What to Buy Haircare Products The 12 Best Hair Growth Serums of 2023 Expert-approved formulas for thicker, fuller hair. By Rebecca Deczynski Rebecca Deczynski Rebecca Deczynski is a writer and editor. Her work appears in several publications, including Inc., Domino, Health, Shape, People, Refinery29, Nylon, and Sweet. She received a degree in English from Barnard College in New York, NY. health's editorial guidelines and Alexandra Frost Updated on July 11, 2023 Medically reviewed by Susan Bard, MD Medically reviewed by Susan Bard, MD Susan Bard, MD, is a board-certified general and procedural dermatologist with the American Board of Dermatology and a Fellow of the American College of Mohs Surgery. learn more In This Article Expand Jump to a Section Our top picks Reviews How We Selected What To Know About Hair Growth Serums Your Questions, Answered Who We Are We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more. Health / Joy Kim About 80 percent of men and 50 percent of women battle hair loss during their lifetime, and many of us invest a significant amount of time and money fighting it. Luckily, the best hair growth serum can be part of a scalp care routine that results in thicker hair and new hair growth—for some people. The factors behind hair loss are wide-ranging and here's often not a single root cause of hair loss. "The hair loss I see in practice is primarily genetic, hormonal, and related to deficiency issues," says trichologist Bridgette Hill. Essentially, she explains, hair is a "nonessential tissue," so when your body is going through any kind of change—positive or negative—it can trigger hair loss as it works to return to homeostasis. According to dermatologist Dr. Shari Sperling of Sperling Dermatology, hormones, stress, genetics, dieting, and illnesses are the most common causes of thinning, loss, patchiness, and other hair changes. Using a serum or medication—or some combination of both—is usually the most effective way to target the underlying cause and promote regrowth. Hair growth serums encourage a nutrient-rich environment on the scalp, activating blood vessels to carry oxygen to the follicle's root and accelerating hair growth. They can also plump up the hair cuticle, giving the appearance of thicker hair. Tiffany Young, trichologist and CEO of ThinHairThick, recommends looking for products that contain castor, rosemary, pumpkin seed oil, or menthol, natural ingredients that can alleviate dandruff, fungal infections, dryness, and some forms of alopecia. But even the most effective serum won't work for everyone. For the product to work, there must be a viable hair follicle under the skin. "If hair follicles are beyond repair or 'dead and gone,' the best you can hope for is the stabilization of hair loss," says hair restoration surgeon Dr. Alan J. Bauman. In that case, hair transplant surgery may be the only effective treatment. With guidance from five experts, we researched and rated the top-rated and best-selling products on the market today, evaluating formulation, ease of use, and value. We also had a board-certified dermatologist on our Medical Expert Board review this article for medical and scientific accuracy. Our Top Picks Best Overall: Women's Rogaine 5% Minoxidil Foam at Amazon Jump to Review Best Overall, Runner-Up: PURA D'OR Scalp Serum at Amazon Jump to Review Best Budget: The Ordinary Multi-Peptide Serum at Target Jump to Review Best for Thinning Hair: Vegamour GRO Hair Serum at Amazon Jump to Review Best for Shedding: OPO Watercress Seed Oil at Amazon Jump to Review Best Plant-Based: Nutrafol Growth Activator at Amazon Jump to Review Best for Black Hair: Kiehl's Scalp and Hair Oil Treatment at Amazon Jump to Review Best for Thickening: Hair Thickness Maximizer Hair Serum at Amazon Jump to Review Best for Men: Rogaine Extra Strength 5% Minoxidil Solution at Amazon Jump to Review Best Leave-In: Shapiro MD Hair Serum at Amazon Jump to Review Best Overall Women's Rogaine 5% Minoxidil Foam for Hair Thinning and Loss 4.8 Amazon View On Amazon View On Target View On Walgreens Why We Like It It's an FDA-approved formula for women that contains minoxidil and soothing botanical extracts. It's Worth Noting It doesn't work for everyone, including those genetically predisposed to baldness. Probably the most familiar brand name in hair regrowth, Rogaine's topical serum is actually a foam that dispenses drip-free to cause less mess. It's applied once daily—unlike other serums that require twice daily application—and comes in a four-month supply. The active ingredient is minoxidil, which Dr. Bauman says is typically the "first-line of therapy" for thinning hair, thanks to its safety and efficacy track record. "Minoxidil has decades of use, over millions of patients worldwide, and is likely the most studied hair growth treatment on the planet," Dr. Bauman says. "It has potential drawbacks, such as scalp irritation and excessive hair growth in unwanted areas." Price at time of publication: $51 Product Details Size: Two 2.11 oz. cans Active ingredients: Minoxidil 5% Best Overall, Runner-Up PURA D'OR Hair