Thursday, May 30, 2024

The 15 Best Hair Growth Serums for a Fuller Mane

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best hair growth serums

Rosdiana Ciaravolo

Excessive shedding and hair loss are quite common. Thankfully, the best hair growth serums can help reduce the appearance of sparseness stemming from a variety of causes.

Unlike hair growth shampoos and oil-based formulas, hair growth serums are leave-in treatments that penetrate the scalp. Essentially, they’re formulated with more active ingredients, explains trichologist and founder of Act+Acre Helen Reveay. To be clear, though, they’re not the ultimate fix. “Many over-the-counter hair growth serums won’t significantly increase hair growth,” says cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Michele Green. “For the best results, they can be used in conjunction with other methods, such as platelet-rich plasma injections and oral medications. However, their performance does depend on the specific ingredients included,” she adds.

  • 1

    Best Overall

    Women’s 2% Minoxidil Topical Solution Rogaine

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  • 2

    Best Anti-Aging Hair Growth Serum

    Cold Processed Stem Cell Serum Act + Acre

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  • 3

    Best Hair Growth Serum for Thickening

    Densifying Remedy Oway

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  • 4

    Best Hair Growth Serum for Strengthening

    Semi Di Lino Scalp Renew Energizing Lotion Alfaparf

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  • 5

    Best Hair Growth Serum for Alopecia

    Hair Revitalizing Serum for Women Michele Green

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The most potent types contain minoxidil, which Dr. Green notes is the only topical FDA-approved ingredient shown to be effective in triggering new hair growth. “Backed by decades of clinical research, it works by increasing hair follicle size and stimulating the anagen, or growth phase, of the hair cycle,” she explains.

Meanwhile, hair growth serums without minoxidil may use a range of ingredients aimed at maintaining scalp health. “This helps encourage the hair follicles to grow healthier, thicker strands and can make the hair look fuller,” she says. “For example, glycerin is a humectant that has the ability to bind water, so it delivers necessary moisture to the skin.” According to Reveay, other beneficial ingredients include plant stem cells, peptides, caffeine, rosemary, ginger root, red leaf clover, and basil leaf. “They’re all rich in antioxidants and can stimulate the scalp, increasing blood flow and promoting healthy growth,” she says.

Ahead, we tapped our experts and dozens of customer reviews to gather the best hair growth serums that are actually worth your money.


Best Overall


Women’s 2% Minoxidil Topical Solution

Key ingredients Minoxidil
Hair type All
Size 2 fl. oz, pack of 3 bottles


Best Anti-Aging Hair Growth Serum

Act + Acre

Cold Processed Stem Cell Serum

Key ingredients Swiss apple stem cells, aloe vera, bamboo, pea extract
Hair type All
Size 2.19 fl. oz.


Best Hair Growth Serum for Thickening


Densifying Remedy

Key ingredients Buddleja Davidii plant stem cells, dynagen
Hair type All
Size 3.38 fl. oz.


Best Hair Growth Serum for Strengthening


Semi Di Lino Scalp Renew Energizing Lotion

Key ingredients Grapeseed oil, castor oil, flax seed extract
Hair type Weak, thinning hair
Size 0.34 fl. oz., pack of 12 vials


Best Hair Growth Serum for Alopecia

Michele Green

Hair Revitalizing Serum for Women

Key ingredients Minoxidil 7%, progesterone 0.1%
Hair type Thinning
Size 2 fl. oz.


Best for Female-Pattern Baldness


Hair Regrowth Treatment for Women

Key ingredients Minoxidil 2%
Hair type All
Size 2.02 fl. oz.


Best Hair Growth Serum for Breakage


Growth Activator Hair Serum

Key ingredients Ashwagandha Exosomes, green tea, pea extracts
Hair type All
Size 1.7 fl. oz.


Best for Stress-Induced Hair Loss

Hair Thickness Maximizer

Saw Palmetto Serum

Key ingredients Saw palmetto, rosemary oil, moringa oil
Hair type Dry, brittle, thinning
Size 1 fl. oz.


Best Hair Growth Serum for Fine Hair


GRO Hair Serum

Key ingredients Turmeric, red leaf clover, mung bean
Hair type All
Size 1 fl. oz.


Best Hair Growth Serum for Textured Hair

Mielle Organics

Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Strengthening Oil

Key ingredients Rosemary oil, coconut oil, peppermint oil
Hair type Natural
Size 2 fl. oz.


Best Oil-Free Hair Growth Serum


Hair Revival Serum

Key ingredients ProCelinyl
Hair type All
Size 1.4 fl. oz.


Best Hair Growth System


Hair Growth Treatment 1 Month Kit

Key ingredients Minoxidil, alpha keratin
Hair type All
Size 2.11-8 fl. oz.


