If you’re one of the many men noticing hair loss, the good news is that there are some scientifically backed, FDA-approved treatments available. The treatments do not offer any magical fixes, but if your hair loss is due to male pattern baldness, they can help you stop hair loss, preserve the hair you still have and even regrow hair you thought was gone for good.
Keeps is a subscription-based telehealth solution that’s focused on hair loss treatment and prevention. They offer a narrow catalogue of the only two FDA-approved medications for hair loss. They buy generic medication directly from a domestic lab, which allows them to offer significantly cheaper treatments. They’re not out to replace your family doctor, just to provide you with a stress-free, affordable and discreet way to protect the hair on your head.
So is Keeps right for you? We’ve tested their service and products, so read on to find out!
- Convenience – The entire consultation and prescribing process is online and medications will be delivered straight to your home.
- Quality – All Keeps physicians are board-certified and registered to practice.
- A dedicated physician will review your consultation, and follow up with you before a refill.
- Affordable – The total cost is less than half the cost of buying at a traditional pharmacy.
- The initial consultation and the first month of medication are free.
- Prompt and efficient – The entire process (from sign-up to the moment the medication reaches your home) usually takes a week or less.
- Get 50% off your first order, offered exclusively to our readers.
- Treatment plans are proven effective only for male pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia).
- No live video call consultations, although you can request to speak to your doctor by phone.
- Medical consultations are not available in all states, but their medication subscription option is, as long as you get a prescription somewhere else.
- Keeps doesn’t work with insurance companies and is not eligible for HSA/FSA withdrawals (but its services are priced very low).
Keeps is a solid company that we can recommend for people with male pattern hair loss (androgenic alopecia). The single focus on men’s hair loss allows Keeps to offer medications at extremely affordable prices, streamline their consultation process so that it’s as unobtrusive as possible, and stay diligent about only offering medications that are FDA-approved to treat hair loss. Their most competitively priced treatment options are minoxidil and finasteride by themselves, but the most effective treatment for most men is likely to be their combination treatment of minoxidil and finasteride. The treatment recommended for you will depend on your medical history, the characteristics of your hair loss, and your personal preferences.
Keeps gives men a convenient and discreet pathway to get proven treatments for male pattern hair loss. You don’t even have to leave the couch. EXCLUSIVE: 50% off your first order!
Keeps’ telemedicine service allows a doctor to review your hair loss and medical information and then recommend the best safe treatment. No trips to a doctor’s office or a pharmacy. Everything arrives at your doorstep.
- Why you should trust us
- Does Keeps work for hair loss?
- How Keeps works
- How to get started with Keeps
- Medical consultation with Keeps
- Finasteride from Keeps
- Minoxidil 5% for hair thinning
- Minoxidil + finasteride for generalized hair thinning or loss
- Ketoconazole 2% shampoo
- Is Keeps a good company?
- Is Keeps safe?
- Keeps and your privacy
- Keeps vs Hims
- Insurance, HSA, and FSA
- What criteria do we use to judge health service companies?
Innerbody Research 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.
We extensively test each health service we review, including Keeps. We try our best to give you, our readers, an unbiased exploration of at-home health services, free of marketing jargon or gimmicks. We evaluate the service based on our 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 this review of Keeps, like all health-related content on this website, was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.
For most men with male pattern hair loss (androgenic alopecia), Keeps works to stop hair loss and regrow hair. Keeps offers several hair loss treatment options that have been proven to work in multiple clinical studies:
- Topical minoxidil (foam or solution)
- Oral finasteride (generic Propecia®)
- Ketoconazole 2% Shampoo
According to studies:
- 80% of men with male pattern hair loss who use finasteride report that their hair loss at the crown/vertex (top of head) area has stopped thanks to the finasteride.
- About 66% of men with receding hairline are able to stop further receding using finasteride. Two-thirds of men actually report noticeable hair regrowth while taking finasteride.
- Two-thirds of men find that minoxidil successfully stops their hair loss.
- Half of men using minoxidil observe noticeable hair regrowth at the top of the head (the crown/vertex area).