Thinning Therapy Energizing Scalp Serum Revitalizer (4oz) Amazon View On Amazon View On Target View On Walgreens Why We Like It The brand's clean formula is gentle and free of harsh chemicals. It’s Worth Noting The pump nozzle can be difficult to use. Pura D'Or is one of Amazon's top-selling brands, and according to the reviews, this scalp serum is a secret weapon for fighting hair loss. The ingredient list includes a stellar lineup of plant extracts and oils, DHT blockers to encourage hair growth and reduce hair fall, and caffeine to stimulate the scalp. Price at time of publication: $25 Product Details Size: 4 fl oz. Active ingredients: Coffee extract, biotin, DHT blockers Best Budget The Ordinary Multi-Peptide Serum for Hair Density 4.7 Ulta View On Target View On Sephora View On Nordstrom Why We Like It It's affordable and effective. It's Worth Noting Customer reviews are conflicting, with some seeing incredible growth and others not noticing much difference. If you are looking for significant results but are on a budget, this under $20 product is worth a try. Dr. Shari Sperling says it increases hair density and fullness using three main ingredients: Procapil for increased blood flow, Baicapil for denser hair, and Redensyl, which, as the brand explains, "targets stem cells and human fibroblasts from the derma papilla to improve hair density." Price at time of publication: $22 Product Details Size: 1 fl oz. Active ingredients: Redensyl, Procapil, Baicapil Best for Thinning Hair Vegamour GRO Hair Serum Sephora View On Amazon View On Sephora View On Walmart Why We Like It It's a vegan, plant-based formula that is free of toxic chemicals and carcinogens. It's Worth Noting The 1-ounce bottle may not be enough for 30 days of use. Many people experience a gradual thinning of their hair as they age. If that describes you, Sperling recommends Gro Hair Serum from Vegamour. "Various clinical studies have found this serum can help increase the appearance of hair density while reducing signs of shedding for thicker, fuller hair," she says. Those concerned with adding additional chemicals to their scalp can rest assured that this cruelty-free, vegan formula doesn't contain toxins or known carcinogenic ingredients. In studies conducted by the brand, the use of Vegamour produced a 52% improvement in the appearance of hair density and a 76% reduction in signs of shedding after four months. The product includes phyto-actives—chemical compounds derived from mung bean, curcumin, and other plant matter. Price at time of publication: $58 Product Details Size: 1 fl oz. Active ingredients: Caffeine, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Callus Conditioned Media Best for Shedding OPO Watercress Seed Oil Amazon View On Amazon Why We Like It Organic scalp treatment doubles as a moisturizer for the rest of your skin. It's Worth Noting It might make your hair look (and feel) oily. While this organic oil from OPO is not technically a hair growth serum, studies have shown that watercress oil can lessen the secretion of hormones that induce hair loss, making it a perfect option for those battling shedding. Plus, watercress seed oil—also known as arugula oil—can improve scalp health, which is the first step in increasing hair density and thickness. With a dropper for easy application, the oil can be applied directly to your scalp and used as an all-over body moisturizer. The OPO watercress seed oil comes with an easy applicator, and claims to improve scalp problems to create smooth, stronger hair as well. One benefit of choosing an oil like this is it can double as a skin moisturizer for your scalp, and other areas, making it a more versatile choice. Price at time of publication: $27 Product Details Size: 6.75 fl oz. Active ingredients: 100% Pure Watercress Seed Oil Best Plant-Based Nutrafol Growth Activator Nutrafol View On Amazon View On Nutrafol.com Why We Like It According to Dr. Bauman, it's safe and effective. It's Worth Noting It takes a while to absorb into the scalp and can make hair look greasy. Dr. Bauman recommends Growth Activator—and the brand's other scalp treatment products—to rebalance the scalp's microbiome, a process that is similar to maintaining gut health. "The serum uses plant exosomes...from the ancient adaptogenic herb known as Ashwagandha," he explains. "These are tiny bubbles of biochemical messages organisms use for cell-to-cell communication to activate hair growth." Price at time of publication: $69 Product Details Size: 1.7 fl oz. Active ingredients: Curcuma longa root extract, ginseng root extract, niacinamide, zinc chloride Best for Black Hair Kiehl's Magic Elixir Scalp and Hair Oil Treatment Kiehl's View On Amazon View On Walmart View On Kiehls.com Why We Like It It's a 2-in-1 scalp and hair treatment. It's Worth Noting It's not a leave-in product, so you'll have to rinse it. Black hair is susceptible to telogen effluvium and other forms of alopecia. As trichologist, Tiffany Young notes, "many of the popular protective styles that Black people use—think braids, twists and other styles that apply tension on