Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s). We recommend that patients follow their doctor's guidance in regard to hair loss.
Rogaine is one of the most popular hair loss treatments in the world. It’s typically used by and marketed to men, but Rogaine also sells a hair loss line for women, and the brand claims that "Regrowing hair is easy."
But is Rogaine for Women proven to work, or is this just a marketing claim? Does the treatment cause any side effects? Can it worsen skin quality? And how do real users rate and describe the effects of Rogaine for Women?
In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more as we analyze the ingredients in Rogaine for Women based on medical studies to give our take on whether the brand is likely to be effective, and which concentration is the best option.
We'll discuss side effects, feature unsponsored user reviews of the brand and explain whether or not this treatment is FDA-approved, and why it matters.
The ingredients in Women's Rogaine 5% Minoxidil Unscented Foam are shown above. This is the more potent of the two Rogaine for Women products.
Minoxidil is the sole active ingredient, and is one of the most well-studied compounds for treating hair loss.
A medical review published in the Skin Therapy Letter journal evaluated whether minoxidil at the exact same concentrations as that in Women’s Rogaine was effective for treating female pattern hair loss.
Both concentrations of minoxidil were found to be similarly effective at improving symptoms of hair loss. Target area hair count increased by around 20 new hairs per square centimeter.
A clinical trial comparing 5% and 2% minoxidil for androgenic alopecia in women found both treatments effective, but 5% applied once-daily was superior to 2% applied twice-daily both in regard to side effects and efficacy.
Women using 5% minoxidil experienced increases in target hair count and target hair width, and subjective improvements in perceived hair quality.
A 2020 clinical trial found that topical minoxidil was just as effective as oral minoxidil for treating female pattern hair loss. This is an important result because oral drugs typically have more side effects than topical drugs, since more of the active ingredient can be absorbed into the bloodstream.
Based on the available research, we consider both concentrations (5% and 2%) of Rogaine for Women likely to be effective for hair loss in women. 5% may be slightly more effective.
The inactive ingredients in this formulation are safe and non-toxic.
But how do real users rate and describe the effects of Rogaine for Women? We'll feature unsponsored user reviews, including before-and-after images, in the next section.
Real Users Review Rogaine for Women
A YouTube creator named Jengira Begue shared her experience using Rogaine for Women for one full year, and included before and after images:
A YouTube creator named "Still GlamorUs" shared her experience using Women's Rogaine:
Can Rogaine Degrade Skin Quality?
One of the theoretical, and unlikely, side effects of Rogaine for Women is a decrease in skin quality. This side effect has not been proven in human trials but in vitro (test tube) which is a weaker standard of evidence.
As we documented in our does Keeps work article on another hair loss brand with the same active ingredient as Rogaine, one clinical trial found minoxidil to significantly reduce collagen synthesis (by around 50%). Here is the link to the full study for those curious.
Collagen is the core structural protein in skin, and its degradation with age is one of the primary reasons that elderly people have degraded skin compared to younger people.
We don’t believe this is enough medical evidence to suggest that Rogaine reduces skin quality. However, we would like to see human trials evaluating the effects of topical minoxidil on collagen synthesis and skin quality generally.
This may be a concern for consumers with skin issues or who are worried about skin aging generally to bring up with their doctor or dermatologist prior to using Rogaine.
But what are the more common side effects of Rogaine? We'll answer that question in the next section.
Does Rogaine Cause Side Effects?
The side effects of the active ingredient in Rogaine for Women are well documented. A 2023 medical review documents the most common side effects, which are relatively mild: redness, irritation and excessive hair growth.
The final side effect is noted because this excessive hair growth may occur in places other than the scalp. Some women may be concerned about the prospect of excessive hair growth in areas other than the scalp, so this may be worth discussing with a dermatologist.
A rare but serious side effect of the active ingredient in Rogaine, according to the above-linked review, is fetal malformation.
This report was from one single case study, but we believe it's worth sharing this information with consumers.
But which retailer sells Women's Rogaine for the best price? We'll feature a cost breakdown in the next section.
Where to Buy Rogaine for Women for the Best Price
Rogaine for Women is sold at a variety of online retailers. Here's a price breakdown for a one-time purchase at the time of publishing this article:
CVS: $41.29 (free shipping)
Brand website: $33.99 (free shipping, link)
Amazon: $29.98 (free shipping, link)
Walgreens: $44.99 (free shipping)
Amazon: $37.11 (free shipping)
Brand website: $26.39 (free shipping, link)
The higher-concentration version of Women's Rogaine is currently cheaper on Amazon, but it's listed by a third-party seller so it may be prudent to purchase directly from the manufacturer.
