Keeps is one of the largest hair loss brands on the market. Their products are marketed to men, and the brand claims that "keeping your hair has never been easier" thanks to their "clinically-proven products."
But are Keeps products really clinically proven to prevent hair loss or are these just marketing claims? Do they contain any unhealthy additive ingredients? Is Keeps overpriced compared to other hair loss brands that provide similar active ingredients? And how do real users rate and describe the effects of Keeps?
In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more as we analyze the ingredients in the most popular Keeps products based on medical studies to give our take on whether or not they're likely to be effective. We'll explain if they're likely to cause side effects.
We'll also review the ingredients in Keeps shampoo and conditioner and compare the cost of Keeps to similar hair loss treatments to see if Keeps is overpriced.
Does Keeps Work?
The core offering of Keeps is a two-part medication: finasteride and minoxidil. These are generic drugs which are FDA-approved and shown in clinical research to stop and reverse hair loss. These ingredients are not unique to Keeps. Many brands sell them.
Finasteride is an oral medication that works by limiting conversion of testosterone (T) to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the body, because DHT causes baldness. The dosage of 1 milligram (mg) finasteride used by Keeps is an effective dose according to a 2022 medical review.
Another medical review published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment found that finasteride can increase hair growth. After 48 weeks of treatment, patients taking finasteride increased total hair count by thousands.
Minoxidil is a topical solution that’s the generic version of Rogaine. Keeps contains minoxidil at a concentration of 5%, which is the most effective dose according to a 2022 clinical trial which found that it significantly increased hair regrowth.
Minoxidil is also shown to increase hair density as we documented in our review of Nioxin shampoo, which means it can make existing hair thicker.
Overall we consider Keeps to be effective at stopping and reversing hair loss because it contains two FDA-approved medications at effective doses. But does Keeps cause side effects? We'll review in the next section.
Does Keeps Cause Side Effects?
Both of the generic drugs used by Keeps can cause side effects.
A small percentage of men taking finasteride (<5%) experience sexual side effects such as erectile dysfunction and loss of libido. The concerning thing about this small risk is that those who do experience these side effects can suffer with them for long after the medication is discontinued.
There is even a term defined in medical literature called post-finasteride syndrome because of the consistency of these sexual side effects in a small subset of men.
Minoxidil has a more mild side effect profile since it’s just a topical solution.
The side effects of minoxidil aren’t nearly as well-publicized as finasteride, but it has been shown in a clinical trial to inhibit collagen production in the skin. This study was in vitro, meaning it was a test tube study which is a weaker standard of evidence than a trial with real human participants.
This study suggests that topical minoxidil may accelerate skin aging and increase wrinkles, given that collagen is the core structural protein in skin and is responsible for its youthful effect.
Real, Unsponsored Keeps User Reviews
A YouTube creator named "IHuntHealth" has a Keeps review with over 60,000 views that includes before-and-after images:
Keeps has been reviewed 45 times on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) site, with an average rating of 2 out of 5 stars. This sounds bad, but it's actually a decent rating because that site is where most customers go to complain.
Several customers like "Matt H" complain that cancelling a recurring Keeps subscription is challenging:
"I signed up for the subscription and it took a month to get my order. They then auto refill you without notification and I still had over half of my previous order left. I tried to cancel the order and it took 2 weeks and multiple emails and phone calls. Then 2 weeks later it auto filled again which was another fight to try to get my subscription cancelled."
To the credit of Keeps, they respond and try to resolve every customer complaint which is a sign of a high-quality brand.
Is Keeps Overpriced?
Keeps sells generic drugs as their core offering, and these same drugs are sold at a cheaper price by other retailers. Here's a cost breakdown:
Finasteride 1 mg, 90 tablets
Cost Plus Drugs: $7.50 (link)
Minoxidil 5% Foam, 2.11 ounces
Amazon: $14.99 (link)
Minoxidil 5% Solution, 2 ounces
Amazon: $14.99 (link)
In our opinion, Keeps is overpriced. The company relies on great branding to sell generic drugs at a steep markup, while the exact same active drug ingredients can be purchased much cheaper at other retailers.
Is Keeps Shampoo Effective?
Keeps sells two different types of shampoo: 2% ketoconazole shampoo and Keeps Thickening Shampoo.
Ketoconazole was shown in a clinical trial published in the Dermatology journal to cause hair regrowth at the same concentration as in Keeps' shampoo. It's one of the most common and most effective shampoo ingredients for hair loss.
We consider this shampoo likely to be effective, but we don't recommend it because Keeps doesn't publish the full ingredient list, which is a consumer safety issue. We're surprised that a brand as large as Keeps would fail to clearly publish ingredient lists for all of their products.
Keeps Thickening Shampoo also has no ingredient list on the product page on Keeps' website, but there is an ingredient list in one of the product's images on Amazon.
Saw palmetto extract is featured as a key ingredient in this formulation. This botanical compound has been clinically shown to regrow hair when taken orally, as we documented in our ScalpMED reviews article, but we can't find any evidence that it regrows hair when used topically.
Green tea extract may stimulate hair growth according to a 2019 medical review, although the majority of clinical trials proving such are animal studies and not human studies.
While Keeps Thickening Shampoo contains some potentially effective ingredients, it also contains phenoxyethanol, a synthetic preservative shown to be toxic to human cells in a 2020 clinical trial.
We do not recommend Keeps Thickening Shampoo due to the inclusion of this ingredient, and we consider the ketoconzaole shampoo to be more likely to be effective.
Our Non-Toxic Hair Growth Picks
Hair loss can be caused by a number of factors, from hormones to stress to vitamin deficiencies and more. Without determining the cause, it’s impossible 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 who can 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.
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. It's entirely free of questionable additives.
Interested consumers can check out Acure Vivacious Volume Shampoo at this link to its official Amazon listing.
Pros and Cons of Keeps
Here are the pros and cons of Keeps as a brand in our opinion:
- Effective, FDA-approved medications
- Great branding
- Online ordering is discreet
- Effective doses
- Can get same drugs cheaper elsewhere
- Failure to publish full ingredient lists
- Some customers complain of recurring order issues
- Shampoo contains questionable preservative