addition to restoration and replacement techniques in men whose hairlines have more or less wholly receded, giving them an outline in which their new hair can reside.

Haircare, supplements, and alternatives

Companies like Keeps, Hims, and HairClub all offer additional treatments in the form of haircare products. These include shampoos, conditioners, and styling products. Some of them also offer supplements that include vitamins and extracts, a few of which have clinical evidence backing their efficacy in the fight against hair loss. One company, Nutrafol, bases its entire hair loss approach on supplementation. There are some other products on the market that show promise, but that require further study.

Here’s a quick look at the haircare, supplement, and alternative landscape:

Nanoxidil

A company called Divine Skin Laboratories (also called DS Laboratories) developed nanoxidil as an evolution of minoxidil. The compounds are strikingly similar but for nanoxidil’s lower molecular weight. Still, they’re different enough that nanoxidil has yet to receive FDA approval. It also lacks the robust study history behind minoxidil. If the FDA approves it, it could knock minoxidil off its pedestal, as early studies indicate that it bears similar efficacy with a lower side effect profile.

Thickening shampoo

Keeps, Hims, HairClub, and a company called ScalpMED all offer thickening shampoos. These products often contain saw palmetto as their most effective ingredient, which performs well in many hair loss studies when applied topically or taken orally. Our preference for thickening shampoo is Keeps, both for its price point and its addition of ancillary ingredients like caffeine and green tea.

Thickening conditioner

After using a strong cleansing shampoo, reintroducing a healthy amount of moisture is key to hair health and the appearance of thickness. The same four companies mentioned above boast effective conditioners bolstered by similar ingredients as those in their shampoos. But Hims is our favorite here because it includes niacinamide in its formula, which can help fight the main cause of dandruff and keep the scalp from becoming itchy or flaky.

Prescription shampoo

Keeps is the only company in the lot to offer prescription shampoo. It includes something called ketoconazole, which, like the niacinamide in Hims’ conditioner, is an anti-fungal treatment designed to treat dandruff. Ketoconazole is significantly stronger than niacinamide, however, which is why it requires a prescription. Studies show that it can be helpful in the fight against hair loss, and it’s especially good for men suffering from alopecia and dandruff. Divine Skin Laboratories, the company behind nanoxidil, also has a comprehensive shampoo containing ketoconazole, but it doesn’t require a prescription because the concentration is half that of the Keeps version.

Styling products

Both ScalpMED and HairClub offer styling products intended to help with baldness. ScalpMED’s styling spray contains vitamins that help individual hair absorb and hold onto water, allowing each strand to appear thicker while also helping keep them healthy and resistant to breakage. HairClub offers a slew of styling products, from pomade to gel. Some of these have ingredients that may help thicken hair, while others can simply help you achieve the look you want without damaging your hair. HairClub is our preference here for sheer variety.

Scalp treatments

ScalpMED happens to be the only one of these companies to offer a dedicated, non-medicinal scalp treatment, which it calls a scalp detoxifier. You should only use it before both the shampoo and conditioner, however. It contains alcohol as one of its main ingredients and may dry out your scalp if you use it without washing and conditioning afterward. You can read more about ScalpMED in our dedicated review.

Supplements

Keeps is the only company in the bunch that doesn’t offer oral supplements. Hims limits their offering to biotin gummies, which can help promote healthier hair without necessarily making a difference in cases of alopecia. HairClub and ScalpMED offer a more complex supplement containing beta-sitosterol, bamboo extract, and a handful of other ingredients. Still, it’s Nutrafol that has to be the top choice for hair loss supplementation. Their formula is the most comprehensive, by far, though it is also the most expensive. We go in-depth on Nutrafol in this complete review.

Vegan alternatives

While haircare products by Keeps and Hims are largely cruelty-free, vegan hair loss alternatives are a niche unto themselves. All of Hims’ gummies contain gelatin that comes from cows. Not only is this an issue for vegans and vegetarians, but it also has religious implications for some people. A company like Hum Nutrition focuses on delivering vegan products, so their Hair Sweet Hair biotin gummies make a great example of the alternatives out there. In addition to biotin, these also contain zinc, folic acid, B12, and other hair-friendly ingredients.

Or... embracing hair loss

If you don’t find a suitable or appealing option for hair loss treatment over time, it’s also worthwhile to reflect on how many balding or totally bald men have become iconic sex symbols. In fact, for men who embrace it, baldness can act as an impressive signal of confidence rather than a source of damage to self-esteem.

So if you can embrace or celebrate baldness as a new phase in your life – maybe finding a new hairstyle, or swapping out the hair on your head for some stylish or distinguished facial hair – then this is another viable path in approaching hair loss. It’s certainly the cheapest.

Whatever you choose, remember: you are the master of your hair. All you need to do is choose the path that feels best to you and then move forward confidently. Waiting is the only bad course of action. The best time to decide is now.

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