- A more modest one-fifth of men see regrowth along the hairline using minoxidil.
Evidence suggests that the combination of the two medications works more effectively for men than either treatment by itself.
Keeps provides access to hair loss treatments through their website. The entire process of consulting and establishing a treatment plan happens online. Once you select a treatment plan, your medicine(s) will be shipped straight to your home.
The team behind Keeps set out to build a long-term solution from the very start, knowing that hair loss treatments like finasteride and minoxidil work only if patients continue to use them. Unless you seek additional consultations with a Keeps doctor about your treatment plan, most of the process is completed before you receive your first treatment in the mail. After that, it’s a very user-friendly auto-renewal process, which can continue as long as you’re happy with the results.
What types of products does Keeps offer?
All the services and subscription packages that Keeps offers are meant to treat and provide advice about male pattern baldness. Keeps’ services and products include:
- Medical consultation
- Finasteride tablets, 1 mg, taken once a day for receding hairlines
- Minoxidil 5%, foam or solution, for hair thinning at the crown of the head
- Finasteride + minoxidil – a combination treatment for generalized hair loss or hair loss/thinning both at the crown and at the hairline
- Ketoconazole 2% shampoo for dandruff and itchiness (also available as an add-on). This prescription shampoo doesn’t treat hair loss by itself but has been shown to be potentially helpful in combination with the above medications in some studies not yet evaluated by the FDA.
If you already have a prescription or live in a state where telemedicine is not yet legal, you can also order any of the medication mentioned above on a subscription basis. This will cost you half or less of what you would pay at a normal pharmacy.
As hair loss treatments are listed as cosmetic, they are rarely covered by insurance companies or eligible for HSA payments.
Keep your expectations realistic
Fighting male pattern hair loss is a matter of maintenance, in that you will continue to stop hair loss as long as you continue with treatment but will resume losing hair if you stop or pause your treatment. It’s also important to keep in mind that both of Keeps’ treatments for hair loss (finasteride and minoxidil), whether taken together or separately, will require multiple months to produce visible results. They start working to prevent further hair loss immediately, but because of how they fight hair loss or promote hair regrowth, you shouldn’t expect to see positive results until you’ve been taking the medications for three or four months.
This is how their service works:
1. Choose a plan
The first time you visit the Keeps website – and if you use that link, you’ll get 50% off your first order – you will be asked to choose a treatment option during your visit. Your selection will depend on the type of hair loss you are experiencing:
- Finasteride alone for receding hairlines
- Minoxidil alone for hair loss at the top of your head (often referred to as the crown or vertex)
- Finasteride and minoxidil as a combined treatment for generalized thinning, hair loss in both location, or severe hair loss
If you aren’t sure which one you want or how to classify your hair loss, you will also find a “Let the Doctor Decide” option right below.
2. Complete your profile
Whichever option you choose, you will then be directed to their screening questionnaire. This includes both the standard profile information (shipping address, contact details, and password) as well as a medical questionnaire. The latter will be sent to one of their doctors for review and to prescribe a medication, if finasteride is needed and suitable for you to take.
This questionnaire will include information on your family history, the onset of your hair loss symptoms, and your lifestyle habits. They will also ask about any potential allergies or pre-existing conditions. Finally, they will ask you to send pictures of your hairline and the top of your head.
NOTE: If you live in a state where telemedicine is not legal, you will not be able to complete this medical questionnaire. Instead, Keeps will give you the option to send them a prescription from an external doctor. As long as the prescription is for finasteride or 2% ketoconazole shampoo, you will be able to join their subscription plans and get those medications shipped to you.
3. A doctor reviews your information
After completing the questionnaire, your information will be sent to one of the doctors on staff. You may need to wait up to 24 hours, but the overwhelming majority of consultations are answered in less than 4 hours. We heard back after only a couple of hours.
If you chose a specific subscription plan on step 1, the doctor will ensure that the medication is indeed what you need, and nothing but what you need. Then, they will send you a prescription to match these criteria. If you chose to “Let the Doctor Decide”, they will send you a prescription based on their medical opinion.
