How Long Does Rogaine Take To Work? Before & After

You are using, or are considering using Rogaine to regrow your hair and want to know how long it takes to work! In this article I’m going to show you with case studies and clinical trials what results you can expect and in what time frame.

At the end of this article I’m also going to reveal to you 3 ways you can dramatically reduce how long minoxidil takes to work, by massively increasing its effectiveness.

Rogaine is an FDA approved hair loss treatment, and the most popular topical treatment in the world. However, results don’t come overnight.

You will need to stick with it to see visible results.

Let’s take a closer look to see how, why and how quickly it works, so you know what to expect.

Who Is Rogaine For?

Rogaine can be used by both men and women who have thinning or receding hair. Men who use it are most likely to be suffering from androgenic alopecia.

This is the term used to describe the hair loss that affects the temples and crown of the head in men , and is sometimes referred to as male-pattern baldness.

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It is caused by the action of DHT (a variant of the hormone testosterone) on the hair follicles. You can read more about DHT in our report.

How Does Hair Grow?

In order to understand how Minoxidil works you will need to understand how hair grows normally, and what is different in people with a genetic susceptibility to lose their hair.

There are three different phases in the life cycle of every hair, whether it is growing on your toes on on the top of your head. These three phases are:

Anagen Phase

This is the phase your hair is in most of the time. It is the ‘growing’ phase which sees the hair on your head grow about half an inch a month, though this is faster in the summer than in the winter.

This phase is the longest of all and can last 3-5 years before it enters the next phase.

Interestingly Asians have a much longer anagen phase that can last up to seven years, and subsequently they can grow their hair longer.

Catagen Phase

This short phase occurs at the end of the anagen phase and lasts approximately 10 days.

Telogen Phase

This is the phase where the hair falls out. Luckily, this happens gradually so that each hair falls out at a different time. The average person sheds 80 hairs a day.

Inactive Phase

This period of three months occurs after the telogen phase, and ends when the next anagen phase starts, repeating the cycle again.

These phases occur in normal healthy people, and aren’t usually disrupted.

However, it is important to note that the body can react to stresses, such as extreme dieting or other pressures, by entering telogen effluvium, which means all your hair falls out at once.

If you have androgenic alopecia then the hair follicles will become smaller and smaller, making the hair that grows during the anagen cycle thinner and weaker.

They will fall out more easily, and will appear much finer before you eventually lose the hair for good.

Understanding hair growth cycles demonstrates just how important it is to ensure that you approach your hair loss holistically, so your body can repair itself the best it can.

Read my article on how to regrow your hair naturally for some of these tips.

How Does Minoxidil Work?

Though no one is sure exactly how minoxidil works, it is thought that it allows more oxygen and nutrients to get to the follicles where the hair grows.

Minoxidil was eventually developed as a vasodilator, before researchers saw that it had hair growth promoting properties.

This characteristic helps the hair grow back thicker and healthier than before, and this improves with each hair cycle that someone uses Minoxidil for, according to the journal of Dermatologic Therapy.

This is as Minoxidil induces the anagen phase of hair growth, and makes small vellus follicles (the kind the rest of your finer body hair grows out of) turn into terminal follicles, which grow long, thick, head hairs.

As you already know androgenic alopecia is caused by the gradual narrowing of the hair follicles, which makes the hair frailer, less visible and more likely to fall out.

Minoxidil reverses this process.

Those of you paying attention, may also have realised that it will take up to three months for the next anagen phase to start after a hair falls out, so you are going to have to wait at least that long to see any changes, and potentially a bit longer.

What Can I Expect If I Use Rogaine?

If you use Rogaine according to the manufacturer’s instructions you will need to apply it to the dry scalp, twice a day. That is the case for both the foam and the solution.

One of the more startling effects of using Rogaine is that you will experience a phenomenon called ‘shedding’ in the first two weeks. This means that the hair is falling out, to make way for new, hopefully thicker, hair.

It may take up to four months before you see new hair growing, and even then, this hair may be colourless and fine. This is due to the action of hormones on your hair follicles, which makes them smaller.

It aims to reverse this, but it may take some time to get your hair back to its original state. It is expected that hair will get thicker as time goes on.

If you haven’t seen any improved hair growth after four months it is recommended that you stop treatment.

How Much Hair Will I Grow?

A study issued in 2015 looked at the impact of using 5 per cent Minoxidil (which is the concentration Rogaine comes in) on people with androgenic alopecia, and showed that while 40 per cent of users had some hair regrowth, this typically took three to six months to take effect.

