Whether you’re all geared up or just susceptible to natural hair thinning then being proactive about protecting what hair you have left is something worth seriously considering.
Sure, the shaved head look can look pretty badass, and once there, most men seem to enjoy the look and simplicity of the style.
Still, there’s something to be said about making the most out of every stage in life and if you’re in your 20’s and early 30’s and want to ring the most out of your “hairy” stage, then this post is for you.
In effort to stop hair loss and stimulate new growth you need a multi-pronged attack, especially if you don’t want to go the prescription drug route of finasteride/dusteride.
Our complete hair strengthening stack we’re currently running consists of multivitamins, castor oil capsules, minoxidil, Alpecin (caffeine, castor oil, zinc topical solution), peppermint oil, and DHT-blocking ketoconazole shampoo.
Below we discuss why each one of the above products is in our current hair-loss prevention and growth stack and the role they play in either A) preventing hair loss or B) encouraging hair growth.
This stack was specifically designed to be 100% over-the-counter, as jumping on prescription DHT blocking drugs isn’t something we’re too keen on here at Skinny Yoked.
DHT-Blocking Shampoos Explained
Some of the most serious ways to tackle hair loss due to genetic male pattern baldness comes down to A) taking a prescription DHT blocker like Finasteride, Propecia, Dutasteride or another potent DHT blocker that works from the inside out and B) hair transplants.
If you have the budget for it, LLLT helmets or “low level laser therapy helmets” are also proven ways to actually regrow your lost hair, but require regular use (over 6 months) as well as discipline required to maintain continual use. You can read about the best LLLT helmet brands here.
These two are some of the most studied and most impactful ways to not just prevent hair loss but regrow it too. There are however a whole host of risks to factor when sorting out your risk/reward ratio.
The oral prescription drugs for example come with a whole host of unwanted side effects and hair transplants, while probably the MOST effective way to get thicker hair fast, are expensive and time consuming, so much so that they often fall outside normal working class salaries and work schedules.
So, what can your average Joe Shmo do in terms of over the counter solutions to if not regrow hair then to at least hold on to the hair he has left?
Well, Skinny Yoked has experience in this department and we are sharing our hair care regimen which at the time of publishing only includes OTC methods. We utilize 2 different shampoo/washes containing 2 different chemicals to help strengthen and keep our remaining hair.
Supporting Active Chemical #1: Caffeine
Yes, I know, I drink three cups a day and always have a big cup of black coffee for my pre-workout stimulant. Well, we’re not talking about oral caffeine in this instance but instead a topical caffeine shampoo that helps stimulate the scalp which an help create thicker hair.
Apparently caffeine can travel down to the hair follicle and help stimulate activity. Hair loss for men with pattern baldness is thought to occur because hair follicles shrink up to the point where the hairs themselves get thinner and thinner until they are nearly unobservable.
Caffeine shampoos aim to shock the follicle out of it’s withering slumber to that the hair can grow less hampered and ultimately in a thicker and more robust fashion. Will you magically regrow your hair? No. Is it as effective as prescription Finasteride or other pharmaceutical drugs? Probably not no.
Is caffeine shampoo a cheap and simple solution for preventing further hair thinning? Yes.
Best Caffeine Shampoo: Alpecin
German manufacturer Alpecin is probably the king of caffeine shampoos and they also publish all of the 3rd party studies that support caffeine as a hair strengthener. Alpecin make a variety of caffeine-based and non-caffeine (or decaf as we call them) hair products.
The gold standard here would be the Alpecin Caffeine Shampoo C1. It is their original formula, is the most affordable and has zero side effects.
There is also a Caffeine Shampoo CTX which is designed for athletes (contains added taurine and micronutrients) and a Double-Effect Caffeine Shampoo with, you guessed it, more caffeine.
We’ve used Alpecin for over 5 months now and have noticed the hair remaining seems, by both touch and appearance, to be thicker than when we were using cheap non-branded shampoos.
Still, since we use a “trifecta” we can’t say with certainty this progress can be attributed to the Alpecin alone.
Ketoconazole is one of the very few topical chemicals that have significant amounts of published independent studies showing the benefit it has to helping prevent hairloss.
Originally formulated as an anti-fungal shampoo for those with scalp fungal infections, people notices the odd side effect of thicker hair.
Numerous studies analyzing the hair-saving properties of ketoconazole were then carried out and have proven it an effective hair strengthener because of it’s DHT antagonistic properties.
Here is one example of a before and after with a man using a ketoconazole shampoo. If you Goole image search you’ll find dozens more like this.
Here are just a few of the studies that show how ketoconazole helps promote hair growth, even though that isn’t what it was originally engineered to do:
The most popular brand of shampoo with a 2% ketoconazole content is called Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. Dont’ worry about the anti-dandruff part, all we’re concerned about here is the keto content.
