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. Women stand to suffer from hair loss as well, with around 50% of women experiencing it at some point in their lives.
Fortunately, there are more remedies for hair loss today than ever before — so many that the sheer variety of options might get confusing. One proven 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 as well as minoxidil (generic Rogaine), with none of the mess. But even among laser treatments, there is 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.
- Best laser cap: Capillus Pro
- Best value pick: Kiierr 272 Premiere
- Best for tight budgets: Illumiflow 272
- Fastest treatment time: Capillus Pro
- Most comfortable: HairMax PowerFlex 272
- Best for use on the go: Capillus Pro
- Longest warranty: Illumiflow
- Best for large heads: Kiierr 272 Premiere MD XL
The Capillus Pro design is subtle and comfortable, yielding results with the shortest treatment times.
Just 6 minutes a day can effectively stop hair loss and stimulate regrowth for a thicker head of hair. Capillus also offers a 3 year warranty with every purchase.
HairMax PowerFlex 272
Just 15 minutes three times a week with the PowerFlex 272 yields thicker, fuller hair. Its 272 laser diodes provide excellent scalp coverage.
Supported by the greatest number of clinical research studies, Hairmax is reasonably priced and all caps are backed by a 2 year warranty.
- Why you should trust us
- How we evaluated laser caps
- What causes hair loss?
- What is low-level laser therapy?
- What is the best laser cap for hair loss?
- The Original LaserCap
- Using a laser cap for hair loss
- FAQ about LLLT
- Alternative to laser caps for hair loss
At Innerbody Research, we extensively test each health service we review, including laser caps for hair loss. All told, our team has spent hundreds of hours testing and researching these companies’ products and services, as well as your treatment alternatives, 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 review was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.
Winner: Capillus Pro
Picking a winner for effectiveness is a tough call. Several models have 272 laser diodes in them, and the Capillus Pro is one of them. And as long as the power is high enough and the wavelength is correct, any such device should be effective. But the quality of construction and the brevity of the device’s 6-minute treatments means you’re more likely to see results in the short and long term. Longer treatment times become a challenge for many people with busy routines over the course of months. Only the HairMax PowerFlex 272 rivals Capillus in treatment times at 15 minutes. With other competitors, you’ll need to wear the laser cap for half-hour periods.
Winners: Capillus and LaserCap
LLLT is safe and effective, but lasers themselves are dangerous, particularly to the eyes. 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. Those two are Capillus and LaserCap. 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.
You could consider Kiierr and Illumiflow runners-up in this category because they only offer such protection on their most expensive models. It’s also worth noting that most of these companies modulate their laser output to be harmless if you happen to accidentally look into the lasers. None of them should cause any permanent damage to the eyes in such a case.
Beyond eye safety, HairMax boasts the highest number of rigorous clinical studies of any company in our guide, giving them an edge in safety.
Winners: Illumiflow 272 and Kiierr
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 Illumiflow 272 toward the top of the ranking. Add their 5-year warranty to the picture, and it becomes clear that this package is very worthy of your consideration. While Kiierr’s caps are a bit pricier, they make more cost effective options for anyone on the go, as their batteries last nearly twice as long as Illumiflow’s.
When our testers first contacted The Original LaserCap, we thought they would rank low in customer service, as the company missed their initial phone calls. But within minutes, we received responses directly from 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.
Several factors can cause hair loss, but the most common is androgenetic alopecia, more commonly known as male or female pattern baldness. This affliction results from an overabundance of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), an endogenous androgen sex steroid and hormone.
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.
Other potential causes for hair loss include:
- Telogen effluvium: the result of physical, emotional, or environmental stress
- Alopecia areata: an immune response that attacks hair follicles in patches
- Chemotherapy-induced hair loss: usually accompanying cancer treatment
Low-level laser therapy, or LLLT, is a form of photobiostimulation that uses laser diodes tuned to emit a specific frequency of light. 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. This places LLLT at the low end of the visible spectrum, as the infrared spectrum begins at 700nm.
Based on early experiments in photobiostimulation, 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. 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.
How does LLLT fight hair loss?
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, bringing more blood flow to hair follicles and delivering extra oxygen and nutrients. There is also evidence that exposure to concentrated light in these wavelengths causes an increase in ATP production and protein synthesis.
