Hair loss can be devastating, and remedies or treatments claiming to help restore it can be unreliable and expensive.
Some companies such as Hims carry entire lines of products intended to help reverse hair loss. And they can work, too. But as websites like this have gone mainstream in recent years, the question continues to pop up: “what are the alternatives to Hims?”
Hair loss and thinning can happen for a number of reasons, and treating based on the reason or cause is the smartest way to approach hair loss treatment. Using a combination of these 16 low-cost alternatives to Hims can be effective for your hair, so choose which ones might be best for your situation.
Male Pattern Baldness
1. Use OTC Medication
Male pattern baldness can be treated with the use of prescription or OTC medications. Hims typically uses finasteride, but there is another drug called minoxidil, more commonly known as Rogaine, that can be used by both men and women. There may be side effects with the use of minoxidil, including dryness and irritation of the scalp, but many men prefer it to finasteride, as finasteride counts among its side effects depression, breast growth, and issues with getting and maintaining an erection.
Minoxidil is an OTC topical solution or foam that is applied directly to the scalp. It should be used twice a day or as directions indicate. Minoxidil is proven to help regrow hair based on clinical studies conducted in the last twenty years.
2. Undergo Laser Treatment
Laser therapy, sometimes referred to as red light therapy, is used to foster hair growth in those with male pattern baldness by invigorating the scalp and hair follicles. It can be performed in the comfort of your home with a wearable device or at a dermatologist’s office as part of a hair loss treatment plan. It is a noninvasive and painless procedure with no known side effects, but it can be expensive and individual results may vary.
Deficiency in Diet
Many times, hair loss is a result of your body not getting enough of something that it needs to produce or maintain healthy hair, such as certain vitamins and minerals.
3. Get More Vitamin A
Vitamin A is vital to cell growth and contributes to the production of sebum. Sebum is an oily substance that helps keep your scalp moisturized and your hair healthy. Without it, hair is more prone to breakage and thinning.
Get more vitamin A in your diet by eating more beta-carotene-rich foods such as spinach and squashes or taking a vitamin A supplement.
4. Increase Intake of B Vitamins
B vitamins, especially biotin, are well-known for the important role they play in the growth of healthy hair. Vitamin B12 deficiencies have also been connected to hair loss.
Hair loss treatment plans frequently include taking biotin supplements, but B vitamins can also be found naturally in a variety of foods such as meats, dairy products and leafy greens. Many foods these days are also fortified with B vitamins, including options for vegans such as non-dairy milk and cereal.
5. Up Your Vitamin C Consumption
A lack of vitamin C can contribute to hair loss, as it’s essential in the body’s absorption of iron, a necessary substance in the hair growth process. Vitamin C is also essential to the development of collagen, which provides the amino acids necessary to build keratin, the protein in hair.
Incorporate more vitamin C into your diet by eating citrus fruits or through a supplement.
6. Increase Iron
A lack of iron is a common deficiency that can contribute to the loss or thinning of hair. It is especially likely in those who practice a vegan or vegetarian diet. Iron aids in the production of hemoglobin, an essential part of hair growth.
Iron is found in high amounts in meats, including red meat and poultry as well as fish. It is also naturally occurring in spinach, broccoli and sweet potatoes. If enough iron cannot be taken in through the diet, supplements are available and generally safe to use to ensure you’re getting enough iron to help prevent hair loss. They can be difficult for the digestive system, though, so you may want to incorporate them into your diet slowly.
7. Get More Protein
Protein is necessary for hair growth, as hair is largely composed of the protein keratin. When the body doesn’t get enough protein, it goes into preservation mode and will keep the supply of protein that you’re ingesting from reaching the hair because it is not perceived by the body as essential when compared to other protein demands. Lean meats such as pork and poultry are excellent sources of protein, as are eggs, yogurt, and cheese. Vegans and vegetarians may get their protein through tofu, lentils, and beans, among other foods.
Hair Care Practices
Hair loss and thinning can be caused or exacerbated by how the hair is treated.
8. Brush Gently with the Correct Brush
Using the incorrect brush for your hair type and brushing at the wrong time are two surefire ways to increase hair loss.
For fine hair, boars’ bristle brushes are a great option for detangling without putting unnecessary strain on the hair follicles. For thick hair, paddle brushes work well to get through hair without doing too much damage. Curly hair is best separated with a wide-toothed comb to help prevent breakage. Loop brushes are excellent options for those sporting elaborate braids or enhancement hair such as extensions.
Wet hair is most likely to break when brushed, so it’s important to use a brush specifically designed for wet hair if you are going to brush your hair when it is wet. The wetter your hair is, the more easily it can break, so limiting the amount of time that your hair is wet is important. If you use a blow dryer to dry your hair, invest in a wet brush with holes in the frame that allow air to pass through instead of getting trapped against the brush’s cushion so that your hair dries in less time with less damage.