4. Wait for your medication
After approval, it will take up to 5 or 7 days for the medication to arrive on your doorstep. It will be shipped by UPS to your local USPS distribution center. Then USPS will bring it to you in a discreet package.
These medical consultations are usually done via an interactive online questionnaire, which includes questions about your lifestyle, family history, and medical history. It will also include pictures of your scalp or problem areas, and in some states, a telephone conversation with a doctor.
PRICE: Your first consultation is free of charge and gets you unlimited access to your doctor for one year. Your follow-up consultation a year later will be $5.
Right now, these medical consultations serve four purposes:
First-time review. A licensed physician reviews each person’s information when they first sign up, to make sure that your type of hair loss can be helped through their program, and that you are not at a high risk for any adverse effects from finasteride or minoxidil.
“Let the doctor decide”. This type of initial visit is meant to help patients who don’t know if they should be taking finasteride, minoxidil, both, or neither.
Follow-up consultation. This is meant for people who have already started their program between 6 and 8 weeks ago. During this consultation, a licensed physician will discuss your treatment experience and check whether everything is proceeding as it should. Afterward, you will need at least one consultation a year so that Keeps can continue to refill your prescription.
Patient-prompted consultation. If you have any additional concerns or are noticing any adverse reactions, you can request an additional consultation.
PRICE: $75 for 3 months, though Keeps is offering our readers an exclusive 50% off your first order.
Finasteride is one of the most popular FDA-approved treatments for stopping male pattern baldness. At Keeps, the finasteride-only subscription includes 90 1-mg tablets, which you are instructed to take once a day. When taken accordingly, it has been proven to stop hair loss and also regrow hair for many people with male pattern baldness. You should not expect to see any regrowth for four months.
Better known by the brand name Propecia®, finasteride is a type of drug called a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor. 5-alpha reductase is a substance that converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This conversion process plays a big role in male pattern hair loss, as excess levels of DHT dramatically speed the loss of hair from the head. Finasteride and other drugs of this kind treat hair loss by preventing the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
This treatment program is the best for men over the age of 20 who are seeing their hairline recede (sometimes described as a “landing strip” or a “suspiciously larger forehead”). But finasteride is also effective for male pattern baldness in general. Two-thirds of men with male pattern hair loss at the hairline successfully stop the hair loss using finasteride. Four out of five men with crown/vertex hair loss succeed in stopping their hair loss with finasteride.
Finasteride requires a prescription, because it isn’t suitable or safe for all men. Through Keeps’ medical consultation, you can get your prescription easily as long as the Keeps doctor concludes that you have no underlying medical conditions that make finasteride unsafe for you.
PRICE: Normally $30 for 3 months of dropper solution; $45 for 3 months of the foam. Right now, an exclusive offer lets you take 50% off of your first purchase.
This treatment is best for those who are experiencing mild to moderate hair loss or thinning around the top of their heads.
Minoxidil 5% (often sold as Rogaine®) is a topical treatment meant to help you stop losing this hair and actually regrow hair as well. You will need to apply it directly to your scalp twice a day. It can take up to three or four months before you notice any results.
Keeps offers minoxidil in two different forms: solution or foam. They’re both equally effective and need to be applied with the same frequency, so the differences are mainly practical and a matter of your preference.
Minoxidil solution. For $30 every three months, you will get three bottles of 2 fluid ounces of Keeps minoxidil solution. The solution needs to be applied using a dropper, which can be a bit harder than the foam.
Minoxidil foam. For $45 every three months, you will get three cans of 2.11 ounces of minoxidil. Many people feel that the foam is easier to apply. It also contains fewer added ingredients. If you have sensitive skin or contact allergies, the Keeps foam may be a safer option.
How minoxidil works
Minoxidil works differently than 5-alpha reductase inhibitors like finasteride. When used topically for hair loss, only 2% of it absorbing deeper than your scalp. Minoxidil was originally created to be a blood pressure medicine, but early patients reported unwanted hair growth.