LLLT also appears to stimulate anagen re-entry in telogen hair follicles. That means weak hairs in the middle 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 closest comparison to LLLT’s effectiveness and mechanism is minoxidil. The two treatments differ significantly in their experience, but the results are strikingly similar. There is also evidence to suggest that combining LLLT and minoxidil works better than either on its own.
Is LLLT safe?
Scientific consensus is that LLLT is incredibly safe when used correctly. 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 prior to using laser caps.
LLLT lasers can also pose a risk to your eyes. Some products have features designed to limit this risk, but the best practice would be to use the device with care and keep it out of the reach of children.
LLLT lasers vs. LEDs
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. 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.
How do laser caps work for hair loss?
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. When you wear a laser cap, its diodes send light penetrating to the hair follicles, where it can affect significant changes to your hairs’ health and density.
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 spaced out daily or every other day. That will provide enough stimulation to notice changes 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.
In our opinion, the Capillus Pro is the best laser cap for hair loss. It offers the shortest session time without sacrificing efficacy. Its laser array comes in a housing separate from the included cap, so you can wear it with any baseball cap you prefer, so long as it fits comfortably. An incredibly close runner-up is Kiierr, whose highest-end laser cap has the same number of laser diodes as the Capillus Pro while costing roughly 50% less. It also features the best-performing battery in its class.
If budget is your primary concern, the Illumiflow 272 is likely your best bet. It has just as many lasers as the top models from Capillus, HairMax, and Kiierr, and it comes with a 6-month guarantee that lets you return the device if you don’t see results after six months of use. Keep in mind, though, that you’ll have to wear this device for significantly longer periods of time (30 minute sessions rather than 6 minutes in the case of Capillus or 15 for HairMax). That may make it more difficult for many users to keep with the routine.
Here’s a handy chart that breaks down the cost, usage time, and other vital features of the top models from our favorite companies:
|Cost||Laser Diode Count||LED Count||Treatment Time||Treatment Frequency||Battery Life||Warranty Length|
|Capillus Plus||$1,599||202||0||6 minutes||Daily||4-5 sessions||3 years|
|Capillus Pro||$2,399||272||0||6 minutes||Daily||4-5 sessions||3 years|
|Kiierr 272 Premiere||$995||272||0||30 minutes||Alternating days||5-7 sessions||2 years|
|Kiierr 272 Premiere MD||$1,495||272||0||30 minutes||Alternating days||8-10 sessions||2 years|
|HairMax PowerFlex Laser Cap 202||$1,699||202||0||15-30 minutes||3x/week||2-3 sessions||2 years|
|HairMax Powerflex Laser Cap 272||$1,899||272||0||15-30 minutes||3x/week||2-3 sessions||2 years|
|LaserCap HD||$2,495||224||0||30 minutes||Alternating days||4-5 sessions||3 years|
|LaserCap HD+||$2,995||304||0||30 minutes||Alternating days||4-5 sessions||3 years|
|Illumiflow 272||$649||272||0||30 minutes||3x/week||3-4 sessions||5 years|
|Illumiflow 272 Pro||$725||272||0||30 minutes||3x/week||3-4 sessions||5 years|
|iRestore Professional||$1,195||82||200||25 minutes||Alternating days||6 sessions||1 years|
Best overall, fastest treatment time, and best for use on the go
- Fastest treatment time for a cap – six minutes per session
- Comfortable to wear
- Reliable, well-built hardware
- Up to a three-year warranty
- Eye safety sensors
- More expensive than most
- Has to be used daily
Founded in 2012, Capillus is a Miami-based company whose products include laser caps for hair loss and a line of outstanding haircare products. Their caps are expensive compared to most of the competition, but their comfort, build quality, reliability, and efficacy are excellent.
Shipping from Capillus is free on all orders over $49.99.
You can learn even more about Capillus in our complete review.
Capillus laser caps are especially convenient for those without much time to spare in a given day. Their treatment time is just six minutes — a full nine minutes faster than the next shortest time and 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 many other models.
For some users, daily applications will be a hassle. For others, it can help ensure consistent treatment. Our testers were split on the issue, with many feeling that a daily routine was easy to remember without the help of a calendar or other tracking system.
Their laser caps include:
- Capillus One: $799, 112 laser diodes
- Capillus Plus: $1,599, 202 laser diodes
- Capillus Pro: $2,399, 272 laser diodes (our choice of best laser cap in 2023)
It’s impossible to deny that Capillus products are expensive. But LLLT treatment — like treatment with minoxidil or finasteride — is a lifelong endeavor. Once you stop using any of these, your hair will begin thinning once again. Compared to a lifetime of medication purchases and the possibility of shipping and production complications that could prevent that medicine from reaching you, a device that you own outright could save you money and grief.
