No matter your hair type or texture, chances are you’ve experienced hair loss or thinning at some point in your life. But integrating the best hair-growth products into your routine can help you achieve fuller, thicker, and even longer hair, if that’s a concern for you.
Our top picks:
What is a hair-growth product?
While you may already have a shampoo, conditioner, or leave-in serum that you love, Miami-based board-certified dermatologist Anna Chacon, MD, encourages people who are looking to treat hair loss to get topical products or supplements that specifically cater to hair growth, and then be patient with the results. “It’s fair to give products six months before assessing effects,” she says.
There are a range of products on the market—some more efficacious than others—but certain formulas, depending on your needs, can really work, says Dr. Chacon. They’re broken down into topical formulas and supplements, and she says that both types of products are specifically catered toward the hair-growth cycle, consisting of the anagen, catagen, and telogen stages. Of course, most experts say the over-the-counter stuff can’t hurt to try but might not yield the results you want; Rogaine (the brand name of the FDA-approved Minoxidil) for now is the only one with research backing up its efficacy.
Trichologist Anabel Kingsley adds that each will act on the follicle and growth phases in different ways. “Some will be stimulating, while others are regulating,” she says. “Nutritional supplements, on the other hand, will work internally to support hair cell production.”
What ingredients should I look for in a hair-growth product?
According to Dr. Chacon and board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, MD, there are some specific ingredients you’ll want to look out for when selecting an effective hair-growth product:
- Collagen: Collagen is the primary protein found in the dermis of the scalp, and it’s important for maintaining and repairing the hair follicle. It also contains amino acids that are used to build keratin, the primary protein in hair. The ingredient is particularly helpful for treating any age-related changes in hair growth.
- Vitamin A: This contributes to hair health because it supports the production of sebum, which in turn can help prevent breakage.
- Iron: Iron deficiency can cause a decrease in hemoglobin, making it more difficult for your cells to grow or repair themselves as quickly, resulting in hair loss.
- Rosemary oil: Said to be anti-inflammatory, rosemary oil can also help to improve circulation, leading to an increase in hair growth.
- Ginseng: Made out of an active ingredient called ginsenosides, ginseng is said to help promote hair growth in addition to thickness, volume, and density.
It’s also important to note some products and ingredients to stay away from, says Dr. Chacon. “Be wary of products that make unrealistic claims about hair growth,” she cautions, while warning against formulas that contain harsh chemicals, sulfates, parabens, and artificial fragrances. “Those can potentially damage hair and scalp health, making thinning hair worse.”
Why should you use hair-growth products?
Whether you’re already experiencing hair loss or want to act preventively because you have a family history of loss or balding, Michigan-based board-certified dermatologist Fatima Fahs, MD, says it’s a good idea to get ahead of the curve by taking preventive action with hair-loss treatments.
She explains that our hair follicles get smaller and smaller over time, until they close and no longer produce hair. So, yes—thinning is a totally normal part of the aging process and nothing to feel ashamed about.
See below for the most popular, top-rated hair-growth products you can start using now, based on recommendations from trichologists, dermatologists, hair experts, and editors.