Already have an account?
Get back to the
Beauty

11 Best Hair Growth Products for Women Over 50 to Treat Thinning, According to Hair Loss Experts

Plus, the top causes of thinning hair

Tags:

Whether you notice more strands than usual in the drain after a shower or left in your hairbrush after styling your hair, or even catching sight of a sparse spot in the mirror — thinning hair can deflate your confidence in an instant. And even though you know you’re not alone — as over 50% of women over the age of 50 experience thinning hair — you still wish you could make your locks look a bit more lush. So we reached out to stylists, dermatologists and trichologists (doctors whose primary focus is on problems with the hair and scalp) to get the low down on why hair loss happens in so many women over 50, plus, the best hair growth products for thinning hair.

The common types of hair loss for women over 50

The first question we asked our panel was why hair loss happens in women in the first place. “There are so many different contributing factors to consider,” says Whitney Tolpinrud, MD, FAAD, dermatologist and medical director at Curology. “For one, hair loss and thinning are common concerns for patients after menopause when hormone changes can lead to smaller hair diameter and slower hair growth.” According to the doctors we spoke to, female pattern hair loss is generally influenced by a combination of genetic factors, hormonal changes and aging. “Widening of the midline part in women is typically noted,” adds Dr. Tolpinrud. “But other types of hair thinning and loss may also occur.”

Related: Hair Experts’ Top 5 Tips for a Healthy Scalp to Help Reverse Hair Loss, Dandruff and More

1. Androgenetic alopecia

In fact, the most common hair loss seen by women 50 years old and older is called androgenetic alopecia (AGA) or pattern hair loss. Surprisingly, women with AGA tend to keep their frontal hairline. “This kind of hair loss is a result of a hormone called dihydrotestosterone or ‘DHT’ attacking the hair follicle,” explains Gretchen Friese, MD, BosleyMD trichologist. “When this happens, the follicle starts to grow thinner and thinner until it closes, and the hair stops growing out of that follicle.” The two other most common types of hair loss in women after androgenetic alopecia include telogen effluvium and alopecia areata.

Related: How to Fix a Receding Hairline: The TikTok Tricks That Actually Work for Women Over 50

2. Telogen effluvium

Woman looking at her thinning hair
Iris Images/Getty

This type of hair loss involves disruption in the hair growth cycle, explains Dr. Torpilund. “This occurs when more hairs enter the resting or telogen phase and eventually fall out.” It can be triggered by factors such as stress, illness, hormonal changes or certain medications. Excessive shedding (telogen effluvium) often precedes female pattern hair loss, adds Andy Goren, MD, board-certified dermatologist, trichologist, and chief medical officer at Daniel Alain.

3. Alopecia areata

This is an autoimmune condition that comes in the form of round, patchy areas of hair loss that typically affect the scalp but can also affect other areas such as the eyebrows. (See how spironolactone for hair loss can help.)

For more on the causes of hair loss, watch the below YouTube video from dermatologist Sam Ellis, MD.

How to treat thinning hair

When it comes to treating thinning hair and using the best products for thinning hair, the pros say there are plenty of different opinions.

Look for certain ingredients

“My advice is to take a holistic approach to hair loss solutions,” advises Dr. Friese. “Look for a hair care line that focuses on botanicals and other natural ingredients to help combat thinning and regrow your hair.” For example, she advises using topical ingredients like biotin, saw palmetto, rosemary extract and caffeine. “If you want to combat hair thinning from the inside out, try a supplement,” she says. “Look for one that contains iron, niacin, zinc and biotin, which can all help support and strengthen hair.” (Keep scrolling for even more ingredients that are beneficial for thinning hair.)

Adjust your diet as needed

Dr. Friese also suggests that diet plays a very important role in hair health. “Make sure you are getting a good amount of healthy fats and antioxidant foods daily.”

Follow a hair care regimen

Dr. Tolpinrud  stresses the importance of following a gentle hair care routine to help minimize further damage. “Gently wash and style the hair and take a break from hair treatments or styling with heat,” she says. “Always avoid brushing wet hair and shy away from tight hairstyles including ponytails or other styles that apply additional tension on the hair follicles.” Dr. Tolpinrud also urges women with thinning hair to avoid hair care products with sulfates and to be sure to use hair oils. “Applying hair oils like argan oil or jojoba oil may also be beneficial,” she says. “They can help moisturize and protect hair from breakage.”  

Related: Hair Pros Share How to Air Dry Hair the Right Way So Strands Look Thick and Stay Healthy

How to pick products for thinning hair

hair products on counter
Elena Noviello/Getty

When choosing the best hair growth products for thinning hair, it’s important to select products with clinically proven ingredients supported by research, says Dr. Tolpinrud.  “When it comes to treating thinning hair, there are some tried and true solutions, as well as some lesser-known tactics that can help boost your hair’s health and create stronger, more beautiful hair,” says ‘hair healing’ hairstylist Terri Rehkopf, as she’s known to her clients, owner of Ippodaro Natural Salon in San Antonio, TX.

