Due to the concern of several readers, I’ve removed the link to the new Trinov website that has popped up on the net. For now, the website only contains an email address subscription box which really poses no issue to anyone who subscribed. At this time, it’s not confirmed who the actual owner of the new Trinov site is, so use your discretion until we find out more regarding this matter. Until more information is known the website will not be shared on Follicle Thought.
Finasteride comes in the form of a tablet and works by inhibiting the formation of DHT, a hormone which permanently damages hair follicles. They are only appropriate for use as a male pattern baldness treatment and must be taken once a day for 3-6 months for the effects to be seen. In one study, 90% of men with mild to moderate hair loss saw positive effects after taking finasteride for six months, with hair loss stopping and in some cases even reversing. Finasteride is therefore very effective while it is being taken, but will not continue to have an effect after treatment has ceased. Around a year after you have finished taking Propecia or finasteride, you can expect your hair loss to have resumed and any hair regrowth to have fallen out. For this reason, they are not cures so much as effective ongoing treatments.

Follica is developing a wounding device that when coupled with a hair stimulant like minoxidil, is found to be more effective at triggering new growth. They like to call this wounding process ‘skin disruption’. The idea behind this treatment is that after the skin is wounded, cells migrate to that area to repair. They then must choose between two paths: healing the skin (making epidermis) or making hair. It is there where Follica sees the window of opportunity, where they can encourage the cells to do the latter and regenerate new and more hair.


Once male-pattern baldness starts, it’s not going to stop until every last hair on your head has shrunk or shed, though the rate at which this happens differs from person to person and depends on genetics. And since the grind of hair loss is unending, it’s important to start treatment as soon as your hairline starts bothering you. If you’re looking for a more quantitative metric, Dr. Paul McAndrews, clinical professor of dermatology at the USC School of Medicine and member of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, assures me that “you have to lose half your hair before the human eye can tell.” (Of course, if you don’t care about losing your hair and are fine with going full Prince William and shaving your head, go for it. We’ve got some recommendations for razors and hair trimmers to help you out on that front.) 

See a doctor. While it may be easy to treat hair loss that's caused by stress or other physical or emotional shock, other types, especially those caused by medical conditions, require expert attention. Do not self-medicate. A medical test is necessary to determine the real cause of your hair loss. A medical diagnosis is important in order to rule out other factors that might be the cause of your hair loss. On the surface, it's easy to attribute hair loss to stress or the lack of sleep, but it is highly possible that the hair loss may be caused by an unknown or undetected condition related to hormones or genetics. With the right diagnosis, you'll be able to get the right medication and course of treatment.
The cause of female-pattern hair loss is unknown, but doctors said there is a strong genetic component. The risk can come from male or female relatives. Though it looks as if the hair is falling out, that's not really what's happening. Cotsarelis said hair follicles are becoming smaller and producing hairs that may be so small that you can't see them.  Women tend to retain more normal, thick hairs than balding men do.
However, the high incidence of androgenic alopecia is caused by the male hormones. Testosterone in the scalp is converted into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) that causes the follicles to shrink in size, therefore inhibiting the growth of hair, which eventually leads to baldness. However, hair follicles on the sides and back of the head do not have as much DHT compared to the top, hence why hair loss is concentrated on the crown of the head. Interestingly, DHT is known to help in the growth of the beard and hair on the chest, a reason why most bald men have hairy chests and grow their beards much faster.
“The most common cause of hair loss in both men and women is androgenetic alopecia, which is genetic pattern hair loss,” explains Dr. Michael B. Wolfeld, a board-certified plastic surgeon and an assistant clinical professor of plastic surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. The root cause of this type of hair loss is dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a byproduct of testosterone that shrinks certain hair follicles until they eventually stop producing hair.
If you're dealing with premature hair loss, you know how frustrating it can be to treat. What can be equally as frustrating is trying to find hair products that will actually help remedy thinning or breaking locks. To help you navigate the confusing world of hair loss, I reached out to Manhattan-based dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner and used his recommendations to find the best shampoo and conditioner for hair loss.

