Weren’t we talking about thinning hair? (The Rogaine Verdict) Most Liked Hot Conversation

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It’s been over a year since I slipped into Target and bought my first box of Rogaine, wishing I was wearing a disguise, fearing someone I knew would see me and know (gasp!) that I had thinning hair!

Ha! Like it wasn’t obvious just by looking at me? We can be so silly, can’t we?

I wrote about buying that first box, and the reasons why, in Hair, or the Lack Thereof, and promised I would keep you posted on the results.

Well, over the past year I’ve bought several more boxes of minoxidil, both brand name (Rogaine) and generic from different stores. It doesn’t bother me at all anymore to grab a box off the shelf and toss it in my shopping basket.

I’ve waited to give you a report, though, because minoxidil takes time. I wanted to be sure. But a year is long enough, so here it is, my verdict on minoxidil, aka Rogaine…

(Drumroll, please…)

It works. It really does.

At least, for me, it works. And it’s so cheap and easy… even if you’re buying the name brand! Why didn’t I try it before?

Now, granted, my hair is still thin and baby fine. Minoxidil won’t change the kind of hair you have; it only stimulates growth. But I can see, per square inch of my scalp, there are definitely more hairs growing.

How do I know? When I part my hair, I no longer see a huge amount of scalp. I just see a normal part. I have also watched lots of little baby hairs grow into adult hairs over the past year. It’s pretty dang exciting!

I’m really not sure what I was so embarrassed about now. Thinning hair is such a common problem for both men and women. I had a huge response to my first post on Vibrant Nation. There are so many companies and products out there trying to make money off of this problem without delivering results. We deserve better than that.

So why is there such a stigma over using minoxidil?

Per my doctor’s suggestion, I totally skipped the women’s version and went straight for the men’s extra-strength. If you’re pregnant or breast-feeding, that’s a no-no. But most women experiencing thinning hair are entering perimenopause, and those warnings don’t apply. The only other warning for women is about facial hair, which worried me a little, but I haven’t experienced that at all.

FYI, the solution works better than foam for women. The dropper provides more accurate measurement and better distribution on the scalp. I learned that the hard way.

You should also not apply minoxidil if you’re having your hair colored that day. Again, another hard lesson. It will sting like your head is on fire! (In all fairness, the instructions tell you that… but I had forgotten!)

You have to apply the solution twice a day, once in the morning and once at night, but it only takes a few seconds. The directions say to apply it a couple of hours before going to bed, but I usually do it right before snuggling with Tom, and he hasn’t grown any extra hair on his shoulder.

Because you massage it into your scalp with your fingers, I always, always, always wash my hands thoroughly after applying it. You’re supposed to wait four hours after application before shampooing, so I often wait to apply it after my shower in the morning, and I’ve noticed it seems to add body to my hair.

One of the most common side effects is itching of the scalp. I didn’t experience that until recently, after months of use. I’m pretty sure it was because I forgot that warning about using it on the day you were getting your hair colored…

Sigh.

So, do I now have a head full of lush hair, thanks to minoxidil?

No.

But I do have hair covering my scalp, and I know there are some of you out there who will know… that’s enough.

P.S. I wasn’t paid anything by anyone for this post.

[Read Barbara's first post in this series, Midlife hair (or rather the lack thereof) ~ Eds. ]

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Posted in Barbara Shallue, hair care, Our Blog Circle, Product Recommendations.

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516 Responses

  1. Generic Image Gracie says

    Hi Vibrant friends,
    I am wondering how everyone is doing. I miss hearing from all of you. It is6 months since I started using the rogaine on my hair. Only using it once a day and I am not sure if my hair has thickened but I feel it has stopped or slowed the hair loss. I am sticking with it another 6 months and then will decide what to do.
    How are all of you doing? Barb, are thing getting easier? Not that hair loss is easy because it stinks, just wondering if the rogaine is becoming a part of your daily routine. SJ and Lou Lou how are the hair days with you? Firemom , are you still using rogaine.

    I have been using my hair max comb 3x a week and still do not see a difference. I just try and stay hopeful. Hope all is well.

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    • Generic Image barbw46 says

      Hi all, sorry for the silence. I thought I was doing better, mentally, but this past weekend doing the Rogaine at my parents who have a stronger bathroom light I saw way way more scalp and a wider part than I had ever realized. I completely panicked and broke down crying for hours. I could barely breathe. So, not doing so well. I feel there is just more and more scalp and that the Rogaine is pointless. Don’t see more hair loss just I am seeing so much scalp I never saw before…it’s like nothing is growing in at all and what falls out isn’t replaced.