Precisely how minoxidil works for hair loss is actually still not completely clear, but it acts as a vasodilator in the scalp, widening the blood vessels there and promoting an increase in blood flow. It is believed that the resulting increased delivery of oxygen and nutrients in the blood helps men fight hair loss. Additionally, the increased blood flow seems to encourage ailing hair follicles to jump into a new hair growth phase (called the anagen phase).
Two-thirds of men are able to stop their male pattern hair loss using minoxidil. 50% report hair regrowth at the top of the head. 20% of those using minoxidil at the hairline see noticeable regrowth there.
Minoxidil is less messy and more effective for male pattern baldness in the crown/vertex areas. And in order for its effects to continue, you must continue taking the minoxidil (which is true of any effective hair loss treatment from Keeps or anyone else).
PRICE: $105 to $120 for 3 months – but for our readers, Keeps offers to cut the price by 50% on your first order. The range in pricing is due to minoxidil foam being more expensive than the minoxidil dropper solution. As with the other treatments, you can sometimes enjoy deep discounts on your first three months of treatment.
This bundle is meant for men who are experiencing both a receding hairline and losing hair from the top, or who are losing hair in general all over the head. The shipment will include 90 tablets of finasteride 1 mg, plus either three bottles of minoxidil solution or 3 cans of minoxidil foam.
If finasteride is suitable for you and you don’t mind applying topical minoxidil, evidence indicates that this combination treatment will be your most aggressive treatment with the highest success rate. These medications work well together, treating male hair loss in different ways.
PRICE: $30 for 3 months (or $15 using the exclusive 50% off deal).
This is a prescription-strength antifungal shampoo. It doesn’t stop or treat hair loss directly, but instead aims to combat severe dandruff or scalp itchiness that doesn’t respond to over-the-counter alternatives.
Keeps 2% ketoconazole shampoo should be used 2 or 3 times a week. The subscription includes a 4 fluid ounce bottle of ketoconazole shampoo. You should use 1 teaspoon of it to wash your hair, two or three times a week. It is meant to last for three months.
Keeps holds itself to very high standards regarding what it recommends for hair loss treatment. So the company cautions that the ketoconazole shampoo is only intended to treat dandruff and isn’t meant as a hair loss treatment at all. They even say it will do nothing to help prevent hair loss.
This is a good example of the company’s transparency and trustworthiness. However – while ketoconazole is intended as an anti-dandruff treatment, for which it is most effective – some evidence suggests that the shampoo could still provide a bit of modest benefit for men with hair loss if they use this shampoo long-term and in conjunction with other treatments.
For instance, this study proposed that ketoconazole would be helpful in blocking DHT at the scalp, when used in conjunction with finasteride. Another study showed that 2% ketoconazole, perhaps due to its antimicrobial effect on the scalp, yielded positive results to the same degree as 2% minoxidil in fighting hair loss.
It’s worth noting here that 2% minoxidil will not produce the same results as the standard 5% minoxidil that Keeps hair treatments contain. So no matter what, the 2% ketoconazole shampoo by itself would almost certainly not be enough to stop hair loss. But studies suggest that it wouldn’t hurt and could potentially play a small supporting role when used alongside the other treatments from Keeps.
Based on our testing and analysis, Keeps is a very solid and trustworthy company. In our assessment, it is important for companies providing telemedicine services to hold their affiliated physicians to high standards of excellence; to benefit from the advice of a reputable Medical Board of qualified advisors; to protect and respect your data and privacy; and to offer solid customer service as you use the telehealth products or services they provide.
Thankfully Keeps checks all of those boxes. The company was founded by two friends with the passion that comes from being personally affected by hair loss. That passion still seems to animate the company years later. Keeps is legit.
We consider Keeps to be safe from both the standpoint of privacy and data protection and also the standpoint of the treatments they offer.
Keeps hair treatments are the most widely used treatments and have been shown in studies to be effective for most men with male pattern hair loss.
What are the side effects of Keeps?
