Dealing with hair loss or thinning?

Chat with our Care Team

Start now

Nioxin vs. Rogaine: Which is Better for Hair Loss?

Knox Beasley, MD

Reviewed by Knox Beasley, MD

Written by Geoffrey C. Whittaker

Published 06/02/2022

Updated 03/31/2024

Finding the right hair growth treatment can be a difficult challenge. Researching Nioxin® and Rogaine® can often lead to confusion — both seem to include the same ingredient and do the same thing. While these hair loss treatments are the same in a few important ways, Nioxin and Rogaine differ in other ways.

You might start by asking which is better, and if you think you settled on Nioxin, you may be Googling things like “Is Nioxin good for hair health?” and “Should I be worried about Nioxin shampoo side effects?”

You may not always get the most reliable answers from the internet, but you can always rely on us for the truth. Below, we’ve answered your questions in more detail so you can confidently choose the best product for hair loss.

Nioxin vs. Rogaine: Which is Better for Hair Loss?

Does Nioxin contain minoxidil? Yes. Does Rogaine? Yes.

Rogaine and Nioxin both make minoxidil products, but one is the original producer (Rogaine), while the other (Nioxin) began producing their version more recently.

Nioxin makes products like shampoos, conditioners, deep conditioners and hair thinning kits. They also sell a 5% minoxidil treatment for hair loss in both liquid and foam forms.

Rogaine, on the other hand, just sells hair loss products. Rogaine was the first brand approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to sell minoxidil as a topical hair loss product. Now, they sell two hair loss products — a serum and a foam, both meant to be used on the top of the scalp.

While both medications have the same active ingredient (minoxidil), Nioxin does not claim to promote hair regrowth. This may be because there are almost no studies of Nioxin specifically to differentiate its claims from other generics. Rogaine, on the other hand,  has been tested repeatedly to determine its effectiveness.

hair loss treatment

balding can be optional

Minoxidil is an active ingredient that was shown to be effective in treating hair loss way back in the 1980s. Initially, it was approved by the FDA for androgenetic alopecia, also known as male pattern baldness, as a 2% solution. Over time, 5% solution options became available as well.

Now, minoxidil is used to treat a variety of types of hair loss, including:

There’s a catch, though. Although minoxidil has been shown in numerous clinical studies to combat several types of hair loss, it is only FDA-approved for one type — male pattern baldness.

Though minoxidil’s exact mechanism of action isn’t yet known, researchers believe it works by increasing blood flow to the scalp, encouraging hair follicles to activate and stimulating hair growth.

This also changes your hair growth cycle, extending the growth phase (anagen) and shortening the resting phase (telogen).

Unfortunately, the question “Does Nioxin work,” has another complicated answer. While Nioxin has been proven to work, most of the study data supporting that claim is based on studies of minoxidil, many of which were performed using products not from Nioxin.

Meanwhile, as we mentioned, Rogaine has been extensively studied for its effects on hair loss, and we can say that it’s effective for many men.

Numerous clinical trials have shown minoxidil itself is effective in improving male pattern baldness.

For example, one 2004 study studied minoxidil treatment in almost 1,000 men. Researchers found that minoxidil made the balding area smaller for most of the men in the study.

Another important finding is that different concentrations of minoxidil have different effectiveness. For example, researchers in one study found that a minoxidil 5% solution performed better in men with androgenetic alopecia than the 2% solution and led to quicker results.

That said, how effective minoxidil is varies on a case-by-case basis. For example, minoxidil efficacy for pattern hair loss may differ depending on how you process certain enzymes, namely sulfotransferase.

Will you join thousands of happy customers?

4.5 average rating

Before/after images shared by customers who have purchased varying products, including prescription based products. Prescription products require an online consultation with a healthcare provider who will determine if a prescription is appropriate. These customers’ results have not been independently verified. Individual results will vary. Customers were given free product.

So, is there really any difference between these two products? Probably not much — both are minoxidil topical treatments.

Both Nioxin and Rogaine offer two types of minoxidil options — a foam and a solution. It’s unclear if the foam or solution works better than the other. However, both are effective.

Nioxin also offers a variety of other products, including a line geared towards hair thinning. That being said, these products have a variety of ingredients that may still need more research to back up their claims.

Nioxin vs. Rogaine Dosage

Nioxin and Rogaine both offer 5% minoxidil products, and Rogaine also offers a 2% product.

However, you may find other hair loss products with varying amounts of minoxidil. So just take a look, and remember that a 5% solution has been shown in some cases to be more effective than a 2% solution.

Rogaine vs Nioxin Side Effects

There’s insufficient research to say whether Nioxin minoxidil is safer or more dangerous than Rogaine minoxidil, but both side effects should generally be mild.

Since Nioxin and Rogaine contain the same active ingredient, their side effects profiles are very similar.

