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Last Updated on August 25, 2020 by Hold the Hairline Team

Hair loss treatments have become big business.

The sector is worth a whopping $3.5 billion dollars. This figure matches the net worth of the entire cold and flu treatment sector. 

With the potential for substantial profits comes fakes and imposters. Snake oil salesman ready to make a quick buck from people desperate for their full head of hair back.

Nioxin shampoo, one of the most popular hair-loss treatments, is a refreshing departure from the snake oil. 

But, in the sea of fakes and phonies, does Nioxin work for hair loss? In short, yes, and it’s backed up by science.

Here, we tell you more about how Nioxin works. We will also provide in-depth reviews of our favorite Nioxin shampoos. 

We have also compiled our picks into a handy comparison table to make shopping easy. 

Read on to find out more about Nioxin, find the best formula to help your hair loss, and find out where to go for the most affordable price.

Note that the products discussed here are independently chosen by our editors. At no extra cost to you, Hold the Hairline may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.

Is Nioxin an Effective Treatment for Thinning Hair?

Anyone, male or female, who has been searching for hair loss solutions on the web has heard of Nioxin. Their website is refreshing. 

They don’t make a lot of bold claims nor do they feature dramatic before and after pictures. They tout an approach backed up by science. An approach that will solve the problem of thinning hair on both men and women.

While this is a welcome surprise, the question remains: can slowing down hair loss or even stopping further loss be as simple as using a special shampoo every morning? 

If there are this many people using the shampoo, it has to deliver results, right? Is it just a thickening shampoo or does it also help prevent hair loss?

Are you ready? Let’s get to the bottom of why Nioxin is such a popular hair loss shampoo. First up, we have a comparison table showing the full spectrum of Nioxin’s products.

Nioxin Shampoo Review - Step 3
Nioxin Scalp Treatment Product

Nioxin Product Reviews and Comparison Chart

Here are our comparison chart and product pricing for Nioxin’s Complete System 1 Method. 

As with many products, if you buy the larger bottles you save some money. Our suggestion is to start with the small system. If it’s working go ahead and purchase the bigger bottles so they’ll last longer between purchases.

Nioxin offers a selection of 6 different systems for all different types of hair. We focused on System 1 which is intended for natural hair with light thinning. 

If your hair loss is more progressed, or you have chemically treated hair, check out the other systems to find which is best for you. Check out the handy graphic below which outlines the hair type for each system.

The pricing is the same no matter which system you choose. Just match with your hair type for best results.

Selecting the Right Nioxin Product
Nioxin Scalp Activating Treatment, System 16.76 Fl Oz$2.50/Fl Oz
Nioxin Cleanser Shampoo, System 110.1 Fl Oz$1.50/Fl Oz
Nioxin Scalp Therapy Conditioner, System 110.1 Fl Oz$1.20/Fl Oz
Nioxin Cleanser & Scalp Therapy Duo Set, System 120.2 Fl Oz (10.1 x 2)$0.90/Fl Oz
Nioxin Cleanser Shampoo, System 133.8 Fl Oz$0.60/Fl Oz
Nioxin Scalp Therapy Conditioner, System 133.8 Fl Oz$0.50/Fl Oz
Nioxin Cleanser & Scalp Therapy Duo Set - Value Size67.6 Fl Oz (33.8 x 2)$0.50/Fl Oz
Nioxin Cleanser Shampoo, System 1 - Gallon Size128 Fl Oz$0.30/Fl Oz
Nioxin Scalp Therapy Condition, System 1 - Gallon Size128 Fl Oz$0.30/Fl Oz
Nioxin Hair System Kit, System 118.55 Fl Oz$1.10/Fl Oz

What is Nioxin Made Of? Nioxin Shampoo Ingredients

Nioxin has a proprietary formulation similar to any shampoo on the market. But, we do know the main ingredients that set it apart.

These are the main Nioxin shampoo ingredients and how they can affect hair re-growth.

Ensulizole and Sulisobenzone

The two ingredients, commonly found in sunscreen, are amazing for skin protection. They protect the scalp from damaging UV rays. 

Leaving the skin in its natural state and not affected by tanning makes the atmosphere more conducive to new hair growth.

Ubiquinone and GlycoProteins

You may have heard of this by it’s more common name, co-Q10. This powerful antioxidant is known for boosting the immune system. This creates a healthier environment on the scalp.

Glycoproteins facilitate cell signaling, growth, and division. All necessary for the re-growth of hair or any new body properties.

Essential Vitamins

The formula includes a full spectrum of B-vitamins known to support healthy hair follicles and a nourished scalp.

