Photo by Innerbody Research
Whether you’ve just begun to notice a little thinning here and there or you’ve been aware of your hair loss for some time, you’re not alone. In fact, up to 53% of men experience hair loss before turning 50.1 Women stand to suffer from hair loss as well, with over 50% of women experiencing it at some point in their lives.2
Fortunately, there are more remedies for hair loss today than ever before — so many that the sheer variety of options might get confusing. One method that doesn’t require any prescription drugs or daily solutions is low-level laser therapy (LLLT).
LLLT relies on laser diodes to stimulate hair growth. And before you write the technology off as snake oil or charlatanism, you should check out the science. In clinical trials, LLLT performs at least as well as minoxidil (generic Rogaine) without the difficulty or potential mess of applying a minoxidil solution.3 But even among laser treatments, there’s a lot of variety to consider. We’ve taken a close look at laser caps for hair loss — likely the easiest and most effective delivery system for LLLT — and created a guide to help you find out which one is right for you.
The Kiierr 272 Premier combines best-in-class battery life with full scalp coverage from 272 laser diodes, all at one of the most affordable prices on the market.
With 30-minute sessions of pulse wave laser therapy every other day, Kiierr’s 272 Premier should be able to stop hair loss in most users, and regrow hair for many. Its extended battery life and included travel case also make it a smart choice for those on the go.
Shop on Kiierr.com and receive 15% off with code INNERBODY.
The Capillus PRO adds a level of luxury to the laser therapy experience, with a comfortable silicone lining and a battery that fits easily into pants pockets.
It’s not one of the least expensive models on the market, but the little details Capillus puts into its PRO model – including eye protection – are considerate, well-executed, and worth the price.
At Innerbody Research, we extensively test each health service we review, including laser caps for hair loss. All told, our team has spent over 500 hours researching the various causes of and treatments for hair loss, from prescription intervention and nutritional supplements to LLLT devices like laser caps.
We also got hands-on with the devices discussed — evaluating the customer service experience, build quality, performance, and safety features these companies offer. That way, we can give you a clear look at what it’s like to acquire and use a laser cap. Additionally, like all health-related content on this website, this review was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.
Over the past two decades, Innerbody Research has helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions to live healthier lifestyles.
To reach our conclusions about the best laser cap overall and the best models for specific needs, we considered six criteria that most people thinking about purchasing a laser cap should keep in mind.
Winner: Capillus PRO S1
Picking a winner for effectiveness is a tough call. Several models from different companies have 272 laser diodes, and the Capillus PRO is one of them. As long as the power is high enough and the wavelength is correct, any such device should be effective, and most of the models we’ve come across utilize 5mW lasers for a total of 1,360mW when the diode count is 272 (1,360÷272=5). This creates a certain amount of energy density per square centimeter (J/cm2) when considered alongside a given treatment time and the placement of diodes in a cap. It’s also one way some scientific studies measure the efficacy of LLLT for various applications.
But the differences in diode placement from one cap to the next, even among caps from different brands that boast the same number of diodes, is only inconsistent to within a few millimeters. This makes a comparison based on J/cm2 about as useful as a diode count (148 diodes will certainly create less energy density than 272 diodes will). And the J/cm2 calculations are probably a lot more confusing to the average customer. So, generally speaking, more diodes provide greater energy density, which increases efficacy.
Photo by Innerbody Research
The Capillus PRO S1 is one of only two caps in our guide to offer 314 diodes. The LaserCap HD+ is another, but the quality of Capillus’ construction and the brevity of the device’s 6-minute treatments gave it an edge. Only the Hairmax PowerFlex 272 and the Illumiflow MD come close to Capillus in treatment times at 7 minutes. With other competitors, you’ll need to wear the laser cap for 15-30-minute periods.
As time goes on, longer treatment durations can become a challenge for many people with busy routines. Our testers also found that it was easier to get into a daily routine (like Capillus’ schedule) than to remember to use the device every other day (the schedule for Hairmax, Kiierr, and others).
LLLT is safe and effective, but lasers themselves are dangerous, particularly to the eyes. In the course of handling different models, our testers’ eyes were exposed to these laser arrays on more than one occasion. The experience is disorienting and unpleasant, to say the least.
While we found no reason to believe any of the products in this guide could cause harm when you use them on your scalp, we also found that only two companies offered an eye protection feature on all of their models — Capillus and LaserCap. You could consider Illumiflow and Kiierr runners-up in this category, but only their most expensive models offer this protection.
This feature will prevent the lasers from firing if the cap is not situated on your head, so there’s no risk of accidentally turning it on first and looking directly at the lasers. They achieve this with two light-sensitive modules built into the cap that allow a session to begin only once your head prevents light from reaching them. We tested these light sensors in a variety of situations, including dark rooms. Even in near-total darkness, the lasers didn’t fire.
Beyond eye safety, Hairmax boasts the highest number of rigorous clinical studies of any company in our guide, which we appreciate from a safety perspective. Still, as the fundamental technology used by Hairmax and others is so similar, these studies do as much to bolster the safety of competitors as they do of Hairmax devices. And since Hairmax doesn’t employ safety sensors, we can’t recommend the brand based on safety alone.
It’s also worth noting that all of the caps in this guide are FDA-cleared. That’s not the same thing as being FDA-approved, but clearance lets you know that the FDA has at least reviewed the devices and concluded that they’re similar enough to a related device that has, at some point, been FDA-approved.
Winner: Kiierr 272 Premier
We took various factors into account when deciding on the best budget pick, and you’re better off buying nothing at all than spending less money on a product that doesn’t work. High-quality laser caps aren’t cheap — ranging from around $700 to about $3,000 — but when you consider how much money you’ll gradually spend on other hair loss treatments, the one-time price of an effective laser cap becomes far more reasonable.