Earlier studies published in American Family Physician showed that those who used the product for two years, had significant terminal (thick and long) hair growth, demonstrating the length of time it may take to see optimal results.

That study also showed that it could in fact take up to six months to see any results, which is significantly longer than the four months suggested by the manufacturer.

This study also found that 50 per cent of men who used Minoxidil for 2.5 years could grow hair of moderate to dense thickness.

In fact, 32 per cent of these men needed that hair to be cut and 36 percent felt that it was worth the time and money to continue treatment.

However you should note that the effectiveness of the product varied depending on where the thinning was on the head.

The ideal candidate had been bald for fewer than five years, with a bald patch that was fewer than 4 inches, or 10cm, in diameter, and located on the vertex, or top of the head.

The chart below shows how the ideal candidate for Minoxidil treatment scores between III-V vertex on the Hamilton chart.

While men who have a greater level of hair loss may still try to use Rogaine, you can see from the following diagram that satisfaction with the results drops off for men who score higher than a V on the Hamilton chart.

Men who stopped using minoxidil showed a rapid loss of the hair that was gained during therapy. Three months after discontinuation of therapy, hair counts were at or below baseline hair counts, the study went on to show.

This means that Rogaine needs to be used permanently. Androgenic alopecia (one of the main causes of hair loss) is due to the action of hormones which are always being produced by the body.

Even if you get good effects with Rogaine you are going to need to continue to use it, or the hair growth you may have experienced will be lost.

What Are The Side Effects?

All medicines have some risks associated with them, and Rogaine is no different. While this product is relatively well tolerated, it can cause dandruff and dryness of the scalp. Some even get contact dermatitis from it, which is a bit like eczema.

Dandruff can contribute to hair problems, so if this is something you suffer from while using it, then stop immediately and consider some of our more natural approaches to dandruff treatment (and learn about why you should never use Head and Shoulders!).

Some people can be allergic to the chemical and end up with breathing difficulties and tachycardia.Obviously this is extremely rare, but usage would need to be stopped immediately.

And if you think those side effects are bad, just take a look at Finasteride, which is a prescription drug taken orally once daily.

Not so bad, you think? It has been linked to low libido and poor erections in a significant minority of the men who take it. So if you don’t want to deal with even more nasty side-effects then give that one a miss.

Rogaine contains chemicals that may not suit some people, or just doesn’t work for some.

You shouldn’t be overly let down if it doesn’t work for you, as there are a wealth of other regimes you could try, such as our holistic approach to hair regrowth.

Tricks To Make Rogaine More Effective/Work Faster

You’re wondering about how long this topical treatment takes to work, but did you know there are a few simple tricks that make it work more effectively?

The first one is to use something called a dermaroller.

Using A Dermaroller

This is a small roller device which is covered in tiny metal pins. The pins penetrate the dermal layer, just deep enough to wound the skin and increase collagen production, stimulate blood flow and reduce calcification.

Studies have shown that using a dermaroller in combination with minoxidil is much more effective.

Just look at the graph below:

After 12 weeks the dermaroller + minoxidil combination went from 226 to 317 = 91. Minoxidil by itself went from 201 to 218 = 17.

91/17 = 5.35. Therefore using a dermaroller along with minoxidil makes it 5 X (at least 500%) more effective than minoxidil alone. Pretty impressive right?

Using a dermaroller along the hairline

The best place to use the dermaroller (also known technically as microneedling) is along the hairline, where it can be used to directly stimulate hair growth.

Scalp Massage & Exercises

Scalp massages and exercises are one of my personal favourite ways to regrow hair!

Why?

Because they work.

They even work without using any topical treatments such as minoxidil. However, if you are intent on using Rogaine, I suggest you also use scalp massages and exercises to accelerate the growth rate.

The goal of the exercises/massages is to detach the scalp from the cranial bone, reduce calcification, increase blood flow and make the scalp more flexible, elastic and soft.

These are all conditions that make new hair growth much more likely.

Just look at someone with a bald head and you’ll see how stiff, shiny and thin the scalp is. This is what causes hair follicle miniaturization in the first place.

A man with scalp fibrosis and calcification
The lack of blood flow to the scalp leads to hair falling out. Scalp massages and exercises help to reverse this. When used in combination with Rogaine it will decrease the time taken to see visible results.

Combining Rogaine with these techniques makes the product so much more effective.

And remember, you can also use the dermaroller as well.

I’m not going to go into detail about the exact massage and exercise techniques you need to use to most effectively trigger hair growth, because that is a large topic.

