If you’ve ever looked into wearable treatments for hair loss, you’ve likely come across low-level laser therapy (LLLT) devices such as the Capillus® Laser Cap.
Capillus is marketed as a way to treat hair loss at home, without any need to use medication or undergo hair surgery. It’s an innovative, interesting-looking product, but does it actually work as a treatment for hair loss?
The technology behind Capillus is certainly interesting, but research on the effectiveness of this type of hair growth cap is limited, especially when compared with other hair loss treatments like minoxidil and finasteride.
Below, we’ve explained more about what Capillus is, as well as how the technology behind this type of hair cap may help to treat and prevent hair loss.
We’ve also discussed other options you might want to consider if you’re beginning to develop a receding hairline, less thick head of hair or other symptoms of hair loss and want to stop them from getting worse.
Capillus is a brand of laser caps designed to stop hair loss and stimulate hair growth. The caps sold by Capillus contain low-level lasers that claim to stimulate, energize and renew cells inside your hair follicles through the use of targeted light.
Unlike most hair loss devices, the caps sold by Capillus look discrete and normal, with a design that’s almost identical to an off-the-shelf baseball cap. They’ve even been featured on TV -- one episode of Queer Eye mentioned the hair growth cap as a confidence-boosting device.
Capillus cap reviews are all over the internet, and if you’re starting to lose hair, it’s likely that you may have at least considered using a device of this type to stimulate growth.
Capillus offers several different caps, starting from the entry-level CapillusOne to the mid-range CapillusPlus and CapillusPro.
The Capillus laser therapy hats vary in laser energy output, spanning from 410 mW all the way up to 1,360 mW, with pricing from $999 to $2,999 per device. They also vary in laser coverage, from 112 laser diodes in the entry-level devices to 304 in the higher-end models.
According to Capillus, wearing a Capillus device for just six minutes a day is enough to promote hair growth and prevent hair loss from androgenetic alopecia from worsening.
Laser hair growth devices have been around for quite a while, but it’s only recently that discreet, non-bulky devices like Capillus have come onto the market.
Previously, most laser-based hair growth devices were bulky machines found in clinic offices, as well as combs, brushes and other handheld equipment.
Before we get into the specifics of how Capillus works, it’s helpful to understand how most forms of hair loss affect men in the first place.
Hair loss can happen for a variety of reasons, but by far the most common cause of hair loss for men is androgenic alopecia, or male pattern baldness.
Male pattern baldness develops as a result of genetic and hormonal factors, namely the effects of certain male sex hormones, called androgens, on your hair follicles.
If you’re prone to hereditary hair loss, a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) can attach to receptors in your scalp and cause your hair follicles to gradually miniaturize, or shrink.
As your hair follicles shrink, they stop producing new hairs, resulting in the classic thinning that occurs in men with male pattern baldness.
This process usually starts around your hairline, leading to a receding hairline, before affecting your crown and eventually most of your scalp.
This guide to DHT and male pattern baldness goes into more detail about the hair loss process, as well as the biological mechanics behind DHT.
Most treatments for hair loss work in one of two ways. Some work by blocking DHT, either at its source or at the hairline. This shields your hair follicles from the damaging effects of DHT, which can often slow down, stop or reverse the progression of male pattern baldness.
Others have no effect on your DHT levels, but work by stimulating hair growth at the scalp level, usually by promoting healthy blood flow or extending your natural hair cycle.
Laser devices like Capillus fall into the second category. Capillus doesn’t block DHT within your scalp or prevent your body from producing DHT in the first place. However, it does use focused, concentrated laser light to stimulate blood flow to your scalp.
Right now, there isn’t a large amount of scientific research on the effectiveness of low-level laser therapy devices such as Capillus for preventing hair loss and stimulating hair growth.
However, a few peer-reviewed studies that looked at the effects of laser hair growth treatments have produced some promising findings.
In a review published in the journal Lasers in Surgery and Medicine in 2014, researchers looked at clinical trials of low-level laser therapy technology in animals and in humans.
They found that laser technology helped stimulate hair growth in mice with hair shedding, and in men and women experiencing pattern hair loss.
The researchers theorized that laser technology might treat human scalp hair loss by increasing the proportion of hairs that are in the anagen (growth) stage of the hair growth process.
Despite these findings, the scientists also discussed in their review that more scientific research is required before we can know the true long-term effectiveness of laser treatments for hair loss in men and women.
Another review, which was published in Lasers in Medical Science in 2015, looked at a range of studies of laser therapy treatments for hair loss.
The researchers found that the devices appear to be both safe and effective for treating pattern hair loss in men and in women.
A more recent review published in Skin Appendage Disorders also concluded that laser devices appear to be effective for treating pattern hair loss in men and women.
However, it also stated that physicians should take caution when drawing any conclusions from the existing research, as some studies were associated with the laser hair growth industry.
In simple terms, although there isn’t a lot of research available on the effectiveness of laser hair growth treatments, the research that is available is largely positive.
Laser hair growth technology appears to work -- and it does so in men and in women. And since laser devices aren’t pharmaceuticals, they may also work without the same side effects that can sometimes accompany other hair loss treatments.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that laser hair growth devices are free of side effects themselves -- a topic we’ve discussed more further down the page.
As for Capillus hair products specifically, they’re backed up by a small study that looked into the effects of a 650 nm laser sports cap on women experiencing pattern hair loss.
The study had a positive outcome, with the women achieving an average 51 percent increase in hair growth over the course of 17 weeks of treatment.
So, does this mean that Capillus hair growth products work? Since there are only a few clinical studies available right now, it’s tough to draw any conclusions about how products like Capillus perform over the long term.