The best fix by far for replacing lost hair is a transplant. Back in the day, docs used plugs that resembled cornrows (definitely not natural looking). Today, guys have more options. You can go for “the strip method” where a doctor surgically removes a strip of hair from the back of your head, dissects every hair graft under a microscope, and then plants the individual grafts onto hair-thin areas of your scalp with tiny incisions.
And just like that, more fascinating hair-related research was published in PLOS Biology. A team of researchers lead by Dr. Nathan Hawkshaw of the University of Manchester have identified the drug ‘WAY-316606’ as a potential candidate for hair regrowth. WAY-316606 is an existing drug used to treat osteoporosis. It’s not clear at this time whether WAY-316606 is approved and on the market, or if it was partially developed to treat the bone disease.
Researchers from South Korea have identified a new peptide called PTD-DBM which exhibits wound healing and hair regeneration effects in preclinical studies. The research is being led by Professor Kang-Yell Choi of Yonsei University. Choi’s team identified the peptide PTD-DBM which targets a protein called CXXC5. The interaction of these two proteins leads to stimulation of the Wnt pathway, which then initiates hair follicle neogenesis. Choi hopes to develop this peptide further into a potential hair growth drug candidate. A research paper about these findings was put out by the team earlier this year. Source article about this development here.
Patients with tinea capitis typically present with patchy alopecia with or without scaling, although the entire scalp may be involved. Other findings include adenopathy and pruritus. Children may have an associated kerion, a painful erythematous boggy plaque, often with purulent drainage and regional lymphadenopathy. Posterior auricular lymphadenopathy may help differentiate tinea capitis from other inflammatory causes of alopecia. If the diagnosis is not clear from the history and physical examination, a skin scraping taken from the active border of the inflamed patch in a potassium hydroxide preparation can be examined microscopically for the presence of hyphae. Skin scrapings can also be sent for fungal culture, but this is less helpful because the fungi can take up to six weeks to grow.
How about if you’d rather not get your head punctured? In Sweden, a company called Follicum is now doing Phase IIA clinical studies and planning to communicate results by the end of the year. The end product will be a cream or a lotion, one that could be applied as few as three times a week. In the first trial, Follicum claims, more than seventy-five per cent of patients experienced hair growth. This is the real dream, the one so artfully captured in the Hims ads: pop a pill, slap on some cream, and get Hair God locks. 

The key ingredient in Nizoral is ketoconazole, which reduces hair follicle inflammation that contributes to hair loss. Ketoconazole also kills fungi that cause dandruff, but there’s not so much of it as to be toxic (which large amounts of ketoconazole can be). It has been argued that dandruff may contribute to hair loss; while there’s no direct link, it’s certainly worth noting here.

Minoxidil typically comes in 2% and 5% dosage. With the former, hair growth is not visible up until the fourth month (16 weeks) of use, but it could be faster with the 5% dosage.This is most effective especially if you haven't been bald for more than 5 years, your bald patches are less than 10cm across, and most of all, if the bald spots still have some tiny, fine hairs. Studies found that people who have used minoxidil have observed at least minimal to moderate hair growth. The new hair is typically downy soft, but with continued use, it will grow in thickness as the rest of the hair.
In 1952, a New York dermatologist named Norman Orentreich invented hair plugs. He removed hair from the back of a patient’s head, where it still grew, and grafted it onto the front. In the decades since, the transplantation process has become more refined. Following the lead of the pioneering dermatologist Robert Bernstein, most doctors perform follicular-unit extraction; instead of crudely ripping up large parts of the scalp, they pluck and move individual follicular units.
Hair thinning occurs in a sex-specific pattern. Men typically present with bitemporal thinning, thinning of the frontal and vertex scalp, or complete hair loss with residual hair at the occiput and temporal fringes.5 Women typically present with diffuse hair thinning of the vertex with sparing of the frontal hairline. Some women experience thinning over the lateral scalp. Common conditions that mimic androgenetic alopecia include thyroid disease, iron deficiency anemia, and malnutrition.