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      • Barbara Shallue Barbara Shallue says

        Barb, I’m so sorry. There are times when I see how thin my hair still is and wonder if I just imagined that it got thicker. But I do believe the Rogaine helped slow the loss, and/or stop it. I just won’t ever have thick hair. How long have you been using it now? It took a long time before I noticed a change. Had you looked in that mirror before? I’m wondering if there has been a change, but you just didn’t realize how thin your hair had gotten.

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      • Generic Image barbw46 says

        Barbara, thanks for the note and that isn’t a mirror I had ever used to really look at my hair since this all started and so it is likely I’m just really seeing how much had fallen out ..and it felt, still feels devastating. I know, people have cancer, it’s “just hair” but it is so hard to really believe that.  I wish I could not care, but I am so afraid of how ugly I look and how much uglier I will get.
        Interestingly the dermatologist I just saw told me she thinks it is chronic telogen effluvium and not FPHL…which made me a little more hopeful, but then I looked in that mirror this weekend and I feel the original derm (who is a leading specialist in North America must be right) as I seem a widening of my part and behind the front piece of my hair, alongside the temporal area
        Stress doesn’t help I know. But it is hard to stop.

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    • Generic Image barbw46 says

      Hi all. Just had a huge amount of hair come out in the shower. Can someone share with me just how much is normal for the “rogaine” shed. I have been experiencing increased shedding the past couple of weeks and was trying not to panic but tonight I lost probably about 250 or more hairs…more than I ever have in my life. I am completely freaking out.

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      • Generic Image stilljogging says

        Hi barbw46.  I am going to post my reply below.  some of the ladies don’t always scroll up.

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  2. Nikilet Nikilet says

    Hi, Gracie!
    I haven’t checked back for ages, but I haven’t been getting any of the notices that there are posts so apparently I’m not the only one. I think, until something new is discovered, the topic was pretty well exhausted with what’s out there now.

    I’m still using and haven’t kept track of the time but know it’s got to be at least 5 months. I don’t have hair in my brush or in the sink when I wash it anything like I used to. In fact, there’s really very little at all.

    In just looking in the mirror, my hair almost appears to look heavier on top, and yet, when I examine it closely I cant’ see any new fuzs or hairs. I see new growth right down by the top of my ears — and, of course, on my face. 

    I’m continuing to use it just to keep from losing more. I keep hoping that at some point in time I will actually see some new fuzz on top.

    Apparently, at least for you, that hair max comb is not working. Or maybe you haven’t been using it long enough. As expensive as those are I would have to have some real proof or a very good guarantee before I could invest in one.

    I hope everything goes well with you.

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  3. Generic Image stilljogging says

    Hi Ladies, Thanks for the updates Gracie and Nikilet. I’m into my 29th week using Rogaine Foam and still applying close to a capful once a day, usually in the morning. Then at night, I cover my main part that had widened.
     
    Nothing new in growth other than I believe the super amount of extra shedding that had occurred when starting Rogaine has filled in a bit with regular hair. Definitely not in the way of fuzzies though. The only place for fuzzies is still the one area above my left temple. The fuzzies continue to grow and now turning into regular looking hair.
     
    BUT, something a bit strange…over the last couple of months, I have noticed more thinning in my bang area, plus another one or two places on the side of my head that have thinned. It seems a bit strange that it would happen now particularly since I am having very minimal hair loss. I was thinking perhaps I had been applying hair color too frequently, but it doesn’t appear to be over the entire area—I am just not certain what is going on.
     
    My biggest problem lately was the hot spell here in So. California. It was a challenge applying the Foam before it melted in the cup. I considered using a syringe, but the Q-Tip still worked, soaking up the liquid and then pressing against the scalp—in some ways better distribution.
     
    BTW, still using saw palmetto daily—who knows if it is helping or not. Thanks again ladies.

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  4. loulou loulou says

    Just checking in……….summer has finally arrived in NY. Just want to let everyone know that I am still status quo. lose some hair daily, but still not lie before. Still applying once every other day. Using only a half a cup, because I believe when I we using more, I sometimes had seconds of brief dizziness. Washing almost every day and use L’Oreal Total Repair Extreme my hair is wet. It is a very light oil. Then blow dry, and it is smooth and manageable. Still have scalp showing a little on top of head going down the part. It seems some what better, but still there, so I still sprinkle. lol Hope everyone is doing well. Lou Lou

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  5. Generic Image stilljogging says

    Hey barbw46 & Barbara S.,  Read your posts above.  Wanted to let you know that after 7 months, my part has not filled in (it gets an  application twice a day).  Also, it still seems like my front bang area is continuing to thin.  No fuzzies in these areas at all.  But, like others have said the hair loss has slowed down.  I still style my hair covering the part and have my bangs lay flat because any light from above shows the lack of hair. Nice to hear from you too LouLou.  Everyone have a beautiful summer!