The combination of price and laser count pushed the Kiierr 272 toward the top of our ranking. What really pushes Kiierr over the top for cost, though, is its offering of refurbished caps. We break this down further in the Kiierr section below, but with a refurbished cap and a discount Kiierr offers for taking its quiz, you could get a 272 Premier laser cap for under $600. Illumiflow was a close second, thanks to one of the longest growth guarantees in the business, allowing you to return the product if it doesn’t work for you after 12 months. But Kiierr bested Illumiflow in battery life — a critical feature to ensure consistent use — and Illumiflow doesn’t offer refurbished laser caps.
LaserCap, Illumiflow, and iRestore also have 12-month guarantees, but it’s worth noting an important caveat in these systems: you have to hang onto the laser cap for at least the length of the advertised guarantee period. So, if you’re six months into a 12-month guarantee and you want to return the cap, you can’t. You have to own it for the full 12 months, after which you typically have 30 days to initiate a return.
We were pleased to discover that laser caps ship for free from all of the companies mentioned in this guide.
When we look at the convenience of a given laser cap, we consider things like fit, battery capacity, charge times, portability, and session scheduling. It was a tight race that came down to Kiierr and Capillus, but Capillus’ potential for Bluetooth connectivity on its three S models put it over the top.
Here’s a quick look at those important parameters between the two companies:
|Treatment time||Treatment frequency||Battery life||Bluetooth connectivity?|
|Capillus PRO||6 minutes||Daily||4-5 sessions|
|Capillus PRO S1||6 minutes||Daily||4-5 sessions|
|Capillus PLUS S1||6 minutes||Daily||4-5 sessions|
|Kiierr 272 Premier||30 minutes||Alternating days||5-7 sessions|
|Kiierr 272 Premier MD||30 minutes||Alternating days||8-10 sessions|
As you can see, the treatment schedule is one of the biggest differentiating factors between the two, with Kiierr’s 30-minute sessions on alternating days offering a very different experience than Capillus’ 6-minute daily sessions. In testing, we found the daily session to be easier to manage. Six minutes are easier to squeeze in than 30, and the daily sessions meant we didn’t run the risk of losing track of when we were due for a treatment.
This is ultimately a personal preference, as you may have an easier time fitting alternating day treatments into your schedule, even if they’re 30 minutes long. And Kiierr’s battery life is much more impressive than Capillus’, meaning less frequent charging. That said, the physical size of that battery can make a difference in how convenient it is to use. The Kiierr battery is noticeably bigger than the battery from Capillus, the latter being easier to slip into a pocket as you walk around your home.
Take a look at the Kiierr and Capillus batteries side-by-side:
Photo by Innerbody Research
When we first contacted The Original LaserCap, we thought it would rank low in customer service, as the company missed our testers’ initial phone calls. But within minutes, we received responses directly from Dr. Michael Rabin, the doctor responsible for inventing the device. He offered to answer any questions we had and asked us to send in photos of our current scalp situation so he could recommend additional treatments to combine with the cap. Other companies have good live chat services or phone banks, but this was the most personalized service we had received in a while.
Capillus has a decent live chat feature, but you have to be patient when awaiting a response to your first volley. We’ve waited for over an hour for the chat to actually begin. Once it does start, however, responses are rapid.
Winner: Hairmax PowerFlex 272
Comfort may be a bit of a subjective category for laser caps, as the size of your head, how much hair you have, how mobile you want to be in your cap, and how you like a ball cap to fit will all inform your experience. But there are still a few things certain companies do that we found increased comfort in testing and could make the difference between a quick, easy session and a slow building headache, especially for those 30-minute treatments.
Hairmax and Capillus were the two companies we found that employ a silicone lining in their caps that cushions them against your head. If you don’t have a lot of hair left, this will make a big difference. Caps without it feel very hard to the touch.
The reason Hairmax won out over Capillus was that its laser array had more flexibility than Capillus’ did. Our testers found it fit them more readily than other caps and was easier to wear for extended periods (though the new iteration of the PowerFlex 272 only requires seven minutes for treatment).
How these caps sit on your head is also very important, and that’s where you can definitely consider Capillus a runner-up for comfort. And this came down to depth more than anything else. Check out this side-by-side comparison between the Capillus PRO S1 and the Kiierr 272 MD:
Photo by Innerbody Research
The Kiierr looks much smaller in the profile image, and if you look at how the hair sticks out from under it in the front-facing image, you can really see how much farther the Capillus model comes down over the head.
Our testing and research lead us to believe that the Kiierr 272 Premier and the Capillus Pro are the two best values among laser caps on the market right now. But between the two, we conclude that Kiierr is the best laser cap for most people, thanks to its diode count, battery life, and Goldilocks price point at $999. And that price gets even better when you take Kiierr’s hair loss evaluation questionnaire, which nets you a $130 discount.
That said, the Capillus PRO has the same number of diodes and a more comfortable fit, while the Capillus PRO S1 adds even more diodes (314 vs. 272) alongside Bluetooth connectivity to utilize the company’s app. What keeps its products from being considered best for most people is price; the Capillus PRO is more than twice the cost of the Kiierr 272 Premier, and the PRO S1 is nearly three times the cost. But if you can afford the price and want those added features, Capillus will not disappoint.
If budget is your primary concern, the Illumiflow 272 is also worth your consideration. It has just as many lasers as our favorite models from Capillus, Hairmax, and Kiierr, and it comes with a 12-month guarantee that lets you return the device if you don’t see results after six months of use. What you mainly sacrifice with this lower price is convenience. Illumiflow's treatment times are as lengthy as Kiierr's — 30 minutes every other day, as compared to 6 minutes daily with Capillus or 7-15 with Hairmax — but Illumiflow’s battery capacity is roughly half that of Kiierr. The combination of lengthier treatment and shorter battery life makes portability more difficult, constraining how you use the cap and creating a convenience gap that could lead to greater difficulty keeping up with the routine. (And if you don't follow the routine, your hair regrowth prospects suffer.)
