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 the best solutions for alopecia, especially compared to oral finasteride, primarily because of its reduced adverse effects. Finasteride in pill form has existed for years, working by metabolizing in the liver and stopping the entire body’s conversion of testosterone to DHT.

Because DHT also affects libido, it can also affect body hair and the growth of the prostate gland, so the absence of appropriate DHT can, unfortunately, have some unwanted sex-related and physical effects as well.

In general, if you have the option, most medications in the topical form will have far fewer side effects – especially any serious ones – than in the oral form. So, if studies show that the topical form is just as efficient, it’s best to choose that option. 

Speaking of topical care and taking care of our bodies, if you’re also in the market for better skin, Geologie is a great place to start. Read our full review here.

Why is topical finasteride less high-risk than oral finasteride?

A lot of dermatologists still recommend oral finasteride initially unless you specifically demand topical, which positions a lower danger of significant side impacts. Topical finasteride– which is the therapy Happy Head offers– might be a much more appealing option due to the fact that it shows up in much lower dose (~ 0.25%) compared to the oral tablets (5mg), suggesting that even much less gets to the bloodstream after application, potentially having very little results on hormone balance.

happy head medicine bottle
Source: Happy Head

Recall that topical finasteride is just applied to the afflicted location, so the medicine just functions in an extra local location without possibly having excessive impacts on the remainder of the body. For any person terrified concerning terrifying sexual adverse effects from finasteride such as loss of libido or impotence, topical finasteride is thus a much safer choice.

That stated, topical finasteride is a much more current solution of the medication that is yet to be accepted by the FDA or made extensively readily available. Companies like Happy Head and Hims, however, are transforming this, making it easier to get online.

Does topical finasteride work?

A study conducted in 2021 on topical finasteride showed that hair amount increased significantly over 24 weeks (the proven optimal growth phase) for those using the topical finasteride compared to those using the placebo. 

In the 446 patients participating, it was proven that topical finasteride significantly improves hair count and is well tolerated by the scalp and individual. It was also stated that, while the overall outcome of topical finasteride is similar to that of oral finasteride, the systemic exposure was significantly lower, offering less of an impact on serum DHT concentrations. 

Happy Head’s solution of topical finasteride is even more efficient than standard solutions because it’s customized for your specific needs and not a one-size-fits-all solution. They’ve also managed to include other ingredients (Retinoic acid and minoxidil) to assist in hair maintenance. There are several reliable sources that show that the combination of minoxidil with finasteride produces better results than either alone, so we feel confident that although no one single medication benefits everyone, Happy Head’s topical finasteride (with minoxidil) will check most of the boxes.

To get some more insight on minoxidil, we go in depth on if minoxidil works for beards. Can’t neglect the other head hair!!

Finasteride side effects

Finasteride can have a few adverse effects, which is one of the reasons men worry about the possible impacts of taking oral finasteride long term.

These can include:

  • Impotence and ejaculation complications
  • Swelling and inflammation in the breasts
  • Swelling of the hands or feet
  • Potential sexual difficulties (such as reduced libido) as a result of reduced DHT levels
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness

Fortunately, these side effects have been blown out of proportion over time, as they materialize in less than 5% of men taking oral finasteride. And even then, they show up in very moderate forms in the very first couple of weeks of taking the medication until the body gets acclimated.

It’s also worth noting (particularly for women) that Happy Head does offer personalized solutions that don’t contain finasteride. These generally contain around 8% minoxidil, 0.01% Retinoic Acid, and 1% hydrocortisone (which reduces the irritation from minoxidil/retinoic acid). 

Happy Head vs Hims vs Keeps: Which brand is best for topical finasteride?

happy head logo 240x60 Hims logo keeps logo 240x60

Treatments Offered: Happy vs Hims vs Keeps

Happy Head

Hims

Keeps

Topical or oral finasteride?TopicalBothOral
Minoxidil included in topical solution?❌ topical minoxidil can be combined with oral finasteride treatment
Aloe (reduces irritation)N/A
Consultation cost?FreeFreeFree
Subscription cost?$79/moStarting at $50/mo$25/mo
Customizable?
How to apply?DropperSprayOral
Trial period?Refund on latest order up to 6 months, with 50% off your first order90 days50% off first month
Other hair loss treatments offered?Dutasteride, Spironolactone, and women's only formulas, as well as shampoo & conditioner and hair supplementsOral finasteride Minoxidil solution Minoxidil Foam Biotin gummies Thickening shampoo & conditionerFoam & spray minoxidil Ketoconazole shampoo Thickening shampoo, conditioner, & pomade
Website

Happy Head’s topical finasteride solution has, on average, more Minoxidil than other brands, anywhere between 6% and 8%. They discovered that adding even more retinoic acid and Minoxidil doesn’t cause any additional side effects, yet produces better and faster results. Don’t let the word “acid” be a deterrent, btw. (Remember learning about acids and bases in chemistry?) Happy Head’s solution includes aloe, which helps to calm any scalp inflammation or burning after application. 