the roots—can leave hair vulnerable to traction alopecia." The Kiehl's Magic Elixir contains castor, avocado, safflower, and rosemary leaf oil, which help moisturize kinky, curly, or coiled hair and aid in regrowth. The formula doesn't include unwanted additives like fragrances, sulfates, or synthetics. Price at time of publication: $45 Product Details Size: 4.2 fl oz. Active ingredients: Avocado oil, safflower seed oil, rosmarinus officinalis leaf oil Best for Thickening Hair Thickness Maximizer Organic Saw Palmetto Oil Serum Amazon View On Amazon Why We Like It Studies have proven it significantly improves hair regrowth and thickness. It's Worth Noting It takes time and patience. Saw palmetto is a botanical extract that has become popular for hair regrowth, especially for those with Alopecia. A 2020 study revealed that it improves hair quality by 60%, including a 27% improvement in total hair count, improved hair density for over 83% of users, and stabilized disease progression by 52%. While some products promise immediate results, this is more of a "slow and steady wins the race" situation—you'll notice regrowth begins after about a month of use. Price at time of publication: $16 Product Details Size: 1 fl oz. Ingredients: Saw palmetto, Rosemary Essential Oil, Peppermint Essential Oil Best for Men Rogaine Extra Strength 5% Minoxidil Solution 4.8 Amazon View On Amazon View On CVS View On Walgreens Why We Like It Contains FDA-approved minoxidil. It's Worth Noting It requires 12 weeks of use, minimum. It will take two to four months of consistent use before you can expect results, but you'll be glad you persevered. The brand boasts that 9 of 10 men see increased hair growth from the 5% minoxidil solution, which costs less than $50 for a three-month supply. Unlike hair thickening products that plump the hair from the outside, Rogaine's topical solution reactivates hair follicles to stimulate regrowth. It's also safe for use with hair color, which is good news for those who dye or chemically treat their hair. Price at time of publication: $51 Product Details Size: 6 fl oz. Active ingredients: Minoxidil 5% w/v Best Leave-In Shapiro MD Leave-In Daily Foamer Amazon View On Amazon Why We Like It You can leave it and forget it without any oil, residue, or mess. It's Worth Noting The pump is prone to leaking. This foam blend is an excellent alternative if serums and oils make your hair look too greasy. Active ingredients include green tea extract, caffeine, saw palmetto berry, and a few proprietary ingredients that the brand claims to repel environmental stressors and the hormone Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which has been linked to hair loss. It does not contain minoxidil, which can cause irritation if you have a sensitive scalp. Price at time of publication: $20 Product Details Size: 1.69 fl oz. Active ingredients: Green tea extract, saw palmetto berry, caffeine Best for Postmenopausal Hair Loss Hers Topical Finasteride & Minoxidil Hair Growth Spray For Hers View On Forhers.com Why We Like It Contains finasteride and minoxidil, two of the most effective hair growth topicals. It’s Worth Noting It’s a prescription product, so there’s a required consultation with a healthcare provider before you can purchase the product. Technically it's not a serum, but this Hers prescription-strength hair growth spray packs a one-two punch of two FDA-approved hair loss treatments. Finasteride slows hair fallout, while minoxidil promotes new growth, making it an excellent option for women battling postmenopausal hair loss or female pattern baldness. Since it's applied as a fine mist, it won't weigh hair down. Although this product is a safe choice for women who have already gone through menopause, premenopausal women and pregnant women should not take it, because some research suggests finasteride may cause irregular periods or headaches in younger women. Product Details Size: 1.69 fl oz. Active ingredients: 0.3% finasteride, 6% minoxidil Best Splurge Dr. Barbara Sturm Anti-Hair Fall Scalp Serum Amazon View On Amazon View On Cultbeauty.com View On Drsturm.com Why We Like It It’s 100% vegan and free of silicone and parabens. It’s Worth Noting It’s meant to be used with the brand’s anti-hair fall shampoo, which is also pricey. Yes, this lightweight leave-in is expensive, but it comes from one of Hollywood's favorite skincare specialists. It's packed with camellia and larch extracts to nourish hair follicles, vitamin B to strengthen hair, and hyaluronic acid for an infusion of moisture. Plus, it protects hair and scalp from heat, pollutants, and UV rays. Price at time of publication: $100 Product Details Size: 50ml Active ingredients: Glycerine, panthenol, purslane extract, cationic hyaluronic acid, sunflower seed sprout extract, tara extract, camellia extract, European larch extract How We Selected To determine the best hair growth serums, we consulted with dermatologists, trichologists, and hair restoration experts on the best ingredients to look for (and what to avoid) to treat the various causes of hair thinning and loss. These