Here’s a handy chart that breaks down the cost, usage time, and other vital features of the top models from our favorite companies:
Several factors can cause hair loss, but the most common hair loss condition is androgenetic alopecia, more commonly known as male or female pattern baldness. (You’ll often see this written as androgenic alopecia; the terms are used interchangeably in most of the medical community). This affliction results from an overabundance of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), an endogenous androgen sex steroid and hormone.4
DHT plays important roles in the body, but if you’re genetically predisposed, your body will use the enzyme 5-alpha reductase to convert more testosterone into DHT than is necessary. That will lead to follicle shrinkage and a choking off of vital nutrients. Eventually, those weakened follicles go dormant and then die.
Typical treatments for androgenetic alopecia are 5-alpha reductase inhibitors that prevent the enzyme from converting so much testosterone from DHT in the first place. Taken orally, prescription 5-alpha reductase inhibitors have been shown to cause some unpleasant side effects in men, and they aren’t at all suitable for use by women.
Other potential causes for hair loss don’t respond to 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, as their sources are very different. These include:
Low-level laser therapy seems to have potential to affect hair loss from any of these conditions, though removing stressors, addressing immune disorders, and getting to the end of a chemotherapy regimen are critical, as well.
Low-level laser therapy, or LLLT, is a form of photobiomodulation, a term used to describe the alteration of cellular structures and activity by exposure to light. LLLT uses laser diodes tuned to emit a specific frequency of light.8 While various frequencies may have different medical and cosmetic applications, a small frequency range performs exceptionally well in hair loss studies. That range runs between 630 and 660 nanometers (nm). This places LLLT at the low end of the visible spectrum, as the infrared spectrum begins at 700nm.
Based on early experiments in photobiomodulation, near-infrared and infrared wavelengths would theoretically penetrate deeper into the skin. Still, low-level wavelengths between 630 and 660nm showed the most promise for hair loss.9 This may be due to the proximity of hair follicles to the scalp’s surface. It’s worth noting that the early successes in the 630-660nm range led clinical trials to focus there as opposed to any sections of the infrared spectrum. More recent studies have looked into the 808nm wavelength and determined that, while effective, it shows less promise than wavelengths between 630 and 660nm.10
While scientists don’t entirely understand the mechanism of action for LLLT in the treatment of hair loss, they can make deductions based on how hair follicles respond to treatment. At this point, the generally accepted theory is that the lasers act as vasodilators, relaxing vascular smooth muscle tissue to bring more blood flow to hair follicles and deliver extra oxygen and nutrients.31
There is also evidence that exposure to concentrated light in these wavelengths causes an increase in ATP production and protein synthesis.11 Other studies point toward genetic mechanisms responsible for stem cell proliferation as central to the effect.30 Whatever the cause, LLLT appears to work at least as well as minoxidil in numerous studies.
There is also evidence to suggest that combining LLLT and minoxidil works better than either on their own.12
Some studies indicate that LLLT can influence hair follicle growth stages, causing a shift from one stage to another.13 To understand this a little better, it helps to know what each stage of hair growth is and what happens during them.
The anagen phase is the main growth phase for hair and is broken down into proanagen and metanagen sub-phases. During the proanagen sub-phase, the hair follicle starts the process of stem cell proliferation and differentiation, deciding which cells will become the keratin cells that compose strands of hair. When those strands begin to appear above the skin’s surface, you’ve reached the metanagen sub-phase, which continues until the catagen phase begins.
This transitional phase marks the end of a hair strand’s growth. The follicle shrinks somewhat during this phase, making it more susceptible to premature shedding. In those who do not suffer hair loss, this phase is far less noticeable, though the few hairs that come out during an overdue shampoo or an aggressive brushing session are evidence of it. This phase is more noticeable in those with androgenetic alopecia and other forms of hair loss.
During the telogen phase, any of the transitional changes a follicle undergoes in the catagen phase have ended, and the follicle is considered dormant.
This phase is closely related to the telogen phase and is marked by the shedding of old hairs to make way for the new. When this phase ends, follicles are supposed to restart the anagen phase, but various genetic and environmental factors can prevent this transition from taking place.
LLLT appears to stimulate anagen re-entry in telogen hair follicles, though the exact mechanism here is unknown. That means weak hairs in the late stages of growth will shed, and follicles will start their growth cycles anew, this time with superior nutrient and oxygen delivery and modulation of 5-alpha reductase expression to reduce the presence of DHT.
The scientific consensus is that LLLT is safe when used correctly. That said, most studies evaluating its safety pertain to applications other than hair loss, such as pain management.14 Other than a slightly warm sensation on the scalp, very few documented adverse effects of laser treatment have been documented. That said, the method is relatively new, and it will be necessary for the scientific community to continue to monitor the therapy’s long-term effects. If you have undiagnosed skin lesions or potentially precancerous growths on your scalp, talk to a dermatologist before using laser caps.
LLLT lasers can also pose a risk to your eyes. Some products have features designed to limit this risk, like Capillus and LaserCap, but the best practice would be to use the device with care and keep it out of the reach of children.
Special Kiierr Discount: Take 15% OFF with code INNERBODY
Laser caps provide a comfortable and convenient way to expose your scalp to LLLT. Inside a cap are rows of laser diodes that emit red light in the 630-660nm range. Most are tuned to 650nm precisely. When you wear a laser cap, its diodes send light that penetrates the hair follicles, which can cause significant changes to your hair’s health and density.9
Different caps have specific numbers of diodes in them, depending on the brand and model. More lasers don’t necessarily mean more growth, but a greater number of diodes can decrease treatment time and provide more complete, even coverage of the scalp.