Scientists from the Indiana University School of Medicine have for the first time created skin with hair follicles using mice stem cells. Research was led by Professor Karl Koehler. The team was able to grow both the epidermis and dermis layers of skin to create a realistic skin model. An interesting quote from Professor Koehler: “It looks like a little ball of pocket lint that floats around in the culture medium. The skin develops as a spherical cyst and then the hair follicles grow outward in all directions – like dandelion seeds.”
When you're investing considerable time and money on a mix of hair treatments and cures, the last things you should be doing are those that will only aggravate your condition. Likewise, when your hair has finally grown back, the last thing you would want is for you to go through another horrific episode of hair loss. Preventing further - or another case of hair loss, and stopping it before it actually happens should be your goal.
In just the past few years, we’ve made remarkable strides in understanding Trump’s head. In March, 2016, with Trump the presumptive G.O.P. nominee, Gawker’s Ashley Feinberg published a diligent and compelling investigation, “Is Donald Trump’s Hair a $60,000 Weave?” It pointed to a high-end clinic called Ivari International that, for a while, at least, had the kind of complicated ties to Trump and Trump Tower that we’d later see in the dignitaries of various hostile foreign governments.

I’d come to think that the simplest answer was the right one: this was regular male-pattern baldness, elaborately covered up. But the Air Force One incident only deepened the mystery. What kind of hair afflicted by male-pattern baldness rises in the back? I suddenly had no idea which parts of his head contained which hairs. Watching the flaps on the back of his head shoot up again and again, I became unmoored in my beliefs.


Thanks so much for the guidance! After further research I have to agree with you 100%. Lipogaine Big 3 does containe ketoconazole, which would eliminate the need for Nizoral, however the shampoo only contains a few hair loss/thinning related ingredients. The Big 5 contains 17 and just seems like a better overall product. That plus Nizoral twice weekly seems pretty solid to me.
There have also been studies on the effects of 1% pyrithione zinc shampoo and a 5% minoxidil solution. In one study, 200 men between the ages of 18 to 49 who experienced baldness between type III and type IV on the Norwood scale were given this treatment for a six-month period. They found that minoxidil, when used on its own, was approximately twice as powerful as pyrithione zinc at stimulating hair growth, but that both products were successful at increasing the amount of visible hair when used over a 26-week period.
Chemotherapy is also one of the primary causes of balding among cancer patients, men and women alike. While not all chemotherapy treatments result in hair loss, some that involves the use of drugs like Altretamine, Carboplatin, Docetaxel, and Idarubicin can cause hair thinning and hair fall. In such cases, the hair loss varies from person to person and the dosage of drugs administered. Hair fall doesn't occur at once, but rather after several weeks of treatment until hair fall rate increases after one or two months of exposure to chemotherapy. Radiation therapy as part of cancer treatment can also result into hair loss but typically only in areas where the radiation is targeted.
To us, that meant any product with zero proven ingredients, case studies, or FDA clearance — which shrunk our list by a whopping 180 contenders. That’s right, there are only three treatments that have actually been cleared by the FDA and supported with clinical studies: finasteride (commonly marketed as Propecia), minoxidil, and laser treatments. And, since finasteride is prescription-only, it left us with two.

"This is an oral, prescription-only medication with the brand name Propecia that’s also FDA approved to treat hair loss," says Spencer. Male pattern hair loss occurs when a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) prevents hair follicles from getting the nutrients they need. Finasteride works by blocking the production of DHT, which protects the follicles.


