Hims is an online healthcare provider focused on men’s health and it promises to take the doctor’s visit completely to the Internet. Hims got started after CEO Andrew Dudum’s 24-year-old sister confronted him in 2016 about his neglected health. After spending hundreds of dollars on acne and skin cream, Dudum decided to start his own company to help men take charge of their health.
At Hims, men can now receive a complete doctor’s consultation and even a prescription (if warranted and needed), entirely online. Medical services at Hims have been aimed at sexual health, hair loss, skincare, and other concerns that are important to men as they age, but now Hims is expanding into online therapy as well as primary care through telemedicine visits.
Can Hims replace traditional doctor’s visits with an online experience? Does Hims provide a satisfying service that will lead to improved health for men? And how do the costs compare? We thoroughly tested Hims to give you a breakdown of the pros, cons and everything you can expect.
- Convenience - The entire health care experience is online.
- No waiting - Your online visit begins as soon as you sign up.
- Quality care - All Hims doctors are licensed to practice medicine in the U.S. and are Board-certified across many medical specialties.
- Low cost - Depending on the care and products, you might save 50-80% of what you’d spend pursuing traditional doctor’s visits and prescriptions… and shipping is free.
- Privacy matters - Your personal medical data is encrypted and never shared.
- Now offers an at-home COVID-19 saliva test – more details below.
- Insurance coverage will vary depending on the prescription and plan.
- Most non-prescription treatments will take self-guided research. In some cases an in-person doctor’s visit may be better to explore non-prescription treatment options.
Overall, Hims is a great solution for many men who want to take charge of their healthcare. While some may want to stay with a traditional in-person visit, many men will find it to be a convenient and low-fuss way to get the treatment and medication they want or need. From our testing, we had prescribed medicine arrive within days of our free online doctor’s visit.
Hims provides fast, convenient online healthcare addressing sexual health, hair loss, skincare, mental health, and general health and wellness.
Hims is one of the leading online healthcare services for men. Now licensed in all 50 states, Hims gets high marks for doctor quality, privacy, and convenience. *Prescription products require a consultation with a physician who will determine if prescription is appropriate.
For our quick video review of the Hims online doctors visit, watch here:
- Why you should trust us
- How Hims works
- Hims hair loss treatments
- Sexual health
- Mental health at Hims
- Hims primary care
- Cold sores and oral herpes
- COVID-19 testing
- General health and well-being supplements
- Getting started: the online doctor's visit and ordering process
- Hims vs Keeps
- How we evaluate home health products and services
Innerbody recently celebrated its 20-year anniversary online. Over the past two decades, we have helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions involving staying healthy and living healthier lifestyles.
This review, like all medical-related content on this website, was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for medical accuracy. Additionally we extensively test, experience and order from each medical service we review. We try our best to give you, our readers, unbiased, marketing-jargon-free descriptions of all the at-home health services evaluated based on the latest scientific evidence and medical standards.
Hims was founded by self-described “real guys” who noticed that men can be “allergic” to doctors. Hims aims to remove friction from the healthcare process and allow men to directly solve their problems with products that work. This saves time, money, and the potential embarrassment of a doctor’s appointment.
By streamlining the process of receiving good medical attention for a variety of health concerns, prices are purported to be less than 25 percent of what one might pay with a traditional doctor and pharmacy.
What types of products does Hims offer?
Hims currently addresses 7 different health care areas for men:
- Hair loss
- Sexual health, including erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation
- Mental health
- Primary care
- Cold sores and oral herpes
- General health supplements
Hims also now offers an at-home COVID-19 saliva test.
Hims subscription services
Men should know that when they are using Hims, many of the products are sold in a subscription service. For example, candidates for erectile dysfunction prescriptions will buy a recurring monthly subscription to the medication, based on the dosage that is right for them after consultation with a doctor.
Subscription plans range in length from one-month plans to three-month plans to 6-month plans or longer. Many men find it most convenient to have their treatments shipped to their home on autopilot, with the ability to cancel anytime. However, those who are not good at managing subscriptions may want to sign up for a short-term plan to try the product, and then either continue or cancel.
Personal medical data is encrypted and never shared according to Hims policies. All data is 256 bit SSL/TLS encrypted in motion and at rest and fulfills SOC2 security requirements.
HSA, FSA, and health insurance
Insurance coverage will vary depending on the prescription and plan. Hims branded products – including vitamins, supplements, and teas – will not be covered under insurance. However, Hims branded products are priced at 50-80% off retail cost, making them more affordable than alternatives for many consumers.