Users will typically wear a laser cap for 6-30 minutes per session, with sessions daily or every other day. That will provide enough stimulation to notice changes potentially within a few weeks, though it often takes a few months to see noticeable regrowth.
Insider Tip: Because LLLT causes hair follicles to reset their growth phases, hairs in the middle of a cycle will likely shed. This often occurs around three weeks into treatment, and it can be scary to see your hair falling out in such volume. Don’t worry; this is a normal and essential part of the process, as regrowth has just begun.
LLLT devices typically fall into one of two camps: pulse wave (PW) and continuous wave (CW). Pulse wave devices flash their lasers on and off at regular intervals, typically not more than one half-second in duration. Continuous wave devices leave their lasers on from the start of a treatment session to its end.
There is no consensus in the photobiomodulation community as to whether pulse or continuous wave LLLT is more effective. Some studies imply that PW is superior, but these studies involve parameters far different than hair loss, like wound healing.15 What one large-scale review found is the closest thing to the truth we can find: PW and CW offer different effects without necessarily being superior to one another.
What this difference means in the treatment of hair loss is still unclear, but laser cap companies have staked claims on either side of the line and have dug in. You can usually tell the difference just by looking at session times, as PW sessions are going to last longer to deliver the same amount of energy to the scalp, which makes sense when you consider that the lasers are off half the time.
Arguments in favor of PW are that there’s less chance for heat to build up beneath the cap and that rest periods allow the lasers to fire at maximum power with each burst. The science behind this is shaky, at best, and is likely more about marketing than a genuine comparison of ability.
Here’s where each company falls in the debate based on the way they build their caps. Hairmax is the only provider of devices you can switch from pulse to continuous, but its recent update to the Powerflex 272 removed this option and replaced it with a continuous-only system. As we believe this is how the company’s entire lineup will soon look, we’ll count it in the continuous column and use the specs from its PowerFlex 272. And we’ve listed Illumiflow’s standing based on its most recently released product, the 272 MD, despite the older models in its lineup using pulse wave lasers.
|Pulse or continuous?||Treatment time||Treatment frequency|
|Kiierr||Pulse||30 minutes||Alternating days|
|Hairmax||Continuous||7 minutes||3x weekly|
|LaserCap||Pulse||30 minutes||Alternating days|
|iRestore||Pulse||25 minutes||Alternating days|
Until further research emerges to support one modality over another, we can only recommend that you go with the treatment schedule that fits best into your daily life.
Laser LLLT manufacturers often make it a point to tell you that their products utilize lasers and not LEDs. It’s a critical distinction when comparing laser LLLT devices to some of the cheaply made LED offerings you may find online. But it isn’t the whole picture.
On their own, lasers will outperform LEDs for hair loss treatment. But one study shows that LEDs set to similar wavelengths as these LLLT lasers can improve hair growth when the two are used in combination.16 That doesn’t mean you should run out and buy the cheapest LED helmet you can find. Still, it does suggest that a combination of lasers and LEDs may provide superior therapy as long as the presence of the LEDs does not negatively impact the quantity or performance of the lasers.
We need to see more research into this to be convinced, but if you’re curious, iRestore is the only company in our guide to offer a laser helmet combined with LEDs.
Laser caps offer a hair loss treatment that’s applicable to most forms of hair loss. And unlike oral finasteride, LLLT can be used by men or women. Lasers are also convenient in that they don’t interfere with other treatment modalities. You can use LLLT alongside minoxidil and finasteride to maximize your results. Numerous studies indicate an uptick in efficacy when adding laser treatments to a minoxidil regimen.17
Of course, there are some people for whom LLLT might not be the answer. These are often cases in which an underlying health condition or ongoing medical treatment is the root cause of hair loss, and that loss outpaces the potential for lasers to instigate new growth. These might include:
Fortunately, using a laser cap in conjunction with therapies directed at that underlying health condition or after a certain treatment course concludes can help you regrow your hair more quickly.
Unfortunately, hair loss therapies — including the likes of finasteride and minoxidil — can’t revive dead follicles. They can reactivate dormant follicles, which is enough for people whose hair loss isn’t too far advanced. But if you have significant hair loss and haven’t sought treatment for upwards of a decade, there’s a good chance that those follicles can’t be revived. In cases like these, you’d be better off seeking hair replacement or restoration surgery.
From a safety standpoint, it’s also not advisable for anyone to try laser therapy if they have a history of skin cancer, active skin cancer, or lesions on the scalp. There is some evidence that LLLT can benefit cases of eczema and atopic dermatitis, but this is very recent animal research and needs to be repeated in humans before we can advise anyone with such skin conditions to try a laser cap.32
It’s common practice in the laser cap market to provide users with some kind of satisfaction guarantee. Often referred to as “growth guarantees,” these are refund systems that allow you to get most of your money back if the technology doesn’t work for you.
There are numerous caveats in growth guarantees you should be aware of before purchasing a device.
Some growth guarantees will be declined if you don’t pre-register for them when you receive your device. This registration is often the same one as your warranty registration, which you should do anyway.
In order to utilize a company’s growth guarantee to recoup your investment, you have to wait the full length of the guarantee to demonstrate that you’ve met a minimum use requirement. Essentially, these companies don’t want you giving up on treatment three months in, when it can take 6-12 months to see noticeable results. If a company has a 7-month growth guarantee, then you’ll typically have 30 days to initiate a return once seven months have passed from the date of purchase.