But, there’s an even more important step to take – your participation and contribution. The topic of “a cure for hair loss” or “a hair growth treatment”, for many of us, is one of the most important issues in our lives. What are you doing to support its success? I realize that question may not have previously crossed the mind for many. It’s here now. For a personal example, I’m not a scientist who creates molecules in a lab, so I decided I would organize the hair growth treatment news and spread awareness. It’s been a gratifying practice for me. 
Women’s magazine ‘New Beauty’ recently featured several prospective hair growth therapies in a print article. The feature contains several interesting and worthwhile anecdotes. Check the Articles main page to read about Dr. Cotsarelis’ new research on setipiprant for female alopecia, Histogen’s view on the number of injection sessions which may be necessary to get the most out of HSC, and more.
How about if you’d rather not get your head punctured? In Sweden, a company called Follicum is now doing Phase IIA clinical studies and planning to communicate results by the end of the year. The end product will be a cream or a lotion, one that could be applied as few as three times a week. In the first trial, Follicum claims, more than seventy-five per cent of patients experienced hair growth. This is the real dream, the one so artfully captured in the Hims ads: pop a pill, slap on some cream, and get Hair God locks.
Why? Unwanted hair growth (sideburns, for example) is a reported side effect of minoxidil. The belief is that a higher concentration of minoxidil would result in more unwanted hair, which is why women are instructed to use it less often. However, the study in Skin Therapy Letter reports that unwanted hair was more common in 2 percent minoxidil solutions than 5 percent, and women are instructed to use Rogaine’s 2 percent solution twice daily — so what gives?
Telogen effluvium is a nonscarring, noninflammatory alopecia of relatively sudden onset, with similar incidences between sexes and age groups. It occurs when large numbers of hairs enter the telogen phase and fall out three to five months after a physiologic or emotional stressor. The list of inciting factors is extensive and includes severe chronic illnesses, pregnancy, surgery, high fever, malnutrition, severe infections, and endocrine disorders. Causative medications include retinoids, anticoagulants, anticonvulsants, beta blockers, and antithyroid medications; discontinuation of oral contraceptive agents is another possible cause.17
Follicle Thought is interested in connecting with scientists and startups who are working on hair growth or hair loss prevention research. If you or a colleague is working on hair growth please get in touch on the Contact page, even if you are not ready to share news on the site yet. Follicle Thought can offer networking and other resources to benefit your development. Thanks
Giovanni Mele, a stylist who owns Giovanni and Pileggi in Center City, said many women with thinning hair try to wear their hair long. He thinks they're much better off with short, pixie-like styles with light layering on top. He recommends that lighter-skinned women choose colors that are a little darker than blond or gray. He is a fan of a hair-thickening product made by Nioxin.
I started combining two of them right away – because they both had different ingredients that I really wanted. I combine the Hair Surge for the caffeine, ketoconazole, and saw palmetto, along with the Regenepure DR for the Emu oil. I use a bit of both every day – and though I haven’t noticed a lot of hair coming back in – I HAVE noticed that a whole lot less is falling out. I used to see lots of hair in the tub or in my hand after drying. Hopefully some baby hairs will start so show themselves soon.
“The most common cause of hair loss in both men and women is androgenetic alopecia, which is genetic pattern hair loss,” explains Dr. Michael B. Wolfeld, a board-certified plastic surgeon and an assistant clinical professor of plastic surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. The root cause of this type of hair loss is dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a byproduct of testosterone that shrinks certain hair follicles until they eventually stop producing hair.
Minoxidil (Rogaine). Minoxidil is one of the most common and popular forms of medication for hair loss, particularly pattern baldness, but also generally used in cases of alopecia areata. It is an over-the-counter drug that comes in either liquid or foam form and is applied on the scalp, particularly on the bald patches, to promote hair growth and stop further hair loss.
This moisturizing double-duty product is incredibly well rated (and you don’t even have to pay the pink tax to boot). Soy proteins and shea butter add silky strength, while scalp-tingling peppermint and rosemary provide minty freshness and lift at the root. “The thickening properties of the shampoo are great at this price point, so if you have thin or thinning hair, this will add some volume,” wrote one reviewer. “I also noticed that this is the first shampoo/conditioner shampoo that tends to actually condition your hair."
Choosing where and who will perform your hair transplant is as important a consideration as to what kind of hair transplant to get. Of utmost consideration is that this should be done by the dermatologist /surgeon, and not his/her technician. The surgeon himself/herself should also oversee the design of your hairline and how the extraction of the graft will be done.
A company not previously discussed in online news, SWITCH BIOTECH, has sights on developing a drug for androgenic alopecia. As you will see, the company is still in the very early stages of developing a therapy for AGA, however they are a knowledgeable dermatology-focused company and have a unique method of drug development. Here’s a quote from their website about working on AGA:

The Rogaine rep we spoke to explained that the different packaging (and therefore different prices) has to do with the FDA-approval process: “We discovered in clinical trials that the hair loss patterns between men and women are different,” she said by way of explanation. “Men typically have that bald spot on the crown of their head, where women generally have a general thinning throughout, but concentrated more on the top of the head. So for FDA approval, we had to come up with two different, gender-specific products, so the directions were more explanatory.”
Anti-androgens. Androgens include testosterone and other "male" hormones, which can accelerate hair loss in women. Some women who don't respond to minoxidil may benefit from the addition of the anti-androgen drug spironolactone (Aldactone) for treatment of androgenic alopecia. This is especially true for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) because they tend to make excess androgens. Doctors will usually prescribe spironolactone together with an oral contraceptive for women of reproductive age. (A woman taking one of these drugs should not become pregnant because they can cause genital abnormalities in a male fetus.) Possible side effects include weight gain, loss of libido, depression, and fatigue.
Finally, if these tests come back normal, your dermatologist may suggest a scalp biopsy of a couple of two-millimeter sections taken from your scalp under local anesthesia ($400 and up). It can determine whether genetic hair loss, telogen effluvium (a condition in which hair falls out from stress or rapid weight gain), or a disease (such as lupus) is the cause of your shedding, and your dermatologist can treat you accordingly.

“While nutritious eating isn’t going to bring your hair back by any means, eating plenty of protein-rich foods and healthy fats can make the hair that you still have look thicker and shinier.” Skimping on the B vitamins in particular can interfere with the formation of hair cells and, therefore, hair growth. The best sources of Bs are protein-packed foods like chicken, fish, eggs, and pork, as well as leafy greens such as spinach. (These foods are also good for melting belly fat, so it’s a win win).


