With each passing year, those with thinning hair may feel as though you’re racing against the clock. Balding is a common indicator of aging that many feel should be prevented at all costs, especially among men (although clearly many women experience hair loss as well).
Luckily there are a ton of common, broadly effective hair loss prevention remedies that have helped millions keep the hair on their head and stave off baldness. Popular online health clinics like Hims and Keeps make it easy to get prescription-strength hair loss meds without ever leaving the house, while companies like Nutrafol offer more natural, over-the-counter hair loss treatments.
Today we’ll compare hair loss treatments in-depth from these three industry leaders – Hims vs Nutrafol vs Keeps. What we’re here to uncover is how effectively each of these companies’ hair loss pills performs, their relative costs, potential side effects, and more, so that you can make the right call for your own head. According to science-backed research and customer reviews, which one is the most effective for you? Let’s find out.
Cutting to the chase:
Short on time? Here are our top recommendations:
Choose Hims finasteride if you are a first-time user willing to embark on the long-term (indefinite) journey and want to discuss your symptoms with a doctor for free. Hims also offers a topical finasteride spray with lower risk of side effects if you’re worried.
Choose Keeps finasteride if you are on a tight budget and want the very best value for prescription hair loss meds, as well minoxidil and over the counter topical ointments.
Choose Nutrafol’s Synergen Complex for an all-natural hair loss treatment, as opposed to synthetic finasteride, which can have some undesirable side effects (but works significantly better for hair loss).
That’s the TLDR, but don’t just take our word for it. Continue reading to learn why we think so!
First: what causes male hair loss in the first place?
Before we get to reviewing different hair loss pills from Hims, Nutrafol, and Keeps, let’s talk about what causes men to lose their hair to begin with.
The majority of guys will experience androgenic alopecia (AGA) at some point in their life, and it typically happens far sooner than anyone anticipates. In fact, by the age of 35, roughly two out of every three men will notice balding on their crown or near their temples. Also called male pattern baldness, this condition is inherited and triggered by a genetic sensitivity to an androgen (or male sex hormone) called dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. The adult body naturally converts around 10% of its testosterone into DHT, thanks to the effects of an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase.
People with male pattern baldness have a genetic sensitivity to DHT, which causes hair follicles to shrink. Over time, the follicles may shrink so much that they no longer grow hair, causing thinning at the crown of the head and near the temples.
Although it’s less common than male pattern hair loss, thinning can also be triggered by other factors like:
- Poor diet
- Significant stress
- Certain medications
- Underlying medical conditions
As stated above, hair loss sometimes indicates a more severe illness or underlying nutritional insufficiency. That’s one of the reasons it’s critical to consult with a licensed physician if you notice any extreme shedding to examine your medical history, as well as your scalp, to correctly diagnose the actual cause.
At this point, it’s also worth noting what hair loss isn’t caused by:
- Wearing hats
- Naturally high testosterone
So you’re all good there at least 🙂
Hims vs Keeps vs Nutrafol: What sets them apart?
Best Hair Loss Pill for men: Hims vs Keeps vs Nutrafol
|Active ingredients||Finasteride||Finasteride||Saw Palmetto|
|Type of hair loss treated||Androgenic alopecia||Androgenic alopecia + stress-related||Androgenic alopecia + stress-related|
|Serving size||1 pill daily||1 pill daily||4 capsules daily|
|Cost of medication|
$28.50 per month
$25 per month on Keeps, with 1 month free
Further savings for ordering a 6 or 12 month supply
$79 per month
|Cost of doctor consultation||Free||1st one free for a year, then $5||Free with subscription|
|Cost of shipping||Free||$3||Free|
|Money back guarantee?||✅ (90 day money back guarantee)||❌||✅ (30 day money back guarantee)|
|Other hair loss products?||Topical Finasteride & Minoxidil Spray|
Minoxidil Foam & Solution
Shampoos & Conditioners
|Minoxidil Foam & Solution|
Thickening Shampoo & Conditioner
2% Ketoconazole Shampoo
|Growth Activator Hair Serum |
Hims and Keeps offer finasteride.
Finasteride is a prescription medication, classified as a 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor, that works for hair loss by (you guessed it!) inhibiting the effects of 5-alpha-reductase. This, in turn, prevents testosterone from converting into DHT, the culprit behind male pattern baldness. As a result, this medicine can produce outstanding benefits for men suffering from male pattern baldness, but not for men suffering from hair loss caused by lifestyle factors or stress.