Whatever a given company calls these fees (convenience, restocking, etc.), they run the gamut from 18%-25% of the full purchase price, and they’re mandatory components of nearly every growth guarantee we’ve encountered. The only company in our guide without a mandatory restocking fee is iRestore, whose fee only applies to returns made before the duration of the growth guarantee has lapsed.
This should come as no surprise since most companies in the wellness space don’t cover return shipping costs for their products. Laser cap companies are no different, with iRestore being the only exception.
Here’s a quick look at what you can expect in terms of satisfaction guarantees from the companies in this guide:
|Growth guarantee||Restocking fees|
Best for most people, best value under $1,000, best for use on the go, and best for large heads
Photo by Innerbody Research
Kiierr offers a diverse enough product lineup to accommodate most potential customers’ needs, with two diode arrays (148 and 272) built into a handful of models. Its top-of-the-line models bear the MD classification, and these boast eye safety sensors and best-in-class battery life. Still, we recommend the model just below these, the 272 Premier, as the best choice for most people (as long as you put the cap on your head before switching it on, the sensors aren’t that necessary).
We found that the 272 Premier was competitively priced against similar 272-diode models from other companies. You can also save $130 on any Kiierr laser cap by filling out an exceedingly simple hair loss evaluation questionnaire, bringing the cost below nearly all of the competition.
Three things separate Kiierr from its competitors:
In the case of the second advantage, you have to balance that out with the longer charge times that come with it. Most other companies charge from 0-100% in about six hours, while Kiierr’s manual recommends at least eight hours of charging before use. But with an alternating-day schedule and up to ten sessions per charge on the MD model, we had to give Kiierr the title of best for use on the go.
All new Kiierr laser caps come with a 7-month growth guarantee and a 2-year warranty.
Like Capillus, Kiierr also offers refurbished caps as its stock allows. Unlike Capillus, however, Kiierr dedicates a page to these caps and makes them relatively easy to find. A refurbished Premier 272 costs $699, marked down from $1,225. That’s a savings of $526. You can also apply that $130 coupon from filling out the hair loss questionnaire, bringing the cost of a refurbished cap down to $569. However, refurbished caps do not come with a growth guarantee, and their warranty only lasts one year.
Kiierr’s sessions last 30 minutes, and you perform them every other day.
Kiierr has several supplemental products for sale that you can use in conjunction with your laser treatment. While many other supplemental shampoos and conditioners rely on a familiar set of ingredients, there are some in Kiierr’s products that its competitors haven’t yet incorporated. These ingredients show promise in testing to fight hair loss but need more studies for us to be confident in their abilities.20
This shampoo utilizes a formula known as Kapilarine, a combination of Kigelia Africana, salvia, cinnamon, and ginkgo biloba. While not the most common DHT blockers or hair loss treatments, there is evidence that they can do both.
Kiierr’s conditioner contains a pair of trademarked ingredients — Trichogen and DermaPep — that may increase hair strength and promote growth, though research is not publicly available at this time. Peppermint oil provides a cool, refreshing scent.
This vitamin complex combines key vitamins and nutrients with well-studied botanicals like saw palmetto and nettle root to stimulate healthy hair growth. 300mcg of biotin adds to its growing power and offers benefits to your skin and nails. The vitamins contain bovine gelatin and may contain soy and shellfish.
If you already take a multivitamin that you like but want to add biotin to the mix for your hair, skin, and nails, this supplement offers just that. A single serving contains 5,000mcg of biotin. The gummies have coconut oil in them, so anyone with tree nut allergies might want to look elsewhere.
In addition to providing your body with the building blocks for hair strands, there is some evidence that collagen supplementation can improve follicle health and even guard against the onset of gray hair.21
Fish oil supplements nourish your entire body with omega-3 fatty acids, which can also be great for hair health. Kiierr uses three sources for its fish oil: fish, flaxseed, and borage.
This cream can moisturize your scalp while providing it with antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidative nutrients. Its ingredients include squalene and alpha-lipoic acid.22
This bundle combines the Hair Growth Cream listed above with an effective dermaroller, the teeth of which can stimulate blood flow to the scalp. For some reason, the dermaroller is not available on its own.
There are a few other bundles available that mix and match several of these products and offer bulk savings if you purchase up to a three-month supply. Our comprehensive Kiierr review has even more information.
Best value over $2,000, best feature set, and fastest treatment time
Photo by Innerbody Research
Founded in 2012, Capillus is a Miami-based company whose products include laser caps for hair loss and a line of hair care products. Its caps are expensive compared to most of the competition, but their comfort, build quality, reliability, and efficacy are excellent.
Capillus laser caps are especially convenient for those without much time to spare in a given day. Their treatment time is just six minutes — more than 16 minutes faster than their class’s average. The only catch is that you have to use it daily instead of every other day or three times per week, as seen with models from Kiierr and others.
For some users, daily applications will be a hassle. For others, it can help ensure consistent treatment. Our testers were split on the issue, though most felt that a daily routine was easier to remember without the help of a calendar or other tracking system. They also found that the size, shape, and silicone lining inside the cap made it one of the most comfortable options on the market, bested only by the flexibility provided by the similarly-lined Hairmax models.
Capillus’ main lineup of full-coverage laser caps includes:
|Cost||Laser diode count|
|Capillus PRO S1||$2,999.00||304|
|Capillus PLUS S1||$1,699.15||214|
|Capillus ONE S||$934.15||128|
In addition to having slightly more diodes per model, the S1 and S designations indicate Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to integrate your laser cap with the Capillus app.
If price is a sticking point, you can inquire about Capillus Rework caps, which are refurbished caps that have been returned by previous customers. Stock for these is unpredictable, but they provide a great opportunity for savings; many are sold at 50% off. They have to pass through a quality check before Capillus will sell them, which includes a full liner replacement and any necessary repairs.