Dermatologist on Rogaine for Women
One of the most popular YouTube reviews of Rogaine for Women is published by a dermatologist named “Dr Dray.”
She provides an overview of the treatment and answers common questions:
Is Rogaine FDA Approved?
Rogaine’s products for women are FDA approved and available over-the-counter (OTC).
The FDA only approves medication after a thorough review of efficacy and safety, so this is a good sign for the legitimacy of the brand.
Only using FDA-approved medications may protect consumers from harmful or illegal products.
The active ingredient in Women’s Rogaine is actually the only FDA-approved topical treatment for female pattern hair loss at the time of updating this article.
It’s important to note that dietary supplements and most cosmetics are not subject to approval by the FDA; only drugs are. Since Rogaine contains a pharmaceutical active ingredient, it’s subject to approval.
Real Customers Review Rogaine for Women
Amazon is a better resource for honest customer reviews than a brand's website in our opinion.
Women's Rogaine 5% Concentration has been reviewed over 16,000 times on Amazon, with an average customer review rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars.
The top positive review from a verified purchaser comes from a user named “Regan D. Sinclair” who claims the product has improved hair growth in her widow’s peaks:
“Glad i waited because I can really see my widow’s peaks filling in! Supposedly the hair continues to fill in and thicken up for months to come. I’m keeping it up for sure.”
The top negative review written by a verified purchaser comes from a user named “Carrie Stewart” who claims the product had no effect on her hair:
“I was one of the unlucky few for whom Rogaine has no effect. I kept using it every day for 6 months, but nothing happened. It doesn't mean Rogaine is no good -- it means it doesn't grow hair for everyone.”
How Does Rogaine for Women Work?
The active ingredient in Women’s Rogaine causes a number of biological changes to the body which inhibit hair loss and increase hair growth.
According to a medical review published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment, the active ingredient in Women's Rogaine is both a vasodilator and an anti-inflammatory agent.
Since pattern baldness is aggravated by local inflammation, this may halt or even reverse the process. Vasodilation refers to blood vessels widening, which may allow more nutrients to reach the hair follicles.
The study authors also note that minoxidil may be an “antiandrogen.” This means that the active ingredient in Rogaine blocks androgenic activity locally, which can halt hair loss. In both male and female pattern baldness, androgens (which refer to hormones such as testosterone) either cause or exacerbate hair loss.
Minoxidil also increases the duration of the anagen phase, which is the phase of the hair cycle where new hair follicles grow.
All of these biological changes seem to have a synergistic effect which is demonstrated in the research proving how effective minoxidil is at increasing hair growth.
An animated video from the "XVIVO Scientific Animation" site shows how Rogaine works to cause hair growth:
Can Women Use Men’s Rogaine?
The ingredients in both Men’s Rogaine and Women’s Rogaine are exactly the same. Even the inactive ingredients are exactly the same. This suggests that women can use Men’s Rogaine and should see the same effects.
The only difference between the two products is branding. We don’t believe this is a negative thing, since the active ingredient in both formulations is the only FDA-approved pharmaceutical ingredient to treat hair loss in both women and men, as discussed earlier in the article.
In our opinion, women can use Men's Rogaine without any increased risk, but there's no point in doing so.
Our Clean Hair Growth Picks
Happy Head Topical is our top hair growth solution.
This formulation uses FDA-approved hair loss ingredients like minoxidil which is clinically shown to increase hair count by 11%.
The brand also publishes the percentage concentration of each active ingredient, which is a sign of quality and transparency.
Interested consumers can check out Happy Head Topical Finasteride & Minoxidil at this link to the product page on the brand's official website.
Nutrafol Hair Serum is our top over-the-counter (OTC) hair growth and hair quality promoter.
This product contains Lactobacillus probiotics which were shown to promote hair growth in a medical review published in the Molecules journal.
Niacinamide is included, and a 2021 clinical trial concluded that "Our data demonstrate that niacinamide could enhance hair growth."
Interested consumers can check out Nutrafol Hair Serum at this link to the product page on the brand's official website.
Pros and Cons of Women's Rogaine
Here are the pros and cons of Women's Rogaine in our opinion:
- FDA-approved active ingredient
- Significant research backing
- Should slow hair loss
- Should cause hair growth
- No harmful inactive ingredients
- Relatively affordable
- May cause local irritation
- May worsen skin quality (though this needs to be studied further)