The most common Rogaine and Nioxin side effects are skin irritations, including itchy scalp or scaliness.

If you have this side effect, consider using a lower dosage of minoxidil, like 2%, as it can still be effective but may cause less scalp irritation.

Minoxidil allergies can occur, but they’re much less common. In this case, you should discontinue any minoxidil hair loss treatment and look for a different solution for hair loss.

These two products are similar, but there are other types of hair loss products you might want to consider.

Although minoxidil is proven effective, other hair loss remedy options like finasteride are also effective.

Herbs and hair products like shampoo may also be popular, but most don’t have research to back their claims like minoxidil and finasteride do.


The FDA has approved finasteride for male pattern baldness. Finasteride is an oral medication that can significantly increase scalp coverage and male hair counts compared to scalp coverage and hair counts in those who do not take it.

However, it’s important to note that finasteride is only available with a prescription, whereas Rogaine and Nioxin are over-the-counter hair loss products. You can also get finasteride and minoxidil together for double the power to fight hair loss.

Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto is an herbal remedy some people choose for hair loss, often sold in shampoos. It can help with a medical condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (an enlarged prostate) without impacting testosterone, which may have made some people think it can also help with hair loss.

There are limited studies showing saw palmetto may be beneficial, and while these studies look promising, more research is needed.


Biotin is another popular remedy to help stimulate hair growth, as well as nail and skin health.

This B vitamin is found in many foods like eggs, organ meats (liver, kidneys, etc.), nuts, soybeans and other legumes, bananas and more. It can also be taken in supplement form.

However, biotin has only proven effective in helping with hair loss in studies with patients experiencing a biotin deficiency, which is a rare condition.

Hair loss treatments, delivered

Nioxin and Rogaine are both effective options for hair loss. Deciding between the two may simply depend on personal preference of brand.

Both contain minoxidil, which is an effective option for hair loss and can help treat male pattern baldness by increasing hair count and coverage. However, the exact results vary from individual to individual.

  • For thinning hair, receding hairline and other signs of androgenic alopecia, topical minoxidil is an effective treatment for regrowing healthy hair.

  • Minoxidil scalp treatments promote new hair growth, a healthy scalp and the thickening of fine hair. They can also improve hair health and resistance to breakage.

  • Minoxidil solution is made by several brands, including Rogaine, Nioxin and, yes, Hims.

  • Minoxidil hair care products, like the common topical solutions, can include different formulations of the medication, so not all Nioxin products are necessarily comparable to Rogaine products. Each company may formulate its products differently, and Rogaine has been making minoxidil products for much longer.

  • However, because Rogaine and Nioxin contain the same active ingredient, the potential side effects, effectiveness and quality of both products should be roughly the same — at least on paper.

  • If you experience side effects with one brand, a healthcare provider may suggest trying another.

If you have a specific medical condition causing hair loss, you may want to consider other options or speak with a medical professional, such as a dermatologist.

Looking for thicker hair, better scalp health and a win in the fight against hair loss? Reach out today.

6 Sources

  1. Suchonwanit, P., Thammarucha, S., & Leerunyakul, K. (2019). Minoxidil and its use in hair disorders: a review. Drug design, development and therapy, 13, 2777–2786. Retrieved from:
  2. Badri T, Nessel TA, Kumar D D. Minoxidil. [Updated 2021 Apr 13]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Retrieved from:
  3. Rundegren, J. (2004). A one-year observational study with minoxidil 5% solution in Germany: results of independent efficacy evaluation by physicians and patients 1. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 50(3), P91.Retrieved from:
  4. Olsen EA, Dunlap FE, Funicella T, Koperski JA, Swinehart JM, Tschen EH, Trancik RJ. A randomized clinical trial of 5% topical minoxidil versus 2% topical minoxidil and placebo in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia in men. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2002 Sep;47(3):377-85. Retrieved from:
  5. Purnak, T., Senel, E., & Sahin, C. (2011). Liquid formulation of minoxidil versus its foam formulation. Indian journal of dermatology, 56(4), 462. Retrieved from:
  6. Bandaranayake, I., & Mirmirani, P. (2004). Hair loss remedies-separating fact from fiction. CUTIS-NEW YORK-, 73(2), 107-114. Retrieved from:
Editorial Standards

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Knox Beasley, MD

Dr. Knox Beasley is a board certified dermatologist specializing in hair loss. He completed his undergraduate studies at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, and subsequently attended medical school at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, LA. 

Dr. Beasley first began doing telemedicine during his dermatology residency in 2013 with the military, helping to diagnose dermatologic conditions in soldiers all over the world. 

Dr. Beasley is board certified by the American Board of Dermatology, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Originally from Nashville, TN, Dr. Beasley currently lives in North Carolina and enjoys spending time outdoors (with sunscreen of course) with his wife and two children in his spare time. 





Read more