If you've noticed hair thinning or spares patches — or maybe you just want thicker, longer hair — you'll be happy to know that many of the best hair growth products can be bought online. But before you begin your search, you'll want to do your research on effective ingredients and what's causing the problem in the first place.
According to New York-based dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman, a number of factors could be contributing to hair that seems thinner or won't grow, including genetics, birth control, weight loss, diet, chemical hair treatments, hot tools, and lifestyle changes. "Identifying the culprit for hair loss would be the most effective in encouraging hair growth," Dr. Engelman says, adding, "For anyone who wants their hair to grow longer, they can benefit from a hair growth product." Of course, if hair thinning or hair loss is a serious concern, you'll want to check in with a dermatologist first. But if it's longer hair you're looking for, there are some general rules to follow.
When looking for a hair growth product, Dr. Engelman notes it's not so much the type of product that matters (i.e. shampoo and conditioner versus supplements) as it is the active ingredient. "For example, minoxidil is most effective when applied topically, yet keratin is more effective in a supplement," she explains. Other ingredients that Dr. Engelman lists as helping to accelerate hair growth are ketoconazole, biotin, vitamin A, and vitamin B.
If you decide to try a supplement, Dr. Engelman cautions that you should pay attention to what's on the label. "Some products contain hormones, which is not safe for all users, like cancer patients," she explains. "There are also a lot of products that are aggressively marketed that aren't based in any science — make sure to stay away from any product with outlandish claims and fillers or additives." Of course, before adding any sort of health-related supplement into your wellness regimen, you should always talk with a health care provider, first.
It's also important to assess your own hair care routine to see if there's something you're doing that's contributing to damaged hair that won't grow. Heat styling and over-processing are common damage-causing culprits that are easy to cut back on. Taking care of your scalp is also key. "To maintain healthy hair follicles, it is important to have a healthy scalp," Dr. Engelman says, advising that you treat the scalp as you would the skin on the rest of the body by washing and conditioning it regularly.
1. Best Hair Growth Product For Thinning Hair
If you feel like your hair is looking a bit thinner, this Rogaine foam treatment is a quick addition to your hair care routine that's dermatologist-recommended and FDA-approved. Minoxidil is the active ingredient here, which, when combined with a blend of botanical extracts, emollients, and alpha hydroxy acid, helps penetrate into the scalp to help revive hair follicles and increase protein production.
To use it, Rogaine recommends distributing a capful of foam over the scalp on hair that's completely dry or towel-dried. After you've massaged the foam into your scalp, let it dry completely before styling your hair as you usually would.
2. Best Hair Growth Shampoo & Conditioner
Paul Mitchell's Tea Tree Scalp Care line is one of Dr. Engelman's picks for maintaining a healthy scalp, which in turn promotes healthy hair growth. The Anti-Thinning Shampoo and Conditioner are color-safe and work to gently cleanse the scalp and remove impurities, as well as detangle fragile hair. "Its Regeniplex botanical blend contains clover flower extract, pea peptides, turmeric, Kakadu plum, and ginseng to stimulate the scalp and protect against breakage," Dr. Engelman explains. You can also buy the shampoo and conditioner separately, should you wish.
3. Best Hair Mask For Hair Growth & Healthier Hair
Olaplex has been every color-treated blonde's BFF for a while now, but their Repairing Treatment has over 1,000 five-star reviews on Amazon for helping to restore fragile hair — whether it's been color-treated or not. It strengthens weakened hair, repairs split ends, and prevents future damage, all while increasing softness and shine. "I put my hair through the wringer with bleaching and hot tools," one Amazon reviewer shares, adding, "After my first session with Olaplex #3, I noticed my hair was much softer, shinier, and thicker."
Used just one to three times a week, you can leave this treatment on damp hair for as little as 10 minutes before you shampoo and condition to notice results.
4. Best Hair Growth Supplement
Backed by science, this dietary supplement gets Dr. Engelman's seal of approval for extending the anagen phase (aka the active growth phase) of the hair growth cycle. The Viviscal supplements are formulated with a marine complex, AminoMar, as well as biotin, zinc, vitamin C, horsetail extract, and iron, to supply vital nutrients to the hair follicle that help promote healthy growth and condition damaged hair.
5. A Hair Growth Supplement That Also Boosts All-Around Wellness
Another of Dr. Engelman's picks, Nutrafol works to support your body's five main systems —detoxification, stress response, digestive, metabolic, and endocrine — helping to regulate any imbalances that could be compromising hair growth. "It uses botanicals to address every stage of the growth cycle," Engelman says. "DHT inhibitors and anti-stress adaptogens rebalance hormone levels to reduce follicle damage," she goes on to explain, adding that anti-inflammatories and antioxidants also reduce damage. "Natural vasodilators revive follicles and increase scalp circulations, and vitamins, minerals, and amino acids regrow and support hair building blocks." Additionally, it can help with your overall health by reducing stress and fatigue, as well as improving sleep, circulation, and your immune system, skin, nails, and libido.
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