Happy Head Review: Is a Customized Hair Loss Treatment Better?

Medically reviewed by Dr. Steve Kim, MD

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This article’s gonna have a little bit of everything. 

We’ll start off by digging into the science behind finasteride and minoxidil. Neither is new, by any means, but each has its own pros/cons – and even just a quick science lesson will come in handy when we’re talking about Happy Head’s formulas. 

Aaaand I guess I just blew the surprise of what the next section will be, but you probably could’ve guessed by the title, anyway. Happy Head is a new startup that offers an alternative to the finasteride pills you’d get from a traditional doctor. The topical option that they offer gives you the opportunity to grow your hair back, but with fewer risks than oral Finasteride. But of course, that’s exactly what we’ll be digging into.

Lastly, we’ll compare Happy Head against a couple of the largest hair loss (growth?) companies on the market: Hims and Keeps. 

guy touching his hair and products of happy head
Source: Happy Head

Table of Contents

Why am I losing my hair?

You may already be studied up on the basics of hair loss, but I promise the next few sections are important to understanding why Happy Head’s approach is unique.

Androgenic alopecia is basically male pattern baldness, which is a genetic condition signified by too much loss of hair from the hairline and scalp. For males, thinning commonly takes place on the top and front of the head, unlike female alopecia which influences the entire scalp and typically starts later on in life than for men.

In essence, male alopecia is early balding. It typically happens in middle-aged males, but younger adults are reporting cases of loss of hair at ages as young as 25 and below. I had a friend who was noticeably balding in high school.

The male hormone testosterone is closely linked to male alopecia. Dihydrotestosterone or DHT (a subtype of testosterone) binds itself to the hair roots in your scalp, triggering them to weaken and disrupt the hair cycle, creating an inactive follicle in which hair falls out. This results in baldness. Ugh.

Free testosterone found in the bloodstream to DHT is converted by an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase. Having high degrees of DHT will certainly cause faster thinning and ultimately: baldness. DHT affects some males more than others, creating a faster loss of hair. This is where the whole “baldness + genetics” conversation comes into play. 

Male pattern baldness also relates to factors like anxiety and hormonal changes. The level and rate of development of male pattern baldness differ depending on the man, but it ultimately influences more than half of all white males over 50 years old.

Understanding what causes hair loss and its connection to DHT will give you a leg up on understanding just how Finasteride functions and why it’s currently the most efficient option to treat male pattern balding.

Ok, so what does finasteride do to stop hair loss?

Finasteride is most known for increasing testosterone levels in the body, thereby increasing hair growth. (That’s one reason why you won’t see finasteride being prescribed to women.)

More often than not, you’ll see finasteride being prescribed as a pill that you take orally. Fun; another pill.

Topical finasteride is the same stuff, but it’s applied locally to the scalp rather than by swallowing a pill. 

Supposedly, this form of treatment leads finasteride to have superior results on the intended location (i.e. your scalp) without altering the testosterone levels in your blood. This suggests that it shouldn’t affect your sex drive or change the levels of testosterone in your body. 

So how does it work? Remember:

High DHT in your body  ➡️  Faster thinning  ➡️  Baldness

Finasteride stops your body from converting testosterone to DHT, thereby reversing the effects of hair loss. Whether it’s used alone or combined with other treatments for hair loss (like minoxidil AKA Rogaine), finasteride enables your scalp to grow hair again in the normal hair growth cycle, which can usually take a number of months.

man applying product in his hair
Look at all that hair. Hunk alert! 🚨

How effective is finasteride?

Pretty damn effective. Finasteride has been used for years, along with a similar solution, Dutasteride, because they’re downright effective at treating male pattern baldness. 

Okay, but what does “downright effective” mean…?

Data from medical trials, like this one from the European Journal of Dermatology, suggests that using finasteride gives men up to a 91% greater chance of stopping hair loss, and up to a 66% greater production of visible hair growth.

The efficacy of finasteride on hair growth and reduction of hair loss
Source: Advances in the treatment of male androgenetic alopecia: a brief review of finasteride studies, European Journal of Dermatology

Finasteride has assisted countless guys over the last few years, demonstrating finasteride’s reliability for men. We do want to mention that some men experience negative effects, so it’s essential to talk to a medical professional and examine your choices before use.

Which is better? Oral finasteride vs topical finasteride

Topical finasteride has not been around for long and was quickly recognized as one of