However, the research is definitely intriguing, with the findings of existing studies serving as a good form of evidence that laser products such as Capillus might potentially offer benefits for treating hair loss.
“I tried several different options before but Hims combined approach of all four methods by far created the best results.”
“Hims has been the greatest confidence boost, no more bald jokes! I look and feel so much younger!”
“When I show my barber my progress, he is always in disbelief. I have to recommend Hims to any guy who’s experiencing thinning.”
“Cost effective and affordable. My hair keeps growing thicker, fuller, and at a fast rate.”
“I noticed a huge change in the overall health and fullness of my hairline.”
“Now after 5 months I’m able to style waves first time in 10 years!”
“I decided to jump right in and I'm so glad I did. I definitely feel ten years younger!”
“In just as little over two and half months, I can really see the difference in thickness and in color.”
“4-months strong and my confidence boosted back up to 100% using Hims, future me really does thank me.”
“I’m a 34-year-old father of two and have been using Hims for over a year now. My hair is back to what it was in my mid-twenties.”
While hair loss is generally thought of as a male problem, the reality is that men and women can both experience some degree of pattern hair loss with age.
In fact, an estimated 50 percent of women develop androgenetic alopecia (hair loss that’s linked to the effects of DHT) at some point in life. Numerous other forms of hair loss, such as telogen effluvium, can also occur in men and women.
Capillus caps are intended for use by men and women. However, they’re not necessarily a good option for everyone. If you have advanced hair loss (for example, your hair follicles are severely miniaturized), Capillus may not provide a large improvement in hair volume and growth.
Although the technology behind Capillus can theoretically work on anyone, it has currently been tested only on Fitzpatrick skin types I, II, III and IV. This technology currently isn’t approved for skin types V (brown, dark brown) or VI (very dark brown, black).
This means that if you have a dark brown skin tone, Capillus may not be a suitable treatment for your hair loss.
Using the Capillus laser cap is simple. All Capillus devices should be used for six minutes daily to stimulate hair growth. Older devices, such as those made before September 2017, can be worn for 30 minutes on alternating days.
Capillus is best used when your hair is dry, meaning you’ll want to let any topical medications, such as minoxidil, fully dry before using your Capillus hair cap.
Like other hair loss treatments, Capillus can require some time to produce results. You’ll likely only notice small changes during the first three months of treatment. Capillus claims that more significant results typically take between 12 and 24 months to occur.
Low-level laser therapy devices such as Capillus appear to be safe, with only minor side effects reported in most research.
Side effects associated with laser hair growth devices include dry skin, itchy skin, irritation, scalp tenderness and a warm sensation at the scalp. Some study participants have also noted a small increase in hair shedding during the first few weeks of treatment.
Overall, the reported side effects of most laser therapy devices for hair loss are mild, and there’s no evidence that side effects persist when the devices aren’t actively used.
With this said, not all Capillus customers seem to be happy with the product and its safety as a hair growth device.
A Capillus lawsuit was filed by a customer in 2020 against Curallux, the company that produces Capillus products, alleging that the caps cause problems such as dandruff, headaches, nausea and other issues, and that these aren’t properly disclosed in Capillus advertising.
The lawsuit also claims that the “physician recommended” marketing claims about Capillus laser hats are misleading due to commercial relationships between doctors and Curallux.
So, how much does the Capillus cap cost? The lowest Capillus cap price is $999, which buys a CapillusOne, the company’s entry-level model.
The Capillus Pro S1 (the company’s most powerful and expensive hair growth cap) is available at a retail price of $2,999.
Payment plans are available for all Capillus caps, allowing customers to pay for their device on a monthly basis instead of all at once.
From a value perspective, products like the Capillus caps might be mixed. Although they’re far from cheap, they’re available via a lump sum, without the need and added expense of monthly medications or supplements.
As for customer feedback, most reviews of Capillus on websites such as Trustpilot are positive, although some customers have shared complaints and negative reviews about the company’s customer service and return policy.
Generic for Rogaine®, this FDA-approved over-the-counter version of topical minoxidil is used for regrowth on the crown of the head.
This is the FDA-approved dynamic duo. When used together, men saw better results in clinical trials compared to using either alone.
If you’re looking for something effective but don’t want too many steps in your routine, this once-a-day pill could be right for you.
Clinically proven to regrow hair in 3-6 months, no pills required.
Laser therapy caps like Capillus are commonly promoted as at-home options for slowing down, stopping and even reversing the effects of male and female pattern hair loss.
Although research is limited, some scientific studies suggest that Capillus may help to stimulate hair growth and help you maintain healthier hair if you’re in the early stages of hair loss.
If you’re losing your hair, it’s important to consider your options. While the Capillus laser hair cap is an interesting hair loss treatment option, it comes with a hefty price tag and isn’t backed up by a fraction as much research as hair loss medications such as finasteride and minoxidil.
If you have thinning hair and don’t know where to start, you can learn more about the best ways to stop hair loss, stimulate growth and have thick, healthy hair in our complete guide to the most effective treatments for thinning hair.
You can also set up an online consultation about hair loss with a healthcare professional to find out what treatments might be best for you.
Dr. Jill Johnson is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner and board-certified in Aesthetic Medicine. She has clinical and leadership experience in emergency services, Family Practice, and Aesthetics.
Jill graduated with honors from Frontier Nursing University School of Midwifery and Family Practice, where she received a Master of Science in Nursing with a specialty in Family Nursing. She completed her doctoral degree at Case Western Reserve University.
Jill is a national speaker on various topics involving critical care, emergency and air medical topics. She has authored and reviewed for numerous publications. You can find Jill on Linkedin for more information.