The 12 Best Hair Loss Treatments for Women of 2021

Restore thicker locks

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks
The topical foam relies on minoxidil to deliver on its mission of promoting hair growth.
With a water-friendly silicone massager, you can gently massage shampoo into your hair every time you take a shower.
This three-piece set comes with a shampoo, a conditioner, and a leave-in conditioner.
The shampoo contains rosemary oil, which has been shown to promote hair growth, and 15 DHT blockers.
Drawing on ingredients like argan oil and jojoba oil, this keeps your hair strengthened and helps prevent breakage.
This product has pea sprout extract and castor oil, and can be applied after you step out of the shower.
A formula to strengthen thinning and weak hair, it's packed with ingredients like rosemary oil and caffeine.
With ingredients like sulisobenzone and ensulizole, this keeps your hair protected from sun damage and moisturized.
This is a great option if you’re looking for a way to keep your hair hydrated in between washes.
Its medical-grade lasers promise to expose your scalp to low-level light every time you comb your hair.

Hair loss can be a challenging thing to experience. But the truth is, it’s incredibly common. An estimated 50 percent of women will experience noticeable hair loss at some point in their lives. And while about one-third of these cases will be caused by female pattern hair loss (FPHL), there are many other reasons why someone might experience hair loss.

“The list of causes for women’s hair loss is about as long as your arm,” Dr. Sara Wasserbauer, M.D., a California-based hair transplant surgeon, says. Causes can include hormones, genetics, nutrient deficiencies, chronic stress, and more. And while hair damage isn’t quite the same thing as hair loss, excessive coloring, frequent heat use, and too-tight hairstyles can also leave hair feeling thin, damaged, or otherwise unhealthy.

The good news is: There are several steps you can take to keep your hair in tip-top shape. Most of these steps involve protecting the hair you currently have, but some of them involve promoting new hair growth.

No matter which hair loss treatment you try, remember that it may take some time for results to appear. “Hair grows slowly, so repairing damage or restoring better hair growth is going to take 11 to 12 months,” Dr. Wasserbauer says. “Be patient, and stick to the tried-and-true treatments ... and you will see results over time.”

Here are the best hair loss treatments for women on the market.

Best Overall: Rogaine Women's 5% Minoxidil Topical Aerosol Hair Regrowth Treatment

Rogaine Women’s 5% Minoxidil Topical Aerosol Hair Regrowth Treatment
Pros
  • Backed by solid research

  • Easy to apply

  • Promises to be fast-acting

  • Relatively long-lasting (a 2 to 4-month supply)

Cons
  • May cause hair growth in other areas

  • May cause scalp itching, flaking, and irritation

Many over-the-counter products haven’t been proven to stimulate hair growth. But Rogaine’s Women’s 5% Minoxidil Foam actually has. The topical foam is designed to be applied directly to your scalp twice a day. And it relies on a key ingredient called minoxidil to deliver on its mission of promoting hair growth.

Minoxidil is a medication that has been found to directly promote hair growth. (And if you’re curious, it works by stimulating your dermal papillae and your epithelial cells—both of which contribute to the function of your hair follicles.)

Research-Backed: Yes | Key Ingredient(s): Minoxidil | Style: Topical foam

What Our Expert Says

"Minoxidil is the most proven over-the-counter option and works for both men and women. It is a potassium channel opener ... Theoretically, by widening blood vessels and opening potassium channels, it allows more oxygen, blood and nutrients to reach the follicles.” Dr. Hadley King, M.D., a New York City-based dermatologist

Best Budget: Freatech Shampoo Brush Scalp Massager

Pros
  • budget-friendly

  • Easy to use

  • Long-lasting (won’t run out)

  • May also help you clean out build-up

Cons
  • Backed by limited research

  • Adds time to your shower

If you’re looking for a budget-friendlier way to stimulate hair growth, consider trying a scalp massager. “Some studies have shown hair growth benefits from scalp massaging,” Dr. King says. “So I would recommend taking time to massage in products when applied to the scalp.”

