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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best hair loss treatments for women

Last Updated November 2019

Hair loss is usually thought as a problem that affects only men, but many women experience hair thinning and loss as they age, too. There are many reasons why someone might start to lose hair, but regardless of the cause, it can wreak havoc on a woman’s self-esteem and confidence.

Fortunately, there are plenty of OTC hair loss treatments that can help slow the loss or even regrow hair. But not all hair loss treatments for women are the same. If you don’t choose an effective product, you’ll just be wasting your time and money.

Fortunately, our handy shopping guide has plenty of tips to help you pick the best hair loss treatment for your needs. If you’re ready to buy, check out our top recommendations.

Female-pattern baldness or hair loss typically affects women between the ages of 40 and 60.

Key considerations

Type of hair loss

It’s important to consider the type of hair loss you’re experiencing to identify the best product for your needs.

  • Female-pattern baldness, also known as male-pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia, is the most common type and is usually the result of genetics. The gene for hair loss is only activated when the male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is found in the system. Estrogen helps minimize the production of male hormones, so women are most likely to experience female-pattern baldness after menopause begins and there’s a change in hormone production.

  • Alopecia areata occurs in children and young adults. It involves the sudden loss of hair in circular patches. Unlike female-pattern baldness, this type of hair loss usually isn’t permanent. Hair may regrow within a couple of years.

  • Telogen effluvium is another temporary hair loss condition that causes thinning of the hair all over the scalp. It’s caused by changes in your hair’s growth cycle that allow a large portion of the hair to enter the resting phase simultaneously. Fortunately, it’s usually fairly easy to reverse.

  • Anagen effluvium is a quick, sudden loss of hair that occurs when hair is lost during the growth phase. It can not only affect the hair on the head but also the eyebrows, eyelashes, and body hair as well. It is often caused by the drugs used for chemotherapy or exposure to toxic chemicals. Hair growth typically begins again after the treatment or exposure ends.

  • Other factors that might contribute to hair loss include stress, illness, pregnancy, autoimmune diseases, burns, and poor diet.
     

Type of treatment

Hair loss treatments for women are available in a few different formulas.

  • Liquid, foam, and oil treatments are typically applied directly to the scalp, where they are massaged in to help revive shrunken hair follicles. This type of treatment can be somewhat messy to apply, but it’s often the most effective, depending on the active ingredients included.

  • Shampoo hair loss treatments function much like traditional shampoos. You apply the shampoo to your hair when you’re washing it and then rinse it out. While this type of treatment can have some effect on hair follicles, it’s usually not as effective as treatments that are massaged into the scalp. Shampoo treatments also work by strengthening the hair itself to prevent breakage and may coat your strands to make them appear thicker and more abundant.

  • Mask hair loss treatments are similar to shampoos except they’re left on your hair for at least five to ten minutes, so they’re better able to penetrate the scalp. Like shampoos, masks don’t have as much effect on the follicles themselves and work primarily by strengthening hair to prevent hair loss due to breakage.

Dermatologist-recommended targeted formula

This Rogaine formula is designed specifically to treat hair loss and thinning in women. It contains 5% minoxidil, which studies have shown can regrow up to 25% more hair. It’s also the number one dermatologist-recommended hair loss treatment for women, so you can trust that it’s safe and effective. We also love the foam formula, which limits the mess from dripping.

Hair loss treatment features

Ingredients

When you start shopping for a hair loss treatment, you should always check the ingredient list to make sure that the product is proven to be effective.

  • Minoxidil: The most effective active ingredient in topical hair loss treatments for women is minoxidil, which is the only ingredient approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of female-pattern baldness. It’s usually available in a liquid or foam formula that’s massaged directly into the scalp.
    Minoxidil helps with regrowth by reviving shrunken follicles. It usually works best in women who have only recently begun to experience hair loss or have small patches of sparse hair. To maintain the results you achieve with a minoxidil-based product, you need to use it indefinitely.

  • Green tea: If you prefer a non-minoxidil product, green tea can often be an effective ingredient in hair loss treatments. That’s because studies suggest it can help diminish DHT levels that may trigger hair loss. Its anti-inflammatory properties are also believed to help stimulate hair growth.

  • Redensyl: This is another common ingredient in hair loss treatments that’s believed to help activate hair follicles and encourage new growth.

  • DHT blockers: It also helps to choose a shampoo or other product that contains DHT blockers. Some effective options include stinging nettle, pumpkin seed oil, and saw palmetto.

