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Hair grows with Nioxin Intensive Therapy Follicle Booster

September 25, 2013 Reviewed by Marta 21 Comments
Many people have told me that they have had good results with Nioxin's hair growth products. Since Nioxin Intensive Therapy Follicle Booster ($20) is comparable in price to Folligen Cream, it seemed high time that I gave the two a side by side comparison (Folligen on my right temple, Nioxin on the left). Two weeks into my test, Nioxin has produced noticeable new hair growth, but so far the hairs are the merest baby wisps.

It takes longer - at least three weeks - to see results with Folligen. But, in my experience, the new hair Folligen stimulates is thicker and, well, like proper hair. I will have to give Nioxin longer to see what ultimately happens. In the meantime, it is worth noting that they work in very different ways.

Folligen's active ingredient is copper peptides. Copper is a wound healer and its ability to assist in hair growth was discovered when it was noticed that the hair follicles around treated wounds were exceptionally large. It seems to work on the follicle in two ways: increasing follicle cell proliferation increased follicle size; and copper also decreases programmed follicle cell death, which results in smaller follicles. Nioxin, on the hand, uses a panoply of different ingredients, most of which are vitamins. Nioxin's vitamins are all coenzymes, which means that the vitamin has been bound to a protein. I believe that this makes the vitamins easier for the body absorb - important in the case of the B vitamins because usually they do not do a good job of penetrating the skin.

For Nioxin, the real star of the show is the first ingredient after water, phospholipids. Fairly recently, scientists discovered that they play an important role in cellular regulation. A Japanese study shows that phosphatidic acid has an "intensive" effect on hair growth by targeting the epithelial cells and epidermal keratinocytes. Furthermore, it induces the anagen (growth) phase of the hair cycle, perhaps by having a protective action on transforming-growth-factor-beta1-induced apoptosis.

Most of the rest of the ingredients are not directly related to hair growth, although many of them are useful antioxidants such as alga and yeast. It seems some of the ingredients have been selected to protect hair (and head) from UV damage. These would include the plant extracts, ginkgo and silybum. Humulus lupulus are common hops and the extracts have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, according to at least one study.

Serenoa Serrulata is saw palmetto and is a herbal remedy for a type of hair loss and baldness called androgenic alopecia, or male- and female-pattern baldness. This type of hair loss is typically the greatest at the top of the head or around the temples. No one is sure how it works and there isn’t any convincing research, but it’s believed that it may block an enzyme (5-alpha-reductase) from allowing the hormone testosterone from being converted to another hormone, dihydrotestosterone. Dihydrotestosterone is considered a key contributing factor to the onset and progression of androgenic alopecia. Saw palmetto is in Ookisa's hair thickening shampoo.

I'll report back on how I get on with Nioxin in a few weeks.


Water (Aqua), Phospholipids, Hydrolyzed Algin, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Propylene Glycol, Ginkgo Biloba, Humulus Lupulus, Panax Ginseng, Serenoa Serrulata, Silybum Maranium, Wheat Amino Acids, Soy Amino Acids, Ethoxydiglycol, Coenzyme A, Coenzyme B5, Coenzyme B6, Coenzyme B12, Coenzyme Biotin, Coenzyme Folate, Coenzyme Nicotinate, Coenzyme Q6-10, Coenzyme R, Coenzyme Riboflavin, Coenzyme Thiamine, Panthenol, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Acetamide MEA, Tocopheryl Nicotinate, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Saccharomyces/Silicon Ferment, Saccharomyces/Magnesium Ferment, Saccharomyces/Copper Ferment, Saccharomyces/Iron Ferment, Saccharomyces/Zinc Ferment, Mentha Piperita, Rosmarinus Officinalis, Swertia Japonica, Polysorbate-60, Polysorbate-80, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Triethanolamine, Sodium Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylates Crosspolymer, Methyl Nicotinate, Parfum (Fragrance).
  • November 4, 2014

    by mark

    I would like to know the final result of your comparison.