Using a scalp massager—like FreaTech’s Hair Scalp Massager—can be a convenient way to build this habit. The silicone massager is water-friendly, so you can use it to gently massage shampoo or conditioner into your hair every time you take a shower.

Research-Backed: Moderate | Key Ingredient(s): Massage | Style: Scalp massager

Best for Natural Hair: Shea Moisture Strengthen & Restore Set

Pros
  • Budget-friendly

  • Convenient all-in-one set

  • Easy to use

  • A seamless addition to your routine

Cons
  • Backed by limited research

  • Better for preventing hair damage than for promoting hair growth

Tired of piecing together hair care products from different brands? SheaMoisture’s Strengthen & Restore Set makes it easy to get everything you need in the same place. The three-piece set comes with a shampoo, a conditioner, and a leave-in conditioner. And all three boast the same key ingredients: castor oil, peppermint oil, apple cider vinegar, and shea butter.

So far, none of these ingredients has been widely shown to promote hair growth. But one small study did suggest that peppermint oil could potentially stimulate hair growth. And according to Dr. King, there is some thinking that castor oil may promote hair growth. (This is because it contains ricinoleic acid, which can activate a prostaglandin F(2alpha) receptor—which may play a role in hair growth. Complicated, we know.)

Research-Backed: Limited | Key Ingredient(s): Peppermint oil and castor oil | Style: Shampoo, conditioner, and leave-in conditioner set

Best Shampoo: Pura d'or Hair Thinning Therapy Shampoo

PURA D'OR Hair Thinning Therapy Shampoo
Pros
  • Easy to use

  • A seamless addition to your routine

  • Contains two ingredients that have been tied to hair growth

  • Contains oils that promise to keep your hair strong and moisturized

Cons
  • Backed by limited research

  • May not be color-safe

Shampoos play a vital role in any hair care routine. And Pura d’Or’s Hair Thinning Therapy Shampoo is packed with ingredients that promise to promote hair growth. The shampoo contains rosemary oil, which has been shown to promote hair growth, and 15 DHT blockers. (DHT stands for dihydrotestosterone, a hormone that has been linked to hair loss.)

It also contains biotin, tea tree oil, and clary sage oil—three ingredients that people think may promote hair growth, though research has yet to bear that out.

Research-Backed: Moderate | Key Ingredient(s): Rosemary oil and DHT blockers | Style: Shampoo

Best Conditioner: Maple Holistics Biotin Conditioner For Hair Loss

Pros
  • Budget-friendly

  • Easy to use

  • A seamless addition to your routine

  • Ingredients may strengthen your hair and prevent damage

Cons
  • Backed by limited research

  • Better for preventing hair damage than for promoting hair growth

If you want to keep your hair in tip-top shape, promoting hair growth is only one piece of the puzzle. Keeping your hair strong and moisturized is also important—and a solid conditioner can help you do it.

Maple Holistics’ Conditioner for Hair Loss draws on ingredients like argan oil and jojoba oil to strengthen hair and prevent breakage. And it also contains biotin and collagen, two ingredients that have purported hair growth benefits—though research has yet to demonstrate this.

Research-Backed: Limited | Key Ingredient(s): Biotin and collagen | Style: Conditioner

What Our Expert Says

“Focus on protecting and maintaining the hair that's already out of your scalp. Once a hair strand reaches beyond the surface of the scalp, it is physiologically dead. Because of this it cannot be nourished—only preserved.” Dr. Hadley King, M.D., a New York City-based dermatologist

She recommends using conditioners, creams, oils, and other moisturizing products, which can help you cut down on damage and breakage.