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    • Barbara Shallue Barbara Shallue says

      Sorry for the late response. Sometimes it seems the front and sides of my hair are looking thinner, so I try to concentrate the Rogaine there for awhile and it does appear to help.

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  6. Generic Image stilljogging says

    I have written my post twice and nothing is showing up.  Perhaps it will in a little while.  I will wait before I write it a 3rd time.

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  7. Generic Image FireMom says

    FireMom here, checking in from the Pacific NW. I am almost 18 months into the 5% minoxil generic liquid use, 2x/day. Continues to appear that it is helping to maintain what has regrown, with less hair loss. I saw the dermatologist last week who confirmed mine is typical women’s hair loss….nothing else to be done. Sigh. She started the sentence with those fateful words, “For a woman your age…” Double sigh!
    My hair loss began on the sides, moved to the top of the head, then forward toward the bangs. Have found a short cut that works well with my hair, and products that work well.
    But would like a refresher from those of you who use a product that you sprinkle on the parts of the scalp that are noticeable even after styling. Due to my natural wave and cowlicks, I have a spot or two that are impossible to cover totally with styling. What product do you use to sprinkle on the scalp? Does it work fairly well? Does it wash out with a shampoo?
    thanks!

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    • Nikilet Nikilet says

      I started out with the Toppik hair fibers a long time ago. In the past year I’ve tried about 4 other kinds. I know I have tried both XFusion and Caboki. My feeling is that the Toppik are actually the best. Go to their site online and check it out.

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  8. loulou loulou says

    Hi Fire mom. Good to hear form you and 100 sighs for the comment, it comes with women our age!!!!
    I do use XFusion Keratin Fibers in dark brown. ( I also use Caboki Hair fibers from time to time) My hair is medium to dark so I find that when I use these sprinkles they work well and do shampoo out when I shampoo. When my hair is just about ready for me to spray with hair spray, I shake a few on top of my cowlick, press down with my hand and then move some of hair to cover it and spray. When hair spray is dry, I check to see if it is covered okay and if it needs me to move the hair a little more, I do. I like this stuff a lot. If I don’t wash my hair for one day, I don’t even need to use more sprinkles most of the times. Hope your summer is going well. NY weather has been so cool and rainy! loulou

    1 like

  9. Generic Image stilljogging says

    Hi Ladies.  Hey LouLou if you are still online, in answer to  barbw46′ above, at your worst time, about how many hairs were you losing in the shower?  I remember you counted.
     
    I also remember, like me, hair was showing up on the counter tops, etc.  Plus when I would use a hair brush I got tons.  It went on a long time for me before it slowed way down.
     
    Thanks FireMom—nice to hear from a long-time user.

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  10. loulou loulou says

    barbwe46
    That terrible depressing time when I began using Rogaine, I lost more than 250! When I shampooed my hair, not so much in shower but when I combed it, styled it, put rogaine on, the hair just use to fall out! Some days I am sure I lost over 350 hairs………and then it just eased up. I was crazed and so depressed. I started using Rogaine because my hair was falling out, literally just falling out..and then it got even worst! I was just about to stop using the dreadful stuff, when my hair loss slowed down. So barb, it is normal, and it will stop. I know how you are feeling now………………………….because we all were there. my hair is much better now and I thin I lose maybe 50 to 60 on non shampoo days and more on shampoo days. I now blow dry my hair put product in it. roll it. heat it and it is staying status quo. loulou

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    • Generic Image barbw46 says

      Thanks loulou and still jogging. I was surprised (and scared) as I’m at about week 10 or 11 which seems late to lose such a big clump. Saw the dermatologist today and she thinks it actually is the iron I started to take this week…I keep hoping she’s right that it’s mainly chronic telogen effluvium and no FPHL…but, the expert in NYC who spent an hour and a half with me and looked at my hair under a special scope firmly believes it’s FPHL..every time I get hopeful, bam…if I could have just made it to my sixties or seventies (even my fifties) I feel like I would accept it more…basically when I figure I’d be staying at home and watching tv all the time and hiding :)

