mbg Assistant Beauty Editor
mbg Assistant Beauty Editor
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more.
Image by Leandro Crespi / Stocksy
October 29, 2022
Our editors have independently chosen the products listed on this page. If you purchase something mentioned in this article, we may
Hair loss in any form—whether it be a receding hairline, all-over thinning, or balding patches—can add a layer of insecurity to your day-to-day life. You may wish you had started preventative measures years ago, but give yourself some grace knowing that not all hair loss is preventable.
That being said, not all forms of hair loss are permanent either—especially if you actively treat the scalp to encourage regrowth. Hair loss in women and men are alike in many ways, and different in some. Here, the difference between the two and what derms want you to know about treating and preventing hair loss.
What is hair loss in men?
“Men’s hair loss (or male pattern hair loss) often begins with a receding hairline and the ‘widows peaks’, with eventual loss of scalp crown (top) hair,” board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group Jason Miller, M.D., FAAD tells mbg.
Women tend to have more subtle thinning throughout the scalp, characterized by a widened part or more visibility of the scalp, Miller explains.
The most common cause of hair loss in both men and women is androgenetic alopecia. This kind of hair loss is usually caused by, “Genetic changes in certain hormones that lead to thinning of the hair,” Miller says.
However, traumatic events or increased stress and autoimmune conditions can also lead to hair loss. This kind of shedding isn’t instantaneous. “When high stress occurs, the hair begins to shed about three to six months later,” board-certified Christine Shaver, M.D., FAAD, of Bernstein Medical Center for Hair Restoration in New York City once told mbg.
It’s important to know what the root of your hair loss is in order to treat it best. If your hair loss is hormonal, then oral medication may be a good addition to a topical hair growth regimen. Regardless, scalp care is essential, and these products are A+ for a happy, healthy scalp.
How we picked
Hair loss products don’t need to sting the scalp. We picked the best products we could find that encourage growth, sans discomfort. These ingredient lists are natural-forward and safe for your skin.
Not everyone is ready, or has the ability to, invest in expensive hair care products. This is why we offered budget-friendly options throughout.
Most people don’t have time to complete a 10-step routine for hair growth. The following products are simple and to the point. This way you can commit to consistency, no matter how busy your days are.
We looked for ingredients proven to encourage healthy hair growth like rosemary oil, saw palmetto, peptides, etc. We’ll get more into this next.
mbg’s picks for the best hair growth products for men
Ingredients: Caffeine, Biotin, Peptides, Red clover, Mung bean
This plant-based hair growth serum is a dream for those who want to encourage regrowth without irritating the scalp. The dropper is small but filled with a mighty formula (I mean, just look at the before and after photos in the review section). This is why it’s perfect for the hairline—it’s powerful enough to encourage regrowth and being used on a smaller section will make it last.
What users say:
This serum has a serious following from people of all genders because it’s highly effective. (And no matter how you identify, we all want effective products, no?) Here’s what one reviewer said: “I have had a fair amount of hair loss, I lost about half of my hair due to vitamin deficiencies, anemia, stress, and overall lack of protein in my diet. I lost around half of my hair in the span of like a month or two. And I promise this stuff is the one product I found that actually works. I didn’t want to use minoxidil, that was kind of going to be my last resort. But once I started using this product my hair stopped falling out, and started to grow back, and honestly grows faster than before.”
Ingredients: Peptides, Nanofluorosomes, Niacinamide, Hyaluronic acid, Panthenol
This highly concentrated solution contains a blend of unique and science-backed ingredients. First up: A blend of 7 different peptides to target growth factors and skin proteins to encourage a healthy scalp and thicker strands. Nanofluorosomes, a potent anti-inflammatory and anti-androgenic compound give the blend a fluorescent hue, which can be additionally activated via laser or light source—so if you’re using a light device, pair it with this blend to supercharge the growth potential.
What users say:
This high-tech formula has caught the eye of many. Here’s what one user said: “I have been using Kerafactor Scalp Stimulating spray and shampoo for three months and have noticed increased hair fullness in the balding section of my scalp and an associated thickening of my hair generally. It is a remarkable new product that is simple to use and shows incredible immediate results.”
- Internal and external support
Ingredients: Seaweed extract, Tea tree leaf water, Maca extract, Lactic acid, Moringa seed extract
This hair growth system is just that—a system. More than just a serum, this product duo tackles hair loss from the inside and the outside for all-around support. The serum stimulates the scalp via lactic acid, tea tree, and caffeine while simultaneously nourishing the barrier with sea buckthorn extract, panthenol, seaweed extract, and more naturally-derived additions. The supplement blend is packed with saw palmetto extract, marine collagen, and ashwagandha to encourage hair growth and skin health from within.
What users say:
Not only do men rave about this product (“My hair was making me feel older than I was before Nutrafol,” says one 46-year-old), but clinical studies back it up: 85% of users saw improved hair health using the serum after 30 days, and 84% of users saw improved hair growth with using the supplement after 6 months.
- Nourishes the scalp with stem cells
- Not the best for significant hair loss
Ingredients: Stem cells, Aloe vera extract, Bamboo extract, Pea extract
This Stem Cell Serum has sold out again and again—for good reason. The ultra-nourishing blend of plant-derived stem cells joins bamboo extract and aloe vera in a superior hydrating INCI list. The blend is clean as can be—free of synthetic fragrance, silicones and parabens. If you’re starting to see minor hair loss or just want to prevent thinning in the first place, add this serum to your routine to show your scalp some T.L.C.