Best Serum: Pronexa Topical Hair Loss Serum

Pronexa Topical Hair Loss Serum
Pros
  • Easy to use

  • Not messy

  • Surprisingly long-lasting

  • One ingredient linked to hair growth

  • Ingredients may strengthen your hair and prevent damage

Cons
  • Backed by limited research

If you’re looking for a product you can apply after you step out of the shower, a hair serum can be an excellent option. And Pronexa’s Topical Hair Loss Serum contains two ingredients thought to potentially promote hair growth. The first is pea sprout extract, which has been shown to support hair growth in some studies. (That said, people still aren’t sure why pea sprout extract would promote hair growth.)

The second is castor oil, which may potentially stimulate hair growth—though research has yet to back this up. At the very least, though, oils like caster oil are thought to reduce hair breakage and damage.

Research-Backed: Moderate | Key Ingredient(s): Pea sprout extract and castor oil | Style: Hair serum

Best Oil: Essy Naturals Hair Growth Oil

 Hair Growth Oil
Pros
  • Easy to use

  • Not messy

  • Two ingredients linked to hair growth

  • Ingredients may strengthen your hair and prevent damage

Cons
  • Backed by limited research

  • Bottle may not last very long

Hair oils can be a great alternative to hair serums and leave-in conditioners. And Essy Naturals’ Hair Growth Oil is packed with MVP ingredients, like rosemary oil and caffeine. Rosemary oil has been shown to promote hair growth in some studies. And caffeine is often recognized as a hair growth MVP, thanks to its ability to curb DHT. (As a reminder, DHT stands for dihydrotestosterone, which is a hormone that has been linked to hair loss.)

The hair oil also contains biotin and castor oil—two ingredients that are thought to help with hair growth, though this hasn’t been demonstrated in research. 

Research-Backed: Moderate | Key Ingredient(s): Rosemary oil, caffeine, biotin, and castor oil | Style: Hair oil

What Our Expert Says

Oils are often touted as a solution to hair loss. But many popular oils—like castor oil and coconut oil—haven’t been proven to promote hair growth. “The bottom line is: For oils, we need bigger, better studies in order to evaluate whether or not these ingredients may help with hair growth.”Dr. Hadley King, M.D., a New York City-based dermatologist

Best Leave-In: Nioxin Scalp & Hair Leave-In Treatment System

Pros
  • Easy to use

  • Not messy

  • Two ingredients linked to hair growth

  • May help protect your scalp from the sun

Cons
  • Backed by limited research

If you want to keep your hair moisturized, a leave-in conditioner can make a helpful addition to your hair care routine. Nioxin’s Scalp & Hair Leave-In Treatment draws on two common sunscreen ingredients—sulisobenzone and ensulizole—to protect your hair from sun damage. And it turns to peppermint oil and caffeine to (potentially) promote hair growth.

As a reminder: Since caffeine works as a DHT (dihydrotestosterone) blocker, it may support hair growth. And peppermint oil has been shown to promote hair growth in one small study.

Research-Backed: Moderate | Key Ingredient(s): Caffeine and peppermint oil | Style: Leave-in conditioner

What Our Expert Says

“Promoting good hair growth is tricky, because the optimal solution often depends on what is causing the hair loss in the first place. If you are not sure, but want to start improving your hair, a good leave-in conditioner is an easy first step.” Dr. Sara Wasserbauer, M.D., a California-based hair transplant surgeon

She adds that a lot of standard conditioners end up going down the shower drain—rather than staying in our hair. So leave-in products can go a long way in keeping hair strong and healthy.

Best Mask: Marc Anthony Grow Long Hair Mask for Dry Damaged Hair

Pros
  • Acts as a substitute for conditioner

  • Doesn’t need to be used every day

  • Two ingredients linked to hair growth

  • Ingredients may strengthen your hair and prevent damage

Cons
  • Backed by limited research

If you’re looking for a way to keep your hair hydrated in between washes, hair masks can be a great option. Marc Anthony’s Grow Long Hair Mask is loaded with ingredients that promise to strengthen your hair.