There is no page on the Capillus site dedicated to its Rework caps, but if you scroll to the bottom of any product page, you’ll have an opportunity to sign up for email updates about stock availability.
Capillus provides full warranties for both new and reconditioned caps, but the warranty length increases with more expensive models:
These warranty lengths apply to the caps only; battery packs and AC adapters are covered for one year on all models.
Capillus’ relatively new S models add some diodes to their counterparts in the S-less lineup, but the biggest difference between the product lines is the addition of Bluetooth connectivity. This allows you to connect your cap to the Capillus app.
Photo by Innerbody Research
In testing, we found the main function of the app extremely easy to use. Setup was relatively fast, though the video that’s supposed to show you where to locate your serial number for registration is not currently accessible. (See the image below for where to find your serial number).
Photo by Innerbody Research
The app mostly performed well in our testing. Connectivity was quick and consistent, and the timer stopped and started whenever we took the cap off or put it back on (causing the safety sensors to deactivate or reactivate the lasers, respectively). Tracking progress over time with a built-in photo album and having quick links to customer service is also pretty helpful.
Unfortunately, the RSS feeds for the Blog and Offers section of the app don’t work at all, rendering two of the five icons at the bottom of the app useless. Still, Capillus is the only company offering this kind of connectivity and progress tracking, and if it can iron out those wrinkles and perhaps add some more interactive features, the app could be a home run.
Another way you can save a little money if you want to go with Capillus is by using its FOCAL targeted caps. These are built to the same specs as the full-coverage caps, but they contain diodes in only a small portion of the cap.
Targeted caps are ideal for people who have isolated areas or hair loss or who are in the early stages of loss and only need to address a small section of the scalp.
Any FOCAL cap contains 84 diodes and costs $680.
You can get a FOCAL cap to address hair loss in these three areas:
Products like the bands and combs from Hairmax are the only competitive solutions for such targeted use, and they are less expensive than these caps. Still, the caps are undeniably easier to use.
Capillus’ hair care products are a nice supplement to its LLLT devices. The lineup has evolved in recent years, with the company offering its shampoos only in the form of hair care kits, though its standalone conditioner is still available.
There are two such hair care kits available from Capillus, one for men and one for women. Each contains two shampoo products, a conditioner, and a serum. The company does not publish ingredient lists for these products, which are remarkably expensive. Previous shampoo and conditioner from the company sold for $35 each, meaning that the additional shampoo and serum are worth approximately $100, which seems excessive.
This sulfate-free formula helps exfoliate the scalp and provides you with saw palmetto and biotin to inhibit DHT and promote healthy growth.
This conditioner relies on natural oils to help enrich hair and retain moisture. Its ingredients include saw palmetto and argan oil, but it is not sulfate-free.
Capillus offers this as a leave-in serum you can apply after your shower. It contains an effective combination of DHT blockers, nutrients, and antifungal agents.
Capillus has recently begun offering minoxidil at 5% and 2% concentrations for men and women, respectively. While we appreciate this offering, it’s not the best deal you can find on minoxidil.
The most abundant ingredient in this supplement is keratin, the oral use of which has not been supported as a hair loss treatment by clinical research. The product is also a moderate source of biotin, but similar supplements with more credible ingredients are available for much less.
Unlike the company’s other supplement, its DHT blocker contains saw palmetto, an ingredient with known properties as a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor. But like that other supplement, the Capillus DHT Blocker is more expensive than similar options on the market.
Capillus also offers accessories like replacement battery packs and a case for travel and storage. Most other companies include a similar travel case in their packages, at the very least with their most expensive models. No Capillus purchase includes this case, which costs $30.
Hairmax is one of the oldest names in laser hair loss treatments. Its lineup of products includes laser caps, bands, and combs, as well as hair care products and a dietary supplement. Its lineup appears to be undergoing a transformation, with a recent update to its top-of-the-line model removing the option for pulse wave treatment and rendering it continuous-wave-only.
In our conversations with the company, some details of the changes made to the PowerFlex 272 are not yet public, but reps attribute its reduced treatment time (seven minutes compared to its predecessor’s 15) to advances in the research, not the technology. There doesn’t appear to be any difference in power between the old and new PowerFlex 272s. Both models feature 272 5mW lasers outputting a total of 1,360mW. That research may very well be internal, as we haven’t found any published, peer-reviewed research connecting continuous wave treatments with a seven-minute session time.
We suspect the other caps in the Hairmax lineup will eventually follow suit, eliminating the pulse wave mode and advertising 7-minute treatments across all models. We did not get confirmation of this from company reps, but the fact that the 272 (which used to be the company’s most expensive model) is now $400 less expensive than the 202 only makes sense if the 202 will eventually be upgraded and have its price reduced.
Hairmax offers a trio of laser caps, two of which come in the form of baseball hats and the third of which is more of a helmet. The 202-diode cap operates in either 30-minute pulse wave or 15-minute continuous modes, and the 272-diode model offers only continuous wave treatment in 7-minute sessions every other day. The helmet treats one half of your head at a time in 15-minute increments, also every other day.
Hairmax covers all of its laser products with 1-year warranties, which is shorter than any other company in our guide. Previously, Hairmax offered 2-year warranties on its caps, but that appears to have changed.
Its laser caps include:
Hairmax also offers a pair of laser bands. These don’t provide the same global coverage as the caps, but they’re a convenient and effective option for patients with thinning at the crown or vertex. One thing that might make these superior choices for some hair loss situations is that they contain comb-like teeth that move hair out of the way so more light can reach your scalp.
Laser band treatments offer short, targeted sessions that last as little as 90 seconds.
Its two laser band models are:
Hairmax laser combs are a good choice for anyone looking to treat small areas of hair loss. They also make an excellent low-cost investment for people interested in laser technology but hesitant to spend too much money. Treatments run 11 minutes three times per week.
