Minoxidil (Rogaine®): What is it?
Minoxidil started out as a treatment for high blood pressure. Physicians using it for patients with high blood pressure noticed that those patients using Minoxidil were growing more hair as a side effect.
The encouraged clinicians went on to developed an application of Minoxidil for people suffering from hair loss, to apply directly to the scalp. Rogaine was first approved for use with women in 1991, and the rest is history!
Does it work? The Science
Rogaine has been the industry-leading product for nearly three decades. Brand longevity spanning decades simply isn’t possible when a product doesn’t work – the market and consumer experience weeds out the crappy products over time.
A 2004 study of 391 women ages 18-49 with female pattern hair loss showed that over 48 weeks of use, 5% minoxidil (Rogaine foam) outperformed 2% minoxidil (Rogaine topical solution), and that the 2% minoxidil significantly outperformed the placebo.
Recent long-term studies on men using minoxidil show substantial results after 5 years of use. While the causes of male and female hair loss are not always the same, there are similarities in cases where the source is hormonal, or a result of stress, illness, or a side effect of medication. Read more about the causes of female hair loss here.
So, in short: yes. The higher dose is best, the 2% dose is better than nothing, and it works in the long-term.
Rogaine is one of the best hair growth products for women on the market today.
Ultimately, to really know if something will help protect your hair and grow new hair FOR YOU, you need to take a look at the science, and read user reviews, or consult well-researched resources like this blog.
If you’re still on board with the product after reviewing the facts, that’s the time to try it out.
Rogaine for Women Reviews
Scouring the web for Rogaine for Women reviews, let’s just say there is no shortage. Reviewer tones vary from ecstatic to regretful.
It’s immediately obvious that women have strong feelings about Rogaine based on their experiences.
What stands out perhaps the most is the surprise from women using Rogaine for a few months, after there’s measurable improvement to the thickness, amount, and strength of their hair.
As always, treatments have the best chance of being effective if they are geared BOTH to the cause of hair loss as well as treatments that promote hair growth.
What this means is that if your hair loss started after a hypothyroid diagnosis, you need to take your thyroid medication AND hair regrowth treatment. Likewise, if your hair loss was caused by a vitamin deficiency, you have to take your supplements as well as a hair regrowth promoting treatment like Rogaine.
Addressing both the cause of your hair loss as well as the effect, with regrowth agents, is the most comprehensive solution giving you the highest chance of success.
WOMEN’S ROGAINE 2% MINOXIDIL TOPICAL SOLUTION – Does Rogaine Work?
This type of Rogaine, the topical solution, contains the lowest dose of Minoxidil in the entire product line.
To apply, simply measure the dose of the liquid in the marked dropper, drop onto scalp, and massage the liquid into your scalp.
I will note that the topical solution contains propylene glycol, an ingredient which some find irritating and may be responsible for the adverse effects related to itching.
The advantages of using the topical solution liquid are:
1) precision in dosing because of the dropper application
2) lower dose of the ingredient Minoxidil for those who are sensitive to it,
3) the lack of “greasy” or “mousy” texture that people observe while using the foam
The disadvantages are exposure to propylene glycol, and the less aggressive dose of the active ingredient, Minoxidil.
For those who don’t know whether they will have a strong reaction to Minoxidil, starting with the lower dose could be the safest choice.
A 2002 study (for male Rogaine users) showed that the 5% minoxidil content was more effective for hair growth than the 2% minoxidil solutions.
WOMEN’S ROGAINE 5% MINOXIDIL FOAM 4-COUNT – Does Rogaine Foam Work?
This form of Rogaine contains the highest dose of active ingredient in their product line.
To use, simply spray the foam into your palm and then massage into your scalp, once a day, four hours before washing hair.
The foam does not contain propylene glycol.
The main complaint for the foam application is the texture it can leave behind. Some describe it as sticky or “mousy”, which can make hair (especially longer hair) difficult to style. On the plus side, some say the texture of Rogaine foam gives their hair more body and volume.
What stands out in reviews of women’s Rogaine foam is how shocked women are to see their hair regrow, even after long periods of experiencing thinned hair or bald spots.
For more detailed and comprehensive comparisons of Rogaine and other hair loss products, click here.
Rogaine: The Short List
It’s affordable at just under $10/monthly dose
It’s widely available
Brand longevity & trust
Multiple forms: foam and liquid
Must be used indefinitely to maintain regrowth
Some women find it irritating
Some women find it ineffective
Requires months of patience to see results, because of the natural timing of our hair growth cycles, and because hair, on average, grows only a half an inch a month.
Overall – Rogaine is Worth Trying, and Could Be Your Permanent Solution For Female Hair Loss
Rogaine for women has mostly pros, but a few cons. Not everyone has the same experience, and user experiences vary wildly. Some women SWEAR by it, and others say it did more harm than good.
In my opinion, part of the problem for the negative experiences could result from the time needed to see a major difference. It’s possible many women don’t have the patience to wait and see if it works. For the rest of the negative experiences, it’s likely that some users have sensitivities to the ingredients; those users should opt for more natural remedies.
Given the social and emotional costs of female hair loss, $10/month and an extra minute in the morning, for the rest of our lives, seems like a small price to pay. Rogaine, especially Rogaine Foam, gives women a chance to push the reset button after a hairline ravaged by life stress, hormonal chaos, or the genetic short end of the stick. It offers a new start.
Have any experiences using with Rogaine for women, negative or positive? Any questions or comments? Please share your feedback, and I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for reading!