The hair mask relies on ingredients like argan oil and keratin to cut down on breakage and damage. And it contains two ingredients thought to stimulate hair growth. The first is caffeine, which works as a DHT (dihydrotestosterone) blocker. The second is biotin, which is thought to potentially promote hair growth. (Though again, the scientific jury is still out on that one.)

Research-Backed: Moderate | Key Ingredient(s): Caffeine and biotin | Style: Hair mask

What Our Expert Says

"Since [caffeine is] water soluble, look for [it] to be formulated into leave-in products like creams, oils, and pomades,” Dr. Sara Wasserbauer, M.D., a California-based hair transplant surgeon

This can help you ensure the ingredients stay in your hair and scalp—and not “swirling down your shower drain,” she adds.

Best Hairbrush: HairMax Prima LaserComb

HairMax Prima Laser Comb
Pros
  • Easy to use

  • Not messy

  • Draws on a research-backed hair growth method

Cons
  • Very expensive

  • Add-on to your hair care routine

  • Needs to touch your scalp—not just your hair—to work

The HairMax Prima 9 LaserComb is a brush that’s lined with medical-grade lasers. These lasers promise to expose your scalp to low-level light every time you comb your hair. And while that might sound strange, some studies have suggested that low-level laser therapy could help prevent hair loss. (It does this by stimulating cellular activity in your scalp.)

The comb may not boast enough bristles to replace your go-to hairbrush. But you should be able to tack it onto the end of your hair care routine. Just be sure the light actually reaches your scalp—and not just your hair—when you’re using it.

Research-Backed: Moderate | Key Ingredient(s): Low-level laser therapy | Style: Laser-lined hairbrush

Best Laser Cap: iRestore Laser Hair Growth System

Pros
  • Easy to use

  • Not at all messy

  • Draws on a research-backed hair growth method

  • Convenient, hands-free design

Cons
  • Very expensive

If you don’t want to go through the trouble of brushing your hair with a laser-lined comb, you can invest in a laser cap—like iRestore’s Laser Hair Growth System—instead. As a recap, some research has suggested that low-level laser therapy could help prevent hair loss.

And iRestore’s laser cap offers a convenient (albeit expensive) way to regularly expose your scalp to low-level laser light. If you’re at all worried about exposing your scalp to laser light, you can rest assured knowing that this cap is an FDA 510(k)-cleared medical device. This means the FDA has accepted it as both safe and effective.

Research-Backed: Moderate | Key Ingredient(s): Low-level laser therapy | Style: Laser cap

Best Vitamins: Nutrafol Women’s Balance Hair Growth

Pros
  • Backed by research

  • Easy to use

  • Less messy than topical treatments

  • Acts as a classic multivitamin (not just for hair growth)

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Dose is four capsules every day

  • Contains more than the daily recommended dose of several different nutrients

One common cause of hair loss? Nutrient and vitamin deficiencies, says Dr. Azza Halim, M.D., a board-certified physician specializing in aesthetic medicine. And research bears this out. Some studies have linked vitamin D, biotin, iron, folate, zinc, and more to the hair growth cycle. And some have specifically suggested that taking oral supplements of some of these nutrients may improve hair growth.

Nutrafol’s Women’s Balance Capsules contain several of these nutrients (specifically, vitamin D, biotin, and zinc). And the vitamins offer an alternative to topical hair loss treatments. Plus, the capsules are genuinely research-backed: Some studies have specifically connected Nutrafol capsules to improved hair growth.

Research-Backed: Yes | Key Ingredient(s): Vitamin D, biotin, and zinc | Style: Oral supplement

Note:

Before taking any new vitamin or supplement, please consult with your doctor.

Final Verdict

If you’re looking for an over-the-counter hair loss treatment that’s genuinely research-backed, try Rogaine’s Women’s 5% Minoxidil Foam (view at Amazon). The product doesn’t just contain ingredients that have been linked to hair growth—the product itself has been linked to hair growth. Just be sure to consult with a doctor before starting the product, and check-in with them while you’re using it. They can help you navigate any side effects you encounter along the way.