How Does Nioxin Work?

The excretion of excess sebum, or DHT, is one of the first signs of balding. This excess sebum makes it impossible for hair to grow. This, in turn, can lead to hair loss.

Nioxin’s powerhouse combination of sun protection, antioxidants, glycoproteins, and essential vitamins create a flourishing and healthy scalp environment. 

This environment lowers excess sebum levels making an environment where it is possible to regrow hair in thinning areas.

Nioxin claims that it does work best on building up the hair you already have. So it would work better on someone with thinning hair rather than those with large bald spots. Nioxin shampoo results will be quickly apparent after showering which can be a nice reinforcement to continue using the product.

Before and After Thickening Shampoo

How Long Has Nioxin Been Around For?

Nioxin has been around since 1987. It was purchased in 2008 by a giant consumer goods company you’re probably familiar with, Proctor and Gamble

Founder Eva Graham developed Nioxin after she experienced postpartum hair loss.

Where is Nioxin Sold?

Nioxin’s systems are salon-quality products used by stylists all over the globe for clients with thinning hair. The shampoo is priced comparably to other shampoos in this market. A bottle is going to run about $20.

The Nioxin product range includes a number of styling products, hair masques, deep conditioners, and other such products. 

The majority of these are available through the online stores of big-box retailers and upscale salons. A few of their specialized Nioxin products are only available in select salon locations.

But, who can beat the fast shipping and discreet shipping of Amazon? And you can purchase all the Nioxin systems right from their marketplace. 

Nioxin Shampoo Line-up - Nioxin Shampoo Review
Nioxin Shampoo Line-up

Each of the Nioxin systems includes their 3-step process. You can buy these as a set or each alone.

The 3-step hair system includes shampoo, conditioner, and a patented special scalp treatment. These are known as The Cleanser, Scalp Therapy, and Scalp Treatment.

Nioxin Cleanser Shampoo
Shampoo (Step 1)

The shampoo and conditioner are applied the same as any other. Start with the shampoo, rinse. Add the conditioner and let it sit a few minutes, then rinse out.

Nioxin Scalp Therapy Conditioner
Conditioner (Step 2)

The Scalp Therapy is added after rinsing and left in the hair before styling. Similar to a leave-in conditioner.

Nioxin Scalp Treatment System 2
Scalp Treatment (Step 3)

This hair treatment system is designed to reduce dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, and thinning. Continued use of the system promises to enhance the thickness and appearance of your hair.

How Long Before You Notice Results?

Nioxin Results - Nioxin Shampoo Review

Nioxin guarantees denser-looking hair in 30 days. 

Many testimonials indicate they saw the best results after three months of daily application. 

These customers also state that their scalps felt healthier and able to “breathe easier,” after the first couple of treatments. You’ll probably start noticing the cosmetic enhancing effects after a few weeks.

If you’re in it to try Nioxin to see if it stops or slows genetic hair loss, you’ll want to give it about 6 months to see if it works. Six months is a good time frame to test any hair loss prevention product and assess results. 

You’ll probably notice an invigorating feeling on the scalp after use. You may even see some redness in the first couple weeks of use. This is normal and usually goes away after that period of time.

Nioxin for Hair Loss: The Pros and Cons

Nioxin comes with a long list of benefits but it’s always worth it to weigh the cons as well.


  • Easy to use
  • Once daily application
  • For both women and men
  • Natural and safe
  • Natural DHT blockers like antioxidants and vitamins
  • Most users report a cosmetic thickening effect
  • Some report a noticeable decrease in thinning and shedding


  • Prolonged use required before seeing results
  • Nioxin discourages the use of their scalp treatment with other hair loss products like Rogaine (Minoxidil)
  • Results last only as long as you continue daily use
  • Little evidence that it can prevent further progression of hair loss

Nioxin Hair Care Systems Review

Here is a video from Dr. Neda where she reviews Nioxin for hair loss. We think she does a pretty good job discussing Nioxin’s strengths and weaknesses.

The Nioxin system is not a one size fits all solution. They have many options that accommodate the whole spectrum of hair types.

Before and After Nioxin - Nioxin Shampoo Review
Before and After 30 Days of Nioxin Use

Nioxin uses a lot of fancy phrases to describe their formula’s technology. 

Don’t get too caught up in all this. We will explain the main ones they use so you can decipher what they are talking about. 

For example, Nioxin names these proprietary technologies BioAMP, Scalp Access Delivery System, and Activ-Renewal. 