Best Hydrating Hair Growth Serum


The Scalp Serum

Key ingredients Peptides, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide
Hair type All
Size 2 fl. oz.


Best Overnight Hair Growth Serum

The INKEY List

Caffeine Stimulating Scalp Treatment

Key ingredients Caffeine
Hair type All
Size 5 fl. oz.


Best Budget Hair Growth Serum

The Ordinary

Multi-Peptide Serum for Hair Density

Active ingredients Caffeine, peptides, castor oil, arginine
Hair type All
Size 1-2 fl. oz.

What are some of the main causes of hair loss?

“So many factors can contribute to hair loss, such as age, stress levels, diet, illness, hormonal imbalances, or even product buildup,” says Reveay. “It’s key to distinguish what type of hair loss you are experiencing, as methods of treatment and prevention can vary widely. Hair loss transpires three to six months after a trigger has occurred, so think back and ask yourself questions like, ‘Were you going through something stressful or experiencing changes in your diet?’’ she adds. “Always consult with your doctor and get blood work done to see what’s going on.”

What are the different types of hair loss?

While there are many different types of hair loss, Dr. Green says some of the most common include androgenetic alopecia, traction alopecia, telogen effluvium, trichotillomania, and alopecia areata.

  • Androgenetic alopecia: “Also known as male/female pattern baldness, this is the most common type of hair loss,” Dr. Green explains. “There is a strong genetic factor that plays into androgenetic alopecia. In women, there is gradual thinning that occurs around the crown and front portion of the scalp. Hormonal changes and imbalances are common causes of hair loss for women because hair follicles are sensitive to various hormones, including androgens (male hormones) like testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Conditions such as hypothyroidism, PCOS, menopause, pregnancy, childbirth, and stress can all contribute to hormonal changes, thereby affecting hair loss.”
  • Telogen effluvium and trichotillomania: These are types of hair loss directly associated with stress. “In telogen effluvium, stress causes hair follicles to enter a resting phase, and the hair falls out or sheds after three months in the resting period,” says Dr. Green. “Taxing events, perhaps a fever, illness, or surgery, can induce 20 to 50 percent of scalp hairs to transition into the telogen phase. Trichotillomania refers to the impulsive disorder of pulling one’s hair, resulting in the removal and damage of the hair follicle.”
  • Alopecia areata: “This is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system attacks the body’s own hair follicles,” Dr. Green notes. “It is characterized by circular, non-scarring areas of patchy hair loss or bald patches. There is a strong genetic component to alopecia areata, with anecdotal evidence that stress can contribute to this condition.”
  • Traction alopecia: “This is a type of alopecia caused primarily by tightly pulled hairstyles, including ponytails, hair extensions, braids, and dreadlocks,” Dr. Green shares. “It results in missing or broken hairs, typically along the front of the hairline or sides of the scalp, and there may be associated irritation, redness, itching, or pimples in the affected areas. The hair loss can become permanent if the traction alopecia continues and the hair follicles become scarred, unable to form new hairs.”

Are there any other key ingredients to look for in the best hair growth serums?

For one, consider options with finasteride, says Dr. Green. “It’s an FDA-approved oral medication for hair loss that works by inhibiting the activity of 5-alpha-reductase, an enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT—aka the male sex hormone that causes hair loss in both men and women. Recent studies have shown that topical finasteride is just as effective as oral finasteride. A major benefit of topical finasteride is that it is a localized treatment at a lower dosage, which decreases the risk of systemic side effects,” she adds.

Also, it’s important to steer clear of serums featuring ingredients that “strip the scalp or act as an abrasive, such as alcohols, fragrances, silicones, or sulfates,” Reveay notes.

When should I expect to see results?

“Consistent use of hair growth serums, Rogaine, or topical minoxidil/finasteride is key in hair growth, and the results can take up to four to six months,” says Dr. Green. “Results typically show the growth of new baby hairs, a decrease in hair shedding, and potential thickening of the hair.”

“Alternatively, a popular in-office treatment for promoting and maintaining scalp health is HydraFacial Keravive, which stimulates circulation, deeply cleanses, exfoliates, and nourishes the scalp,” adds Dr. Green.

Helen Reveay is a hairstylist, certified trichologist, and the founder and creative director of Act+Acre.

Dr. Michele Green is board-certified, cosmetic dermatologist based in NYC and the founder of MGSkinLabs.

Sam Peters is a seasoned commerce writer and editor with over five years of experience covering fashion, beauty, and lifestyle topics. For this roundup, she consulted two hair experts about the efficacy of hair growth serums, their recommendations for the best options, and what to look for when shopping. She also considered a range of top-rated hair growth serums on the market, evaluating each on their ingredients offered and customer feedback.

Commerce Editor Sam Peters is a Commerce Editor at Hearst covering fashion, beauty and more.

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