This unique formula of finasteride is personalized for each client depending on their needs, clinical history, gender, and any other personal elements. For any person worried about side effects like ED or various other unintended conditions linked with continued finasteride usage, Happy Head is worth the slightly higher monthly cost.

If you’re located in the UK, check out our review of Sons hair loss – one of the leading hair loss platforms across the pond. We notice the same trend of high-quality telehealth providers emerging for men’s hair loss in India, as well.

How do I get topical finasteride from Happy Head?

Because topical finasteride is not yet FDA approved or commercially available, the decision will reside with your dermatologist in the end. While the prescription isn’t exactly hard to obtain, the process in which to go through to land the final product with your local and in-person dermatologist and then corresponding pharmacist is quite the undertaking. 

Happy Head eliminates most of the in-person hassle, starting with a free consultation with certified dermatologists. There, they’ll determine the best path for you by covering your medical history and products previously used to attempt hair regrowth (including any minoxidil or finasteride use), aiding in the final customized solution for you.

The certified dermatologists will prescribe a course of treatment for your optimal hair regrowth outcome. The custom solution will arrive in the mail on a monthly cadence, eliminating the hassle and any forgetfulness in doctor visits or pharmacy refills. Happy Head wants to make the process for your best head of hair as simple as can be.

Source: Happy Head

Is Happy Head worth it?

Happy Head is $79 a month for a 60 ml bottle. This includes the product and the shipping, and there’s no contract to sign, meaning you can cancel at any time. This also is after a free consultation with a dermatologist and free continuous support from their doctors.

Happy Head before and after results: topical finasteride

If you’re looking for a safer (than oral finasteride), quicker, and more convenient way to acquire finasteride for your hair loss needs, going to Happy Head instead of your doctor checks all these boxes. 

In addition, topical Finasteride has not yet been approved to be a mass-market drug, so is generally only provided through a dermatologist/pharmacy relationship, leading to problems with quality control. Happy Head’s goal is to change that by making it much easier to obtain a reliable, customized formula, made just for your condition.

Just for clarification: finasteride itself is an FDA-approved medication, topical finasteride is still undergoing research to become FDA-approved.

Not my head. Source: Happy Head Instagram

It’s always advised to consult with your primary care physician before adding a medication to your regimen – be it oral or topical. But, we still suggest obtaining the topical finasteride from Happy Head for the convenience and superior formula, should you be able to afford the greater price tag than oral Finasteride. Happy Head is a much, much less complex way to try out finasteride itself and ensure the appropriate dosage is shipped out to you on a monthly basis. Not to mention a lot more convenient method than a typical visit to your skin doctor!

Happy Head reviews: Does it work for others online?

Opting for topical finasteride in general rather than oral gives users peace of mind to know they are treating their thinning scalp with a lower threat of negative effects, while still seeing optimal outcomes. Happy Head provides the most convenient way to do this, and customers have many positive things to say about it.

We’ve already covered the higher price point, so that’s generally been the largest con associated with Happy Head. There are other companies like Hims, Roman, or Keeps that provide similar services, but the personalized combination of finasteride, minoxidil, and retinoic acid with Happy Head cannot be matched. This all-in-one combo provides a lower threat of adverse effects, considerably justifying the higher price.

happy head review overpriced
Source: Trust Pilot

TLDR; Does Happy Head work for hair loss?

Happy Head provides a legit, effective topical hair loss treatment for males. By integrating FDA-approved medications – finasteride and minoxidil – into a single solution that can be easily applied to the scalp, Happy Head has gone above and beyond where standard hair loss companies have.

And by empowering every customer to personalize their dosage, concentration, and amount of ingredients, there’s a huge step up from a standard solution you’d receive elsewhere.

If you’re serious about finding an effective, sustainable solution for treating your hair loss, and you’re willing to pay a bit more for the best, it’s absolutely worth giving Happy Head a shot.