Keeps offers finasteride pills at a dose of 1 mg taken once per day. This is the standard for finasteride for hair loss. Hims leaves the dosage up to your prescribing doctor, but most men will see the best results with 1 mg of pills taken once daily. There’s a lot of history and clinical study data to unpack to fully understand how well finasteride works, but just know that it’s been around for decades, and despite some rare side effects, it’s proven to prevent hair loss in MOST men.
The medication finasteride dates back to 1992, when it was first used for prostate gland enlargement. In late 1997, the FDA approved a 1 mg dose of finasteride (under the brand name Propecia®) for male pattern baldness. Since then, it’s rapidly gained popularity and has become a go-to solution for AGA.
Does finasteride really work?
Evidence on finasteride’s effectiveness as a hair loss treatment in men with androgenic alopecia has been around for decades. A 1998 study on the topic, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, found that finasteride significantly improved scalp hair growth at one and two years by all of the study’s evaluation techniques. The balding vertex scalp, which is essentially the crown of the head, saw an improvement in hair growth. Participants in the study who got a placebo experienced gradual hair loss.
Various studies have also shown finasteride to prevent hair loss in men who are in the early stages of going bald:
- One study conducted in Japan over 10 years found that finasteride prevented the progression of androgenetic alopecia in 99% of men. These men were taking 1 mg of finasteride per day, and there was no sign of adverse reactions.
- Research published by Propecia® when the FDA approved it in 1997 showed that only 17% of the group taking the drug experienced hair loss, while 72% of the placebo group showed progressive hair loss in the 24-month trial.
Finasteride is mainly used to prevent further hair loss rather than stimulate hair regrowth. This makes it a good bet for men who want to take a proactive approach to hair loss treatment and keep their current head of hair. Note that if you stop taking finasteride, your body will start to produce DHT, and your hair follicles will once again shrink. So, it’s crucial to take finasteride consistently for hair loss protection.
If you forget to take a dose, consult your doctor on how to proceed. But generally taking it as soon as possible is recommended. Take only that dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Also, don’t double up and take two doses at the same time.
When can I expect to see results from finasteride?
While the efficacy of finasteride is backed by solid, longstanding research, that doesn’t mean it produces immediate results. Once you start taking this drug, it will inhibit testosterone’s conversion into DHT right away. But, because of your hair growth cycle, you probably won’t see visible results of this change for 3 to 6 months. Rest assured, every day that you take finasteride is a day that you’re protecting your hair from alopecia – trust the process!
Are there any risks to taking finasteride?
As is the case with just about any prescription medication, finasteride comes with potential side effects. According to Drugs.com, these include decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, difficulty having an orgasm, abnormal ejaculation, and breast tenderness or swelling. It goes without saying that these side effects are unappealing at best, but a long-term study showed that sexual side effects like erectile dysfunction occur in less than 2% of men taking finasteride. Moreover, any side effects disappeared in all of the men who stopped taking the drug and most who continued treatment.
While taking finasteride poses a risk of side effects, most of which relate to sexual function, the risk of developing these side effects is relatively low. If you do experience these side effects, they’re very likely to go away with time whether you continue or stop taking the drug. After all, having a full head of hair is far preferable to a limited number of harmless side effects for a limited period of time.
What do finasteride users say?
We searched the web for users’ thoughts on finasteride for male pattern baldness. Here’s what they said:
There are some brands that focus on hair loss prevention without the use of finasteride or Minoxidil, such as KeepItAnchored for both men and women. Check out our review of their products to learn more about the science behind them.
Hims vs Keeps: which brand should you pick for a finasteride prescription?
Price – Which hair loss pills are most affordable?
As far as medications go, finasteride costs $28.50 per month or $85.50 for 3 months on Hims. Finasteride costs $25 per month on Keeps, with the first month free, or $50 for the first 3 months, then $75 thereafter.
When the prices of Keeps and Hims are compared, the savings on the Keeps side are apparent. Even while Keeps charges a $3 shipping fee per order, it is insufficient to counterbalance the price gap, making them the more affordable option consistently.