While the hair loss treatments from Keeps are generally safe, there are possible side effects. In particular, the prescription drug finasteride is not suitable for everyone; this is why it requires a prescription. Finasteride is inadvisable for men with certain underlying medical conditions.
Possible side effects of finasteride include:
- Decreased sperm count
- ED (erectile dysfunction)
- Decreased sex drive
98%-99% of men do not experience these kinds of side effects.
Minoxidil, meanwhile, carries fewer risks and contraindications, which is why it’s an over-the-counter treatment that you can get without talking to a doctor. There are possible (generally mild) side effects, such as:
- Skin irritation
- Undesired hair growth elsewhere (washing your hands after applying minoxidil will prevent this)
Those with underlying heart, kidney or liver disease ought to consult with a healthcare professional prior to taking minoxidil.
Keeps takes their clients’ privacy seriously. Keeps is a part of Thirty Madison, a larger medical company that offers a wider array of services. This has allowed Keeps to access better security protocols for their website, as well as a pool of HIPAA-trained staff.
Any information you send them during the consultation or questionnaire stage is encrypted. This includes any pictures of your hairline or scalp that you send to their doctors.
Keeps also sends all their packages in simple brown cardboard boxes with minimal branding – only a plain crown-shaped logo is visible, but not the name of the company or any hint of its contents. To meet legal requirements, any bottles or cans inside will have individual labels with the patient’s name, medication, and concentration.
This is a consideration many men make when weighing their hair loss treatment options. While the two are similar in some important ways – and we at Innerbody Research think highly of both telemedicine companies, based on our testing – there are notable differences as well. In most cases, our 2020 pick in this face-off is Keeps. Here’s a brief summary of some major factors.
Both Keeps and Hims offer finasteride and minoxidil as their medications for treating hair loss, which is excellent since both treatments have been demonstrated in clinical studies and in medical practice to be effective for many men who want to stop hair loss and actually regrow hair as well.
Both companies offer some amazing discount opportunities for first-time orders. But Keeps discounts right now are more favorable for you and its standard pricing afterward beats out Hims in almost every case in 2020.
Keeps and Hims are actually quite different in terms of the care they provide. Hims offers health care in a number of areas such as sexual health, hair health, primary care and mental health. Keeps is focused entirely on hair loss treatment. So if you are focused on hair loss, we believe you can sometimes benefit from partnering with a provider that is similarly focused.
Both companies honor your privacy, protect your online security and use discreet packaging. At this time, Keeps medical consultations aren’t available in every state in the United States, whereas Hims can offer consultations in all 50 states.
For hair loss, as long as you live in a state where Keeps can offer consultations, we think your best choice in most cases is Keeps rather than Hims. But we actually have an entire page dedicated to analyzing and comparing these two providers, so you can drill deeper by visiting our Keeps vs Hims page.
Hair loss interventions are often classified as cosmetic or elective. This makes it rare to find an insurance plan that would cover them effectively. Keeps’ main goal is to help people who cannot get insurance coverage for hair loss medication, but who wish to be able to purchase it conveniently and at the lowest cost possible.
Therefore, Keeps chose to avoid insurance claims altogether. They also don’t currently accept Health Savings Accounts as a form of payment but hope to be able to do so in the future.
At Innerbody Research, we customize our evaluation criteria depending on the type and nature of the health-related service. For Keeps and other health services and products, we have five areas that we use for our evaluations, including:
Quality: How well does the company deliver its core service(s) to the customer? For testing services, does the company adhere to the latest and most advanced testing technologies and achieve a very high degree of accuracy? For non-testing telehealth services, is the quality of the service high enough that we would recommend it to loved ones without hesitation? If not, why not?
User-friendly: How intuitive and user-friendly is the service? Does the device/program/app/website achieve a good degree of user-friendliness for its customers?
Value: Are you getting your money’s worth? Are there any hidden costs or charges? Does the company offer discounts?
Privacy: If health data is stored, will your data be stored securely? Are payments secure?
Customer support: Particularly in situations where ‘one size fits all’ doesn’t make sense, how well does the company help to make the service ideal for you?