experts include: Certified trichologist Bridgette Hill of Bridgette Hill Scalp Therapy in Palm Beach, Florida Shari Sperling, DO, owner of Sperling Dermatology in New Jersey Tiffany Young, trichologist and CEO of ThinHairThick Hair transplant surgeon, Alan J. Bauman, MD, ABHRS, IAHRS, FISHRS, founder of Bauman Medical in Boca Raton, Florida Paul Jarrod Frank, MD, board-certified dermatologist, skincare consultant, and founder of the bespoke aesthetic healthcare brand PFRANKMD We prioritized the products they recommended and other top-rated serums backed by customer reviews and scientific studies. Then we evaluated each product's formulation, ease of use, and value, researching whether the company had done any independent research to back up their claims. Finally, we considered who might benefit most from each product. What To Know About Hair Growth Serums Before selecting a hair growth serum, you should talk to your hair growth specialist or dermatologist about your specific issue and goals. Choosing a product with the right ingredients to treat your particular condition can result in more successful results and less disappointment. Formulation Minoxidil, the active ingredient in our best overall pick, Rogaine for Women, has long been the gold standard in hair regrowth and is recommended by renowned dermatologists like Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank. But minoxidil is not without its downside—some reported side effects include eczema and scalp irritation. Products like the Shapiro MD Hair Loss Leave-In Formula offer a minoxidil-free formula that contains DHT blockers to inhibit a hormone that can cause hair loss. If you’re looking for a plant-based formula, we recommend Vegamour Gro. Application Type and Frequency Hair growth serums come in two forms—oil and foam. If you have thin or fine hair, a topical oil may make your hair look greasy, while foam offers a lighter, mousse-like solution that is more easily absorbed if it gets into your hair. Some topical solutions require once or twice daily usage, while others can be applied a few times a week or on the days you wash your hair. Choosing an application type that fits your lifestyle and preferences will lead to more consistent use. Your Questions, Answered How will I know a hair growth serum is “working”? You can take a before and after photo to determine if your hair is growing, especially if you are trying to treat bald spots. If you have thin or light-colored hair, it might only be noticeable if there's significant progress, so you can use your fingers to feel your hair and gauge if it seems like it's becoming thicker or denser after prolonged use. How often do I use these products? Each product has different directions, but many are formulated for application once or twice daily. Some of our experts found leave-in products preferable, so keep an eye out for once-daily products that you can apply at night or leave on during the day. Some products are used before you wash your hair, while others get rinsed out after several minutes, like a hair mask. In any case, always follow the package directions carefully. How much should I expect to pay for a hair growth serum? The products on our list range from $15-$100. Less expensive options are usually natural oils that won't stimulate hair growth but will help reduce breakage and other damage and create a healthy, balanced scalp that's more hospitable to new hair growth. Products that contain ingredients to promote scalp health and encourage hair growth are typically more expensive—and often more effective. If the type of hair loss you're experiencing is resistant to topical hair growth treatment, you won't see results no matter how much you spend. Who We Are Alexandra Frost is a health and wellness journalist with over 15 years of experience interviewing physicians, and writing articles in the medical field. She has worked with other publications such as Popular Science, Huffington Post, and Washington Post, and has tested many products in her time as a journalist to help readers best understand what will work for them. She also has a Masters degree in education, and a Bachelor's degree in journalism, both of which she uses to help fully educate readers on health and wellness products she researches. Rebecca Deczynski is a writer and editor. Her work appears in several publications, including Inc., Domino, Health, Shape, People, Refinery29, Nylon, and Sweet. She received a degree in English from Barnard College in New York, NY. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit 3 Sources Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Most men experience hair loss—but it isn’t inevitable. NYU Langone News. Hashimoto M, Kawai Y, Masutani T, Tanaka K, Ito K, Iddamalgoda A. Effects of watercress extract fraction on R-spondin 1-mediated growth of human hair. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2022;44(2):154-165. Evron E, Juhasz M, Babadjouni A, Mesinkovska NA. Natural hair supplement: friend or foe? Saw palmetto, a systematic review in alopecia. Skin Appendage Disord. 2020;6(6):329-337.