Before we even get into it: Low-level laser therapy, or LLLT, is clinically proven to regrow hair. The protocol applies an array of laser diodes right to your scalp, using their light and heat to stimulate cellular regeneration. A 2013 study found that guys who used LLLT every other day for four months saw a 35 percent increase in growth—and men who used it every day saw even better results.
The issue is that medical-grade therapy can be cumbersome. You have to commute to a licensed professional’s office and sit there while the treatment is happening before getting on with the rest of your life. In-office units are hefty, and depending on where you live, these treatments can set you back thousands of dollars a month. Enter the laser cap, which brings this hair-retention technology into homes, with equally impressive results. I’ve found that the best one on the market is the Bauman Turbo LaserCap, named for its developer, Dr. Alan Bauman. Because you can use it without commuting every day, it’s a relative bargain.
Most in-office treatments have about 100 laser diodes, but the Bauman Turbo has 300 of them. Its spiny design, which folds flat for travel, is adjustable to different head sizes and dissipates the heat far more effectively than the helmet-like devices that cost way less. (The diodes in inferior models can often flicker as they struggle to regulate heat.) Because of its strength, you only have to wear the Turbo for five minutes a day, whereas less expensive models might ask for as much as 25 minutes of your time. I merely pop it on while making breakfast, and my partner wears it briefly while winding down before bed.
The reason I trust this device so much is largely because of Dr. Bauman’s reputation. He’s had more than 30,000 patients, a third of whom are hair transplant recipients, and his Boca Raton clinic has been in business for 25 years. His team was at the forefront of LLLT research, so I’m confident they know what they’re doing.
I’m someone who seeks just about every hair retention means in the book. I take finasteride and minoxidil. I had a hair transplant to fill in some patches and my hairline. I even get plasma injections. I’m in this funny place where, because I endorse taking a multi-pronged approach to hair loss, I can never say that one singular measure is the sole reason I have all my hair. But I can vouch for products when my hair continues to grow strong and fall out minimally. For the three months that I’ve been using the cap, I’ve had less hair fall and great growth.
I’m fortunate to have tried numerous LLLT laser treatments due to my profession, but am so pleased with the daily use of this cap that any additional laser treatments would be extraneous. On top of that, if you’re somebody who doesn’t want to take finasteride (given its potential sexual side effects), this makes for a great substitute. I’d still pair it with topical minoxidil (using them at different times of the day), to guarantee stronger, more anchored, longer-lasting hair growth.
The Bauman TURBO’s back panel even stimulates the hairs in the back of your head—so, if you’re contemplating a hair transplant one day, this thing not only gets all of your existing hairs in their strongest form, but also covers 25 percent more of your head than most alternative at-home options. That means the zone where your donor follicles would come from are getting the full benefit of the therapy; the lasers will encourage them to produce as many hairs as they can (follicles can grow between 1-4 hairs, and it’s in your best interest to have them sprouting as many hairs as possible). Also, the largest blood vessels that supply oxygen to the scalp are in this zone, so by stimulating and invigorating this area of the head, you boost circulation and nutrient delivery to your entire surface—and encourage more hair growth up top.
One gripe I have is that you do need to charge it once or twice a week, but it juices up quickly. Mostly, I appreciate that it doesn’t cook my scalp, which is what I experienced with some of those 25-minute helmet-like devices. The Turbo is a gentler, more cleverly designed option, and you’ll only feel a pinch of warmth. It’s a small price to pay to hold onto more of your hair.