Is Hims for me?
Overall, Hims is a great new healthcare provider for men to treat a variety of common medical issues. For busy men who want to avoid the time, embarrassment, or headache of an in-person medical visit, Hims is a massive upgrade to the status quo.
As many men will neglect their health by avoiding doctor’s offices, Hims has a real shot at empowering men to take greater control of their healthcare with a streamlined online visit. For these men, Hims offers a service that can truly improve men’s overall health.
Hair loss treatment is aimed at helping men with a receding hairline or a balding head. The research shows that the only proven way to keep your hair is to do something while you still have some hair left. Hims has a variety of prescription and non-prescription treatments to be used individually or in combination.
As its most powerful individual treatment methods, Hims offers prescription finasteride ($22) and non-prescription 5% minoxidil solution ($15). Both are proven effective in clinical studies to help men with androgenic alopecia (male pattern baldness). Finasteride is the active ingredient in Propecia and comes in convenient pill form. Meanwhile, minoxidil (also known by the brand name Rogaine) is a topical solution that can help prevent hair loss if it is applied once or twice per day.
Both are available individually, but Hims truly excels in how it offers a package of the two treatments combined. Since finasteride and minoxidil work in different ways to fight hair loss, you can maximize your chance of success by using both simultaneously. (You can learn more about hair loss treatments at our full guide dedicated to the subject.) Hims’ Hair Power Pack ($22) combines finasterider and minoxidil, the best of what research has shown can prevent hair loss. Other companies offer this package as well, but Hims’ price is the lowest right now. The doctor’s consultation to receive the prescription is entirely online and free.
Hims shampoo, Shampoo+, is formulated with saw palmetto to help reduce the levels of DHT on the scalp. At $19, this shampoo can be purchased individually and is a compelling option for men concerned about balding, since DHT is the primary hormone responsible for hair loss. The conditioner ($22) is similar, as it aims to complement the DHT-blocking shampoo while providing a smooth and clean feel. Learn more about Hims Shampoo+ at our full review.
Biotin, a vitamin known to support thicker hair, is also available in gummy form ($16). Hims also offers a non-prescription kit ($30), which helps fight hair loss and promote healthy hair using minoxidil, Hims Shampoo+, and the biotin gummies.
All Hims hair loss products can be purchased together as a bundle in the Complete Hair Kit.
We covered the most popular Hims hair loss products here, but there are several others along with some package deals. Check out the Hims website to learn more.
Hims treats men for several common sexual health conditions. Men sometimes find these subjects difficult to discuss in person in a doctor’s office, which is one reason why so many men prefer the kind of telemedicine approach hims offers.
Hims erectile dysfunction treatments
Hims addresses erectile dysfunction (ED) with an array of medications, many available for a fraction of the price you would pay via traditional routes.
- Sildenafil ($30), the generic form of Viagra, is an FDA-approved medication to treat ED.
- Tadalafil (generic Cialis, one of the best treatments for ED available) is more expensive than sildenafil ($240) but can help maintain erections with a simple daily dosage and is still more affordable than the brand name Cialis ($520).
- The quicker acting Stendra (avanafil) tablets can work in as little as 15 min for many men and are also sold by Hims for $175.
- Of course, the most well known Viagra (sildenafil citrate) tablets are available as well. Viagra is the most expensive ($425), but the proven track record of Viagra holds great appeal for many.
In the world of male sexual health, getting an erection isn’t always the problem, but instead, premature ejaculation is the issue. The great news is, Hims has that covered as well with the same discretion and convenience of their other treatments.
Premature ejaculation can be addressed with a couple of Hims treatments, either separately or in combination.
- Sertraline (the active ingredient in Zoloft), is a pill-based Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) that has shown to be effective in delaying orgasm for some men. Hims’ price is $67.
- Hims has created a premature ejaculation spray ($29) that is lidocaine-based. It reduces some of the sensitivity that can lead to premature ejaculation without transferring anything to a partner.
- The Hims PEJ Kit ($49) is a treatment that combines both the spray and Sertraline together.
Over the course of 2020, Hims began unveiling what will eventually be a trio of mental health services.