But if you want to learn more then you can check out Hair Equilibrium where we have HD video demonstrations of all the techniques.

Using A Natural Alternative To Rogaine

Did you know there is a natural alternative to Rogaine that is clinically proven to increase hair growth more effectively than minoxidil itself.

There is actually more than 1 alternative, but I want to focus on only one in this article: Peppermint essential oil.

peppermint leaves and oil on a table

In this study, 3% peppermint essential oil was applied to the scalp and proved to be more effective than minoxidil after 4 weeks:

Peppermint oil increase hair count after 4 weeks.
Source. Peppermint oil is a proven way to reverse the hair follicle miniaturization process. It does so even more effectively than leading product Rogaine (minoxidil)

See how the hair growth score is much higher for peppermint oil than for minoxidil!

In addition to this, peppermint oil also doesn’t have the side-effects associated with Rogaine, such as itchiness, and baggy eyes. It’s 100% natural and good for your skin and hair in the long term.

This isn’t the only natural substance that works topically to regrow hair, there are some really effective combinations out there.

When you’re on the search for a hair loss treatment product, it’s not uncommon to want to see real life results experienced by users of said product. In this article, I’ll show you the results of real users of Rogaine.

As with any product, results will vary. However, I’ve gathered some of the more astonishing results and put them together for you to see. You’ll also learn more about the different types and solutions of Rogaine, and a few things to keep in mind before using.

Rogaine Reviews from REAL Users

Whether you’re on the fence about using Rogaine, or you wonder whether the pros and cons you’ve experienced are common, it doesn’t hurt to consider the reviews offered by real users.

In summary, here are some PROS and CONS as offered up by REAL users of Rogaine products:

Pros

  • It slowed hair loss.
  • It regrew lost hair (in newly-balding areas).
  • It improved hair’s overall quality.

Cons

  • Be prepared to use for several months before results become obvious.
  • Shedding, aka “dread shed”, is a very common occurrence.
  • It can cause itching and general irritation, especially in the beginning of treatment.

Rogaine Before and After (Photos)

An Amazon reviewer showing results after 10 weeks.
A Rogaine user showing results after 10 weeks. Credit: Amazon.
An Amazon reviewer showing results after 77 days of Rogaine use
A Rogaine user showing results after 77 days. Credit: Amazon.
An Amazon reviewer showing results after 14 months of Rogaine use
A Rogaine user showing results after 14 months of use. Credit: Amazon.

Women’s Rogaine Before and After (Photos)

An Amazon reviewer showing results after 3 months of Rogaine use
A female Rogaine user showing results after three months of use. Credit: Amazon.
An Amazon reviewer showing results after 5 months of Rogaine use
A female Rogaine user showing results after 5 months of use. Credit: Amazon.

Does Generic Minoxidil Provide the Same Results?

Rogaine is the most popular brand product to contain minoxidil. However, many other hair loss products do, too.

But do the generic brands provide the same results as Rogaine?

In short, yes.

If you use a generic minoxidil product with 2% minoxidil, the results should be quite similar to if you had used 2% Rogaine. This is because, even though the inactive ingredients differ from brand to brand, the active ingredient is the most important part of the formula. As such, any two products with the same active ingredient should work similarly.

Of course, there may be some differences between the products, including how it applies and the side effects experienced.

For example, some users claim that the Kirkland brand minoxidil is quite greasy, while others say that the Rogaine brand product dries out their scalp. This all comes down to inactive ingredients (especially in relation to the presence of alcohols).

What if My Results Aren’t As Drastic?

First and foremost, I would like to make clear that not everyone will see results with Rogaine. For those who do see results, it’s also worth mentioning that results will differ from person to person.

However, if results aren’t as you would like them to be, you can do a few things to speed up the process.

1. Remove DHT from Your Scalp

In people with Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA), the main cause of hair loss is believed to be a sensitivity to DHT. This is a hormone that’s produced from the interaction between testosterone (male sex hormone) and 5-alpha-reductase (an enzyme).

While minoxidil-containing hair loss products make it possible for hair growth to happen in areas affected by DHT, there’s no doubt that its presence can slow down your results.

Fortunately, you can remove DHT from your scalp naturally. Here’s how:

Step #1: Cleanse Your Scalp

You’ll Need:

  • Himalayan or Celtic sea salt (½ TBSP)
  • Powdered activated charcoal (1 TSP)
  • Ginger
  • Cucumber
  • Lemon juice (1 whole)
  • A juicing machine (or a blender and muslin cloth)

Directions:

Using a juicer, juice a handful of ginger chunks and one whole cucumber. If using a blender, add the ingredients to the blender (with enough water to smoothen the blend). You’ll also need to use a muslin cloth or strainer to remove any pulp from the blended combination.

