Happy Head is a hair growth product that uses FDA-approved medications topically. The brand claims they can help customers “Grow Your Hair Back Now,” and that their proprietary formulas are “stronger & customized to your needs.”
But is topical hair growth medication as effective as oral hair growth medication? What drugs does Happy Head actually use? Are there any risks associated with this type of treatment? And how do real users rate and describe the effects of Happy Head?
In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we analyze clinical trials on the drugs used by Happy Head to give our take on whether they’re likely to be effective, or if they’re a waste of money.
We’ll discuss side effects, share our opinion on the pros and cons of topical hair growth treatments to oral hair growth treatments, and feature unsponsored customer reviews of the brand.
The active ingredients in Happy Head are shown above, from a statement published on the “FAQ” page on the brand’s website.
Happy Head is custom-formulated, meaning these ingredients are subject to change, but the brand indicates that these are the most commonly-used.
Finasteride is an FDA-approved hair loss medication that’s available both orally and topically. A 2022 clinical trial analyzed the effectiveness of topical finasteride and concluded that it “significantly improves hair count compared to placebo.”
The above-linked trial used a finasteride concentration of 2%, while the concentration in Happy Head’s most popular formulation is only 0.3%.
A clinical trial published in the Indian Dermatology Online Journal found that topical finasteride was effective for hair loss when used in combination with topical minoxidil.
Minoxidil is an FDA-approved hair loss treatment that was clinically shown to increase hair count in men by 11% at a lower concentration as in Happy Head, as we documented in our Scalp Med reviews article.
A meta-study published in the Skinmed journal analyzed data from a number of clinical trials on topical minoxidil, and the study authors concluded that it’s effective for promoting hair growth.
Hydrocortisone is included at a concentration of 1%. This is a type of corticosteroid medication, and corticosteroids were shown in a 2022 clinical trial to be effective for reducing and reversing hair loss associated with alopecia areata, which causes patchy hair loss and is less common than the dominant, hormone-driven hair loss pattern.
Retinoic acid, when combined with minoxidil, was shown to regrow hair in 66% of subjects studied in a clinical trial published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
Overall, we consider Happy Head to be one of the most potent and likely effective hair growth formulations that we’ve reviewed on Illuminate Health. All of its active ingredients have research backing.
Our only concern is that the inactive ingredients are not clearly published on the brand’s website.
Perhaps this formulation contains no inactive ingredients, and the above-listed ingredients are the only ingredients in the final product, but many cosmetic products contain ingredients like fragrance that may be questionable from a health perspective.
We hope that in the future, Happy Head clarifies this on their website. We would consider strongly recommending this product line if the inactive ingredients were clearly published.
But are topical hair growth products really safer than oral medication? We’ll discuss in the next section.
Hair Loss Meds and Sexual Side Effects
The FDA-approved hair loss medications sold by Happy Head can, in rare cases, cause long-term sexual side effects like erectile dysfunction (ED).
A 2015 medical review on oral finasteride and topical minoxidil use for hair loss documented that 7% of patients experienced reduced ejaculation, 4% experienced reduced sex drive and 3% experienced ED as side effects.
This suggests that topical hair loss products, like those sold by Happy Head, may be safer since less of the active drug ingredient may be systemically absorbed.
A 2012 medical review suggests that the topical use of minoxidil only carries the risk of minor side effects such as irritation of the skin at the site where the solution is applied.
A 2019 medical review examined data on topical finasteride use, and the study authors concluded that its use “may be a promising treatment with a less severe side effect profile compared to systemic therapy.”
We have not come across any medical studies suggesting that topical use of these drugs causes sexual side effects.
The early research on these compounds is definitely promising, and brands like Happy Head may provide a risk profile that’s a lot more favorable to the average hair loss patient than an oral drug that may cause sexual side effects.
But how do real users rate and describe the effects of Happy Head? We’ll review in the next section.
Real Users Review Happy Head
A YouTube creator named Milton Chizer has a video reviewing Happy Head that includes before-and-after images:
Dr. Ben Behnam, who’s a board-certified dermatologist, has a video showing results from Happy Head treatment on a real patient:
Do Natural Hair Loss Treatments Work?
A Good Morning America segment discusses some natural hair loss treatments and their potential effectiveness with a doctor correspondent:
Pros and Cons of Happy Head
Here are the pros and cons of Happy Head in our opinion:
- Uses FDA-approved hair loss meds
- Founded by doctors
- Highly potent formulations
- Should support hair growth
- May have reduced risk compared to oral medications
- Some impressive customer before-and-after images
- Brand fails to clearly publish inactive ingredients
- Proprietary formulations don’t appear clinically tested
- May cause scalp irritation