Last updated on July 29th, 2021 at 07:25 pm
In the last few years, we’ve seen an explosion of men-focused wellness brands worldwide, and the UK is no exception. Wellness and self-care are two things men have historically ignored, as most brands in this space have historically catered to women despite a clear set of embarrassing problems that require medical attention and only impact men.
Most of these new UK-based brands are following a similar playbook as Hims, Roman, and Keeps in the US — starting with a completely treatable pain point that the majority of men face in their lifetime: hair loss. Research shows that almost 80% of men show male pattern baldness by age 80, but that fact doesn’t make alopecia any easier to accept. Balding typically starts much earlier in life, and for many men, it causes unwanted psychosocial effects, embarrassment, and stress. Just ask any man who starts to notice their hair thinning in their early 20’s…it can be devastating.
Fortunately, new health startups brands such as Numan, Manual, Freshman, and Sons are taking this challenge head-on (get it?), offering prescription hair loss treatments that are clinically-proven and widely popular for male baldness in the UK (as well as globally).
In this article, we’ll compare the top four direct-to-consumer hair loss in the UK, dissecting what they offer, their pricing, and how they work to help you pick the best one for you. But first, let’s cover the basics of hair loss. If you’re in a rush and just want to compare top hair loss providers in the UK, skip ahead to our head-to-head chart.
What is a hair loss treatment subscription service?
Prescription hair loss treatments can now be prescribed online and delivered to your door on a regular cadence — typically monthly, quarterly, or semiannually. Getting a prescription for finasteride and other popular hair loss meds is done virtually, delivery is mostly within a few business days, and the packaging is discreet enough so no one has to know. In the US, companies like Hims, Keeps, and Roman have pioneered this offering, while companies like Numan, Manual, Freshman, and Sons are building market share in the United Kingdom.
What is male pattern baldness, and what are the causes?
Male pattern baldness (known medically as alopecia) is the most common form of hair loss, affecting around ⅔ of men in their lifetime. Usually, male pattern baldness is caused by the dihydrotestosterone (DHT) hormone when it attacks hair follicles, making them weak, smaller, and no longer able to create new hair. The timing of balding / hair thinning is mostly dictated by age and genetics, with a fortunate minority of men never losing their hair at all. For the rest of us, we’re lucky to have convenient treatment options from brands such as Numan, Manual, Freshman, and Sons.
How do hair loss treatments work?
While there is no cure for male pattern baldness, there are several clinically proven medications that slow or stop hair loss — i.e. they can help you keep the hair that’s on your head currently — and even promote moderate hair regrowth.
The two most popular medications are finasteride and minoxidil, the only FDA and MHRA-approved hair loss treatments. Finasteride comes as an oral tablet, while minoxidil is applied topically to your scalp — either as a foam, liquid, or spray.
Finasteride stops the body from processing testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the dastardly hormone that causes hair loss, by miniaturizing hair follicles. Luckily, Finasteride is effective in stopping or slowing down hair loss in 9 out of 10 men.
On the other hand, minoxidil is another widely popular hair loss treatment that facilitates blood flow to hair follicles, delivers useful nutrients and oxygen, and thus catalyzes hair growth. Using finasteride and minoxidil together has been found to produce better, compounded results. Naturally all the hair loss subscription upstarts we mentioned below offer both minoxidil and prescription finasteride.
What do Numan, Manual, Freshman, and Sons offer?
While there are definitely nuances between their offerings, generally speaking, hair loss subscription services offer similar treatments. With any of these subscriptions, you will receive finasteride and/or minoxidil, the generic versions of standard hair loss medications. Their treatment plans include one or more of the following, depending on your needs:
- Finasteride tablets to take once a day
- Minoxidil hair spray to apply topically
Slower than growing a lawn, you’ll likely notice the first few results after about three months when the hair loss begins to slow down or stop completely. Then, when the treatment is fully effective after about six months, you will notice the hair loss significantly slowing down and hopefully stopping altogether, along with signs of hair regrowth. One thing to note: You’ll have to maintain your daily regimen of minoxidil / finasteride indefinitely in order to maintain results. Put differently, the minute you stop hair loss treatment, you’ll likely notice hair thinning again almost immediately.
Numan, Manual, Freshman, and Sons are all popular UK-based men’s wellness brands that also offer treatments for additional conditions besides hair loss. The one exception is Freshman at the moment. Below is a table that describes what else they offer, in case you’re curious.
What treatments do these startups treat?
|Hair Loss||Finasteride (oral)
Topical Spray (6% minoxidil)
Regaine (5% minoxidil)
DHT blocking shampoo
Biotin vitamins (aka B7 or vitamin H)
|Finasteride (oral OR topical) Minoxidil|
|Other Conditions treated (beyond hair loss)||Beard Growth
Nutrients and Vitamins
Personalized Health Plan
|N/A (only hair loss treatments are offered currently)|
How do men’s hair loss subscriptions work?
