For the past five or six weeks, I have been testing Nioxin Intensive Therapy Follicle Booster ($20) in a side by side comparison with Folligen Cream ($17.99) - Folligen on my right temple, Nioxin on the left. Nioxin provided results very quickly, two weeks into my test, Nioxin has produced noticeable new hair growth. But the hairs were the merest wisps and a month later they still are. I've seen newborns with a more impressive thatch.

In my experience, Folligen takes at least a month before anything happens, but when hair starts to grow it is proper, thick hair. Furthermore, I used the Nioxin every day and the Folligen only about three times a week. Folligen also works on eyelashes and eyebrows, so all in all is much better value.

Nioxin relies on two ingredients phospholipids and saw palmetto. There is research to back up phospholipids as meriting a role in the hair regrowth department. Fairly recently, scientists discovered that phospholipids 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.

Although saw palmetto is commonly used for hair regrowth, 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.

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.

Over the coming weeks, I'll be testing Osmotics FNS. I already like the FNS shampoo and conditioner and I'm eager to see how the growth serum turns out.

Ingredients in Folligen Cream

Purified water, copper peptides (hydrolyzed soy protein and copper chloride), squalane, glyceryl stearate, PEG-100 stearate, ethylhexyl palmitate, stearic acid, cetyl alcohol, cupric chloride, propylene glycol (and) diazolidinyl urea (and) methylparaben (and) propylparaben, allantoin, tocophersolan (Vitamin E), menthol, lavandula augustifolia (lavender) oil, fragrance, mixed (alpha, beta, gamma, delta) tocopherols.

Ingredients in Nioxin

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).