You can also inquire about Capillus Reconditioned caps, which are not always available but provide a great opportunity for savings. Reconditioned caps are second-hand devices 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.
Capillus provides full warranties for both new and reconditioned caps, but the warranty length increases with more expensive models:
- Capillus One: One year
- Capillus Plus: Two years
- Capillus Pro: Three years
These warranty lengths apply to the caps only; battery packs and AC adapters are covered for one year on all models.
Capillus’ haircare products are a nice supplement to their LLLT. They include the following:
CAP+ Clinical Hair Therapy Shampoo $34.95
This sulfate-free formula helps exfoliate the scalp and provides you with saw palmetto and biotin to inhibit DHT and promote healthy growth.
CAP+ Clinical Hair Therapy Conditioner $34.95
This conditioner relies on natural oils to help enrich hair and retain moisture. Its ingredients include saw palmetto, argan oil, and hops extract.
CAP+ Clinical Hair Therapy Activator $59.95
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.
CAP+ Clinical Hair Therapy Revitalizer $39.95
This is an advantageous product if you live in an environment with poor air quality or you want to take your scalp cleansing to the next level. You use it after shampooing but before conditioning to get a next-level clean.
Capillus minoxidil $29.95
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.
Best value pick
- Very competitive pricing
- 7-month growth guarantee
- XL model available
- More uses per charge than most others
- $130 off with hair loss evaluation
- Take 15% off with code: INNERBODY
- Some haircare ingredients need more testing
- Longer session times than some of the competition
Kiierr’s website can be a little challenging to navigate, with selectable caps and packages arrayed in small fonts and strange places on the page. If you find your way through it to their high-end models, you’ll find reasonable prices for effective laser caps. You can also save $130 on any Kiierr laser cap by filling out an exceedingly simple hair loss evaluation questionnaire.
Two things separate Kiierr from the competition:
More sessions per charge
XL model available for those with large heads
In the case of the first 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. Kiierr’s manual recommends at least eight hours of charging before use.
The company has some hair care products of its own, as well as a DHT blocking supplement. Two-day shipping is free.
All new Kiierr laser caps come with a 7-month growth guarantee and a 2-year warranty.
|Cost||Diode Count||Treatment Time||Treatment Frequency||Battery Life|
|Kiierr 148 Pro||$695||148||30 minutes||Alternating days||5-7 sessions|
|Kiierr 272 Premiere||$995||272||30 minutes||Alternating days||5-7 sessions|
|Kiierr 272 Premiere MD||$1,495||272||30 minutes||Alternating days||8-10 sessions|
Kiierr also offers refurbished caps as their stock allows. A refurbished Premier 272 costs $799, marked down from $925. That’s a savings of $126. You can also apply that $130 coupon for filling out a hair loss questionnaire, bringing the cost of a refurbished cap down to $669. Refurbished caps do not come with a growth guarantee, and their warranty only lasts for one year.
Kiierr’s sessions last 30 minutes, and you perform them every other day.
Haircare products and supplements
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 their 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.
DHT Blocking Shampoo $34.95
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.
DHT Conditioner for Hair Growth $34.95
Kiierr’s conditioner contains a pair of trademarked ingredients — Trichogen and DermaPep — that may increase hair strength and promote growth. They add peppermint oil to provide a cool, refreshing scent.
DHT Blocking Hair Growth Vitamins $34.95
This vitamin complex combines key vitamins and nutrients with well-studied botanicals like saw palmetto and nettle root to stimulate healthy hair growth. Three hundred micrograms of biotin add to its growing power and offer benefits to your skin and nails. The vitamins contain bovine gelatin and may contain soy and shellfish.
Biotin Gummies for Hair Growth $34.95
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.
Collagen Gummies for Hair Growth — $34.95
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.
Dermal Restorative Hair Growth Cream — $89.95
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.
Omega 369 Fish Oil for Hair Growth — $34.95
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 their fish oil: fish, flaxseed, and borage.
Dermaroller MAX Hair Growth Bundle $99.95
This bundle combines the Hair Growth Cream listed above with an effective dermaroller, the teeth of which can stimulate blood flow to the scalp.