All four brands offer a similar online experience that starts with a quick, virtual consultation. If their team of licensed doctors approves you for treatment, they’ll recommend a course of action and prescribe medication that’s sent to your door in a few days, or as soon as 24 hours if you go with Numan. In any event, these services help you skip both the doctor’s office and the pharmacy. They also help you save money as well because they only offer more affordable generic, rather than the popular brand name.
At a high level, here’s how Numan, Freshman, Sons, and Manual work to prescribe you hair loss meds:
- Online Hair Loss Consultation: You go through a consultation of your hair loss and health situation, which is generally just answering a simple questionnaire online.
- Personalized Treatment Plan: A registered practitioner creates a treatment plan for you, assuming the service can actually help your situation.
- Purchase Products: Some products require a prescription, while you have some flexibility with others. Choose the treatments you’d like to order based on your consultation. You can generally elect to order one-time or sign up for a recurring subscription.
- Receive Shipment: Your products will be delivered to your door, generally in discreet packaging because everyone knows how sensitive hair loss or ED treatment can be.
- Follow Up Questions: You’ll have ongoing support as needed should you have questions about dosage, side effects, or anything related to you hair loss medication.
Men’s UK hair loss subscriptions: Numan vs Manual vs Freshman vs Sons
Okay. Now that we’ve covered the basics, here’s a chart that compares the top UK men’s hair loss subscriptions side-by-side to help you distinguish their brands and offerings:
Numan vs Manual vs Freshman vs Sons
|Year Started||2019||2019||2018 (Acquired by Hims & Hers in 2021)||2018|
|Hair Loss Treatments Offered||Topical spray and finasteride tablets combo
Minoxidil topical Spray
|Finasteride and Minoxidil hair spray combo
|Topical Finasteride with Minoxidil
DHT blocking shampoo
|Regulation||Care Quality Commission||General Pharmaceutical Council||General Pharmaceutical Council||General Pharmaceutical Council and MHRA|
|Cost of hair loss meds||– Finasteride + Minoxidil: £38 per month
– Finasteride: £29 per month
– Minoxidil: £32 per month
– Regaine: £80 per month
|– Finasteride + Minoxidil: £28 per month
– Finasteride: £18 per month
– Minoxidil: £24 per month
|– *Topical* Finasteride + Minoxidil: £22 per month
– Finasteride: £17 per month
– Minoxidil: £11 per month for minoxidil
|£39 per month for the “full works” plan of finasteride tablets, minoxidil, shampoo and biotin tablets.|
|Recurring Delivery Options||Monthly||MonthlyEvery 3 monthsEvery 6 months||MonthlyEvery 3 months||MonthlyEvery 3 months|
|Delivery Timeline||Free 24-hour delivery||Free 2 business day delivery||Free 2-3 working days delivery||Free 3-5 days delivery|
|On-going medical support?||✅||✅||✅||✅|
|Can I return meds if they don’t work?||❌||❌||❌||❌|
|Introductory offer||First-month discount||First-month discount||First-month discount||3 and 6 months subscription discounts|
|How to Order|
Pricing Comparison for Numan vs Manual vs Freshman vs Sons
UK Hair Loss Subscription Price Comparison
£19 first month, then £29 per month thereafter.
|£18 first month, then £34 per month thereafter
£15 and £14 per month for 3 or 6 months subscriptions
|£17 first month, then £34 per month thereafter
£28 per month for a 3-month subscription
|£23 per month
£18 and £16 per month for 3 and 6-month subscriptions
(Regaine) £70 first month, then £80 per month thereafter
£24 first month, then £42 per month thereafter
£11 first month, then £23 per month thereafter
£20 per month
|Minoxidil and finasteride combo||
£28 first month, then £38 per month thereafter
£28 first month, then £44 per month thereafter
|£24 first month, then £49 per month thereafter
£42 for a 3-month subscriptions
*includes Minoxidil, DHT Blocking Shampoo Biotin tablets, and Finasteride
|2-in-1 Topical Finasteride with Minoxidil||❌||❌||
£22 first month, then £44 per month thereafter
|How to Order|
Now let’s see what customers are saying about these brands to help see if that sways your decision.
Hair Loss Treatment Reviews: What are customers saying about Numan, Manual, Sons, and Freshman?
All four brands offer finasteride and minoxidil, which are the only two MHRA and FDA-approved hair loss treatments and the generic versions of the medications. We scanned the internet for customer reviews and found the following themes:
Reviews of Numan or hair loss
Numan offers a complete hair kit that consists of topical spray and finasteride, which some customers have found to be an effective combo for slowing down hair loss while stimulating hair regrowth.
Other customers were skeptical whether or not the hair loss products work, but fortunately saw results within a few months of use.
Reviews of Manual for hair loss
With Manual hair loss products, some customers experienced shedding hair in the first couple of weeks, but eventually grew new ones — even thicker — upon continued use.
Like most of the brands here, Manual recommends testing their products for at least a 3-months to achieve noticeable results.
