Capillus is a tech startup with an interesting premise: that waves of infrared light emitted inside of a hat can regrow hair in only 6 minutes a day. The brand describes their technology as "clinically proven" and claims that it can "send vital nutrients to your hair follicles, restarting the hair growth process."
But has red light therapy actually been proven in medical studies to regrow hair or are these just marketing claims? Are there any health risks associated with its use? Why was the manufacturer of Capillus sued? And how do real users rate and describe the effects of Capillus?
In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we review medical studies on red light therapy for hair loss to see if there's real science backing this approach.
We'll also review the specs of Capillus to see if it aligns with scientific research, highlight some questionable health claims on the Capillus site and feature real, unsponsored Capillus user reviews. We'll review a lawsuit against the manufacturer of Capillus and explain the allegations.
Can Red Light Therapy Regrow Hair?
Capillus is a red light device, which means that it emits red wavelengths of light. This type of technology has been studied for its effects on hair growth.
A clinical trial published in the Lasers in Surgery and Medicine journal found that red light therapy at a wavelength of 655 nanometers (nm) “significantly improved” hair counts in men with pattern baldness compared to a control group using incandescent red light.
There was a followup trial published in the same journal the following year, this time testing the effects of red light therapy on women with pattern baldness. The study found similar benefit in women; hair counts were significantly increased.
A 2019 medical review on red light therapy for hair loss suggested that the therapy may be more beneficial for women than men, because pattern baldness is driven by steroid hormones (androgens). Women have less of these hormones than men, and thus the therapy isn’t “constantly fighting against the influence of DHT” as it is in men.
The researchers suggested this is why red light therapy trials for hair loss have been slightly more favorable in female populations than male.
Overall we will conclude that red light therapy has the potential to cause hair regrowth. But is the Capillus specifically proven to work? We'll review in the next section.
Is the Capillus Proven to Work?
Just because red light therapy may be effective for hair loss doesn’t necessarily mean the Capillus will. It may be built with different specifications than the devices used in the clinical trials cited in the previous section.
There are several factors to consider in regard to red light devices and hair. Two of the most important are wavelength (of the red light), and irradiance. Wavelength measures the frequency of the light, and irradiance measures the power.
Capillus has three products: CapillusOne, CapillusPlus and CapillusPro.
All three Capillus devices use a red light wavelength of 650 nm, and this appears to be an effective wavelength, as it's within the range of the devices used in the clinical trials published in the previous section.
The power reading in megawatts (mW) for the Capillus lasers is 5, which is the same as that used in the medical studies above.
Another medical review on red light for hair loss concluded that “low-level light...at low powers of 5 mW, can enhance hair growth.”
It appears that the specs used by Capillus are grounded in good science. However, we do want to point out that we can't find any clinical trials on the Capillus devices specifically. Just on devices with similar specs.
While we believe that the Capillus is likely to be effective in both men and women because it's designed similar to devices shown to be effective in clinical trials, we cannot definitively claim that it's effective until the actual Capillus device is studied in clinical trials.
Where to Buy Capillus for the Best Price
Capillus is currently sold on the brand's website and on Amazon. Here's a price breakdown for their two cheapest products:
- Brand website: $719.20
- Amazon: $629.99 (link to official Amazon listing)
- Brand website: $1,359.20
- Amazon: $1,189.99 (link to official Amazon listing)
Prices on Amazon are currently around 10% cheaper.
Questionable Health Claims on Capillus Website
We disagree with several of the health claims on the Capillus website.
First, the company claims “clinically proven technology.” While red light therapy has been shown in clinical trials to be effective for hair loss, we can't find a single clinical trial testing Capillus specifically.
Second, we find the “6 mins a day” marketing claim made by Capillus to be unscientific.
Capillus fails to provide any proof that their devices work in only 6 minutes a day. This claim is uncited, and consumers should be wary of health brands making uncited and unproven claims.
Why Was Capillus Sued?
In 2020, the manufacturer of Capillus (a company by the name of Curallux) was sued over claims of false advertising.
The plaintiff named Janice Cooper claimed that Capillus caused the following side effects: itchy scalp, dry scalp, dandruff, headaches and dizziness.
The lawsuit also alleges that claims made by Capillus about physicians recommending their product are misleading because the physicians were compensated, or monetarily incenvitized, to do so.
At the time of updating this article, the status of the lawsuit is unclear.
We do not consider this lawsuit to signal any major risks to consumers. The side effects listed are relatively minor and we haven't seen such side effects reported in clinical trials on red light devices for hair loss. Further, there are no FDA warnings regarding Capillus which would be more concerning.
Real Customers Review Capillus
Capillus is sold on Amazon, which is a better resource for honest customer reviews in our opinion than a brand's website.
The most-reviewed Capillus product on Amazon is "CapillusUltra" and has been reviewed over 250 times with an average review rating of 4 out of 5 stars.
The top positive review from a verified purchaser comes from a user named "Sherry M. Nitta" who claims that Capillus has caused positive changes within one month of use:
"Truly amazing...I have tried all types of products (creams, pills, etc.) to improve my thinning hair - nothing but a lot of money wasted. I have only used this since 3/12/20 (3-1/2 weeks) following the directions 6 minutes daily and I can already tell this is working. My scalp is filling in enough that I tell, I see new hairs that of course pokes up from my normal style."
The top negative review from a verified purchaser is written by a user named "Flo" who claims it's been ineffective and is challenging to return:
"Didn't fit my head properly, it only work twice out of the week that I had it , and for only six minutes out of the two day I had it! Was not worth the $640 something that I paid for, on top of that it was hard trying to return this item, still waiting on my refund!"
A TikTok user named "ihavehairlosstoo" claims to have had a positive experience with Capillus:
@ihavehairlosstoo Reply to @rxzorcrest Capillus laser hair cap for androgenetic alopecia which is what I have. Capillus.com have a quiz where you can find out if a laser hair cap will work for you. I’d recommend a visit with your GP and maybe an initial appointment with a trichologist if possible to confirm the hair loss and if there are any other things going on for you, scalp etc. This along with other strategies have actually helped my hair loss. #femalehairloss #androgeneticalopecia #capillus #ihavehairlosstoo @ihavehairlosstoo @ihavehairlosstoo ♬ original sound - Anna-female hair loss tips
Our Recommended Hair Loss Solution
Hair loss can be caused by a number of factors, from hormones to stress to vitamin deficiencies and more. Without determining the cause of hair loss, it’s very challenging to effectively treat.
We recommend Sesame’s Video Hair Loss Consult because it’s a convenient way for patients to have a call with a credentialed medical expert like a doctor or dermatologist to determine the cause of the hair loss and prescribe treatment, from the comfort of their home.
Sesame is a leading online health platform that allows patients to order lab tests, connect with medical experts of nearly any specialty, and be prescribed medication.
Interested consumers can check out Sesame’s Video Hair Loss Consult service at this link to the official brand's website.
The hair growth shampoo we recommend is Acure Vivacious Volume Shampoo.
This shampoo is formulated with effective and non-toxic plant-based compounds like aloe vera juice and argan oil. It also contains rosemary leaf oil which was shown in a clinical trial published in the Phytotherapy Research journal to promote hair growth.
Interested consumers can check out Acure Vivacious Volume Shampoo at this Amazon link.
Pros and Cons of Capillus
Here are the pros and cons of Capillus as a brand in our opinion:
- Research-backed technology
- Likely to be somewhat effective
- No major side effects
- Can't find clinical trials on Capillus device specifically
- Questionable claims on website
- Faced customer lawsuit