For further savings, the first order from Keeps for the first 3 months is only $50, so you may save 50% off right away. You can save even more by ordering your meds in bulk. By default, Keeps ships a 3 months supply, but for more forward-looking individuals who can pay upfront, they offer discounts for committing to a 6 or 12 months supply instead.
On the Hims app, you get free access to their secure messaging platform to ask your provider questions, with no message limit or added cost.
Keeps offers free unlimited 24/7 messaging for 1 year after your first visit and then $5 annually. In some circumstances, telemedicine providers’ services are not currently available in all 50 states. This is the situation with Keeps’ online medical consultations, which means that you won’t be able to receive a prescription via Keeps in a few states. You can still buy over-the-counter medications and fill an existing prescription from a doctor in your area.
Keeps is unable to give telemedicine consultations in the following states and territories:
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- Puerto Rico
- Washington D.C.
- West Virginia
If you are new to finasteride and are concerned about potential side effects. Because Hims consultations are free in this case, you may be able to consult with the prescribing doctor more freely once you begin treatment.
What do Hims and Keeps offer besides finasteride?
Keeps and Hims both offer additional over the counter hair loss remedies besides just finasteride. Hims Biotin Gummies are popular to take in addition, for instance. Biotin is an essential vitamin for hair growth, but note that it actually does not treat hair loss specifically. Instead, biotin supplements provide the minerals required to maintain healthy hair in general.
Hims also sells a topical finasteride spray mixed with a 6% minoxidil solution. For men who are more interested in a minoxidil treatment due to concerns about the negative effects of oral finasteride, this may be a way to enjoy the best of both worlds. Check out our in-depth review of Hims hair loss and ED subscription to find more of the brand’s offerings and how it compares to Lemonaid for hair loss meds.
When it comes to minoxidil, Keeps sells both the solution and the foam (as does Hims). If you are interested in learning more about minoxidil, check out our comparison of Hims vs Rogaine, the original provider of topical hair loss medicine. We also compare Keeps vs Rogaine in a different review.
According to a study published in the medical journal Dermatologic Therapy, taking both minoxidil and finasteride improved hair growth in 94.1% of men compared to 80.5% of men using finasteride alone. As a result, it is absolutely worthwhile to consider utilizing both drugs. You might get greater results if you apply minoxidil to your scalp twice a day and take a 1mg finasteride pill once a day – just make sure to check with a doctor first.
Keeps also sells ketoconazole shampoo, which is the generic form of Nizoral. The ketoconazole shampoo helps with dandruff flakes and irritation.
Want to read more about Keeps? Check out our review of their hair loss subscription for men and real life before and after pics from legitimate Keeps customers. Lastly, check out our comparison of Hims vs Keeps vs Roman to see how Roman stacks up.
Does Nutrafol offer finasteride?
No, Nutrafol differs from both Hims and Keeps in that it doesn’t prescribe finasteride, or any Rx meds for that matter. The company addresses hair loss in a natural way without virtual doctors consultations at all. Nutrafol’s Patented Synergen Complex® is a over the counter supplement for both men and women that combines three major active ingredients to help fight hair loss:
- Saw Palmetto
- Tocotrienol Complex
- Sensoril® Ashwagandha
In contrast to finasteride, which is a synthetic substance, all of the constituents in the Synergen Complex® are natural and sourced from plants.
How does Nutrafol’s active ingredients work to prevent hair loss?
Much like finasteride, saw palmetto works to stop thinning hair by blocking DHT production. It’s derived from a type of palm tree that’s native to the southeastern United States. Nutrafol ensures that it’s responsibly grown in the U.S. and extracted without harmful chemicals. Plus, it’s concentrated to a high percentage of plant actives for medical-grade potency.
Tocotrienol complex is a concentrated form of vitamin E. It boosts hair growth and density while preventing oxidative damage to the hair follicles. Nutrafol sources this ingredient from Malaysia’s environmentally responsible palm, then optimizes it for excellent absorption and results.
Research has shown that people with AGA tend to have increased oxidative stress. Given that vitamin E is a potent antioxidant, it makes sense that tocotrienol complex could help treat this condition. A study that looked at the effects of tocotrienol on hair development discovered that it enhanced the number of hairs in volunteers who were experiencing hair loss. In the study, 21 volunteers were treated with 100 mg of mixed tocotrienols daily, and 17 volunteers made up the placebo group. The tocotrienol group experienced a 34.5% increase in the number of hairs after 8 months, while the placebo group experienced a 0.1% decrease within the same time period.