There are a few other brands with this active compound but they are hard to find, you’ll have to spend a few minutes looking at ingredient labels at the pharmacy or Wal-Mart.
- CLINICALLY PROVEN: Dandruff stays off your head & shoulders with this dandruff treatment shampoo that helps relieve itchy & flaky scalps. When using your regular shampoo and conditioner use twice a week between washes. Works on all hair types & gray hair.
Safest bet is to just go with the Nizoral brand since you know what you’re getting.
We alternate between Alpecin caffeine shampoo and Nizoral and sometimes even mix them together. The thought here, and it IS purely bro-science is to marry the follicle stimulating effects of the caffeine with the anti-DHT effects of the ketoconazole in the Nizoral for a one-two punch.
For both caffeine shampoos and keto shampoos we work them into our scalp for about 30 seconds to a minute, making sure to really exfoliate by scratching with our finger nails. We then let the chemicals soak into our scalps for 3 or so minutes.
You can pass the time by shampooing your hair first and then soaping and rinsing the rest of your body as you wait for the shampoos to soak in and do their jobs.
Again, we have not experienced any noticeable side effects after using both caffeine shampoo and keto shampoo AND the two combined for over 5 months.
Best of Both Worlds: Hair Surge by Ultrax Labs
We recently discovered a shampoo that provides the same mix of caffeine and ketoconazole in Ultrax Labs Hair Surge. Seems we might have been onto something with our bro science?
Ultrax Labs Hair Surge has fantastic reviews across the web and we definitely believe its efficacy given our own results experimenting with combining Alpecin and Nozoral.
- Science Backed Formulation: Advanced CaffinoPlex blend of Natural Caffeine and Saw Palmetto synergize to address hair loss and block DHT to thicken hair, reduce breakage, and stimulate natural hair growth.
Ultrax is definitely something we’d consider getting for convenience’s sake however having the flexibility to mix or go 100% caffeine or ketoconazole with two separate products is also something we enjoy.
Vitamin and Mineral Supplementation
Supplementation isn’t the biggest factor in preventing hair loss as most of it can be attributed to DHT and vitamins and minerals won’t do anything to reduce DHT.
HOWEVER, hair grows and just like any other biological system it requires nutrients to grow. If you are trying to increase the thickness, length, and speed of growth of your hair then making sure you have all of your micronutrients in sufficient quantities is worth taking the time to double check.
Some key nutrients required to maximize your healthy hair growth potential include:
- Vitamin B
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Again, these nutrients alone won’t result in you waking up like Chewbacca the next day, but they are essential for actual hair production so it’s worth taking a well-balanced comprehensive multivitamin on top of your regular diet to ensure you’re meeting all your daily requirements.
Castor Oil Supplementation
This is an funny one. People have been using castor oil topically for smoother, thicker, more radiant hair, at least that’s what women are saying on forums when we researched the topic.
But it turns out there is some strong anecdotal evidence that the consumption of castor oil can also promote hair growth. Derek at MorePlatesMoreDates was one of the first to bring this unorthodox method to light and he really knows his stuff when it comes to maintaining/preventing hair loss.
The Alpecin shampoo mentioned above already contains castor oil and zinc, so you have the topical side of things covered. In terms of internally, Now Foods makes a safe natural ingestible castor oil capsule that can be had for a very affordable price online.
Topical Peppermint Oil
No, we’re not venturing into hippy magic here. We actually stumbled upon this amazing study when researching primary sources for castor oil use.
It turns out the topical application of peppermint oil has a more potent hair growth stimulatory effect than even minoxidil, the current “gold standard” for over-the-counter hair preservation and growth.
It turns out that topical application of peppermint oil stimulates hair follicle activity, researches are guessing in similar ways to minoxidil, although the study doesn’t conclusively identify a very specific triggering action.
Regardless, the fact that peppermint oil outperformed minoxidil in hair growth is pretty amazing, especially given how much OTC minoxidil costs.Distilled essential oils are very powerful. Don’t apply undiluted peppermint to your skin, it will burn. Cut a few drops with a tonic or shampoo instead.
We’re going to incorporate peppermint oil into our routine ASAP.
Skinny Yoked Summary
This isn’t a miracle cure kind of post. If you are genetically pre-determined to lose your hair the only two things that will prevent that in the long run are oral prescription DHT blockers and hair transplants.
However if you want to strengthen the hair you have, help allow the existing follicles to produce thicker, healthier strands, then incorporating both caffeine and ketozonazole into your hair care regimen might be worth considering.
The total stack looks something like this:
- Ketoconazole shampoo
- Caffeine/Zinc/Castor oil (Alpecin)
- Peppermint oil
- Castor Oil
Last update on 2023-01-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API