Our specially formulated natural remedy for hair loss and shedding is made with natural ingredients. We use high quality products, such as D Panthenol, tea tree oil and evening primrose, to nourish the scalp. This eliminates current hair loss and prevents future problems. It targets the root of falling hair, and penetrates the scalp and hair follicles for itch free, flake free skin that is nourished and ultra hydrated. Our formula rejuvenates and regenerates skin and hair follicles for revitalized, beautiful hair.
"Firstly, even the very good ones won’t get to the root of the issue - pardon the pun - and prevent or treat male or female pattern baldness which is caused by genetics, nor deal with hormonal issues at the heart of female hair loss. But they can help make the hair you do have stronger and healthier. And they can be useful in putting a hair loss regime in place, along with medication like Minoxidil or Finasteride and/ or a hair transplant.
DHT blockers and thickening agents combine forces to come to the rescue of hair follicle in dire straights. Good Lab packs this shampoo with just about every ingredient that has any clinical data whatsoever supporting it. Included is their hair boost blend, a patented combination of ingredients to help fight DHT. For it’s full effect, you might want to consider using this shampoo with the Good Lab conditioner and thickening serum.
The only nonchemical option offered up by the dermatologists I spoke with — short of a surgical hair transplant or platelet-rich plasma therapy, which is like Kim Kardashian’s vampire facial but for your scalp — was the laser comb. First cleared by the FDA in 2009, the HairMax LaserComb is a handheld laser device that is designed to promote hair growth. As the manufacturer explains in a letter to the FDA, “The device provides distributed laser light to the scalp while the comb teeth simultaneously part the user’s hair to ensure the laser light reaches the user’s scalp,” which, in turn, stimulates the hair follicles.
Finasteride comes in the form of a tablet and works by inhibiting the formation of DHT, a hormone which permanently damages hair follicles. They are only appropriate for use as a male pattern baldness treatment and must be taken once a day for 3-6 months for the effects to be seen. In one study, 90% of men with mild to moderate hair loss saw positive effects after taking finasteride for six months, with hair loss stopping and in some cases even reversing. Finasteride is therefore very effective while it is being taken, but will not continue to have an effect after treatment has ceased. Around a year after you have finished taking Propecia or finasteride, you can expect your hair loss to have resumed and any hair regrowth to have fallen out. For this reason, they are not cures so much as effective ongoing treatments.
One hard truth: Hair loss is mostly out of your control. “Baldness comes down to your genes,” says Frederick Joyce, M.D., founder of Rejuvenate! Med Spa and a member of the International Society for Hair Restoration Surgery. “If you have the baldness gene, there are some natural remedies that may make your hair stronger and healthier to slow your hair loss slightly—but they won’t prevent you from going bald. Still, maintaining hair health by eating well and using the right products—combined with medical-grade treatments—can really work all together to help you have a fuller, thicker head of hair.”
Finasteride inhibits an enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, the hormone that causes hair loss in men, and unlike minoxidil, this drug can actually help hair grow back, as well as prevent further loss. All you have to do is take one pill a day, and according to Dr. Evan Rieder, dermatologist in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at NYU Langone Health, two-thirds of men taking this treatment will see improvements in hair density over time.
The answer, to be brutally honest, is no. Combine that with the fact that many shampoo manufacturers are hungry for a quick buck and make false claims about ingredients that haven’t been proven to work, and you have a market that can be treacherous to navigate. There are even fake reviews – which is a whole additional layer of deceit when you think about it.
Our specially formulated natural remedy for hair loss and shedding is made with natural ingredients. We use high quality products, such as D Panthenol, tea tree oil and evening primrose, to nourish the scalp. This eliminates current hair loss and prevents future problems. It targets the root of falling hair, and penetrates the scalp and hair follicles for itch free, flake free skin that is nourished and ultra hydrated. Our formula rejuvenates and regenerates skin and hair follicles for revitalized, beautiful hair.
However, ketoconazole is still not FDA approved for hair loss treatment, which means it cannot be endorsed or marketed as such. Put simply, ketoconazole likely curbs hair loss, but additional research is needed for the FDA to give it approval. While it is safe to use as a supplement to our top picks, we wanted to recommend products with as much scientific backing as possible. So, we stuck with FDA approved minoxidil or FDA cleared laser treatments. But we’ll keep a close eye on products like ketoconazole shampoos and update as new research appears. 

2. Volumizing shampoos and treatments. Typically, these work by depositing ingredients, like wheat protein and keratin, that adhere to the hair shaft to a) thicken it and b) create spaces between hairs so you look like you have more of it. Try Kiehl’s Rice & Wheat Volumizing Shampoo ($18) with hydrolyzed wheat protein; Rogers likes Redken Cerafill Defy Shampoo and Conditioner ($20 each) with ceramides that bulk up hair.
"We developed a protocol to drive human pluripotent stem cells to differentiate into dermal papilla cells and confirmed their ability to induce hair growth when transplanted into mice," said Prof. Terskikh. The next step in their research is "to transplant human dermal papilla cells derived from human pluripotent stem cells back into human subjects."
This is a short-term cure, applied while waiting for hair to grow, and therefore recommended for those with a mild to medium case of hair loss. In addition to being non-invasive, hair concealers and hair fibers are instant and affordable. Like wigs and hairpieces, they are used to effectively cover up balding spots while not getting in the way of growing hair. Compared to wigs, however, they are more natural looking and blend well with your natural hair, therefore drawing less attention when you're out in public.
Best hair loss treatment shampoo for women and men is made with natural, herbal ingredients that promote a healthy scalp and hair follicles. We use no sulfates, no parabens and no harmful ingredients. Our formula is safe for color treated hair as well as processed and natural hair. We avoided using any additives instead opting for ingredients found in nature so our hair is safe for all hair types and textures, no matter your age. Our dandruff and hair loss prevention shampoo goes to the root of the issue repairing the scalp instead of just covering the symptoms.