Psychiatric care (including prescriptions)
At Hims, telemedicine now includes telepsychiatry. You can schedule virtual sessions with a psychiatric professional who can prescribe treatments if appropriate. Such treatments might include:
- Bupropion (generic Wellbutrin®)
- Citalopram (generic Celexa®)
- Fluoxetine (generic Prozac®)
- Paroxetine (generic Paxil®)
- Sertraline (generic Zoloft®)
- Duloxetine (generic Cymbalta®)
- Escitalopram (generic Lexapro®)
- Venlafaxine (generic Effexor®)
Here’s how Hims’ psychiatry works:
- Answer some questions up-front. These are questions you’d typically answer in an office setting when you first seek treatment. You’ll share information about your medical history and the symptoms you’re experiencing.
- Choose a time slot to have a video meeting with a psychiatric professional. This could be a psychiatrist or a different psychiatry provider, such as a psychiatric nurse practitioner, depending on your state. No matter what, you’re in good hands with a licensed and experienced pro.
- In your video session, you’ll talk with the psychiatric provider and he/she will determine what treatment would be best for you. If this is a prescription treatment, the provider will prescribe it to you.
- Your prescription arrives at your door. Packaging will be completely nondescript to protect your privacy appropriately.
- Check in with your provider as your treatment progresses. Hims’ providers will work with you as your treatment continues, answering questions and monitoring progress and efficacy.
The cost of this service is:
- $59 for the initial psychiatric consultation.
- $49/month as an all-inclusive price for your prescription treatment, shipping, and ongoing consultation.
Hims’ initial psychiatry session is an attractive deal for online psychiatric service. Most services of this kind charge three to five times as much as Hims. The ongoing psychiatric service at Hims presents high value for those who want the ability to pose questions and get periodic check-ins but also need to save time and opt for a convenient alternative to in-office visits.
There are a couple downsides as well, compared to other online options:
- At this time, you don’t have a say in which psychiatric professional Hims assigns to you.
- With Hims, the cost of your prescription can be covered by your insurance as usual, but Hims sessions will not be covered.
Hims began offering group therapy for free during the COVID-19 pandemic. Licensed mental health professionals lead the groups, which form to discuss specific subjects. During these group therapy sessions, you can be totally anonymous if you wish, using an alias and turning your camera off.
Here’s how it works:
- Choosing sessions of interest. When you start with Hims, you’ll be able to view a calendar of group therapy sessions, which are organized around various subjects. Find the subject and time slot that works for you, and reserve your spot.
- If you have a specific question or concern you’d like the mental health professional to address, use a form to submit questions prior to the session.
- Attend the session. During the session, you can ask additional questions, talk with fellow attendees, or simply listen to the advice and guidance.
Individual therapy (coming soon)
Individual online therapy from Hims is coming soon and, when it does, will make a splash. Hims may join the ranks of other patient-friendly, ultra-convenient talk therapy options like BetterHelp and Talkspace. We look forward to testing this service, which promises to include chat and video sessions. When this future offering combines with Hims psychiatric care and group therapy services, the mental health services at Hims start to become more like a holistic, full-fledged mental health department.
As men age, so does their skin. Among the products Hims offers are anti-aging creams, acne creams, morning glow Vitamin C serum, goodnight wrinkle cream, everyday moisturizer, and a complete anti-aging set.
- Acne creams help stop acne and decrease the inflammation that results from it, while also renewing the skin’s surface. Hims’ Acne Cream ($34) is the stand-out product of its skincare offerings, in our view. Because you get a free online doctor’s visit, its creams are prescription-strength, meaning you get retinoids and antibiotics that are stronger and more effective at controlling acne than what you can get over the counter.
- Hims’ Anti-Aging Cream ($34) helps with the reduction of fine lines, while also helping to make the skin appear firmer.
- Hims’ Goodnight Wrinkle Cream ($24) is formulated with the addition of caffeine, which keeps the skin regenerating while the body sleeps. Don’t worry, it doesn’t keep you awake
- Hims’ Everyday Moisturizer product ($18) is self-explanatory, but its effects are not — it also helps keep the skin from getting oily during the day.
Last year, Hims began offering primary care telemedicine visits for men. The price of a primary care consultation is only $39. This cost is only slightly higher than what many people with insurance would have to pay as their copay for a traditional doctor’s visit. In this case, however, you don’t need to leave your home in order to get the consultation.
Here’s how it works:
- Answer a brief questionnaire to give Hims an idea about your health concerns and what prompted you to seek care.
- Hims connects you with a healthcare provider in your state. You’ll hear from this provider within 24 hours of answering your initial questionnaire. Share your symptoms and discuss concerns. The provider will discuss treatment options with you. If prescription treatment is necessary, the provider will prescribe a treatment for you.
- Your Hims healthcare provider sends the prescription to your local pharmacy of choice, where you can swiftly pick it up.