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  11. Generic Image FireMom says

    Can’t remember if I’ve said this before, so may be repeating myself….. I follow a gluten-free and dairy-free diet. Gluten contains biotin, which aids in hair/skin/nail health. So I take a biotin supplement (5000 mcg daily). (it’s water soluble so you can’t overdose)
    My hair loss started about the same time that I moved to a gluten-free/dairy-free diet. Coincidence or causal? I have no idea. BUT I can say that my body is so much happier without gluten and dairy that even tho I’m always distressed over the hair loss, I would not trade hair for a happy intestinal tract! Cramps, bloating, gas, upset stomach – ugh! I think I’d wear a wig or live in a baseball cap before going back to all that!
    Altho hair loss can prompt us to make choices that isolate us (not wanting people to see our scalp), let me tell you that suddenly passing loud and nasty gas in public is WAY worse! :)
    Sometimes I need to push the “reset” button and put things in perspective. :)

    2 like

  12. Generic Image Gracie says

    Hi Everyone,
    Just checked in and saw all the conversation . I am still using the rogaine 1x a day. I feel like my hair is stable but still have the thin area along the part and use Toppix fibers to try and cover. I think it it’s thinned more along the part line. I feel like I shed more short hairs and wonder if that is rogaine hair or a symptom of more hair loss. I am going to keep using the rogaine as I have had no side effects.
    I cant say my hair is any thicker and who knows what I would look like if I had not started the rogaine 7 months ago. So the question is “does rogaine really work”. I still think you have to try everything in hopes that something will work.

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    • Nikilet Nikilet says

      For me, there is no question that my hair LOSS has just about stopped. Now, when I wash or brush, I lose no more than what would be normal. When I first started with the Rogaine, I would wash my hair in the sink with a hair catcher in place and I would have a good amount of hair in the catcher when done. Now, I hardly have any at all. When I would brush my hair I always took my large plastic pik and cleaned out the hair brush each time and again, a goodly gob of hair. Now when I do it there are few hairs.

      To  me, my hair looks like it has filled in a little at least, and my daughter told me the same thing.

      I have been using both doses at once, at night. I’m not ever going to have a full head of hair and I know that (short of a transplant). But with the help of some Toppik fibers, I have been wearing my own hair recently instead of wigs. I like wigs and have several nice ones. The problem is that I am on oxygen 24/7 and even though they call these wigs open-ear, oxygen tubing still gets in the way and then if you have to wear sun glasses on top of that it’s miserable.

      I’m sure I will still wear the wigs, but probably less. I don’t remember which one is using that laser hair comb. I’m not a rich person but if you ever see that is definitely working, I would splurge on one.

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  13. Generic Image FireMom says

    Wanted to send out a word of thanks for the recommendation to use Toppik fibers. My hair is salt-and-pepper at the front and around my face (where of course it’s the thinnest), and I’m using the gray powder. Seems to be working well. At the very least, once I dry and style my hair then sprinkle the Toppik on, my scalp is barely noticeable to me. Am considering buying a bottle in brown and so I can mix them for perhaps even better coverage. I got the bottle at Sally Beauty for $29, which seemed a lot, but at the rate I’m using it, it should last 10 years!

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  14. Generic Image Gracie says

    Hi Rogaine friends,
    How is everyone doing? I am still using the rogaine and my hair is about the same. 9 months into it and I can’t honestly say my hair is better or worse. I do notice that my texture has changed. Sigh. Getting older is such a challenge.

    1 like

  15. loulou loulou says

    Hi Gracie. Hope all is well with you. i finally got a part time job in a school near my home. I am very happy to be employed again!.

    I stopped using Rogaine a month ago, and my hair has not shedded yet. It may start to shed, and when and if that happens I will make a decision as to if I go mback to using Rogaine. My hair is still somewhat on the thin side, but it is now back to normal, soft and shiny and definitely not dry anymore. I will keep in touch regarding my progress. Enjoy therest of your summer. Lou Lou

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  16. Generic Image stilljogging says

    Hi Gracie, LouLou, and other Vibrant Nation ladies,

    LouLou, Congratulations on finding a job. Since you stopped using Rogaine, definitely let us know what happens. Gracie, I agree, growing older can be very interesting indeed.
     
