What are the best affordable hair loss treatments?
If you’re a guy who’s losing his hair, you’re not alone. Male pattern baldness, also known asandrogenetic alopecia, is the most common type of hair loss in men. More than half of all guys will deal with some amount of hair loss by age 50.
For some, balding happens a lot sooner. It’s not unheard of for some men to start noticing bald spots or a receding hairline in their 20s and 30s.
Hair loss might be common, but that doesn’t make it any less embarrassing or upsetting. Fortunately, modern science and medicine have your back. There are several effective hair loss treatments available. While some, like hair restoration surgery, are very expensive, others are much more wallet-friendly.
The Best Affordable Hair Loss Treatments for Male Pattern Baldness
Be skeptical of magic potions or gadgets — like laser caps and combs — that promise to restore hair or stimulate hair growth. Two types of hair loss medications are FDA-approved and proven to be effective at stimulating new hair growth.
They’re minoxidil and finasteride, better known by the brand names Rogaine and Propecia. In the past, the only way to get finasteride was by seeing your doctor and getting a prescription. Though minoxidil has long been available over the counter, you still needed to visit a pharmacy to pick it up until recently.
Today, several direct-to-consumer online services send finasteride and minoxidil straight to your door with no in-person doctor’s appointment or trip to the pharmacy required. Keeps, our pick for the best overall affordable hair loss treatment, provides the best overall value and flexibility.
The other direct-to-consumer hair loss treatment solutions have advantages of their own, such as convenience or all-natural formulations.
Best Overall: Keeps
Thanks to its low price and range of options, Keeps is the best hair loss treatment option for men on a budget.
Keeps lets you order finasteride and minoxidil directly and for considerably less than you’d pay at a traditional pharmacy. A one-month supply of finasteride is $25. A one-month supply of minoxidil is $10 for the topical solution or $15 for the foam. If you bundle the two, you can save more.
The first step when signing up for Keeps is setting up a free consultation with a doctor. During a telehealth visit, the doctor assesses your hair loss pattern and recommend a treatment for you, whether it’s minoxidil, finasteride, or a combination of the two.
You can also transfer an existing prescription for finasteride to Keeps to take advantage of the lower price.
- Hair Thickening Products. If you’re concerned that your hair is becoming thinner, Keeps also sells pomades, shampoos and conditioners for thicker hair. You can order them along with your finasteride and minoxidil foam or solution. The shampoo and conditioner are $22 each, more than you’d pay for a basic drugstore product but about the same as a salon-quality product. The pomade is $25.
- Follow-Up Telehealth Visits. Keeps offers regular follow-up telehealth visits with your doctor to check on your progress. Along the way, you’re welcome to reach out to Keeps care consultants at any time and they’ll answer your questions.
- Subscription Options. You can sign up for a three-month, six-month or 12-month plan. The longer the plan, the lower the price. The three-month subscription starts at $30. The 12-month plan starts at $102.
Best for Supplements: Nutrafol
Finasteride and minoxidil are both FDA-approved hair loss treatments. They’re effective medications that have proven track records of results.
But they’re also pharmaceutical compounds, which turn some people off. If you want to improve your hair density and scalp health, you have options that don’t require you to take or apply synthetic medications.
That’s the premise behind Nutrafol, a hair growth supplement line that claims to promote “hair wellness from within.” Nutrafol has several product lines, including one designed to help men get thicker and stronger hair.
Nutrafol promises to promote hair growth without the potential side effects finasteride or minoxidil often have. It claims that 83% of men who used it experienced better hair quality and 72% had improved scalp coverage.
Notably, Nutrafol targets issues that affect hair health, not necessarily pattern hair loss. Those factors include nutrition, lifestyle choices, and stress levels.
The oral supplements contain several natural ingredients, such as saw palmetto. Saw palmetto may help block dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the hormone responsible for male pattern baldness. But research on the effectiveness of saw palmetto is limited.
- Cost. Nutrafol is $88 for a one-month supply. You can save 10% if you sign up for monthly delivery.
- Products for Women. Nutrafol also offers hair growth supplements for women and has post-partum and post-menopause formulas.
- Additional Products Available. You can also order growth activating scalp serums from Nutrafol. A bottle of hair serum lasts one to three months and costs $69.
Best for Topical Treatment: Hims
Hims is a telehealth company that might be best known for offering erectile dysfunction (ED) treatments to men from the comfort of their homes.