What to Look for in a Hair Loss Treatment for Women

Research-Backed

Many hair loss treatments claim to curb hair loss and promote hair growth, but they don’t have the research to back up those claims. “There are many products out there that promise results that aren't backed up by science,” Dr. King says.

So before buying a product, see whether there’s any research linking that product—or ingredients in that product—to hair growth. And if there is, consider how many studies have demonstrated that and how large their sample sizes were. (Remember, you want studies to be plentiful and sample sizes to be large.)

Key Ingredient(s)

It’s important to pay attention to how a product claims to work. What ingredient(s) in the product are linked to hair growth? This can help you figure out what research to look up when deciding whether or not to buy a product.

Style

There are many different hair loss treatments out there, and many of them offer different application methods. You may find everything from topical treatments to oral medications, and none of these methods are necessarily better or worse than any other. So narrow your pool of products down to research-backed options, then opt for the application method that works for you.

FAQs

What causes hair loss in women?

Hair loss can be caused by a number of different things. These include: genetics, hormones, underlying health conditions, nutrient deficiencies, stress, and more. You may also experience temporary hair loss after dealing with an acute stressor, like losing a loved one, losing a job, undergoing a surgery, or experiencing a high fever.

How to prevent hair loss in women

The first step to preventing hair loss is to figure out why it’s happening in the first place, so you’ll want to pay a visit to your doctor. “Hair loss needs to be properly evaluated in order to make an accurate diagnosis [and] treatment plan,” Dr. Halim says. This treatment plan may involve nutrient supplements or prescription medications. Or it may be as simple as making sure you’re consuming a well-rounded diet.

And if you want to keep your hair looking as great as possible, consider cutting down on habits that tend to lead to hair damage. “[Avoid] brushing, curling, or styling when hair is wet,” Dr. Wasserbauer says. “[Avoid] excessive heat (blow drying, curling, etc.) and chemicals (straightening, protein treatments, coloring, etc.).” And Dr. King recommends strengthening your hair by regularly using moisturizing products, like conditioners, creams, and oils.

How much daily hair loss is normal for a woman?

Some amount of shedding is normal. So how can you tell whether the hair you’re losing is standard shedding or cause for greater concern? “Normal humans shed up to 100 hairs per day (averaged over a week),” Dr. Wasserbauer says. She adds that any patchy hair loss (so hair coming out in patches) is likely a cause for concern. And any increases in hair loss should prompt a visit to the doctor—even if you can tie those incidents to a specific trigger, like stress or illness.

Remember, hair loss (hair falling out of your scalp) isn’t the same thing as hair breakage or hair damage (which is usually characterized by part of the hair breaking and falling off). Hair loss may be linked to an underlying condition or nutrient deficiency, whereas hair damage is typically linked to things like excessive exposure to heat and chemicals.

To determine which one you’re dealing with, Dr. Wasserbauer recommends a simple test. “Feel a small bundle of scalp hair at the root, then again partway along the length, then once more near the tip,” she says. If the hair is uniformly thick the whole way down, you may be dealing with hair loss. If it starts thicker at the top and thins toward the end, you may be dealing with hair damage.

Why Trust Verywell Fit? 

As a seasoned health and fitness writer, Lindsey Lanquist understands how vital quality product recommendations can be. She is careful to recommend products that are reliable, comfortable, and genuinely well-reviewed by those who’ve tried them.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Cleveland Clinic. Hair Loss in Women. Updated February 10, 2021.

  2. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Thinning Hair and Hair Loss: Could it be Female Pattern Hair Loss?