    As for my hair—it has been about 10 months. I think I’ve been losing a little more hair the past couple of months because I see a bit more in the shower and my brush. I am not sure if that is part of my regular hair cycle or not. My hair has looked okay this summer, probably because we have had a lot of humid weather, which makes my hair fuller. My part has not filled in and there are a couple of new areas that appear to be a little thinner, but actually not too bad. I am hanging in there and plan to continue Rogaine. It is such a part of my daily routine.

    To other Rogaine ladies—let us know how things are going for all of you.
     
    Wishing everyone a wonderful end of summer.

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  17. loulou loulou says

    Just checking in. Work is great, and I am so much better off than last year at this time……………….I had not job and my hair was falling out! It is now two months off of Rogaine and so far not shedding?? I am so happy. My hair is still a little thin but it has not gotten any thinner, and I am pleased. How is very one doing with their hair regimen Take care loulou

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    • Barbara Shallue Barbara Shallue says

      Loulou, thanks for the update. That’s good to know that if we stop using it, it doesn’t all just fall out right away! Mine hasn’t gotten any thicker, but I know it’s not as thin as it was when I started. I still see hair that has been shed, but I’m not sure if it’s a normal amount or not.  Congrats on the job! I’m glad you like it! This time last year I had just started my real estate career. I still love it and it’s keeping me busier than ever!

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  18. Generic Image stilljogging says

    Hi LouLou,  Thanks for checking in again.  Glad to hear that things are going so well for you.  Really pleased to hear that your hair isn’t shedding after stopping the Rogaine.

    It is clear now that I lost more hair in my bang area and sides well after the Rogaine shedding had stopped.  Disappointed, but I am continuing because the daily hair loss is less than it was before I started minoxidil/Rogaine.  I am still applying the 5% foam daily.  The end of October will mark a year. Wow, time does fly!!!!

    Hi Barbara. Glad that all is going well for you too.

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  19. Generic Image FireMom says

    Hi all,
    Wondered if anyone had extra hair loss after using the Toppik hair fibers? I started using them at the start of summer, but found that over the course of June – August I was losing much more hair than before! Distressing! Not sure if it was due to stress with my MIL’s illness and my involvement with her care or if it was from the Toppik fibers. Mom’s life has evened out so there’s less stress, plus I stopped using the Toppik, and the bathroom floor has a lot less hair on it….so that’s encouraging but am not sure how to proceed with the Toppik product. Would appreciate input from others on this. Thanks!
    I plan to use Rogaine for life. I see on the label that it says it takes 3 – 4 months after stopping it before you see hair shedding again. So, LouLou please let us know what the next couple of months bring.

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  20. loulou loulou says

    I surely will!! I do shed the normal amount now, but nothing abnormal so far. We will see. I do not feel dizzy anymore, and my hair texture has returned to its normal state. Good luck to you. Not sure why toppik would make hair fall out, but who knows. I am using a product fro HSN now. It is powder and it is called tru hair, color and lift. i love it. It covers up my little spot on top of my head near the back. It is easy and so so natural and lasts until you wash it out. Sorry to hear about the loss of your mom. Maybe your hair shed more then because of all the stress and worry. I know that is why mine started fallout last year. Take care. loulou

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  21. Generic Image Gracie says

    Hi Ladies,
    So good to get an update from all of you. I continue to use the rogaine, only 1x a day. I feel it has thickened my hair but my hair texture seems different. I use a product on the thin area call Bumble and bumble dry shampoo and it comes in different colors. It helps cover grey, gives some lift and hides the scalp a bit. It is like a spray powder instead of the shake-on like Toppix. I do know my hair shed more due to stress but I think the female hair loss just slowly keeps on progressing. The rogaine seems to slow it down.
    Ugh!
    Lou Lou, did you think the rogaine changed your texture while you used it?

    Happy Fall everyone. It’s been almost a year all of us have connected because of hair loss. It had helped me so much. Thank you!

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  22. loulou loulou says

    Hello Gracie and all. Yes my hair texture was very different. Kind of hard, dry and so split. Now that I am not using it for awhile it is much softer and the cuticles are not so radical.. I still have some shed bout I don’t think it is more than 100 hairs a day when I wash my hair and less on my off days of washing. Now that I have been off of the Rogaine two months now, iIno longer have my little dizzy spells. My derm said that my hair may not shed since I weaned myself off of that stuff very slowly and gradually. We will see…………….I am not going back to it and figure if I shed again, I will use more natural serums such as Aveda and Redken hair serums. It sounds as if the stuff you are using on your hair is very similar to the hair color powder and lift I use on my little saint Anthony spot on top. lol Cannot believe it is fall alreasy and summer has gone again. Take care loulou

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