  • Antimicrobials: If a fungal infection or itchy scalp has triggered your hair loss, products that contain tea tree oil, ketoconazole, lavender, and other antimicrobial ingredients can be helpful.

  • Strengtheners: Some hair loss treatments also contain ingredients that are meant to help strengthen the hair to prevent breakage that can cause hair loss. Biotin, panthenol, retinol, aloe, and argan oil can all work well.
     

Treatment frequency

With the majority of hair loss treatments, the more frequently you use the product, the better the results you’ll experience. Most topical scalp treatments suggest daily usage, with some formulas even recommending day and night applications. Other treatments, such as shampoos or masks, may only require application two to three times a week. Keep in mind that these types of products may not show results as quickly.

Scent

Some hair loss treatments for women have a strong scent that may be offensive or irritating to some people. Products that use natural ingredients like green tea, tea tree oil, and argan oil tend to have the mildest scents, but it’s especially important to avoid treatments with artificial fragrances. These can irritate your scalp and even weaken your hair and make it harder to stimulate new hair growth.

DID YOU KNOW?

It’s normal to lose between 50 and 100 strands of hair a day. If you’re losing more than that, you might need a hair loss treatment product.

DID YOU KNOW?

Eating a low-protein or extremely calorie-restricted diet can cause you to lose hair temporarily.

DID YOU KNOW?

Using two hair loss treatment products simultaneously, such as a topical scalp treatment and a shampoo, can help boost your results.

Hair loss treatment prices

Hair loss treatments for women vary in price based on the formula and the size of the bottle. In general, most treatments cost between $10 and $100.

Masks

Hair loss treatment masks tend to be the most affordable option, ranging from $12 to $44. Masks come in fairly small containers, but they typically don’t require as frequent use, so one container can last a long time.

Shampoos

Hair loss treatment shampoos are a bit more expensive, ranging from $14 to $65. Most containers hold 16 ounces, but some formulas only need to be used two or three times a week, so a single bottle can last quite a while.

Minoxidil

Hair loss treatments for the scalp that contain minoxidil are the most expensive because the ingredient is approved by the FDA, so you can better trust its safety and efficacy. Expect to pay between $18 and $100 for a minoxidil treatment, depending on quantity.

Nature-based treatment for root to tip

The Pura D’Or Hair Loss Prevention Masque contains a blend of 15 natural ingredients that help stimulate the scalp and strengthen the hair to prevent loss due to breakage. It only requires two weekly applications of five minutes each to see results, which makes it extremely convenient to use. We also love that the formula is vegan and cruelty-free.

Tips

  • Talk to your doctor before using a hair loss treatment. It’s important to know if there are any medical issues that may be contributing to the condition. Also check with your doctor if your scalp is irritated or sunburned before using these products.

  • Make sure your scalp is completely dry before applying a minoxidil-based hair loss treatment. And then wait at least four hours to wash your hair after applying the treatment.

  • Allow a treatment shampoo to fully penetrate your scalp. After you’ve applied a hair loss treatment shampoo to your scalp and hair, allow it to sit for two to five minutes.

Other products we considered

There are many hair loss treatments for women on the market, but not all deliver real, noticeable results. The Essy Hair Growth Oil is an ideal option for women who prefer a more natural formula because it contains castor oil, rosemary oil, caffeine, and biotin to help nourish existing hair and stimulate the hair follicles to encourage new growth. It’s also cruelty-free and doesn’t have any sulfates or parabens. We also love the TruePure Biotin Hair Growth Serum because it’s effective for all hair types, contains natural DHT blockers, and has no artificial fragrances.

Approximately one-third of women experience some type of hair loss during the course of their life.

FAQ

Q. Are these treatments safe?

A. If you’re experiencing hair loss, you should always consult your doctor and attempt to determine the cause. You may not need a hair loss treatment if you’re able to address an underlying medical issue. However, if you do use an FDA-approved topical treatment or a shampoo or mask that you rinse out of your hair, there usually aren’t any side effects to be concerned about.

Q. How long does it take to see results?

A. It depends on the severity of your problem, how early you treat it, and the product you use. With most treatments, it takes at least three to four months to see significant results. In some cases, it can take up to a year.

Q. Do I have to use the treatment indefinitely?

A. It depends on the cause of your hair loss, but if you’re using a treatment for female-pattern baldness, you’ll need to keep using the product if you want to maintain your current hair and continue to encourage new growth. If you stop using the product, you’ll likely begin to lose hair again.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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