Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 1/08/2021
Whether you see it in a photo or in your reflection, noticing that you’re losing hair is never a fun experience.
Hair loss is a common issue for men. In fact, research shows that more than 50 percent of men will experience moderate to extensive hair loss by the time they reach their forties.
Whether you’re losing hair around your hairline or on your crown, wanting to cover up hair loss is a normal, understandable reaction. Products like hair loss concealers can make this process easy by quickly and conveniently creating the appearance of thicker hair.
Although hair loss concealers are far from aesthetically perfect, they offer real advantages and might be a good option in certain situations.
Below, we’ve explained what hair loss concealers are, as well as how they work to make your hair appear thicker and less affected by hair loss. We’ve also listed the other options that are available for dealing with hair loss, from medications to medical procedures and more.
Hair loss concealers are products that are designed to make areas of your scalp with significant hair loss look like they’re covered by thick, full hair.
In short, they’re products that create the illusion of a fuller head of hair. For example, if you have hair loss around the crown of your head, applying a hair loss concealer to this area may make it look like your crown is still covered by hair.
Although hair loss concealers can give the appearance of a thicker, fuller head of hair, they don’t actually treat hair loss. If you’re losing your hair due to male pattern baldness, using a concealer won’t slow down or reverse your hair loss. Instead, it will just make it less visible.
Hair loss concealers are available in a variety of forms, from fiber-based concealers to powders and liquids. Some concealers work by changing the color of your scalp, while others use fibers that cling to your hair to create the appearance of extra thickness.
Each type of hair loss concealer works slightly differently — something we’ve discussed in more detail below.
Hair loss concealers work in several ways. Some concealers change the color of your scalp in order to make bald areas less obvious. Some work by visually thickening your hair through the use of fibers or powders.
Fiber hair loss concealers, or hair fibers, are small fibers made from proteins such as keratin. They come in a variety of different colors to match your natural hair and have an appearance similar to a coarse powder.
Hair fibers have a static charge, allowing them to cling to your natural hairs. When sprinkled or sprayed into your hair, the hair fibers attach and create the illusion of thickness in areas of your scalp affected by hair loss.
When applied properly, hair fibers are pretty durable. They’ll usually stay firmly attached to your natural hair in most conditions, allowing you to add some extra thickness for occasions in which you’d like to look your best.
Powder hair loss concealers work by temporarily changing the color of your scalp. They’re similar to the concealer makeup sold by many cosmetic companies, which is designed to hide spots, dark spots and blemishes on the skin.
Like hair fibers, powder hair loss concealers come in a range of colors to match the appearance of your natural hair. They’re applied to your scalp using a brush or sponge to give thinning areas the appearance of thicker, fuller hair.
Liquid hair loss concealers work in a variety of ways. Some are similar to mascara and work by adding artificial thickness to your existing hair, usually by coating the hair shaft with ingredients that cling to it and make it appear thicker.
Others work by applying an artificial color to your scalp, reducing the level of contrast between your hair and the color of your skin. Some liquid hair loss concealers come in spray form, while others come with an applicator and are applied similarly to makeup.
If your hair is starting to thin, or if you already have significant hair loss, using a concealer offers several advantages:
The appearance of thicker hair. When used correctly, good quality hair loss concealers are quite effective. Many are available in a range of colors and create the appearance of thicker hair, making them useful for concealing bald or thin spots.
while there’s not a lot of research on hair loss concealers, the data that’s available tends to be positive. For example, an anonymous survey of hair concealer users found that 71 percent reported improved self-esteem as a result of their concealer use.
Value for money. Most hair loss concealers are inexpensive. You can find good quality, well-reviewed hair loss concealers online and in drugstores, with a whole month’s supply costing under a hundred bucks..
Speed. Medications like minoxidil and finasteride are highly effective, but they can take months to start working. While using a hair loss concealer won’t stop hair loss, it works right away and produces an immediate, easily noticeable improvement.
Convenience. Most hair loss concealers can be applied in a couple of minutes before an important event, making them convenient options if you only need to add thickness on certain occasions.
Hair loss concealers also have several disadvantages. These can vary depending on the type and brand of hair concealer you plan to use. Disadvantages include:
Effectiveness. One of the biggest advantages of hair loss concealers is that they tend to be quick and easy to use. Unfortunately, there’s a flipside to this — many concealers only provide results for a short period of time.
Although some hair loss concealers are water and windproof, almost all concealers will wash out when you shampoo your hair.
Appearance. While some hair loss concealers look extremely natural, others can look a little artificial, especially if you only have a small amount of hair left. You may need to try several hair loss concealers to find one that works well for you.
Messy application. Some hair loss concealers — particularly powders and liquids — can have a messy application process. Others can rub off on pillows, hats and other surfaces that come into contact with your hair.
Side effects. Although hair loss concealers are generally safe, some people may notice irritation, itching and other side effects. Some users of hair loss concealers report feeling anxiety about their hair looking unnatural or conspicuous.
Finally, it’s important to remember that hair loss concealers don’t actually stop or slow down hair loss. While your hair may look thicker temporarily, using a concealer won’t stimulate hair growth or block DHT like other hair loss treatments.
Using a hair loss concealer can be a quick, convenient way to boost thickness in areas of your scalp with noticeable thinning. Consider combining a hair loss concealer with one or several of the following hair loss treatments for better results:
Minoxidil. Minoxidil is a topical medication that stimulates hair growth and slows down hair loss. Used daily, it can help to stop you from losing hair and may even help you to grow back hair in areas with noticeable thinning.
We offer minoxidil online on its own or as part of our non-prescription kit for treating hair loss.
Finasteride. Finasteride is a prescription medication. It works by blocking the production of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which causes hair loss in men prone to male pattern baldness.
We offer finasteride online, following a consultation with a healthcare provider who will determine if a prescription is appropriate.
Some cosmetic and surgical procedures can also restore hair in areas with thinning or create the appearance of a thicker head of hair. These include:
Hair transplant surgery. This surgical procedure involves transplanting hairs from the back and sides of your head to the scalp and hairline.
Hair transplant surgery can be costly, with procedures typically priced in the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. However, it produces permanent results and may be a good option if you’d like to avoid relying on concealers over the long term.
Our guide to hair transplantation goes into more detail about how this procedure works, the different techniques that are currently available and more.
Non-surgical hair replacement. Several forms of non-surgical hair replacement are available. Options in this category include hair replacement systems (hairpieces) and micropigmentation procedures designed to camouflage hair loss.
We’ve talked more about non-surgical methods for concealing hair loss in our full guide to non-surgical hair replacement.
Hair loss concealers won’t treat hair loss, but they can be helpful for covering up hair loss and adding thickness during times when you’d like your hair to look thick, full and healthy.
Like other hair products, hair loss concealers can vary considerably in appearance, pricing and quality. For best results, you may need to experiment with several concealers to find one that’s a good match for your natural hair color, texture and thickness.
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