Many consumers in the Northern Hemisphere are crazy about a haircare brand called “Aussie”. They enthusiastically slap it on their hair under grey skies, firmly believing it will give the effect of health and vitality associated with our bronzed friends down-under. The bottles are resplendent with colloquial, supposedly “Aussie” language and the website features women with thick, long locks.
It is an example of a marketing campaign that has achieved success by appealing to people’s self-image.
Another haircare product range that is gained popularity on both sides of the equator through clever marketing is Nioxin. It’s one of the highest-selling brands for hair and scalp health, worldwide.
Nioxin is primarily promoted as a range of products for people with thin or thinning hair. Its marketing is designed to appeal to both women and men. Unsurprisingly, an important focus of Nioxin advertising is men who are suffering hair thinning or loss. As a result, males feature prominently on their website. However, as women may also have thin hair or experience thinning hair, the marketing is equally directed at a female audience.
Nioxin is proving popular with people who don’t have thinning hair but just want the more voluminous look that its manufacturers say can be achieved through use of their product. Nioxin comes in clever packaging with reassuring ‘scientific’ information and a range of ‘stepped’ system kits. (I should add that for the purposes of this blog I’m considering the whole Nioxin range, not just their Hair Re-Growth Treatment, which should be compared with Rogaine (or Regaine, depending on your location).
But does it work? It’s endorsed by the Institute of Trichologists. Nioxin certainly seems to contain lots of ingredients, like ZPT or zinc pyrithione, which should, in theory, boost scalp health. Other included nutrients may promote full and healthy hair growth when present in the body. One of the contentions with all hair products is whether something that is applied topically (i.e. onto the body rather than into it, such as with a tablet) can be absorbed in such a way as to have the desired biological effect. The makers of Nioxin don’t expressly make this claim themselves and are reassuringly guarded in their Science of Hair section.
Nioxin is not unique in focussing on scalp and skin heath. After all, this is where your hair begins its journey and where it is anchored throughout its life. Sunscreens in Nioxin protect the scalp against sunburn and the damaging effects of UV light. Clearly this may be more beneficial for those with more significant hair loss because more of the scalp is exposed.
Nioxin also contains a host of B vitamins, including Biotin, which is covered in more detail here.
Psychologically, this may be of huge benefit, because we are all encouraged by the idea of dousing our hair or other body parts in a rich vitamin bath, and that is a benefit not to be discounted.
In reality, whether these vitamins actually are usefully absorbed in this manner (and therefore have their described efficacy) is still not conclusively proven. Nutritionists advise it’s better, of course, to aim for a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals, which can then perform the myriad biochemical processes for which their necessity is well-understood.
But Nioxin say around 70% of people report thicker hair after using the product as directed. This claim is probably true. There are a host of ingredients, not necessarily unique to Nioxin, that bind to hair, giving a thicker appearance with regular use. Anecdotally, a number of dermatologists have endorsed Nioxin and host of celebrities swear by it. A brief meta-study shows favourable reviews across a range of independent sellers.
Without a conclusive scientific answer yet available, for most consumers who are looking for a mid-range product likely to increase the cosmetic thickness of their hair, Nioxin is worthy of consideration. As with all such products where the science isn’t concrete, you may have to use it for yourself for three to six months to see a demonstrable impact and be able to form an objective view, based on your own experience.