Reviews of Sons
Sons has the biggest hair loss treatment line, including a DHT-blocking shampoo and biotin vitamin tablets that Numan and Manual don’t offer. These additional treatments are definitely less effective at regrowing hair than finasteride or minoxidil, but potentially worth trying nonetheless, especially if you’re trying to avoid prescription medication. Most Sons customers reported hair growing slowly (but surely!) over a period of three to six months.
Sometimes slow and steady wins the race (and that also means being patient enough to use the products in appropriate dosage).
Reviews of Freshman Hair Loss
Among the interesting themes we noticed for Freshman — aside from overall effectiveness — are claims of super accommodating customer support interactions. Others loved Freshman’s packaging.
Regulation: How do Manual, Numan, Sons, and Freshman prescribe Rx meds online?
Freshman, Sons, and Manual are registered as pharmacies regulated by the General Pharmaceutical Council. This is the body that regulates pharmacies, pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians in Great Britain.
Numan is regulated by the Care Quality Commission and is the strictest amongst the four. They require buyers to fill a consultation form that must be approved by one of its prescribers. They also run an ID check to make sure your name, DOB, and address are authentic. If your ID check fails, they will ask you to submit a copy of your driver’s license or ID to confirm your identity. Some consumers may think this is burdensome, but we appreciate the extra precaution.
What’s more affordable — Manual, Numan, Sons or Freshman?
Another important consideration when buying a hair loss treatment plan is the cost. After all, you’re likely to take these meds for the foreseeable future, and you may want to decide based on the most affordable plan if you’re on a tight budget. Keep in mind that some of the brands offer great introductory pricing, but only on the first order.
Numan, Manual, Sons and Freshman all recommend a 3-month or 6-month plan to allow enough time to see the first signs of hair regrowth. The nice part is that there are discounts for committing to large shipments. For instance a 6-month plan only costs half of what you’d pay if you were to purchase meds on a month to month basis.
Numan has a 3-month plan for a hair loss treatment bundle starting at £35/month, which is reasonable when considering that they’re a trusted brand regulated by a high-standard body in the UK. (Check out our in-depth Numan review to learn more about everything the brand offers.) However, if you’re looking for more affordable treatment, Manual offers a similar combo for only £19/month (also with a 3-month subscription requirement).
If you want a complete package that’s a great bang for your buck, Sons offers the finasteride-minoxidil combo, plus a DHT-blocking shampoo and Biotin tablets at £34/month for a 3-month subscription.
Freshman’s 2-in-1 topical solution costs £44/month, but you can save with a 3-month subscription for £37/month, which is still a bit steep, but more convenient to apply regularly than the other products.
Final considerations when choosing the right hair loss treatment for you
Finasteride and minoxidil treatments can help men who are starting to lose their hair from the effects of male pattern baldness. Men who have already lost a significant amount of hair or have been missing the hair for quite some time already are less likely to see results from these treatments. That’s because, by that point, the hair follicles most likely will not be able to produce new hair and have reached the point of permanent hair loss.
These treatments are intended for use as early as possible for best results. If you’re not sure where you’re at in your hair loss journey, you can always reach out to one of these brands about your specific case or simply try the treatment and see if it works for you. But remember that you’d need to give it a good three to six months before you start seeing results.
All four online hair loss subscriptions — Freshman, Sons, Numan, and Manual — offer a free consultation before and after buying one of their subscriptions.
Another thing to be aware of is the potential side effects because you’re dealing with prescription medications. Finasteride has been associated with sexual dysfunctions like decreased libido and erectile dysfunction, but it’s quite rare, as FDA noted. And, if it’s any consolation, in the majority of cases, stopping hair loss treatment made the adverse symptoms go away.
Minoxidil has been associated with skin irritation. It’s also possible you could experience other side effects and something you’d want to keep an eye on and mention to your physician. Also, make sure to fill the consultation questions accurately when ordering so that the clinicians can alert you in case you are susceptible to any of the side effects.
The Verdict: Manual vs Numan vs Sons vs Freshman — Which UK hair loss subscription is best for you?
All four brands offer clinically-proven, widely used treatments for hair loss that work for 9 out of 10 men. They all make it exceedingly convenient to combat hair loss discreetly from home with finasteride and minoxidil — just in different forms and concentrations.
Based on regulation, quality, and pricing, Numan is our current favorite. If you are looking for a holistic brand with a wide range of men’s wellness offerings, they are a smart pick. If you want to save more per month, Manual offers the most affordable 3-month plan that combines both the minoxidil and finasteride treatments. And if you’re interested in meds for other conditions beyond hair loss, like Numan, they can help you there, too.
If you want the easiest-to-apply and thus most convenient option, go for Freshman’s 2-in-1 topical solution combining finasteride with minoxidil. Last but not the least, Sons currently offers the widest selection of treatment options of the bunch, so they are a great service if you want to experiment (or do everything humanly possible for regrowth!)
Ultimately these new services are more alike than they are different, so you can’t really go wrong. It’s just a matter of what you’d prefer to optimize for (convenience, price, variety, reputation, or perhaps something else entirely). Have you already tried one of these men’s hair loss subscription services? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below!