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Nioxin vs. Rogaine: Which is Better for Hair Loss?

Mary Lucas, RN

Medically reviewed by Mary Lucas, RN

Written by Our Editorial Team

Last updated 6/3/2022

If you ever watched infomercials back in the day, it was common to see in the wee hours of the evening a commercial that claimed miraculous results for hair loss or a way to stop hair loss altogether. Nowadays, perhaps you scroll on your phone on Instagram and see similar claims.

Whatever age of marketing and ads we’re in, the question remains… What's best for hair loss? What’s best for hair growth? And what actually works? 

In this article, we will walk you through two different hair products (although you’ll see how they are also quite similar), Nioxin® and Rogaine®, so you can learn the best use, effective treatment, potential side effects and efficacy of both. 

Nioxin vs. Rogaine 

Nioxin and Rogaine are both brands that sell hair care products.

Nioxin has products like shampoos, conditioners, deep conditioners and hair thinning kits. Their hair loss product is a 5% minoxidil treatment used in liquid and foam form at the top of the scalp. 

Rogaine, on the other hand, just sells hair loss products. Rogaine was the first brand FDA-approved hair growth product to sell minoxidil as a topical hair loss product. Now, Rogaine sells two different hair loss products — a serum and a foam. 

What Is Minoxidil? 

Minoxidil is an active ingredient that was discovered in the 1980s to be effective for treating hair loss. Originally, it was approved for androgenetic alopecia, also known as male pattern baldness, in a 2% solution. However, over time, 5% solution options became available. 

Now, however, Minoxidil is used to treat a variety of types of hair loss, including:

Although minoxidil has been shown in numerous clinical studies to combat several different types of hair loss, it is only approved by the FDA for one type — male pattern baldness. 

Though Minoxidil’s exact mechanism of action isn’t yet known, researchers believe it works by increasing blood flow to the scalp, encouraging hair follicles to activate and being a hair growth stimulator. 

Minoxidil changes your hair growth cycle, extending the growth phase (anagen) and shortening the resting phase (telogen). 

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Is Minoxidil Effective? 

Numerous clinical trials have shown minoxidil to be effective for improving male pattern baldness. 

For example, one 2004 study studied minoxidil treatment in almost 1,000 men. Researchers found that for most of the men in the study, minoxidil made the balding area smaller. 

Another important find is that different concentrations of minoxidil have different effectiveness. For example, researchers in one study found that not only did minoxidil 5% solution perform better in men with androgenetic alopecia and patients had fuller hair, but they also saw quicker results. 

That said, how effective minoxidil is varies on a case-by-case basis. Minoxidil efficacy may differ depending on how someone processes enzymes (sulfotransferase), and so the extent of how effective minoxidil will be for those with pattern hair loss may depend on this. 

Nioxin vs. Rogaine Dosage

Nioxin and Rogaine both have 5% of minoxidil in their products, and Rogaine also offers a 2% product. 

However, you may find other hair loss products on the market that have varying amounts of minoxidil. So just take a look and remember that 5% has been shown in some cases to be more effective than 2%. 

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Before/after images shared by customers who have purchased varying products, including prescription based products. These customers’ results have not been independently verified. Individual results will vary. Customers were given free product.

Side Effects of Nioxin vs. Rogaine 

Since Nioxin and Rogaine contain the same active ingredient (minoxidil), their side effects profiles are very similar.

Although minoxidil can work great as a hair loss treatment for different hair types, it can come with side effects. The most common side effects are skin irritation, including itchy scalp or scaliness. 

Some people decide to use a lower dosage of minoxidil, like 2%, as it can still be effective but may cause less scalp irritation. 

Allergies specific to minoxidil can occur, but it’s much less common. In this case, it’s recommended to discontinue any minoxidil hair loss treatment and look to a different solution for hair loss.

Is There Any Difference? 

So, is there really any difference between these two products? Probably not much — both are minoxidil topical treatments. 

Both Nioxin and Rogaine have two different types of minoxidil options — a foam and a solution. It’s unclear if the foam or solution works better than the other. However, both have been found to be effective. 

