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Barbara Shallue

Weren’t we talking about thinning hair? (The Rogaine Verdict)


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...


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


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)

Updated 9-1-15


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