Minoxidil for Women: A Guide

Published June 8th, 2021 by Chris Riley
Fact Checked by
Jacqueline Hensler
Medically Reviewed:
Dr. Angel Rivera

There are many hair loss treatments available to women, but minoxidil is one of the most popular. Approved by the FDA to treat both male and female pattern baldness, minoxidil is easy to use for both men and women. Learn more about minoxidil and how you can use it for maximum effectiveness. 

What is minoxidil?

Minoxidil is a topical, over-the-counter drug prepared in the form of a liquid, foam, spray, or tablet. The active ingredient is minoxidil sulfate. It was first used to treat high blood pressure before the FDA approved minoxidil as a treatment for hair loss. Now minoxidil is one of the primary medications to grow new hair and prevent hair loss. It is also the main ingredient in Rogaine, a popular treatment to grow hair and prevent hair loss. 

Regrowth made easy
Minoxidil Foam for Women | Hers

Minoxidil Foam for Women | Hers

Say hello to thicker, fuller hair. Minoxidil 5% Foam is FDA approved and clinically proven to promote hair regrowth for women in just 3-6 months.This airy minoxidil foam goes directly on your scalp to stimulate hair follicles and extend your hair’s natural growth cycle

  • Absorbs into the scalp and dries quickly, leaving no trace
  • Won’t make hair feel greasy or tacky, so you can style as normal

2 month supply, $15/mo

What is minoxidil's active ingredient?

The active ingredient in minoxidil is called minoxidil sulfate, a potassium nitrate that stimulates hair follicles. It is a vasodilator, which means it causes blood vessels to widen. This widening can increase blood flow and make more oxygen rich blood available in the scalp. Minoxidil, when applied topically, has been found to stimulate hair growth. 

How do you use minoxidil? 

The most popular way for women to apply minoxidil to the scalp is using the liquid topical solution daily. You can apply the solution directly to the affected areas. If preferred, you can also use your fingers to apply the solution. Make sure to wash your hands after application. 

It can take at least three months to see results, so patience is key. You’ll want to use minoxidil for at least four months to see whether it works for you. 

What are the side effects of minoxidil? 

Like most medications, there are some common side effects associated with the use of minoxidil for women. 

The most common side effects are: 

  • Skin irritation 
  • Itchiness
  • Redness
  • Scalp dryness
  • Burning
  • Temporary hair shedding 
  • Hair growth in untreated areas 

In rare cases, minoxidil may cause more serious complications such as swelling in the face and neck or fluid retention which causes swelling in the hands and feet.

Minoxidil can also cause a decrease in blood pressure and heart rate when standing up too quickly, potentially leading to fainting episodes. It's more commonly seen if you have low blood pressure or high blood sugar, but can occur even if these levels are within normal range. 

Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid minoxidil. The drug is listed as a category C pregnancy drug that hasn’t been tested to be safe for fetal development. 

Talk with your doctor about use, changes in dosage, and how often to apply before starting treatment. 

Can women effectively use minoxidil? 

Yes! Minoxidil is a potent medication that can stimulate growth in all hair follicles on the scalp and certain other areas of the body like eyebrows, eyelashes, or any other place you have hair.

Women most commonly use minoxidil to help post pregnancy hair loss or to treat thinning hair if you have female pattern baldness. 

It will take several months to see new hair growth, and six to 12 months for the full effect. Studies show that 60% of women report an increase in hair growth using minoxidil.

Does minoxidil work on alopecia?

Minoxidil was originally prescribed by dermatologists for men suffering from male pattern baldness, or androgenic alopecia. Now minoxidil is also available without a prescription for women with androgenic alopecia (the same name as men’s androgenic alopecia), also called female pattern baldness or female pattern hair loss. There's evidence that minoxidil helps treat alopecia in women. The drug is highly effective at stimulating hair growth and enriching the hair follicle. Still, it is not a cure. When you stop using minoxidil your hair will return to its previous condition.  

Where is minoxidil available?

Minoxidil is available over-the-counter in pharmacies, stores, and online.

You should talk to your doctor before using minoxidil and while taking the drug to monitor potential side effects. 

You can purchase minoxidil and other products conveniently through these websites: 

Hers - Hers is the sister brand of Hims and is geared towards female health. They have the same discreet shipping, product guarantees, and consultations as Hims.

Medication Product Features Buy Now
Total retail value $49 (18% savings)
TheWeekender Kit | Hers
TheWeekender Kit | Hers

Developed with JLo herself, this iconic duo is the secret to hair that you can't stop touching. They're formulated to be used on all textures and thickness levels, giving you the power to completely transform your locks at home.