A container of sea salt
Sea salt works as a gentle scrub to remove harmful buildup from the scalp.

Combine 100 mL of the ginger and cucumber juice with the rest of the ingredients in the bottle of your choosing. Mix well.

To apply to scalp, pour into palm and work into trouble areas with your fingertips. Massage in a circular motion, and then let sit for 5-10 minutes.

Once done, rinse the mixture with lukewarm water.

For better results, I recommend using a brush to remove the excess flakes after the mixture has been rinsed away. This will work to gently lift more plaque from the scalp, and it will also stimulate blood flow to the area.

Step #2: Use a DHT-Cleansing Tonic

With your scalp now cleansed of plaque, it’s time to use the hair growth tonic.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Mix the hyaluronic acid and emu oil in equal parts, and then break apart a saw palmetto gel tablet and add to the mixture. I recommend using a 7:1 ratio (7 parts mixture:1 saw palmetto). Next, add 1 part of apple polyphenol to 6 parts of the above mixture, and combine well.

Apply the mixture liberally to your scalp, and let sit overnight. To avoid transfer to your pillowcase, you can use a shower cap or plastic bag. Rinse off in the morning.

Use the serum twice per week for best results.

2. Improve Blood Circulation

To further increase the results of the previous treatment method, I also recommend you stimulate your scalp in order to improve blood circulation.

While minoxidil works by dilating the blood vessels, it never hurts to have more circulation to the scalp.

To get going, I recommend a dermaroller.

The dermaroller is a microneedling tool. It’s used to cause small punctures to the scalp which will then heal and restore hair follicles.

While it may seem odd to injure yourself for the purpose of hair growth, studies have been done on its use and shown it to be successful. This is especially true when used alongside minoxidil.

In fact, a study performed in 2013 showed that the use of a dermaroller alongside minoxidil treatment improved results significantly when compared to minoxidil-only treatment.

Before and after photos of minoxidil group + dermaroller

Whether you’re using minoxidil or not, I recommend you use the dermaroller before you apply any products to your scalp. This includes minoxidil, but also the hair growth serum which I shared above.

Use the dermaroller as directed, and then apply the solution of your choice. I recommend waiting about two hours before applying minoxidil, but the natural growth serum can be applied as soon as you’d like.

Liquid or Foam?

A major question you may find yourself asking is whether you should go with the liquid or foam formulation. So, what’s the difference?

Rogaine topical solution was the first to be developed and approved by the FDA, and it’s been in use since 1988.

As far as symptoms go, Rogaine liquid solution was causing a number of irritations. These include itching, flaking, redness, and dryness. As research continued, it was discovered that minoxidil wasn’t the issue. Instead, an ingredient found in Rogaine liquid – propylene glycol – was the culprit.

In response, researchers worked to develop a Rogaine solution without propylene glycol. This is where Rogaine foam comes in.

Does this mean that Rogaine foam is better?

Not necessarily.

As a liquid, Rogaine topical is absorbed into the scalp much more fully. This can mean better hair growth results, and is why Rogaine topical solution is typically recommended to be used in smaller doses (especially for women).

On the other hand, Rogaine foam doesn’t penetrate the scalp as deeply. In fact, Rogaine foam 5% is approved for female use, and this goes to show that much less of the foam actually absorbs in comparison to the liquid.

So, which should you choose?

If you have a sensitive scalp, or you’d like to work with a product that’s easier to apply, choose the foam.

However, if you’re interested in faster results, the liquid would be the way to go.

2% vs 5%

Rogaine and other minoxidil-containing products come in two concentrations: 2% and 5%. Which one is best?

Will a Higher Concentration Increase Results?

Not necessarily.

While a stronger dose may work for individuals who didn’t respond to minoxidil 2%, you won’t necessarily see 2.5 times more growth when you switch from 2% to 5%.

This is because dose response – a pharmacological occurrence – doesn’t necessarily increase directly inline with dose increase. As such, you may experience improved results, but not necessarily 2.5 times what you would have experienced from using a 2% minoxidil formula.

Is There an Increased Risk of Side Effects

Alongside dose response is a concept known as the law of diminishing returns. That is, side effects increase without enough of a benefit return.