Laser Cap Carrying Case — $44.95
For travel, this case will protect your cap from damage and make transportation less of a hassle. It has ventilated sides to prevent moisture buildup.
Our comprehensive Kiierr review has even more information.
- Great product variety
- 15-minute session time
- Supported by a litany of clinical research studies
- Reasonable price points
- Two treatment modes to accommodate sensitive scalps
- High-quality haircare products
- Bundles don’t offer any savings
- Return policy has a restocking fee
HairMax is one of the oldest names in laser hair loss treatments. Their lineup of products includes laser caps, bands, and combs, as well as haircare products and a dietary supplement. Domestic shipping from HairMax is free.
Learn more about HairMax in our comprehensive review.
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 caps operate in either 30-minute strobe or 15-minute constant modes. The helmet treats one half of your head at a time, in 15-minute increments. You use any of them three times per week.
HairMax covers all of their laser products with two-year warranties.
Their laser caps include:
- PowerFlex 202: $1,699, 202 laser diodes
- PowerFlex 272: $1,899, 272 laser diodes (our choice for best value in 2023)
- PowerFlip 80: $899, 80 laser diodes
HairMax also offers a pair of laser bands. These don’t provide the same global coverage as the caps do, 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.
Their two laser band models are:
- LaserBand 41: $549, 41 laser diodes
- LaserBand 82: $799, 81 laser diodes
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.
Their two laser comb models are:
- Ultima 9 Classic: $199, nine laser diodes
- Ultima 12: $399, 12 laser diodes
HairMax has a line of haircare products sold under the Density brand name. They include the company’s NRG8-pLEX botanical blend, which promotes growth and healthy hair.
Density Shampoo $30
This blend includes caffeine, reishi mushroom, saw palmetto, and other natural ingredients that help inhibit DHT and slow down premature signs of aging.
Density Conditioner $30
This conditioner uses Indian gooseberry to provide lift at the base of the hair shaft. That adds volume to your hair and makes it appear thicker.
Density Acceler8 Booster + Nutrients $55
This leave-in treatment includes niacinamide, which helps fight dandruff and locks moisture into hair strands.
RSN8 Scalp Nourishing Serum $55
This solution goes on your scalp before bed and helps lay the groundwork for your next day’s activities with anti-inflammatory and anti-aging compounds.
HairMax Hair, Skin, and Nails $18
HairMax has a single dietary supplement on offer, which centers on biotin as a means for building healthy hair, skin, and nails. It contains a sulfur compound that contributes to healthy collagen and keratin, the building blocks of your hair. Beta-sitosterol and saw palmetto work together to combat DHT.
- More laser diodes than competitors
- 1-year satisfaction guarantee
- Intimate customer service experience
- High light energy dose
- Deceptive warranty claims
- On the pricey side
- More complicated buying process than others
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 their caps provide more laser diodes at each of their tiers than others.
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 goes over any images you send him via email and will help you find additional treatments that will compliment your laser regimen.
LaserCap offers a lifetime warranty on their products, but it’s critical to understand what this entails. They’ll fix or replace a cap within the first three years of ownership. After that, they’ll still fix and replace 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:
- LaserCap SD: $1,195, 80 laser diodes
- LaserCap HD: $2,495, 224 laser diodes
- LaserCap HD+: $2,995, 304 laser diodes
Shipping for any of the LaserCaps is free.
Best for tight budgets and longest warranty
- Long 5-year warranty
- Automatic shutoff
- 6-month satisfaction guarantee
- Carrying case and eye safety features cost extra
- 5% restocking fee on returns
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 durability of their 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. Most other companies offer a one- or two-year warranty on their caps, but Illumiflow’s caps come with five-year warranties.
Domestic shipping from Illumiflow is free.
Illumiflow offers two laser caps in three packages:
- 148 Laser Cap: $549, 148 laser diodes
- 272 Laser Cap: $649, 272 laser diodes
- 272 Pro Laser Cap: $725, 272 laser diodes
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, eye safety sensors, and an audible session completion timer.
Illumiflow doesn’t offer shampoo, conditioner, or other haircare products as many of its competitors do. They have a single supplemental product in their Follicle FX Hair Growth Vitamin. It 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.
Follicle FX is gluten-free, non-GMO, and vegetarian, but it contains soy.