“First, it’s crucial to avoid harsh ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulfates and sodium laureth sulfates in your hair products,” says Rehkopf. “These can severely damage your hair, leading to increased irritation and potential breakage.” Instead, her advice is to opt for products containing sodium c14-16 olefin sulfonate, a gentler alternative that preserves natural oils and serves as a mild cleanser.

Related: Is Sulfate Bad for Your Hair? Pros Reveal What Hair Care Ingredients Are Best To Avoid

The best ingredients that reverse thinning hair

Currently, the only FDA-approved treatments for hair loss and thinning hair due to AGA are two topical and oral medications: Minoxidil and finasteride. Applying topical minoxidil to the scalp and stimulates blood flow to hair follicles and stimulates the follicles to grow hair in the resting phase. “This treatment is effective in 30 to 40% of women,” says Andy Goren, MD, dermatologist, trichologist and Chief Medical Officer at Daniel Alain. “The reason that minoxidil is not effective in some patients is that these patients lack an essential enzyme called the sulfotransferase enzyme.” This enzyme activates minoxidil to promote hair growth.

And studies also show that finasteride, an oral medication, works by blocking DHT. As for non over-the-counter supplements, biotin (or vitamin B7) is another study-backed option that has shown results. “Biotin helps your body produce keratin, the protein that makes up hair,” says Rehkopf. “It can even be found in some foods like eggs, nuts and avocados.” Other supplements that contain ingredients like saw palmetto are also effective at blocking DHT and regrowing healthy hair.

Related: Understanding the Hair Growth Cycle Can Help Pinpoint Why Your Hair Is Thinning

When can I see results when using these methods?

While for some of us it might seem like our hair started falling out overnight, it requires patience when using products that will help regrow your tresses. “Generally it takes a minimum of 3 to 6 months to see results with most hair regrowth products,” says Dr. Friese. “I learned this myself when I grew hair back that I’d lost after having COVID — COVID-related hair loss is a real thing!”

Dr. Torpilund adds: It’s important to note that the reversibility of hair loss depends on the underlying cause and individual factors. “In general, topical hair loss treatment tends to work in 6 to 12 months,” she says. “Consistency is key when it comes to treating conditions like androgenetic alopecia.”

11 best hair growth products for thinning hair

Below, experts’ favorite hair growth products to incorporate into your hair care routine to combat hair loss.

Best shampoo for hair growth

Atomy Scalpcare Shampoo
Atomy

Atomy Scalpcare Hair Shampoo

A 2015 study showed that rosemary leaf extract, when topically applied, successfully blocked the DHT precursor, 5-alpha-reductase, by as much as 94.6%. That’s why Rehkopf recommends Atomy Scalpcare shampoo, which contains the powerhouse ingredient along with menthol, which promotes circulation and opens up hair follicles. Her advice is to make sure that when you suds up, use the pads of your fingers to really massage the scalp. “That way the active ingredients in the shampoo will really help fortify your hair.” 

Best conditioner for hair growth

John Frieda UltraFiller+ Thickening Conditioner, one of the best hair growth products
John Frieda/Target

John Frieda UltraFiller+ Thickening Conditioner

This conditioner is rich in biotin and hyaluronic acid to give thin hair a noticeable boost after just one application. With continued use, this conditioner plumps the overall thickness of hair by 200% while strengthening hair and reducing hair loss due to breakage. To use: Shampoo hair as usual, then apply conditioner and let sit for 3 minutes; rinse as usual. 

The best hair mask for hair growth

Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask
Briogeo

Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask

This deep conditioning mask contains rosehip, which increases hair strength, and algae, which contains amino acids that nourish hair follicles, making it one of the best hair growth products in mask form. After just three uses, this mask has been clinically shown to double the strength of hair and to decrease hair breakage after just two uses. “This protein treatment can be done once a week before or after shampooing,” says Tolpinrud. “Simply apply the treatment and cover the hair with a cap for at least 30 minutes before rinsing.” 

The best hair serum for hair growth

The Rootist
BioBrew™ Fermented Strengthening Serum, one of the best hair growth products

The Rootist BioBrew Fermented Strengthening Serum

For a serum that will prevent breakage, which we know can lead to further thinning, look no further than this strengthening serum from The Rootist. Made for hair and the scalp, this leave-in performs double duty and claims to make hair 3x stronger after just one use. It contains bio-peptides full of collagen, keratin and other proteins to strengthen, vitamin C to repair hair’s cuticle and the brand’s own Rootbiomic Ferment that repairs locks from root to tip.

