Chances are that you’ve experienced hair loss or thinning at some point—and maybe more so with age. Integrating the best hair-growth products into your routine can help you achieve fuller, thicker, and longer hair, no matter what stage you’re at. Maybe you’re experiencing hair loss, or maybe your family has a history of it or balding. Hair follicles shrink with time until they no longer produce hair, says Fatima Fahs, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Michigan. So, yes, hair thinning is a totally normal part of aging—and it’s never a bad idea to get ahead of the curve by taking preventative action with treatments.

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What is a hair-growth product?

There are all sorts of products on the market that focus on hair growth—thickening shampoos, leave-in conditioners, oils, serums, sprays, and more. Anna Chacon, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, suggests considering topical products and supplements that specifically cater toward the hair-growth cycle (which goes through the anagen, catagen, and telogen stages). Certain formulas can really work, she says, depending on your needs and the ingredients, but you’ll need to be patient with the results. “It’s fair to give products six months before assessing effects,” she says.

If you have more serious hair loss, it’s worth talking to your salonist, tricholosit, or a hair restoration specialist, says board-certified plastic surgeon Hardik Doshi, MD, FACS. Of course, most experts say the over-the-counter stuff can’t hurt to try but might not yield the results you want; Rogaine (the brand name of the FDA-approved Minoxidil) for now is the only one with research backing up its efficacy.

Trichologist Anabel Kingsley says that each topical product will act on hair follicle and growth phases in different ways. “Some will be stimulating, while others are regulating,” she says. “Nutritional supplements, on the other hand, will work internally to support hair cell production.”

What ingredients should you look for in hair-growth products?

According to Dr. Chacon and Hadley King, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, here are some ingredients you’ll want to look for when selecting an effective hair-growth product:

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