The 5 Best Hair Growth Products

By Marissa DeSantis

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.

Whether you're looking to treat hair that's thinning, or you're trying to grow out that lob a little faster, here are the best hair growth products to help — including Dr. Engelman's picks.