Sensoril® Ashwagandha promotes hair development by balancing stress hormones in the body. Studies have clinically proven it to reduce increased cortisol levels as well as stress and anxiety symptoms in people with chronic stress. Sensoril Ashwagandha is sustainably wild-harvested in India and cleanly extracted for maximum absorption.
While Sensoril® Ashwagandha reduces cortisol levels, scientific proof for its benefits on hair growth is lacking. Having said that, given this ingredient’s favorable effect on stress levels, persons who suffer from hair loss, as well as chronic stress, may benefit from its inclusion in Nutrafol’s Synergen Complex®.
When can you expect results from Nutrafol?
Men in Nutrafol’s clinical research demonstrated the following effects in 3-6 months:
1-3 months: Stronger hair from within. Less shedding and breakage.
3-6 months: An increase in thickness.
6 months: Visible changes such as faster-growing hair and better scalp coverage.
Furthermore, no harmful side effects were reported. In fact, the ingredients in Nutrafol Core Solutions often come with what they like to call “side benefits” such as improved sleep, sex drive, vitality, and mood.
How much does Nutrafol’s Synergen Complex® cost?
The price of Nutrafol for men varies based on whether you subscribe to regular delivery or not. You’ll have access to Nutrafol’s staff of naturopathic doctors if you subscribe. And your doctor will create a personalized treatment plan for you and give advice throughout your treatment.
- A one-time purchase costs $88 per bottle.
- A monthly delivery subscription costs $79 and comes with free doctor consults.
- A 3-month delivery subscription costs $225 ($75 per bottle) and comes with free doctor consults.
If you decide to subscribe to Nutrafol, rest assured that you can pause or cancel your subscription at any time. Plus, shipping is always free for U.S. customers.
What do Nutrafol users say?
Curious to hear Nutrafol reviews from real users? Here’s what we found on the web:
Finasteride vs Nutrafol – which is better?
The main difference between finasteride from companies like Hims and Keeps and Nutrafol’s Synergen Complex® is that finasteride is synthetic, while Nutrafol’s hair loss pill is made from plants. People seeking a natural alternative to finasteride should opt for Nutrafol’s pill, as it has shown promise in clinical research. However, when you directly compare the effectiveness of finasteride and the Synergen Complex®, finasteride provides a more dramatic improvement for male pattern baldness.
In a 2012 study, researchers examined the efficacy of finasteride and saw palmetto, a key ingredient in Nutrafol’s Synergen Complex®, in treating androgenetic alopecia in men. The study included 100 males who had been diagnosed with mild to moderate AGA. One group received 320 mg of saw palmetto daily for two years, whereas the other received 1 mg of finasteride daily. According to the study, 38% of men treated with saw palmetto had increased hair growth, while 68% of men treated with finasteride had higher hair growth. According to the findings of this study, saw palmetto can increase hair growth in males with AGA, but finasteride is significantly far more likely to achieve promising results.
The Verdict: Which hair loss pill should you choose?
When it comes down to choosing a hair loss pill, the evidence points towards finasteride as the most effective option. Since it’s been used successfully for over 2 decades, we stand behind it as a stellar treatment option for men with male pattern baldness. You can get a finasteride prescription easily on either Hims or Keeps, with Keeps being the more affordable option. If you’re unsure about finasteride, however, and are just trying it for the first time, Hims 90-day money back guarantee might be attractive to de-risk your trial. They also offer more than just hair loss meds, so it’s worth checking out if you’d like to explore treatments for ED, anxiety, depression, or prescription skincare medications as well.
If you don’t like the idea of adding a synthetic pill to your daily routine, or worry about potential side effects, Nutrafol offers a natural alternative for hair loss. While the hair growth results may not be as impressive nor as widely reported with Nutrafol’s pill, the company boasts many happy customers who swear by it. Plus, if you think stress may be contributing to your hair loss, the stress-busting powers of Sensoril® Ashwagandha in Nutrafol’s hair loss pill could provide great ancillary benefits as well.
Have you tried any of the hair loss pills discussed in this article? Let us know how it went in the comments below!