Most of these are just buzz words to describe the thickening properties of Nioxin and their effect on the hair:

  • BioAMP is a term that describes the mechanism that enlarges the hair shaft.
  • Scalp-Access Delivery System is a term that describes how Nioxin gently cleanses and removes toxins such as DHT from the scalp.
  • Activ-Renewal is a term that describes how it gives users a “youthful-looking scalp complexion.” 

The bottom line is it’s always best to use a shampoo and conditioner that supports your specific type of hair. If you have spent a lot of money on coloring you’ll buy a color-safe shampoo and conditioner.

The same goes for thinning hair. You want a cleanser and product meant for your hair type.

Using a cheap shampoo and conditioner can cause split ends and breakage. This will make thinning hair look a lot worse. It may also progress your hair loss faster.

Nioxin Side Effects

Nioxin Side Effects - Nioxin Shampoo Review

The most common Nioxin side effects are:

  • Redness or inflammation.
  • Itching.
  • Swelling.
  • Flaking.
  • Tenderness.
  • Dry, brittle hair

These side effects are usually mild and go away after the first couple weeks of use. If they are bothering you and sticking around stop use of Nioxin.

The Complete Nioxin Product Line

As we have mentioned Nioxin products come in a wide range of options. 

You can either buy all three together, buy shampoo and conditioner combos, standalone scalp treatment, standalone shampoo, or the standalone conditioner. 

Buying them as a kit saves you a little money and gets you all three steps in one convenient package.

You can buy the two 34 ounce duo set of conditioner and shampoo for around $34.00. This is more affordable than most salon-quality hair treatment systems. 

The 3 in 1 kit is about $20 and should last you around 1-3 months. This will depend on how long and thick your hair is, and how much you use each shower.

All of their kits incorporate at least 3 (depending on if it is for natural, color, or chemically treated hair) of their following patented technologies:

  • BioAMP: cystine amino acids and other conditioning ingredients thicken hair follicle diameter, reducing hair loss by strengthening against breakage and damage.
  • Transactive Delivery System: botanicals, vitamins, antioxidants and other purifying agents clean clogged follicles, removing sebum and other blocking residues.
  • Activ-Renewal: peppermint oil and white tea extract act as cleansing agents to clean and refresh the scalp environment. Adds healthy shine to natural hair color.
  • Glyco-Shield: humectants, white tea extract, peppermint oil, and other protective conditioning ingredients protect and add moisture balance to color-treated hair. Leaves the scalp feeling rejuvenated.
  • Smoothplex: kukui nut oil, amino acids, and other conditioning agents help provide moisture balance and make hair silky smooth. Reduces hair loss by fortifying against damage.
  • Scalp Access Delivery System: botanicals, vitamins, SPF 15 sunscreen, and other purifying agents help cleanse away follicle-clogging sebum and other scalp residues from the skin. It also provides sun protection for the scalp.

What’s the Difference Between the Six Nioxin Systems?

There are six different systems of Nioxin to fit six different types of hair. 

Remember, it is always wise to try any hair loss treatment for at least 6 months. This will give you a good baseline result. Around 12 months is even better and shows the full effect of the treatment.

Nioxin Hair Care System 1 Kit - Nioxin Shampoo Review

1. Nioxin Hair System 1 Kit: Normal to Thin-Looking Hair

System 1 is best for individuals with natural hair with light thinning. The Nioxin System 1 reviews on online shops average out to 4.4 out of 5 stars.

Nioxin Hair Care System 2 Kit - Nioxin Shampoo Review

2. Nioxin Hair System 2 Kit: Noticeably Thinning, Fine Hair

System 2 is best for individuals with natural hair with progressed thinning. The Nioxin System 2 reviews on online shops average out to 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Nioxin Hair Care System 3 Kit - Nioxin Shampoo Review

3. Nioxin Hair System 3 Kit: Normal to Thin-Looking, Color Treated Hair

System 3 is best for individuals with colored hair (artificially dyed) with light thinning. The Nioxin System 3 reviews on online shops average out to 4.2 out of 5 stars.

Nioxin Hair Care System 4 Kit - Nioxin Shampoo Review

4. Nioxin Hair System 4 Kit: Noticeably Thinning, Fine, Color Treated Hair

System 4 is best for individuals with colored hair (artificially dyed) with progressed thinning. The Nioxin System 4 reviews on online shops average out to 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Nioxin Hair Care System 5 Kit - Nioxin Shampoo Review

5. Nioxin Hair System 5 Kit: Normal to Thin-Looking, Chemically-Treated Hair

System 5 is best for individuals with chemically treated hair (like a perm) with light thinning. The Nioxin System 5 reviews on online shops average out to 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Nioxin Hair Care System 6 Kit - Nioxin Shampoo Review

6. Nioxin Hair System 6 Kit: Noticeably Thinning, Fine, Chemically-Treated Hair

System 6 is best for individuals with chemically treated hair (like a perm) with progressed thinning. The Nioxin System 6 reviews on online shops average out to 4.6 out of 5 stars.