Hims does more than offer support for ED though. The company focuses on overall personal wellness too.
Hims offers a line of hair regrowth products, including a topical finasteride and minoxidil spray that appeals to men who don’t want to take pills.
Finasteride is a DHT blocker. Although it’s effective at stimulating hair growth, the oral form has some potentially unappealing side effects, including decreased sex drive. A topical version of finasteride might be just as effective — without the side effects.
The topical spray is ideal if you want to avoid taking a pill every day, but it does come with a steeper price tag compared to Keeps.
- Cost. A three-month supply of the spray from Hims is $150.
- Other Hair Growth Products Available. Hims also sells finasteride pills, biotin gummies, and other products to help thicken hair.
- Goes Beyond Hair Loss. Other wellness products from Hims include erectile dysfunction pills, condoms, skincare products, and medications for mental health.
Best for One and Done: Hair Transplant
Finasteride and minoxidil are two of the best products for treating hair loss out there. The trouble with them is that they don’t cure hair loss. You’ll get a fuller head of hair as long as you keep using them. Once you stop, hair loss returns or continues.
If the idea of applying a product or taking a pill for the rest of your life doesn’t appeal to you, the only permanent hair regrowth treatment is a hair transplant.
Hair restoration surgery isn’t exactly cheap. The price can range from $4,000 to $15,000, depending on how many hair follicles you want to replace.
But nipping hair loss in the bud can be an effective option for you. The first thing to do if you’re interested in hair restoration surgery is schedule a consultation with a plastic surgeon or dermatologist. In New York, Keeps provides a minimally invasive surgical option for hair regrowth.
If you decide to work with Keeps for hair restoration, you’ll first have a consultation with a Keeps patient advisor. They’ll review your pattern of hair loss and let you know if surgery is right for you — without asking you to sign up for a Keeps subscription. As an added bonus, you get 25% off the cost of each graft when you work with a patient advisor.
Best for Those Who Want to Keep Things Old-School: Traditional Pharmacy
Direct-to-consumer, mail-order hair loss treatment services, like Keeps, are meant to make things super easy for you. You can talk to a doctor from the comfort of your home and get the products you need delivered straight to your door — all for a much lower price than you’d pay at a traditional pharmacy.
But what if you like going to a brick and mortar store to pick up your Rogaine or fill your Propecia prescription? You can still do that.
There are some benefits to being old-school when it comes to treating hair loss. You can make adjustments to your treatments on the fly. This month, you might try the brand name. Next month, you might switch it up and try the store brand. Or if one product’s on sale, you can stock up, then switch to the other when the sale ends and you run out.
The old-school method is also great if you have a good relationship with your primary care provider. If you see a doctor in person to get a script for Propecia, they can evaluate your scalp up close and let you know if it’s working or not. You can also more easily discuss side effects and concerns with a doctor in person.
But since direct-to-consumer telehealth brands offer lower prices, expect to pay more out of pocket to go to the store on your own.
Methodology: How We Select the Best Affordable Hair Loss Treatment
How did we land on Keeps as the top affordable hair loss treatment? We looked at a few factors, such as overall price, options available, and effectiveness of ingredients.
We also considered the medical benefits of Keeps’ approach and the additional services Keeps provides patients.
Biotin, keratin, lasers — there are lots of ingredients and products out there that claim to treat hair loss or encourage hair growth. But only two have the backing of scientific evidence and FDA approval: minoxidil and finasteride.
Keeps offers both of those products.
Minoxidil works by making the hair follicle larger and extending the growth phase of each follicle. When you have male pattern baldness, the follicles on your head shrink, so that eventually they can’t produce hair anymore. Minoxidil helps to reverse that shrinkage.
It’s most effective when you start using at the first sign of hair loss and before the age of 40.
Finasteride works by reducing levels of DHT, the male hormone that’s responsible for shrinking hair follicles and causing male pattern baldness. In clinical trials, the medication stopped hair loss in 86% of male patients and encouraged hair growth in 65% of patients.
You want to treat your hair loss without going broke. Keeps offers the most budget-friendly treatment option, especially if you sign up for both minoxidil and finasteride and a six-month or 12-month plan.
If you were to buy Rogaine in a drugstore, it might cost you $50 for a three-month supply. A three-month supply of Keeps’ minoxidil is just $30. Other direct-to-consumer hair loss treatment services charge $45 or more for a three-month supply.