01 Detox Scalp Scrub
02 Rapid Repair Hair Mask
03 No parabens, phthalates, or sulfates

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$16/bottle
Multivitamin Gummies | Hers
Multivitamin Gummies | Hers

The gummy – Biotin, biotin, biotin – it’s all the rage and for good reason. Think of this gummy as your baseline necessity to help strengthen your hair. Cue hair flip.
 

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Total retail value $73.50 (40% savings)
The CompleteHair Kit | Hers
The CompleteHair Kit | Hers

01 Minoxidil 2 oz bottle
02 The Shampoo DHT 6.4 oz bottle
03 The Conditioner
04 Biotin Gummies

All the perks – at hers, we want to provide you with choices to keep your hair healthy for longer. This complete hair treatment works to help regrow your hair, decreases shedding, and strengthens your hair.

 

Buy NowRead Review
Regrowth made easy
Minoxidil Foam for Women | Hers
Minoxidil Foam for Women | Hers

Say hello to thicker, fuller hair. Minoxidil 5% Foam is FDA approved and clinically proven to promote hair regrowth for women in just 3-6 months.This airy minoxidil foam goes directly on your scalp to stimulate hair follicles and extend your hair’s natural growth cycle

  • Absorbs into the scalp and dries quickly, leaving no trace
  • Won’t make hair feel greasy or tacky, so you can style as normal

2 month supply, $15/mo

Buy NowRead Review
Minoxidil Solution
Women’s Minoxidil 2% Topical Solution | Hers
Women’s Minoxidil 2% Topical Solution | Hers

Minoxidil 2% Topical Solution is a hair regrowth treatment that absorbs into the scalp, activating your follicles and extending your hair’s natural growth cycle. The result? Clinically-proven hair regrowth for thicker, fuller locks.

2 month supply, $15/mo

Buy NowRead Review
Strengthening and Moisturizing
Shampoo and Conditioner | Hers
Shampoo and Conditioner | Hers

Our signature shampoo to help control shedding is now packaged with our rich conditioner to make sure that all that hair you keep is luscious AF. More hair? ✔ Softer hair? ✔✔. Ah, the simple things.

Starting at $33.00

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Shapiro MD - Shapiro MD offers access to top experts and women's hair loss treatments that are simple and affordable. 

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$19.95 - Subscriptions Available
Women's Personalized Prescription Treatment | Shapiro MD
Women's Personalized Prescription Treatment | Shapiro MD

Visibly restore your hair's density and luster with a prescription hair loss formulation that's been customized just for you. Designed by a licensed U.S. clinician, your unique formula will likely include medical-strength tretinoin and a higher, promising concentration of minoxidil, an ingredient shown to boost hair growth at lower concentrations. Available exclusively from Shapiro MD.

 

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$19.95 - Subscriptions Available
2% Minoxidil Regrowth Serum | Shapiro MD
2% Minoxidil Regrowth Serum | Shapiro MD

Revitalize hair follicles for healthy, continuous hair growth. The "gold standard" in restorative hair care, 2% minoxidil is an FDA-approved growth treatment for women with thinning hair. It works by expanding the blood vessels in your scalp, allowing for more oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to travel to your hair follicles. In turn, your hair follicles get the support they need to operate at maximum capacity.

 

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$19.95 - Subscriptions Available
Leave-In Daily Foamer | Shapiro MD
Leave-In Daily Foamer | Shapiro MD

Fight hormonally-triggered hair loss all day long with this unique leave-in foamer. This powerful formula contains green tea extract, saw palmetto berry, and caffeine, ingredients shown to deflect environmental stressors and repel DHT, a hormone linked to hair loss. Conveniently, this formula has an absorbant, lightweight consistency that practically "dissapears" into your scalp. That means it won’t cause buildup — even if you don’t wash your hair every day. As a result, you can support optimal hair health as you go about life.

 

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$79.95 - Subscriptions Available
Natural Leave-In Kit | Shapiro MD
Natural Leave-In Kit | Shapiro MD

The Natural Leave-In Kit features some of our most powerful topical formulas - each of which contains three active ingredients shown to fight the effects of DHT, a hormone linked with hair loss. These topicals work together to protect and nourish your scalp and strands, so your hair looks thicker, fuller, and healthier overall.

 

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Sources: 

11 Potential Side Effects of Rogaine for Women 

Treating female pattern hair loss 

5% Minoxidil: treatment for female pattern hair loss

Treating Female Pattern Hair Loss

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