  • September 12, 2013

    by Brittany

    I used to have thinning hair, and then it happen to my husband, He used to use Nioxin, but it was too drying for me, and it would strip my hair color. I fell in LOVE with the Shielo Volume shampoo cause it was great for my hair, and actually helped strengthen it. I absolutely love this stuff. It is well worth the money spent on this product.
    I use the Shielo Volume system even though my hair is not thinning anymore. My husband has been using it, and while he does not like the smell (vanilla - which i love!), I have noticed that his hair has gotten stronger.

  • April 15, 2013

    by angela van Rooyen

    I relax my hair, but now it is falling out What can I do

  • January 25, 2013

    by Marta

    Hi Linda, I haven't tried it on brows, but we do have a product specially formulated for brows: Brow Vitality Complex:

  • January 25, 2013

    by Linda

    Can this stuff be used for eyebrows?

  • February 13, 2010

    by marta

    i think Folligen works best.

  • February 13, 2010

    by Jessica

    I wanted to know which product really gives good results Nioxin or Folligen as I want to get new thick hair growth back.


  • February 1, 2010

    by Junko

    Following your lead Marta, I've been applying Folligen at the hairline after washing 3-4 days a week for 6 months. In addition now, I sleep 2 nights a week, w/a heavy application of Folligen, topped with Emu oil. Addition of Emu oil has improved growth. I'm really happy with the new growth!

  • February 1, 2010

    by marta

    Johnny, I use the Folligen cream. In the 18 months or so that I have been using it, I find that if I stop using it I end up having to back to it. But I don't know what will happen longer term.

  • February 1, 2010

    by johnny

    Which Folligen product did you use and have success with? the cream or was it something else.

    Im looking at using it to thicken my hairline, Ive tried the nioxin FB since Oct and havent noticed much of anything happen

    Also, is there a risk of dependency with this product? or can you just use it till you get the desired results and then stop?

    Thank you for any help you can give me,

  • October 21, 2009

    by marta

    Hi Jack,

    I'd say three to four weeks. Thanks so much for keeping us posted and good luck!

  • October 21, 2009

    by Jack

    I have received my folligen today, Marta, in your experience, how long did you find it took for the re-growth of your hair? I will also keep you apprise of my success with this product via a log entry.

    Many thanks!

  • October 19, 2009

    by marta

    Hi Jack, good luck with it and I hope you let us know how you get on with it.

  • October 18, 2009

    by Jack

    Thank you Marta, I am buying the folligen!

  • October 14, 2009

    by marta

    Jack, I am using Folligen on my right temple and the hair there has grown completely normally. On the left, the Nioxin hair is wispy, which it was not before.

  • October 14, 2009

    by Jack

    Hi Marta,
    I can understand that, I was thinking that based on where you applied the Nioxin, the hairs are not really meant to grow that dark or thick in that temple area. Would you agree or was there thicker hair to begin with? I was considering using the nioxin for thinning hair affected by DHT. What are your thoughts. I am allergic to minoxidil hence in need of a natural product. I would greatly appreciate your insight.


  • October 14, 2009

    by marta

    Hi Jack,

    No they haven't. Still sparse and wispy. I have had much better results with Folligen. I'm going to give Nioxin another week and then give up. My next test will be to try FNS.

  • October 13, 2009

    by Jack

    Hi Marta, How has the test been? Have the Nioxin hairs gotten any thicker? I was waiting for your results prior to buying a few bottles of the same.


  • September 27, 2009

    by Tammy

    I used it and it works. I have been using it for 4 months now and i have new growth all over that is just as thick as my other hairs.

  • September 26, 2009

    by LJ Bradshaw

    I used to work in a men's salon and the stylists swore by this, but they are there to sell product. So I decided to try it. But I tried it on my over tweezed eyebrows. No lie - it worked. Not only, however, did it work on my brows, but, when I absentmindedly rubbed the excess in my widow's peak - I got tiny bangs.

    If they had any sense they would market this to women for their brows. Nothing ages you like the hideous arches that you thought looked so cute in your twenties.

  • September 26, 2009

    by helix

    How strange...I also have this product, but the ingredients list looks a little different. The ingredients on my bottle match those on the nioxin website:

    I wonder if you have a newer version? Look forward to seeing if you have more progress! I am still undecided if it is helping.

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