Finasteride is usually not covered by insurance when used to treat hair loss. The name brand, Propecia, costs well over $100 per month, compared to Keeps, which is $25 per month, or $75 for three months.
The internet makes it super easy to diagnose yourself with all kinds of conditions. That can definitely be the case when you’re dealing with hair loss. Luckily, Keeps takes some of the guesswork out of dealing with male pattern baldness, as it includes a consultation with a doctor who’s licensed to practice in your state.
After your consultation with a Keeps doctor, you’ll receive a letter detailing your situation and recommending the best course of treatment.
Keeps has a lot of options for getting a healthy head of hair. In addition to hair loss medications, it also offers hair thickening products, such as shampoo and conditioner, and anti-dandruff shampoos to keep your scalp healthy. Keeps intends its hair styling products to complement medical treatment, not replace it.
Depending on your age and the extent of your hair loss, hair restoration surgery might be the best option to recover lost hair volume. If you live in or can travel to New York City, you can schedule this through Keeps.
Affordable Hair Loss Treatment FAQS (Frequently Asked Questions)
Hair loss and hair loss treatments are complex topics. There are many different types of hair loss and the condition affects both men and women.
Why Am I Losing My Hair?
Hair loss occurs for many reasons. Both men and women experience hair loss, but the condition is more common in men. Male and female pattern baldness are both caused by hormones, genes, and aging.
Some medical conditions and medications used to treat some conditions can also lead to hair loss. For example, hair loss is often a sign of a thyroid problem or an autoimmune disorder.
In some cases, high levels of stress can lead to hair loss. Usually, stress-related hair loss is temporary. Hair growth usually returns when the stress is eliminated. Stressful events in the body, such as being pregnant, can also cause temporary hair loss.
Also worth noting is that some hair styles, like tight braids and ponytails, can cause a type of hair loss called traction alopecia. In some cases, traction alopecia can be permanent, but it usually resolves once you start wearing looser hair styles.
How you treat hair loss depends in large part on your sex and the cause of the hair loss. For example, minoxidil is effective at treating pattern baldness in men and women. But finasteride is only appropriate for men to use.
Neither minoxidil nor finasteride can treat hair loss due to stress, medical conditions, or other factors.
Do Supplements and Antioxidants Help Hair Loss?
Popping a vitamin or eating a more nutritious diet may help slow down hair loss, but only if the hair loss is connected to a nutritional deficiency. Eating a healthy diet has many benefits beyond giving you a head of healthy hair, so it’s worth trying even if it doesn’t directly help your hair loss.
If you’re dealing with pattern baldness, a hormone is causing your hair follicles to shrink. To date, there’s very little evidence to support the claim that certain supplements or herbs will reverse hair loss in people experiencing pattern baldness.
Is Hair Restoration Surgery Worth It?
A hair transplant takes hair follicles from one area of your scalp or body and transplants into the area where you’re experiencing hair loss. It can be an effective and permanent way to restore lost hair.
But it’s also very expensive.
Whether a hair transplant is worth it to you or not depends on several factors. If the idea of using a topical solution or taking a pill regularly doesn’t appeal to you, a simple, minimally invasive procedure might be ideal.
Likewise, a hair transplant might restore some confidence lost due to hair loss. That could make the high price worth it in the long run.
Can I Reverse Hair Loss?
If you begin treatment early enough in the process, you may slow down or even turn the tide on hair loss.
Minoxidil is most effective when you start using it at the first sign of hair loss, and you need to keep using it to maintain the effects. Once you stop, your hair loss could return.
The same is true of finasteride. It can slow hair loss and encourage hair growth for as long as you keep using it. Once you stop, expect your hair loss to resume.
Reversing hair loss takes time with either treatment, even if you use them in combination. Expect to see an improvement in your hair growth and thickness about four to six months after you begin treatment with minoxidil, for example.
How to Choose the Best Affordable Hair Loss Treatment
If hair loss affects your self-esteem and overall quality of life, you might be willing to pay a pretty penny to treat it. Luckily, you don’t have to. You can find effective treatments for as little as $10 per month with Keeps.
When evaluating hair loss treatments, don’t get caught up in shiny packaging or over-the-top promises. Instead, look at the science behind the treatment. The more evidence you can find that the product is effective, the surer you can be that it’ll slow or reverse your hair loss.