Nioxin Advanced Thinning Product Collection

In addition to the systems above, Nioxin offers four products in its Advanced Thinning line. 

The line features a hair regrowth treatment for women and men, a scalp optimizing cleanser, and a scalp optimizing conditioner. The Nioxin Scalp Treatment reviews online are generally favorable averaging at about 4.0 out of 5 stars.

We highly recommend minoxidil for both men and women (if not Nioxin’s product below then another brand’s) if you’re having trouble with hair loss. 

It is one of the few proven treatments that work for genetic hair loss.

Nioxin Scalp Optimizing Collection

1.  Hair Regrowth Treatment for Women

Unlike their shampoo, this treatment contains an ingredient that is actually clinically proven to effectively help hair growth in women and men. The Nioxin Scalp Treatment reviews online generally trend positive.

That ingredient is minoxidil. If you haven’t heard of minoxidil you may have heard of Rogaine — one of the most popular hair loss treatments available. 

Both Rogaine and Nioxin’s Hair Regrowth Treatment for Men contains 5% minoxidil. This product for women contains 2% minoxidil.

2. Hair Regrowth Treatment for Men

Same as the above, but is extra strength and contains 5% concentration instead of the 2% found in the women’s formula.

3. Scalp Optimizing Cleanser Shampoo

Customer feedback has been very positive about this shampoo’s ability to fight dandruff. We are on the fence about its effectiveness at reversing hair loss compared to the main systems.

4. Scalp Optimizing Conditioner

This conditioner is used to help minimize the appearance of thinning hair by reducing hair loss due to breakage. 

Hair naturally will break down over time as it gets longer and older but this conditioner will help slow down that natural process. 

Again, we lean toward recommending their three-step systems over the Optimizing Cleanser and Conditioner unless dandruff is a major concern along with thinning hair.

Hold the Hairline’s Take

Nioxin Shampoo Review

Is Nioxin shampoo going to regrow hair lost years ago? No. 

Is it going to help slow down hair loss by maintaining a healthy scalp environment? Possibly. 

Is it a good thickening shampoo that will improve the appearance of thinning hair? Yes. 

Nioxin is going to work best for individuals who have just started balding with mild to medium thinning.

Despite Nioxin gaining traction as a treatment for androgenetic alopecia (genetic hair loss), there are no such claims on their website. 

First Look

Nioxin is first and foremost a cosmetic enhancing product. 

This works well as a volumizing shampoo. The company claims that 70% of Nioxin hair system users notice thicker, denser-looking hair after four weeks of continuous use. 

This is based on their own independent market research. 

Thickening Effect

In our opinion, the thickening effect is the result of the final step, Scalp Therapy, more than the first two steps of the system. 

This treatment is packed full of proteins that attach themselves to the hair shaft, coating it and making the hair appear thicker. Using Nioxin is much like a dying a person’s hair with color treatment, which also coats hair shafts and provides a thicker appearance. 

Nioxin does claim to have the following five benefits for hair loss sufferers: cleanses excessive sebum away from the scalp, amplifies texture, increases hair shaft diameter for denser-looking hair, fortifies hair against cuticle damage, and reduces hair loss due to breakage.

Hair Loss Prevention

Nowhere does Nioxin claim it will regrow hair that is lost through pattern baldness due to genetics. 

We think that the bulk of the hair loss prevention effects surrounding these Nioxin products is likely overblown. Nioxin was not intended to be a hair loss treatment, but somehow it gathered this aura as the best hair loss shampoo. 

Probably some of this hype is created by salons that will recommend these products to their clients and may receive a commission for selling them.

Conclusion: Nioxin is a Great Hair Care System for Folks with Thinning Hair

Nioxin is a great hair care system for those experiencing mild thinning. 

It will thicken the hair and conceal effects of balding from even the most prying set of eyeballs. These products are a great shampoo and conditioner to use alongside a RogaineNizoral, and Propecia regime. 

For more thickening shampoo ideas check out our roundup.

Nioxin System Rating




Cosmetic Effect




Ease of Use


Prevent Hairloss



  • Thickens Hair
  • Inexpensive
  • Reputable Brand
  • Slows Down Thinning
  • Three in One Treatment


  • Unlikely to Regrow Lost Hair
  • Daily Application
  • Results Vary
  • Thickening Effect May Depend on Hair Type
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