Yet another company has made news this week for phase 2 trial progress. Concert Pharmaceuticals announced today that they have completed enrollment for their phase 2a trial using CTP-543 in alopecia areata. CTP-543 is an oral JAK inhibitor which acts on JAK 1 and 2, it’s also known as ruxolitinib. Concert’s version of ruxolitinib has been modified by the company’s proprietary deuterium chemistry technology which the company hopes will improve its effects on AA.


There have also been studies on the effects of 1% pyrithione zinc shampoo and a 5% minoxidil solution. In one study, 200 men between the ages of 18 to 49 who experienced baldness between type III and type IV on the Norwood scale were given this treatment for a six-month period. They found that minoxidil, when used on its own, was approximately twice as powerful as pyrithione zinc at stimulating hair growth, but that both products were successful at increasing the amount of visible hair when used over a 26-week period.
Hair growth is a giant industry, with estimated annual sales of $3.6 billion. And every one of those dollars goes to products that do not provide actual hair regeneration. Rogaine and Propecia, the market leaders, can slow hair loss, but they don’t grow new hair. They also come with the small risk of serious side effects. In 2011, Men’s Health reported on a Propecia user who “lost all pleasurable sensations in his penis.”
“This industry can be ruthless—full of liars,” Farrell told me. “Just imagine how emotional people can be about their hair. If it didn’t work, some bruiser could throw me right out the window!” He laughed. “I’d rather sell hamburgers than make people ugly. But they’re always just so beautiful. I’ve done it almost forty-seven thousand times.” (Forty-six thousand and seventy-four, he later clarified, in more than thirty years.) He was originally a hairdresser; he learned the ways of wigs from a stylist on the set of a Ronald McDonald shoot. Now he’s an unabashed proselytizer. It’s all in the details, he said. “Clockwise growth patterns. Counterclockwise retention. Gravity splits according to your growth patterns and gravitational force. Irregularly shaped hairlines. The density, the texture, the colors, the highlights, the grays, the curls, the curl clash. I mean, this is rocket science! We have proprietary techniques!”

Minoxidil is a similar treatment to finasteride and is also available in the UK as a generic or as the well known brand-name “Regaine”. Minoxidil can be bought over the counter, unlike Propecia or finasteride, and comes in the form of a lotion, foam or cream that is rubbed into the scalp every day. Minoxidil is less effective than finasteride (only 60% of men who used Regaine Extra Strength reported regrowth after 48 weeks) but is still a viable option for men seeking treatment. It is also suitable for use by women, and can be used to treat alopecia areata. However, as with finasteride, any beneficial effects will cease once treatment has stopped.


Christiano is more of a skeptic. Lab results are nice, she said, but “you can grow mouse or rat hair sixteen ways till Sunday. They grow beautifully!” She laughed. “Humans, not so much.” She points out that there’s so much we still don’t understand. For one: Why does the hair on the back of men’s heads stick around, even when all the rest drops? She also counsels caution when playing God with hair loss. Some companies are seeking hair-restoration cures by attempting to modify developmental-cell pathways. Those pathways, Christiano says, “are potent, and so it’s tempting, but you have to make sure it’s well enough controlled that you don’t initiate a cancer signal.”
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