Your Hims virtual primary care visit can’t be covered by insurance, but the cost of the prescription is different; insurance can cover the cost of your medications this way just as much as it would under traditional circumstances. You present your insurance info to the pharmacy as you would normally do.
In testing, we found this to be a highly convenient and affordable way to access treatments for the following common types of health concerns:
- Dermatological issues (rashes, hives, bug bites, fungal infections, and more)
- Common infections (UTIs, sinus infections, etc.)
- Cold/Flu care
- Headaches (Cluster headaches, migraines, and more)
- Digestive issues (acid reflux, stomach discomfort, bloating, constipation, diarrhea)
- Refills for prescriptions
Hims also offers treatment for cold sores, aptly called the Cold Sores Kit. Cold sores can be embarrassing when they flare up, but after a free online doctor’s consultation, Hims can prescribe the leading FDA-approved drug to suppress and treat outbreaks – Valacyclovir. Valacyclovir is an antiviral suppressive approved by the FDA to treat Herpes Simplex, also known as HSV-1. Unlike creams that are available over the counter, Valacyclovir is a pill form treatment known to reduce the duration and severity of cold sores if taken in the first 24 hours after they appear. If you have outbreaks on a regular basis and need more aggressive treatment, a daily formulation is available that can prevent a cold sore from ever developing.
Hims offers an at-home COVID-19 saliva test, designed by RUCDR Infinite Biologics (which is associated with Rutgers University). The FDA gave RUCDR emergency-use authorization for this test to become available.
At $150 per kit, these tests are not cheap, but considering that COVID-19 is very dangerous to you, your loved ones, and anyone with whom you may interact, the price seems well worth it. Here’s the price breakdown:
- $80 to RUCDR
- $20 for medical consultation and testing service
- $50 for expedited shipping
No swab is necessary for this test – all you have to do is spit into a tube. For anyone who has ever experienced a nasopharyngeal swab test, this is good news.
The test only works for those who are symptomatic. This means it will not work for the possibly 80% of those who are infected, because many people with COVID-19 are asymptomatic (yet can still spread the virus).
If you can safely make it to a physically distanced testing location, you may be able to get test results faster than relying on an at-home test with the required time shipping the kit to and fro. Still, there are several potential benefits to using this test at home.
- Testing at home reduces everyone’s possible risk of exposure to COVID-19. When testing traditionally, both the test-taker and the person administering a test are at risk of exposure, along with everyone who encounters the sick individual en route to a testing facility.
- This saliva test seems more accurate than at-home swab tests.
- Saliva tests don’t require certain materials like swabs that are in short supply.
For those who are experiencing symptoms that may be COVID-19, here are the steps to order your test from Hims:
Go to the Hims COVID-19 test page and click to order your test. This initiates a ‘consultation’.
Complete a consultation. In this step, you’ll share information about your symptoms and recent travel history.
A doctor reviews your information. The doctor will decide if you are a suitable candidate for testing right now. Often this process requires no interaction between you and the reviewing doctor, but in some states, the consultation will have to include a live video chat.
If approved, take the test. Your test would be shipped expedited to you. Simply follow the instructions to spit into the tube, and then mail it back.
You’ll have results in 2 days.
Evidence indicates that the rate of false negatives is lower for these saliva tests when used by symptomatic individuals, compared to at-home swab testing – which is great news. This could be because operator error is reduced when the test is simply a matter of spitting into a tube, as opposed to swabbing correctly in tender areas. Evidence suggests false positives were negligible.
COVID-19 testing has been notorious for producing what are called “false negative” results – people testing negative even though they actually have been infected. Hims acknowledges that false negatives are possible with these tests, as with all of the available tests.
But this does not mean COVID-19 testing isn’t valuable. It’s absolutely essential that we ramp up testing. A positive test result is very helpful because it has a very high chance of being accurate and can help us to prevent exposing others, which is the only way to slow and eventually stop the spread.
The well-being products available on Hims are important for maintaining overall health, strengthening immune system function, preventing chronic illness, and fighting off the fatigue that naturally comes with age. Here are some popular products:
- Collagen powder ($27) aids in muscle recovery while also helping the skin remain youthful.
- Immunity Gummy Vitamins ($19) claim to help fend off colds and flu with a complex solution of vitamins and minerals that boost immunity.
- If you have problems sleeping, Hims has that covered too, with Sleep Gummy Vitamins ($19) that claim to help ensure a full and restful night’s sleep.
- Propranolol is a beta-blocker available at Hims that will help with performance anxiety or other anxiety-related issues. It is only available by prescription.