The two laser comb models are:
Like Capillus and Kiierr, Hairmax offers refurbished versions of its laser caps, bands, and combs. Unlike those companies, Hairmax provides the same warranty length on its refurbished goods as it does on its new products. The only caveat there is that the company has recently reduced its warranty length to one year, but the warranty you get is still on par with other companies’ refurbished models.
In our time researching Hairmax and its competitors, we haven’t seen any caps available through its refurbish program despite the fact that the program’s page includes them in a list of potential products.
Hairmax has a line of hair care products that includes the company’s NRG8-pLEX botanical blend, which promotes growth and healthy hair. Specifically, the complex includes:
Here’s a quick look at Hairmax’s full line of hair care products:
This blend includes caffeine, reishi mushroom, saw palmetto, and other natural ingredients that help inhibit DHT and slow down premature signs of aging. It claims to be sulfate-free but very clearly contains sodium sulfate on its ingredient label.
This conditioner uses Indian gooseberry to provide lift at the base of the hair shaft. That can add volume to your hair and make it appear thicker.23
This leave-in treatment includes niacinamide, which helps fight dandruff and locks moisture into hair strands.24
This solution goes on your scalp before bed and provides benefits to the scalp and hair with anti-inflammatory ingredients and essential oils.
Of all these supplemental treatments, the nutritional supplement offers the best value. Comparable and superior hair care products exist from Hims, Keeps, and Roman, but Nutrafol is the closest product to the Hair, Skin, & Nails capsules. Admittedly, Nutrafol’s ingredient profile is a little more extensive, but its price is also twice what Hairmax charges.
Hairmax rounds out its lineup with a few accessories, including a brush, a towel, and a modern version of spray-on hair that works better than the old as-seen-on-TV products but still might not be a great solution for many customers.
Compared to some of the more recognizable names in the field, Illumiflow has fewer products on offer. Those products are worth considering for many potential customers, especially those concerned with the cost of a laser cap.
Laser caps are significant investments compared to other hair loss treatments like minoxidil or finasteride. Still, their use can theoretically offset the cost of those drugs if they last long enough and aren’t too expensive. Illumiflow’s least expensive 272 model costs $799, which is a full $200 below Kiierr’s 272 Premier. However, Kiierr’s $130 discount brings that cost down to $869 just for answering a questionnaire. And that $70 gets you a battery that lasts up to five more sessions than the Illumiflow model, as well as a case for travel and storage.
Illumiflow’s lineup used to consist exclusively of pulse-wave models with 30-minute treatment times. The company has since added a continuous wave model with a shorter, seven-minute daily treatment time. This is still one minute longer per day than the Capillus PRO, but the price difference is more than $1,000.
One of the more frustrating aspects of the Illumiflow site is how hard it makes it to compare models directly. Other sites have product pages that list all of their caps, so you can at least compare things like cost and diode count. But important specific information is presented differently on each Illumiflow cap’s page. We consolidated important information into a quick look at how Illumiflows models compare:
It’s important to note that the 272 and 272 Pro models are identical but for their packages. The Pro model includes a portable carrying case, built-in eye safety sensors, and an audible session completion timer. And the Pro Max package is identical to the Pro package, but its cap offers 25% more scalp coverage for heads with hat sizes over 7¾. Kiierr is the only other company to offer an XL cap size for larger heads.
Illumiflow’s Follicle FX Hair Growth Vitamin used to be the company’s only supplemental product. It has since added a shampoo and conditioner to the catalog but only as a paired purchase; you can’t buy the shampoo or conditioner independently.
Follicle FX contains biotin, zinc, and copper, along with a botanical blend of saw palmetto, grape seed extract, horsetail rush, and other ingredients that have some clinical support in the battle against hair loss. It’s gluten-free, non-GMO, and vegetarian, but it contains soy. Illumiflow used to offer the supplement as a one-time purchase or on a subscription basis, but the subscription is no longer an option. That said, the price has come down from $59 to $49 for a one-month supply.
The shampoo and conditioner from Illumiflow contain two patented ingredients: Dermapep Pepanagen S and Trichogen VEG LS 9922. The makers of Dermapep reference in vivo and in vitro studies that show a prolonging of the anagen (growth) phase, but the studies are not provided, nor do they appear to have been published in any peer-reviewed journal. And Trichogen VEG LS 9922 is a complex containing arginine, biotin, and niacinamide alongside another dozen compounds and extracts. But without available clinical research or information about the quantity of any of these ingredients, we can’t recommend the shampoo or conditioner at this time.
Best customer service
The Original LaserCap markets itself as a prescription-strength offering that delivers more light energy per square centimeter than its competitors. This is a problematic claim to test for, but it’s undeniable that its caps provide more laser diodes at each of its tiers than others (with the exception of the Capillus PRO S1, which matches the 304 diodes in the LaserCap HD+). The company also features a “Find A Doctor” feature on its website that can guide you to dermatologists around the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico who use its products in their practices.
However, the most impressive thing about the company is the personal touch with customers. The caps’ inventor, Dr. Micheal Rabin, contacted our testers directly and provided his personal contact information to reach out with questions or concerns. He also personally reviews any images you send him via email and will help you find additional treatments to complement your laser regimen.
LaserCap offers a lifetime warranty on its products, but it’s critical to understand what this entails. The company will fix or replace a cap within the first three years of ownership. After that, it’ll still fix and replace a cap, but for a nominal fee. In our opinion, that makes this a 3-year warranty with lifetime product support, but you wouldn’t know this unless you dug into the documentation.