Follicle FX one time purchase: $59 Follicle FX subscription: $56.05 per month
- Combines lasers with LEDs
- Can operate directly via power adapter
- Less inconspicuous to wear
- Battery packs sold separately
- Warranty is only one year
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. 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.
There’s another edge to this sword, however. Neither of their models 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.
iRestore offers two laser cap options, both of which come with 1-year warranties:
- iRestore Essential: $695, 51 laser diodes, 69 LEDs
- iRestore Professional: $1,195, 82 laser diodes, 200 LEDS
- External battery packs: $79.99
Haircare and supplements
iRestore has its haircare products and supplements, including a drug-free minoxidil alternative. Their pricing is a little higher than average, but they 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.
Anti-Hair Loss Shampoo $24.99
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.
Anti-Thinning Conditioner $24.99
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.
Anti-Hair Loss Serum $39.99
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.
3-in-1 Hair Growth Formula $29.99
This simple supplement provides you with biotin, saw palmetto, and beta-sitosterol, three ingredients that show positive results in many hair loss studies.
Hair Gummy Vitamins $29.99
These gummy vitamins primarily serve as a source of biotin for your hair, skin, and nails, but they also contain vitamins C and E.
Laser cap use is very straightforward. With most models, you’ll get the best results with a fully charged battery pack, though you can often get several sessions out of a battery before you need to recharge it.
To start treatment, all you need to do is charge the cap’s battery, put it on, and fire it up. Most models have some kind of automatic shutoff, but these are usually safety features, and they may not line up perfectly with the recommended treatment time. It’s best to keep an eye on the clock and remove the device once the appropriate amount of time has passed.
If you have a model that lets you choose between constant and pulse modes, we recommend the pulse mode even though it can stretch out the session time. That’s because the lasers have an opportunity to cool somewhat in those brief flashes when they are not on. No laser cap will burn you, but they can feel a little warm, and our testers found that using a pulse mode increased their comfort.
Pay close attention to how many times you should use your device per week. Some recommend daily use, while others say that every other day or three times per week is preferable.
Does laser therapy for hair loss really work?
Laser therapy for hair loss definitely works. Its efficacy is similar to that of minoxidil, and many scientists believe they share at least some mechanisms of action. The times it takes to see results are similar as well.
How long does it take to see results with LLLT?
Most users will notice a cessation of hair loss within about three weeks. At that time, their hair follicles will undergo a reset, starting their initial growth phase anew. Within the next two months, most users will notice new hairs beginning to grow. After six months, most users report significant further growth.
Are there any side effects to LLLT?
LLLT produces few to no side effects. Some users report mild scalp sensitivity, but this is extremely rare with laser caps. The long-term effects of low-light laser therapy are still unknown, however.
Can I use LLLT with other hair loss treatments?
You can absolutely use LLLT along with other hair loss strategies. One study looked at the effects of combining minoxidil with LLLT, and the results were highly positive. You can also combine LLLT with prescription finasteride or dietary supplements, shampoos, or conditioners.
Remember that more aggressive, multipronged approaches will be more expensive and raise the potential for adverse effects. Because laser caps have such a small side effect profile, it may be wise to start by using your laser cap exclusively and slowly integrate other treatments as needed. Talk to your doctor about managing any current treatments you may be on before integrating LLLT to ensure you get the best results.
What kinds of hair loss can LLLT treat?
Unlike certain drugs, LLLT can treat multiple kinds of hair loss. Whether from an overabundance of DHT, a stressful or contaminated environment, or chemotherapy, LLLT can provide significant benefits. In the case of chemotherapy-induced hair loss, it’s important to note that an LLLT device will work only after the chemo course is complete and is more likely to speed up the return of hair than perform any miracle restorations.
Laser caps are also suitable for both men and women, unlike some prescription hair loss medications that are unsafe for women.
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. 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 their services in our dedicated review.
Unlike laser caps, finasteride is only available for men.
Minoxidil and nanoxidil
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. 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.
Shampoo and conditioner
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. Again, we recommend Keeps for the best haircare products to support your hair loss treatment.
It would be deceptive to claim that a 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. 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
Restoration and replacement are services you can get from HairClub at any one of their national chains. Other companies provide similar services in specific locales, but HairClub is probably the best-known name in the field.
For replacement procedures, HairClub will match your hair to hair from a donor and fashion a high-tech hairpiece that they adhere to your scalp with an industrial, medical adhesive and weave 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.
Embracing the loss
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.