  3. van Zuuren EJ, Fedorowicz Z, Schoones J. Interventions for female pattern hair lossCochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016;2016(5):CD007628. Published 2016 May 26. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD007628.pub4

  4. Choi N, Shin S, Song SU, Sung JH. Minoxidil Promotes Hair Growth through Stimulation of Growth Factor Release from Adipose-Derived Stem CellsInt J Mol Sci. 2018;19(3):691. Published 2018 Feb 28. doi:10.3390/ijms19030691

  5. Koyama T, Kobayashi K, Hama T, Murakami K, Ogawa R. Standardized Scalp Massage Results in Increased Hair Thickness by Inducing Stretching Forces to Dermal Papilla Cells in the Subcutaneous TissueEplasty. 2016;16:e8. Published 2016 Jan 25.

  6. Oh JY, Park MA, Kim YC. Peppermint Oil Promotes Hair Growth without Toxic SignsToxicol Res. 2014;30(4):297-304. doi:10.5487/TR.2014.30.4.297

  7. Colombe L, Michelet J-F, Bernard BA. Prostanoid receptors in anagen human hair folliclesExp Dermatol. 2008;17(1):63-72.

  8. Panahi Y, Taghizadeh M, Marzony ET, Sahebkar A. Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: a randomized comparative trialSkinmed. 2015;13(1):15-21.

  9. Ustuner ET. Cause of androgenic alopecia: crux of the matterPlast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2013;1(7):e64. Published 2013 Nov 7. doi:10.1097/GOX.0000000000000005

  10. Ablon G. A 3-month, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating the ability of an extra-strength marine protein supplement to promote hair growth and decrease shedding in women with self-perceived thinning hairDermatology Research and Practice. 2015;2015:1-8.

  11. Farouk Sakr F, Gado A, Mohammed H, Ismail AAN. Preparation and evaluation of a multimodal minoxidil microemulsion versus minoxidil alone in the treatment of androgenic alopecia of mixed etiology: a pilot studyDDDT. Published online May 2013:413.

  12. Ali B, Al-Wabel NA, Shams S, Ahamad A, Khan SA, Anwar F. Essential oils used in aromatherapy: A systemic reviewAsian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine. 2015;5(8):601-611.

  13. Faria PM, Camargo LN, Carvalho RSH, Paludetti LA, Velasco MVR, Gama RM da. Hair protective effect of argan oil (Argania spinosa kernel oil) and cupuassu butter (Theobroma grandiflorum seed butter) post treatment with hair dyeJournal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications. 2013;3(3):40-44.

  14. Grothe T, Wandrey F, Schuerch C. Short communication: Clinical evaluation of pea sprout extract in the treatment of hair lossPhytotherapy Research. 2020;34(2):428-431. doi: 10.1002/ptr.6528

  15. Fischer TW, Hipler UC, Elsner P. Effect of caffeine and testosterone on the proliferation of human hair follicles in vitroInternational Journal of Dermatology. 2007;46(1):27-35.

  16. Villa AL, Aragão MR, Dos Santos EP, et al. Feather keratin hydrolysates obtained from microbial keratinases: effect on hair fiberBMC Biotechnol. 2013;13:15. Published 2013 Feb 18. doi:10.1186/1472-6750-13-15

  17. Avci P, Gupta GK, Clark J, Wikonkal N, Hamblin MR. Low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) for treatment of hair lossLasers Surg Med. 2014;46(2):144-151. doi:10.1002/lsm.22170

  18. Amor KT, Rashid RM, Mirmirani P. Does D matter? The role of vitamin D in hair disorders and hair follicle cyclingDermatol Online J. 2010;16(2):3.

  19. Almohanna HM, Ahmed AA, Tsatalis JP, Tosti A. The Role of Vitamins and Minerals in Hair Loss: A ReviewDermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2019;9(1):51-70. doi:10.1007/s13555-018-0278-6

  20. Ablon G, Kogan S. A six-month, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating the safety and efficacy of a nutraceutical supplement for promoting hair growth in women with self-perceived thinning hairJ Drugs Dermatol. 2018;17(5):558-565.