- 1 1. Not Applying it Correctly
- 2 2. Inconsistent Use
- 3 3. Not Suffering Through the Shed (Giving Up Too Quickly)
- 4 4. Having Unrealistic Expectations
- 5 5. Not Assessing Your Hair Loss in Advance
- 6 6. Not Using Finasteride First (Especially if Your Hair Loss is Aggressive)
- 7 7. Going “All in” on Minoxidil
- 8 8. Quitting
- 9 8 Most Common Minoxidil Mistakes – Conclusion
Minoxidil has helped multiple generations of men avoid their worst nightmare: Going bald. It’s FDA-approved, generally safe, and quite effective overall.
Minoxidil also gets a bad wrap sometimes. Some users claim the product doesn’t work at all. Others take it a step further and say minoxidil made their hair fall out faster than ever before.
Chances are, anyone making such a claim is an idiot. And their lack of success with the product is probably due to one of these 8 minoxidil mistakes:
1. Not Applying it Correctly
Don’t skip this section.
Country singer Luke Bryan had a hit song a few years ago called “Most People are Good.”I disagree with that title and thesis statement. I believe most humans are selfish and stupid. And not surprisingly, user error is a common reason why many people don’t achieve favorable results with minoxidil.
So let’s make sure you know how to use it properly, shall we?
How to Apply Minoxidil
- Make sure your hair is completely DRY!
- Use 1 ml of 5% minoxidil twice daily (guys) or 1 x per day (women). Ladies, if you’re interested, here’s my complete minoxidil guide for women.
- Rub the solution into your scalp. Make sure it penetrates the follicles so it can do its job; many people take a “light touch” and use the medication like a hair styling product.
- Don’t be too delicate. In order for the minoxidil to work properly, you need to really rub it into your scalp. Emphasize any problem areas such as the crown or hairline in your application.
- Twice per day is ideal. But many hair loss specialists contend that once per day is sufficient too, given the medication’s half life (roughly 20 hours). Dr. Bernstein of Bernstein Medical says that he often recommends once-per-day minoxidil to his patients, with this caveat: He says they should use twice as much product during that single application.
2. Inconsistent Use
Maybe you skip the minoxidil when you’re away on business. Or, perhaps you only remember to apply it prior to a romantic rendezvous. While missing an application every now and again is no big deal, if you’re not regularly using the product, your chances of achieving success in the long-term are minimal.
3. Not Suffering Through the Shed (Giving Up Too Quickly)
If you’ve done any research on minoxidil, chances are you’re familiar with the shed. It’s just a phase, don’t worry.
Many men notice they start losing more hair when they start using minoxidil, which can be alarming, as that’s exactly the opposite of its intended effect. But this is normal. It’s just a sign that your thinning follicles are shedding. They will soon be replaced with thicker, stronger hairs.
You should give the medication at least a 6-month trial before you declare it a bust — ideally closer to a year. Minoxidil has been shown to be somewhat to very effective in about 80% of men. It helps slow hair loss in about 60% of women too. So there’s a good chance it will work for you. You just have to be patient.
4. Having Unrealistic Expectations
Look, minoxidil doesn’t work for everyone. Moreover, it doesn’t address the underlying cause of hair loss, the androgen DHT.
Unless your hair loss is of a very mild variety, you may need to consider combining minoxidil with other treatments. More on those treatments momentarily.
Over time, minoxidil’s effectiveness will wane. That’s just the reality.
5. Not Assessing Your Hair Loss in Advance
In other words, you want to get a baseline ideally. The fastest, easiest, and best way to get a proper diagnosis is, of course, to see a specialist.
6. Not Using Finasteride First (Especially if Your Hair Loss is Aggressive)
The American Hair Loss association unequivocally recommends finasteride as the best first line of attack against androgenic alopecia, AKA male pattern baldness. It’s the proven, more effective solution, assuming you can tolerate it.
Believe me, I get it: the potential side effects of finasteride are beyond unappealing.
But in particular, if you’re a younger guy dealing with a relatively aggressive case of hair loss — and usually, aggressive hair loss cases begin when men are quite young — then finasteride may be the better option, assuming your hair is important to you and you’re willing to risk the side effects.
7. Going “All in” on Minoxidil
Even if you don’t consider finasteride, you should look into other treatments for hair loss, as minoxidil alone may not be enough to help you win the war against hair loss. Supplements like Sal palmetto and pumpkin seed oil may help reduce your DHT levels naturally, from within, and slow down your hair loss to a degree. They won’t work anywhere near as well as finasteride, granted.
Laser therapy is another option. It’s more of a supplementary treatment — especially for men and probably won’t lead to miraculous gains, but it’s a treatment that can help reboot your thinning hairs and decelerate the balding process.
For additional info on the top hair loss remedies available today, check out my article covering the 7 best ways to attack balding in 2020.
It’s not the most convenient hair loss remedy.
However, if you quit minoxidil, you’ll likely experience a phenomenon known as catch-up hair loss.
Basically, you’ll lose all the hair you kept or regrew as a result of using the treatment in the first place. And you may lose it all fairly quickly, within 6 months to a year. So just keep that in mind before you quit.
8 Most Common Minoxidil Mistakes – Conclusion
Even though minoxidil isn’t a miracle cure for balding, it definitely helps treat pattern hair loss to some degree in most of its users. As long as you use the medication as directed and avoid the other pitfalls listed in this article, there’s a good chance you’ll see favorable results with minoxidil.
Questions? Comments? Complaints? Feel free to chime in in the comment section with all your minoxidil-related thoughts.
Robert Price is a writer, consumer advocate, and hair loss nerd with thousands of hours of experience in the field. His goal is to keep you out of the hair loss rabbit hole, underworld, or whatever you want to call it. He founded Hair Loss Daily, the unbiased hair loss blog, in 2016. You can learn more about Robert in the my story section of this website.