The best hair oil for hair growth

SheaMoisture Amla Bonding Oil, one of the best hair growth products
SheaMoisture/Amazon

SheaMoisture Amla Bonding Oil

Using oil treatments such as black castor oil and amla oil mixture can stimulate the scalp to enhance blood circulation, which encourages hair growth, fortifies hair from the roots and adds shine, says Rekhof. Her advice: Apply hair oil once a week, massaging it in and leaving it on for 30 minutes to an hour, or even longer for deeper nourishment. Then shampoo as usual. “This mixture can also be beneficial for thinning eyebrows,” she adds. “Simply put a few drops on your finger and rub them into brows as well.”

The best leave-in spray for hair growth

Renpure Biotin & Collagen Thickening Leave-In Treatment
Renpure/Walmart

Renpure Biotin & Collagen Thickening Leave-In Treatment

Made with biotin and collagen, this leave-in spray nourishes fine hair, leaving it feeling fuller. Biotin reinforces the structural integrity of the hair shaft while the vegetable collagen acts as a building block in the hair shaft to help improve the density of hair. To use: Apply a few spritzes on wet hair post-shower.

The best supplement for hair growth

Solaray Hair Nutrients with L-Cysteine, one of the best hair growth products
Solaray/iHerb

Solaray Hair Nutrients with L-Cysteine

Don’t forget about supplements when considering the best hair growth products! This one contains L-Cysteine, which promotes healthy hair growth, as well as 5,000 mcg of biotin in each serving. Solaray’s biotin formula releases half of the biotin rapidly and the other half gradually over up to 8 hours. “Biotin, also known as the ‘beauty vitamin’ is renowned for its ability to support healthy hair,” says Kate Ross, hair specialist at Irresistible Me. These supplements support hair growth from the inside out, improving overall hair health and reducing breakage. To use: Take two capsules once per day. 

The best treatments for hair growth

Curology Hair FormulaRx
Curology

Curology Hair FormulaRx

Taking a short quiz will help you zero in on the best Curology Hair FormulaRx product to boost your thinning hair. “The credit goes to the three clinically proven ingredients offered in the product range,” says Tolpinrud. “Specifically, minoxidil, which is available in higher strengths at 6% and 8%, whereas traditional minoxidil strengths available over-the-counter are lower at 2% and 5%.” Plus, “finasteride and spironolactone, which have anti-androgen properties and can help treat and prevent hair loss.” In clinical trials, this treatment was shown to help with hair loss in as little as three months. 

BosleyMD Women’s Revive+ Densifying Treatment Foam, one of the best hair growth products
BosleyMD

BosleyMD Women’s Revive+ Densifying Treatment Foam

“This is a clinically proven way to regrow hair on a cellular level with results seen as early as 45 days,” says Dr. Friese. Proprietary Y100 Compound is a 100% botanical compound sourced from the Amla plant, which enhances mitochondrial function to reinvigorate hair follicles and extend the natural hair growth cycle. The foam also contains biotin to boost strands’ resilience and hyaluronic acid to improve moisture retention and fend off breakage. To use: Apply to areas with thinning hair twice daily. 

The best hot tool for hair growth

Sutra IR Infrared 2" Blowout Brush
Sutra Beauty/Macy’s

Sutra IR Infrared 2″ Blowout Brush

A drying and styling tool with Healthy Heat FAR Infrared (IR) and Ionic technologies can be helpful. It works by releasing gentle wave lengths that help dry hair from the inside out while also stimulating the scalp to encourage new hair growth. Plus, the brush’s nylon and boar bristles are gentle on hair, further making it one of the best hair growth products. “These devices stimulate hair follicles by increasing circulation and encouraging new growth,” says Ross. “This makes them a great non-invasive treatment option.” 

Best at-home technology for hair growth

Hairmax LaserBand 41 ComfortFlex, on of the best hair growth products
Hairmax

Hairmax LaserBand 41 ComfortFlex

The flexible band design with soft-touch hair-parting teeth offers 41 medical-grade lasers, which ensure full scalp coverage. To use, simply slip the band on your head for 3 minutes, three times per week.

“These devices slow down hair loss by 90% and regrow hair all over the scalp,” says Robert Leonard, FAACS, founder of Leonard Hair Transplant Associates in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and Director of the Hair Health Institute. “The most important way they do this is by increasing the capillary blood flow directly to each follicle.” Laser therapy also affects the mitochondria of the follicle cells to increase cellular metabolism to boost hair growth. Just wear the band for ten minutes per day to reap the rewards. “It will take about four months to even begin to show results and about a year to really see more growth and fullness,” says Dr. Leonard. “Consistent use is important — especially during the initial four months.”

Related: Red + Blue Light Therapy Can Regrow Hair + Rejuvenate Skin — And You Can Get the Results Easily at Home!


For more hair-volumizing tips:

13 Best Haircuts for Thin Hair That Make Hair Look Fuller From Every Angle

Hairstylist Secrets for How to Add Volume to Thin, Fine Hair So It Looks Instantly Thicker

Hair Cycling Is the TikTok Trend That Can Make Your Hair Look Healthy, Shiny and Full

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.