The caps the company offers include:
Unlike other laser cap companies, this is where LaserCap’s product lineup ends. It doesn’t offer any additional hair care products or accessories other than replacement parts.
iRestore is an outlier on our list for a couple of reasons. First, its caps are the least cap-like of the bunch. It would be better to refer to them as helmets since they kind of resemble bicycle helmets. So, iRestore doesn’t have as much promise to use on the go, in our opinion.
This is also the only option in our guide that combines lasers with LEDs. As we said earlier, there is some evidence that this combination is superior to either lasers or LEDs alone, but more evidence of this would be useful.16 You’ll see that the addition of LEDs significantly reduced the capacity for lasers in each of iRestore’s helmets, potentially making them less effective overall.
For at-home use, it’s one of the most convenient options out there. That’s because it’s the only product in our guide that you can use without a battery pack. You can plug it into the wall and have your session without worrying how much charge is left. That also means you won’t miss a session like you might with battery-operated models if you were to pick one up to use it and find that it’s dead.
There’s another edge to this sword, however. Neither iRestore model comes with a battery pack; you have to buy it separately. And our testers found that there are plenty of scenarios when you might want to get up out of your chair in the middle of a session: to answer the door, to run to the bathroom, to check on a crying baby, and so on. Without the battery pack, you lose that instant portability.
iRestore sessions are 25 minutes long, applied every other day. That makes them among the longer sessions, though notably five minutes shorter than times from Illumiflow and some Hairmax models.
iRestore offers two laser cap options:
|iRestore Essential||iRestore Professional|
|Warranty||1 year||2 years|
External battery packs for added portability cost an extra $79.99.
iRestore has several hair care products and supplements, including a drug-free minoxidil alternative. The company’s pricing is a little higher than average, but it does offer a very competitively priced bundle, and you can purchase your initial products along with your laser cap to save even more.
The shampoo and conditioner better resemble salon products than hair loss treatments, but they can each still provide benefits for anyone struggling with thinning hair.
This shampoo doesn’t have quite as many of the most commonly used ingredients for hair loss in it, but it still offers a nice amino acid profile, green tea extract, and niacinamide to help fight dandruff and retain moisture.
The main goal of this conditioner is thickening. It loads up on proteins and oils to nourish your hair as much as possible, with peppermint and spearmint to provide a pleasant fragrance.
This is iRestore’s minoxidil alternative. It uses a complex called Rednesyl, which contains dihydroquercetin-glucoside (DHQG). DHQG is a plant extract that targets stem cells in hair follicles and stimulates them to reset their growth cycles.27
This simple supplement provides you with biotin, saw palmetto, and beta-sitosterol, three ingredients that show positive results in many hair loss studies.26
These gummy vitamins primarily serve as a source of biotin for your hair, skin, and nails, but they also contain vitamins C and E.
This bundle includes the shampoo, conditioner, minoxidil alternative, and growth formula supplement. Compared to buying them individually, the bundle saves you just over $19.
If you’re interested in a different approach, or you want to know about what you can combine with LLLT to maximize your results, it’d be worth taking a look at the other approaches on the market. We have a complete guide to hair loss treatments for you to explore, but here’s a quick look at your options:
Finasteride is a widely prescribed and undeniably effective treatment for hair loss.28 You can obtain it through your doctor or utilize any outstanding telehealth services that provide prescriptions and medication to those who qualify.
Finasteride may have serious sexual or psychological side effects, though these only occur in a small percentage of patients. We recommend Keeps for finasteride, and you can read all about its services in our dedicated review.
Unlike laser caps, finasteride is only available for men.
Minoxidil is a topical solution you’ve probably heard of by its brand name Rogaine. Generic minoxidil is equally effective, less expensive, and easily accessible online.29 Nanoxidil is a nearly identical compound that has come out more recently. It’s pricier than minoxidil but has a lower side effect profile, making it a good choice for those with sensitive scalps.
We recommend Keeps for minoxidil, but if you’re interested in nanoxidil, we think DS Laboratories is a great place to start.
There are a lot of shampoos and conditioners on the market that claim to thicken hair and stimulate new growth. Many of their promises are a bit overblown, but using high-quality hair products can improve the appearance and strength of your hair. That may limit breakage and prevent unnecessary thinning. With its recently expanded line of options, we recommend Hims for shampoo and conditioner to fight hair loss.
It would be deceptive to claim that an over-the-counter pill could stop hair loss or regrow hair, but nutrition can be crucial in combating hair loss. This is especially true in cases of telogen effluvium, where environmental toxins may partly be to blame for the loss. Many of the companies in this guide offer branded supplements that contain ingredients like saw palmetto, biotin, and beta-sitosterol.26 Those are the three most reliable supplements that can increase your chances of winning the battle against baldness, so look for those.
Restoration and replacement are services you can get from HairClub at any one of its national chains. Other companies provide similar services in specific locales, but HairClub is probably the best-known name in the field. Keeps has also recently begun performing restoration surgery in its New York facility.
For replacement procedures, HairClub will match your hair to hair from a donor and fashion a high-tech hairpiece that’s adhered to your scalp with an industrial, medical adhesive and woven into your existing hairline. The results are often extremely convincing.
Restoration procedures are far more intensive. They involve surgically transplanting healthy hair follicles to areas of loss. Recovery time is shorter than it used to be, and scarring is largely a thing of the past, but it is surgery nonetheless.
Restorations and replacement are long-term solutions that offer significant results, but they are also the most expensive options out there. For more information about restoration or replacement, check out our HairClub review.
This may be the least popular option, but you can always embrace your hair loss. There are plenty of examples where this worked out very well for the individual. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is probably the most prominent celebrity who doesn’t quite look like himself with hair. You can take the natural approach and keep what hair you have, or you can shave your head entirely. If you go for the full shave and don’t like the way it looks, you could always let what you have left grow back and begin laser treatment immediately.
Innerbody uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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