This may not necessarily happen with the 5% formula – after all, many individuals use it without ill effects – but as dose increases, so too does risk of side effects.

This is especially true in female users of the product, as studies show them to be more sensitive to minoxidil’s systemic effects (such as hirutism).

Results and Expectations

One reason that some users of Rogaine find themselves less-than-pleased with the results is because they don’t know what to expect. With any hair loss treatment, it’s important to go in with a clear understanding.

First, you must know that Rogaine doesn’t work for everyone. In fact,

Second, you should know that shedding is very common in the beginning of treatment. This is known as “dread shed”, and while it may be unsettling, it’s normal and should stop after the first few months of use.

Third, Rogaine takes time. This is not an overnight cure, and it’s not a product you can use inconsistently. To determine if Rogaine really works for you, you must use it consistently and for at least 6 months.

Natural Alternatives Before and After

While there’s no doubt that the results shown above are astounding, there are natural alternatives which can provide you with results that are the same (or, even better!).

Let’s take a look:

Pumpkin Seed Oil

Pumpkin seed oil is an essential oil that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties (among others). As such, it’s a great oil to add to your hair care routine.

In fact, a 24-week study was published in 2014 in which its effects on hair growth were tested.

76 male subjects (with mild to moderate Androgenetic Alopecia) were given either a placebo, or a 400 mg capsule of PSO once per day.

These were the visual results after 6 months:

Before and after photos using PSO to block DHT

While the difference in hair thickness was negligible, the difference in hair count was astounding!

Diagram of hair count, and hair thickness after 24 weeks using pumpkin seed oil compared to a placebo

 

Castor Oil

An oil that’s building a steady following in the health and beauty niche, castor oil is a carrier oil derived from the seeds of the castor oil plant.

A few reasons for its popularity are its number of beneficial properties, including anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant.

According to many who use castor oil for their scalp, the oil is a great moisturizer and hair strengthener. Of course, many users have also had luck using it to regrow lost hair. For example:

Castor oil hair growth results female
A female showing hair growth after use of castor oil. Credit: Amazon

To get started, all you need is 100% castor oil (any brand will do). The substance is quite thick, but you can mix with other oils (such as almond or olive) to make it easier to apply.

Massage into your scalp at least once daily, or apply before you go to sleep and rinse in the morning.

Rosemary Oil

While rosemary oil hasn’t been tested alone in the treatment of hair loss, it was used in an aromatherapy blend alongside thyme, lavender, and cedar wood in the treatment of Alopecia Areata (AA).

A 1998, a 7-month study looked to test the effects of the above oils on hair growth. Compared to a placebo group, these were the results:

Jojoba Oil aromatherapy research study chart

As is seen above, the area affected by alopecia was significantly reduced in patients who received the essential oils blend. In comparison, the patients in the control group saw no reduction in overall size.

This above information is useful, but what do these results actually look like?

A male showing hair growth after rosemary oil supplementation

As you can see the combination of rosemary, thyme, lavender, and cedar wood can significantly stimulate hair growth. This is good news for anyone looking for a natural hair loss treatment with minimal side effects.

Conclusion

There’s no doubt that Rogaine can contribute significantly to hair growth. Just take a look at the before and after images!

However, this doesn’t mean that Rogaine is the right treatment for everyone. In fact, I recommend against the use of Rogaine, whether you’re a “good candidate” or not.

This is because Rogaine masks the symptoms, but it doesn’t treat the cause of hair loss at the source. You’ll have to use Rogaine for your entire life to continue seeing results, and there’s currently no data on how long term use of such a drug can affect your health.

Instead, I recommend you use all-natural treatments, such as pumpkin seed oil, castor oil, and rosemary oil. These oils work to treat the underlying problem, and this will yield better results now and in the future.

Conclusion

Rogaine can work for up to 40 per cent of people who have male pattern baldness, and it is certainly an option if you want to try it.

However, the cost associated with committing to using this over-the-counter pharmacy product is high, and as it has to be used permanently this is something you need to consider when committing to using it.

There are, as with any drug, potential side effects, but If it doesn’t work for you, then don’t despair.

6 thoughts on “How Long Does Rogaine Take To Work? Before & After

    • Hi Holly,

      You can, though we do recommend tapering off Rogaine eventually.

      In the meantime, you can continue to use the Rogaine alongside the peppermint oil. We recommend applying Rogaine in the morning, and peppermint oil (+ a base of carrier oil such as magnesium) at night before bed. You should then rinse off in the morning before applying the Rogaine again.

      – Steph

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