Do Hair Growth Sprays Work?

Mary Lucas, RN

Medically reviewed by Mary Lucas, MSCIS, MPhil, RN

Written by Our Editorial Team

Last updated 10/25/2021

Have you noticed a widening part? Or perhaps you’re dealing with overall hair thinning. Either way, losing your hair can be alarming.

Female pattern baldness, medically referred to as androgenetic alopecia, affects 40 percent of women by the time they are fifty.

The bad news: You’re not alone in the hair loss struggle.

And while losing your hair can be incredibly frustrating, there is a silver lining: There are proven ways to get back on the healthy hair growth train. 

Or, at the very least, there are treatments that can help prevent further hair loss. 

One product thought to help: hair growth spray. But no one wants to spend time or energy on a product that may not work, so let's look closer at these sprays and dive into whether they work or not. But first, a little more info on hair loss.

The Lowdown on Hair Loss

As mentioned above, female pattern baldness is not at all uncommon, even though hair loss can also occur due to stress, hairstyle choices — and even as the side effect of certain medications. 

Here’s a quick cheat sheet on how these things affect hair health: 

  • If you are ill or have major stress, it can cause temporary hair loss called telogen effluvium. If you’re dealing with this, you’ll most likely notice hair loss all over, rather than concentrated in one area of your scalp. 

  • If you have a health condition that requires medication, you may also deal with telogen effluvium as a result. Medications known to cause hair loss include beta-blockers, anticoagulants and retinoids.

  • A tight ponytail, braids, weave or dreadlocks can tug at your scalp and lead to damaged hair. Think twice before rocking these styles because they can cause permanent hair loss via a condition known as traction alopecia. It’s worth noting that colored hair is also more prone to damage and can fall out. 

Back to female pattern baldness: It occurs because of both genetics and hormonal factors.

Female pattern baldness is caused by a hormone by the name of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). 

Genetic predisposition to this type of baldness causes DHT to attach to receptors in your scalp, causing hair follicles to restrict. 

This restriction makes it hard for new hair to grow. Because of this you may see fuller hair suddenly become more sparse or even notice bald spots pop up. 

If this happens to you, you may want to start looking at treatments to promote hair health — like hair growth sprays. 

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Do Hair Growth Sprays Work? 

Now for the big question. It’s important to know that ‘hair growth spray’ is a pretty general term. To really weigh in on whether they work, we have to get a bit more specific. 

When most people talk about hair growth spray, they’re often referring to minoxidil, which also comes as drops or a foam. 

Hair growth sprays are meant to be spritzed directly onto the hair roots and are thought to promote a healthy scalp. 

Minoxidil 

Minoxidil is an FDA-approved medication that doesn’t require a prescription. It comes in a liquid or foam solution. 

It isn't exactly known how minoxidil works, but it’s thought to stimulate hair follicles to enter the anagen (growth) phase. 

Minoxidil also may stimulate hair growth by increasing blood flow to the scalp. 

So, does it really work? Well, a 2019 review of this medication suggests that both men and women suffering from pattern hair loss found that it improved hair growth. 

Natural Hair Growth Sprays

There are other spray options on the market that contain more natural ingredients — like rosemary or ginger extract. 

These ingredients are thought to stimulate blood circulation to encourage hair growth. But research on their effectiveness is limited. 

There was one small study that did suggest that rosemary essential oil may be as effective as minoxidil. To reiterate, this study was small and conducted for only a short time. 

Just be careful if you have sensitive skin, as these ingredients could be irritating. 

If you do opt to try a natural hair growth spray and notice you suddenly have an itchy scalp or any other symptoms, stop using the spray immediately and contact a healthcare professional. 

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Considering Hair Growth Sprays

It’s a bummer to have to deal with female pattern baldness, or any of the other types of hair loss. 

Thankfully, there are many options available to treat the different forms of hair loss and help you get back on the road to healthier hair. 

One option? Well, hair growth spray — and specifically, a spray that contains minoxidil

You could try a nourishing spray that utilizes natural ingredients, too. All of these sprays are thought to encourage scalp health and hair growth. 

If you’re interested in finding the best treatment option for your specific case of hair loss or want to achieve thicker hair, it’s best to speak with a healthcare provider. 

13 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. Androgenetic Alopecia. Medline Plus. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/androgenetic-alopecia/
  2. Hughes, E.C. & Saleh, D. (2020, June 9). Telogen Effluvium. StatPearls. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430848/
  3. Traction Alopecia (2021, January). StatPearls. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470434/
  4. Drug Induced Hair Loss. American Hair Loss Association. Retrieved from https://www.americanhairloss.org/drug_induced_hair_loss/
  5. Androgenetic Alopecia. Medline Plus. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/androgenetic-alopecia/
  6. Kinter, K., Anekar, A., (2021, January). Biochemistry, Dihydrotestosterone. StatPearls. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557634/
  7. Cranwell, W., Sinclair, R., (2000). Male Androgenetic Alopecia. Endotext. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK278957/
  8. Badri, T., Nessel, T.A. & Kumar, D.D. (2020, May 4). Minoxidil. StatPearls. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482378/
  9. 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/
  10. Yanagisawa, M., et al. (2019, January). Long-term (10-year) efficacy of finasteride in 523 Japanese men with androgenetic alopecia. Clinical Research and Trials. 5, 1-5. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/337105943_Long-term_10-year_efficacy_of_finasteride_in_523_Japanese_men_with_androgenetic_alopecia
  11. Finasteride (2018). Medline Plus. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a698016.html
  12. Hu, R., et al. (2015, June 2). Combined treatment with oral finasteride and topical minoxidil in male androgenetic alopecia: a randomized and comparative study in Chinese patients. Dermatologic Therapy. 28 (5), 303-308. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/dth.12246
  13. Panahi, Y., Taghizadeh, M., Marzony, E., et al., (2015, Jan-Feb). Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: a randomized comparative trial. Skin Med. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25842469/

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.

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