9. Minimize the Use of Heat Tools
Heat tools such as blow dryers, straighteners and curling wands may help hair look beautiful, but they can also inflict quite a bit of damage to the hair follicles, causing hair to become brittle and to fall out and break easily. Worse, the more damage they cause, the more you might be inclined to use them to try to cover up the damage, exponentially increasing it.
Instead, try to give your hair a break from heat-styling tools as often as you can. Use hair masks to strengthen already damaged hair and invest in a specially designed spray that protects hair from some of the damage that can occur with heat tool use. Buy a brush like those mentioned above that minimizes the length of time you have to spend with your hair being blasted with hot air, and favor tools that do more work in less time to minimize the amount of damage done.
10. Quit Overdyeing
Harsh chemicals used to bleach and dye hair should be used in moderation. Frequent use of these can result in hair becoming brittle and breaking easily. In some cases, it can even lead to hair falling out in clumps. Give your hair a break when possible to ensure that permanent hair loss does not occur, and put hair processing in the hands of professionals so that they can use their knowledge to minimize damage to the hair.
11. Quit Over-Styling
Some people experience forms of alopecia or hair loss that are caused by the repeated use of styles that stress particular parts of the scalp. This can include braids, tight ponytails and other styles that put a lot of strain on the root of the hair, pulling at its root and eventually detaching it and halting hair growth altogether. Traction alopecia is a form of alopecia caused by this kind of repetitive styling that can be reversed in many cases as long as the frequent use of the damaging hairstyle is ended.
Your lifestyle can have significant effects on your body’s ability to grow and replenish strong hair.
12. Minimize Stress
Consistent stress caused by lifestyle factors such as a high-stress job or relationship has been proven to cause hair loss. Likewise, traumatic events such as a car accident or a divorce can also contribute to thinning hair. When the body is experiencing stress at high levels, it can interpret this as a reason to withhold hair growth, and you may find yourself shedding more than usual.
Finding ways to limit or reduce stress can reignite hair growth. When possible, eliminate stressors in your life that are contributing to hair loss, since that kind of stress indicates ongoing damage to other bodily functions as well. Stress management practices like yoga and meditation are also great ways to cope with the stress and contribute to new hair growth.
13. Quit Smoking
It isn’t only the heart and lungs that can be damaged by smoking. Hair growth can be affected, too. Smoking restricts circulation, which can lead to hair growth diminishing. It also weakens the immune system and may cause pollution to penetrate the follicles, making hair more difficult to produce and more susceptible to damage.
14. Maintain a Healthy Diet
You’ve already seen that the deficiency of vitamins and minerals necessary for hair growth can cause hair loss, but the ingestion of high-fat, greasy and high-sugar foods has also been linked to hair loss. Likewise, engaging in crash dieting and fad diets can have the effect of not getting your body what it needs to maintain healthy hair growth. Practice consistent healthy eating and moderate intake of foods that work against hair growth instead.
Other Hair Loss Tips
These tips can help with hair loss in general and can easily be used in conjunction with other treatments.
15. Practice Daily Scalp Massage
One effective hair growth practice that can easily be performed in your home is daily scalp massage. Studies show that daily scalp massages encourage hair growth by stretching hair follicle cells. They also increase circulation of blood to the scalp, which helps hair grow healthier and thicker.
Scalp massage can be done using the fingertips or with the help of special massage tools and brushes designed to promote hair growth. Massages can be done when hair is dry or while you’re in the shower. To use your fingertips, move the pads of the fingers in slow circles around the scalp using comfortable pressure from side to side or front to back covering the entirety of the scalp. The massages should last around five minutes and should be done twice or more every day.
Some scalps massagers may also be used in the shower, though most are designed for dry hair. If you choose to use a scalp massager, follow the directions as written because they may be distinct to that design. Though some dermatologists think scalp massager tools are more effective than fingertips when it comes to stimulating hair growth, both ways are effective, so choose whichever you’re more comfortable with.
16. Use Essential Oils
Essential oils have long been touted as powerful tools when it comes to stimulating hair growth. Peppermint and lavender both have a reputation for stimulating the follicles, which has been supported in animal studies. Some people choose to incorporate the use of essential oils into their daily scalp massages. Others prefer to use them as part of weekly treatment.
To do this, simply mix the desired amount, likely one or two drops, of the essential oil of your choice into melted coconut oil or another carrier oil. Once that’s well blended, take the mixture and apply it directly to the base of the hair, gently massaging it into your scalp and thoroughly saturating it. Cover hair with a shower cap or a towel if you prefer and leave the mixture in your hair for up to 60 minutes. Rinse the mixture completely out, washing and styling the hair as you normally would after.
While new telehealth providers like Hims and Hers have popped up in recent years, these Hims alternatives can give you more options in how you assess or treat your own hair loss. Hims alternatives don’t necessarily have to be fancy, and many of the solutions above are available over-the-counter or at local pharmacies.