Nioxin, on the other hand, also offers a variety of other products, including a line geared towards hair thinning. That being said, these products have a variety of ingredients that may have not been sufficiently researched individually or in combination with each other. 

Other Hair Loss Products 

Given that these two products are quite similar, you may want to consider other hair loss products

Although minoxidil is proven to be effective, other hair loss remedy options like finasteride are also effective. 

Other options include herbs or hair products that do not have research to back them but are popular for some. 

Finasteride 

The FDA has approved finasteride for male pattern baldness. Finasteride is an oral medication that can significantly increase scalp coverage and male hair counts compared to those that do not take it. 

It’s important to note, however, that finasteride is only available with a prescription, where Rogaine and Nioxin can be over-the-counter hair loss products.

Saw Palmetto 

Saw palmetto is a herbal remedy that some choose for hair loss — perhaps it’s because saw palmetto can help with the medical condition, benign prostatic hyperplasia (an enlarged prostate) without impacting testosterone, that people thought it might help hair loss. 

There are limited studies that show saw palmetto may be beneficial, and while these studies look promising, more research is definitely needed.

Biotin 

Biotin is another popular remedy/ supplement to help stimulate hair growth (as well as nail and skin health). 

This B vitamin is found in many foods like eggs, organ meats (liver, kidneys, etc.), nuts, soybeans and other legumes, bananas and more, but can also be found in supplement form.

However, typically, biotin has only proven effective to help hair loss in studies where patients were experiencing a biotin deficiency — which is rare. 

Hair loss treatments, delivered

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Topical Finasteride

If a pill feels like an overwhelming way to treat male pattern hair loss, this spray with finasteride & minoxidil could be for you.

Minoxidil Solution

Generic for Rogaine®, this FDA-approved over-the-counter version of topical minoxidil is used for regrowth on the crown of the head.

Finasteride & Minoxidil

This is the FDA-approved dynamic duo. When used together, men saw better results in clinical trials compared to using either alone.

Oral Finasteride

If you’re looking for something effective but don’t want too many steps in your routine, this once-a-day pill could be right for you.

Minoxidil Foam

Clinically proven to regrow hair in 3-6 months, no pills required.




Nioxin vs. Rogaine Recap

Nioxin and Rogaine are both effective options for hair loss. Deciding between the two may simply depend on personal preference of brand.

Minoxidil is an effective option for hair loss and can help treat male pattern baldness, increasing hair count and coverage. However, the exact results will be on an individual to individual basis, as minoxidil effectiveness may vary based on how your body processes it. 

If you have a specific medical condition causing hair loss, you may want to consider other options, or speak with a medical professional.

6 Sources

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

  1. Suchonwanit, P., Thammarucha, S., & Leerunyakul, K. (2019). Minoxidil and its use in hair disorders: a review. Drug design, development and therapy, 13, 2777–2786. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6691938/
  2. Badri T, Nessel TA, Kumar D D. Minoxidil. Updated 2021 Apr 13. In: StatPearls Internet. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482378/
  3. Rundegren, J. (2004). A one-year observational study with minoxidil 5% solution in Germany: results of independent efficacy evaluation by physicians and patients 1. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 50(3), P91.Retrieved from: https://www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(03)03692-2/fulltext
  4. Olsen EA, Dunlap FE, Funicella T, Koperski JA, Swinehart JM, Tschen EH, Trancik RJ. A randomized clinical trial of 5% topical minoxidil versus 2% topical minoxidil and placebo in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia in men. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2002 Sep;47(3):377-85. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12196747/
  5. Purnak, T., Senel, E., & Sahin, C. (2011). Liquid formulation of minoxidil versus its foam formulation. Indian journal of dermatology, 56(4), 462. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3179030/
  6. Bandaranayake, I., & Mirmirani, P. (2004). Hair loss remedies-separating fact from fiction. CUTIS-NEW YORK-, 73(2), 107-114. Retrieved from: https://cdn.mdedge.com/files/s3fs-public/Document/September-2017/073020107.pdf

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.