- The biotin gummy vitamin ($16) helps grow thicker hair and stronger nails while promoting healthier, more youthful skin.
For many Hims customers, this is their first experience with an online healthcare service or “telemedicine” company.
In our testing, we find that Hims is indeed easy to use. The entire Hims process can be done from the privacy of your home and works well on a phone, tablet, or computer with a webcam. It effectively accomplishes the same thing as visiting a doctor in many cases, but in a fraction of the time.
Many Hims customers will not actually “speak” to a doctor; there is no video chat or phone call for a variety of treatment paths. But each treatment plan, if it involves a prescription, is reviewed by a real doctor. Here’s how this process works. (In some cases – such as mental health services, for instance – you will actually speak with a health professional in a live session; we’ve described exceptions like that in the pertinent treatment sections throughout this review.)
- Complete a relevant online questionnaire about your health.
- Review treatment options and select a treatment path of interest.
- Chat with a doctor who reviews your treatment. As Hims describes in their support FAQs: “Every order that requires a prescription is reviewed by a doctor.” You are able to message with a doctor using their secure messaging system.
- Pay with a credit card and have your treatment shipped in the mail. There are differences in your questionnaire based on what medical need brings you to Hims – for instance, hair loss questions are different than sexual health – but the overall process is similar across treatments.
Profile and questionnaire
Using the site begins with creating a profile. This means answering routine questions that would be asked by a doctor, including questions about symptoms and medical history. During the initial medical questionnaire, you will be required to provide a photo of your ID, a recent selfie for identity verification, and a credit card to order prescriptions or products. For certain services, you will need access to the results of recent medical exams, such as your blood pressure within the last 6 months.
Getting matched with a doctor for consultation
After your online medical questionnaire is complete, you chat with a qualified physician who is able to talk about potential treatments for your particular ailments. We found it to be convenient and fast; we were matched with a physician in as little as one minute after our consultation. After the doctor has accurately diagnosed your medical issue, and you agree to a treatment plan, your prescription (if appropriate) is shipped directly to your door.
Here’s an example of what products might be offered (Hims Hair Treatment Options) following an online doctors visit:
The medications and dosages come highly protected in discreet packaging, individually wrapped or in a bottle.
It makes sense for so many men to compare these two providers when looking for hair loss treatments. Hims and Keeps share several important similarities, but there are differences that could make a difference for you particularly over time. Comparing at the outset is a very valuable exercise.
Because this is such an important analysis for so many readers, we dedicated an entire page toward exploring it. But here’s a quick summary in case you don’t have much time:
Both companies are great in the service and care department, protecting your privacy and connecting you with top-notch physicians. But there are differences between the two companies. For one thing, Hims is available everywhere, while Keeps can’t provide consultations in a few states. And Keeps charges $3 shipping, while Hims’ shipping is free.
You might suspect that Keeps will be more expensive because of its shipping fees. But actually, Keeps’ prices are lower than Hims for everything except the combination treatment of finasteride and minoxidil together (Hims’ Hair Power Pack).
Both companies offer the same core medications – minoxidil and finasteride – that are clinically proven to be quite effective in treating male pattern hair loss. Hims and Keeps differ in the supportive hair care products they offer, in some interesting ways.
Keeps is exclusively about hair loss treatment, so if you’re looking for anything else like sexual health care or primary care, then Hims wins. But for hair loss treatment, we believe there is value in a thoughtful service like Keeps dedicated entirely to hair loss as its only focus.
You can learn more about the comparisons and competitive discount opportunities (and which one saves you more money) by visiting our Keeps vs Hims page.
We customize our evaluation criteria depending on the type and nature of the health-related service. For most online healthcare services, we have five areas that we use for our evaluations, including:
Quality: Are the doctors on the service licensed to practice in the US? Are the physicians board-certified in the relevant practice areas? Do they have a high-quality medical review board with oversight? Are their treatment options FDA-approved?
Value: Are you getting your money’s worth? Are there any hidden costs or charges? Does the test provider offer discounts or free services to our readers?
Customer support: How well does the healthcare provider help you choose the best treatment? How clearly are the options presented? How well does the healthcare company help you understand options and get treatment if necessary?
Privacy: Are all treatments sent in discreet packaging? Will your data be stored securely? Could your data ever be shared without your permission?
Speed: How fast will you receive your treatment from the moment you click “buy?” Are doctors and medical professionals responsive to your questions and needs when you are messaging them? Are the waiting times stated by the company accurate and consistent?