My partner and I have two very different approaches to combating hair loss. I’m all-in on the pills, potions and procedures: that’s finasteride, minoxidil and even a hair transplant—and I’m more than content with the full, natural-looking results. He, on the other hand, prefers the “less clinical” route and relies heavily on hair growth and haif fortifying serums as well as a healthy lifestyle and an anti-hair loss shower and styling regimen. It’s those hair serums we’ll address today, which work a lot like facial serums in that they deliver nourishing ingredients to the scalp and follicle to promote stronger, thicker hair growth.
Before I go on, I should note three things:
1. I am not a dermatologist, and only your dermatologist can prescribe the best method for you, while also supervising the process should you opt for a clinical route. So, see your doctor and trust them.
2. The most effective, lasting results will always be from the prescriptive or procedural methods (including the over-the-counter minoxidil drops or spray). These options, particularly finasteride, come with infrequent (but notable) risks, namely sexual side effects and should thus be monitored closely.
3. You should set realistic expectations with your hair. Do the requisite research and, of course, involve your doctor. However, know that receding hair can be slowed but not restored. Thinning hair can only be restored and maintained if it was lost in the last few years. And you’ll have to continue whatever regimen you set out on for the rest of your life if you want to continue to see results.
Now, back to serums.
What are hair growth serums?
Hair growth serums act like little liquid vitamins for your hair and scalp. Think of them as daily boosters (packed with things like Vitamin B, peptides and tea tree oil) to promote a healthy scalp, strong bulbs and an optimal growth environment. They focus on any or all of the following: circulation and nutrient delivery to the follicles; mitigating dihydrotestosterone (DHT, for short, is the androgen that actively thins and suffocates the follicles); defense against toxins and pollution (they’re packed with antioxidants); and scalp harmony (to prevent flaking, irritation and the like).
The effects of hair serums, like prescriptive options, may take months to fully notice, particularly in terms of overall fullness and density. They can and often do wake up dormant, wilting follicles, but not to the extent of minoxidil or finasteride.
Hair serums will be most successful if paired with other pro-hair-health choices, like a good diet, regular exercise, ample sleep, minimal alcohol and drug use and stress minimizing techniques. And lastly, while you should absolutely see a doctor and discuss all of your options, these serums are generally safe to use without such monitoring or consulting. They often make a terrific additional supplement for people using minoxidil and finasteride, too. (Minoxidil by day, serum by night, for example.) Think of it this way: The serums can only help—it’s just a matter of how much help you need, and how you choose to deploy it. Should you want to be like my partner and slow gradual hair thinning (while probably having to ultimately accept it in the next 10 to 15 years), or if you want to add a daily liquid vitamin to your line of defense, then please consider these excellent hair serums, which do exactly that.
Lastly, note that hair growth serums are different from hair repair serums, which work more like a mask and are applied throughout the strands themselves. These repair serums resuscitate damaged or dry hair. In this article, we’re talking about hair serums that you drop onto the scalp itself, to impact growth and renewed vitality at the root of thinning, endangered hair.
The Best Hair Growth Serums
Nutrafol Growth Activator Hair Serum
An ashwagandha-powered serum delivers proteins and lipids to the scalp and follicle, which boosts cellular renewal and sprouts thicker, sturdier strands. Meanwhile, sea buckthorn and moringa nourish the scalp while green tea extract further fortifies the hair.
Nioxin Night Density Rescue Hair Serum
A refreshing yet heavy-duty overnight serum that reduces oxidation at the scalp, which in turn prevents premature hair fall and promotes hair density.
The Ordinary Multi-Peptide Serum for Hair Density
Peptides help hair build back better, while caffeine boosts circulation all around the scalp.
Collective Laboratories Activating Serum, $49
GInseng root prevents DHT proliferation while burdock root and malabar kino bark keep the scalp balanced and toned. Meanwhile, lilac stem cells and biotin fortify hair growth, making this one very formidable formula.
Horace Anti-Hair Loss Serum, 22 GBP
Circulation-boosting maca is at the center of Horace’s hair serum, which improves nutrient delivery to the follicles while protein-powering peptides reinforce the hairs themselves.
Pura d’Or Hair Thinning Therapy Energizing Scalp Serum, $18
Cult-favorite Pura d’Or has this terrific scalp serum that energizes the dome and promotes circulation (and thus nutrient delivery) with caffeine and cayenne. A tea-tree and antioxidant-rich formula keep the scalp balanced, while biotin and apple stem cells partner with a dozen other active ingredients to promote strong, uninhibited growth conditions.