What users say:
Not only do people use this to calm irritated scalps, but users notice healthy hair growth with continued use: “My hair seems to be growing out thicker and darker at the roots with the first bottle. I will continue using!”
- Contains pure rosemary oil
- May make hair look greasy
Ingredients: Rosemary extract
As mentioned in the next section, rosemary oil is A+ for science-backed hair growth, sans irritation. This rosemary oil blend is pure and organic, meaning you don’t have to worry about irritating additives or fillers. Put a dropperful of oil on any area you want to increase growth before falling asleep and wash it out the next morning to avoid sporting a greasy look—unless that’s what you’re going for.
What users say:
This simple formula brings the results—as hundreds of reviewers have noted. One says the regrowth is noticeable: “I’m not usually one to write a review but i was truly surprised by the results of this mighty bottle. I looked in the mirror yesterday and realized i have new hair growth and significantly less shedding. I’d recommend this to anyone who wants less shedding, more growth, and overall healthier hair!”
Best shampoo: Hims Thick Fix Thickening Shampoo
Thick Fix Thickening Shampoo
Ingredients: Lactic acid, Saw palmetto, Eucalyptus
If you can’t be bothered to add another step to your routine (no shame, hair care can be intensive), then consider opting for thickening shampoo. This formula is a low-lift way to incorporate healthy scalp practices into your routine. Saw palmetto encourages hair growth while eucalyptus provides stimulation and a spa-like scent. If you want to add a leave-in product to your routine (which is highly encouraged) Hims has a plethora of options to check that box too.
What users say:
This shampoo may be a wash-off product, but the innovative ingredients still put in the work. One reviewer says: “After a few days my hair looked noticeably thicker. It even worked on my beard, which is nice because my beard does not grow in as thick and full as I’d want it to.”
- May give a greasy look
Ingredients: Caffeine, Peptides, Camellia sinensis leaf extract
If you’re looking for a good launching point to ease you into the world of leave-on hair products, this serum is a great start. Packed with peptides, caffeine, and plant extracts, you’ll be nourishing your scalp, sans extra spending. Massage the serum into your scalp during the day or at night to encourage growth. Reviews mention a greasy residue post-application, so an evening ritual may be best.
What users say:
While it may leave a noticeable residue for some, most folks rave about how full their hair grows in: “There is visible growth with just one bottle. There are new hairs coming in,” says one. Another notes: “Within a month of using this serum I have noticed so many new hairs. It’s worth every penny.”
- Targetted treatment
- Great for hairline or sporadic thinning
This one was recommended by certified trichologist and hair expert Shab Reslan—she even swears by it herself for thicker locks. “It uses low-level red light that’s safe (FDA cleared) and doesn’t get warm. This encourages healthier hair growth and stimulates the cells in the follicle by photobiomodulation, which is the same technology that plants use from the sun to grow,” Reslan once told mbg. Use for 11 minutes 3 times a week—perhaps in combination with a hair serum for double the growing power.
What users say:
While using LED light for hair growth is still a new concept for people, there’s good research to support it’s use (which can justify the price tag). As one person wrote: “I’ve been using the HairMax Ultima 9 for 2 weeks and I’ve already noticed changes! Significantly less hair falling out in my brush, my clothes and my shower.”
What to look for:
The vast world of hair growth products can be hard to navigate. Here’s what to look for to narrow down your search.
In a 2015 randomized controlled trial1, rosemary oil was just as effective at increasing hair count over a 6-month period as 2% minoxidil (the active ingredient in Rogaine). In this same trial, participants using rosemary oil experienced less scalp discomfort and itching than the alternative as well.
This is why you’ll find rosemary oil in countless hair care products. In order to maximize your use of this botanical superstar, massage it into the scalp and let it sit for a few hours rather than washing it right out.
This clinical trial displayed promise for yet another all-natural hair growth option: Pumpkin seed oil. The same rules apply here—be sure to leave the pumpkin seed oil on your scalp for at least a few hours to let it take effect.
If you’re worried about having greasy-looking hair throughout the day, use these oils as an overnight treatment.
In order to foster increased hair growth, your scalp needs to be in a healthy, hydrated state. Look for ingredients like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, peptides, niacinamide, and aloe vera extract in topicals to help keep your skin moisturized.
Especially if you’re prone to a dry and flaky scalp, oils might be a better choice to truly lock in moisture. Again, you can use scalp oils overnight to avoid greasy-looking roots during the day.
Something you’ll stick with.
If you buy a hair growth topical that makes your scalp itchy, you’ll be less inclined to use it. The same goes for time-intensive practices—don’t spend the money on them if you’re not going to commit to using them.
Pick something that can fit into your lifestyle so you can stick with it. When it comes to hair growth, consistency is key.
Other remedies to try.
If you want to double down on your hair growth practice, you may want to consider adding scalp massage to your daily routine. Research demonstrates that regular scalp massages can encourage thicker strands2. Plus, it doubles as a stress reliever after a long day.
To level up, even more, add a hair supplement to your daily routine. There are plenty of different formulas, from biotin to collagen and beyond. Some of them come in capsules, while others are in powder form and rich in protein. Check out this breakdown to learn more.
Hair loss is a complex experience, with countless causes and even more possible remedies. We searched high and low for the best science-backed and natural-forward options to save you time but remember—you have to use these products on a regular basis for them to work properly. Want to learn more about taking care of your scalp? Here’s the 101.