I didn't get off to a very good start with Osmotics FNS Follicle Nutrient Serum ($69). It was designed with St Luke’s Breast Cancer Hospital as a formula to help hair growth for recovering chemo patients. I tested it on my left temple where my hair started to noticeably thin a few years ago. After three or four weeks of struggling with a non-functioning airless pump and no visible results, I gave up.

Osmotics asked me to give it another go for at least six months and sent me another bottle. I wasn't particularly enthusiastic about it, but because I really do like the Osmotics FNS shampoo ($24) and conditioner ($26), I agreed. After only a couple of months, I am really glad I did. My test on the left temple produced hair after about six weeks and a couple of weeks after that it was real hair, not wisps.

Then I really surprised myself by thinking that the FNS side was looking rather better than the right temple, where I have been using Folligen - and the Folligen is pretty good. I swapped out the Folligen for FNS and started to see my hair looking thicker on that side. Now if I pull my hair back from my face, I have an even hairline all round.

I should add that I usually wash and condition with the the FNS products, sometimes alternating with Aubrey Organics or Nutra-Lift. I also spritz my hair all over after washing with Pure Radiance Infuse. My hair looks great - better than it has for years, although I say so myself. Actually, I have been getting compliments as well.

Whereas Folligen uses copper peptides, the FNS serum majors on amino acids. I believe that there are 18 amino acids in human hair and they are all here in this serum. I addition, I wasn't surprised to find an antioxidant favorite of Osmotics, tetrahydrocurcumin.

FNS serum is also big on B vitamins: B6 (pyridoxine), Myo-insitol, which has been shown to strengthen the cells of the hair, helping it to retain moisture, serving as a humectant and anti-static agent, niacinamide, thiamine and riboflavin (B2).

I was surprised to see para-amino benzoic acid (PABA) since I associate that with dodgy sunscreens. PABA is another B vitamin and has sun protection capabilities. However, PABA sunscreens caused irritation and scientists in the 1980s found that it could increase the formation of a DNA defect. Hence, PABA sunscreens are no longer commonly available. The safety issues associated with PABA do seem to be dose related. The EU's safety evaluation concluded it is safe at topical concentrations of 10%.

Ingredients in FNS Serum

Purified Water, SDA-40 Alcohol, Nylon-12, Glycerine, Lactic Acid, Glucose, Ascorbic Acid, D-Biotin (Vitamin H), Choline Chloride, Choline Bitartrate, Folic Acid, Myo-Inositol, Nicotinic Acid (Niacinamide), Paba, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine, Riboflavin, Thiamine, Alpha-Tocopherol Phosphate, Vitamin B12, L-Alanine, L-Arginine, L-Aspartic Acid, L-Cysteine, L-Glutamine, Glycine, L-Histidine, L-Isoleucine, L-Leucine, L-Lysine, L-Methionine, L-Phenylalanine, L-Proline, L-Serine, L-Threonine, L-Tryptophan, L-Tyrosine, L-Valine, Inorganic Salts, Tetrahydrocurcumin, Carbomer, Cinnamomum Zeylanicum Bark Extract (Cinnulin PF®), Oleth-10, Sodium Bicarbonate, Bergamia Essential Oil, Polyquaternium-10, Oleth-10, Nisaplin, Sodium EDTA, Tromethamine.