A hair loss doctor explains why minoxidil can’t be made in shampoo form.

Rogaine (generic name minoxidil) comes in either a liquid form that’s dripped onto the scalp from a medicine dropper, or a foam version which is dabbed onto the area of hair loss.

This sounds wonderful for focal hair loss, but what about diffuse hair loss?

This means “head-wide” loss of hair volume due to an increasing number of dormant follicles.

What’s a person to do…apply the minoxidil liquid from the medicine dropper all over the scalp, covering every portion? Or massage in gobs of the foam?

Well, why not Rogaine in shampoo form?

What a Hair Loss Physician Says

“The reason why Rogaine is not made in a shampoo form is simply because it is not an effective way to deliver the minoxidil drug to the follicles,” says Dr. Robert Dorin, DO, NYC-based hair care expert and restoration specialist.

“If one stops and thinks about it, during shampooing, one applies the shampoo to the scalp and rubs, or lathers it up with some water in the hair and scalp for a period of maybe 2-3 minutes at most, then rinses the shampoo off down the drain and along with it the minoxidil.

“The minoxidil would only be in contact with the scalp for this time, partially diluted with water for a very short period of time (2-3 minutes at most), then rinsed off with the shampoo detergent.

“This would never give the minoxidil enough time to be absorbed into the scalp and reach the dermal layer (where the follicles live), allowing the drug to affect the follicles.”

Makes sense! So what about lightly working the foam throughout much of the scalp if you have diffuse hair loss?

If you have very short hair, especially like a crew cut, this would actually be easy to do.

You’d just have to stand there and patiently dab the Rogaine foam through (not rubbing it in, but just getting it in contact with the scalp). 

However, if you have long hair (such as a woman with diffuse hair loss or “thinning”), this will be a problem, as much of the foam will end up on the hair rather than the scalp to penetrate into the follicles.

Women or men with long hair may want to stick to select wide parts that they can always easily find and run the medicine dropper along those, or apply the foam down those with their fingertips.

Maybe one day there will be a shampoo for triggering hair regrowth. Until then, you’ll need to stick to the Rogaine/minoxidil liquid or foam.

Dr. Dorin of True & Dorin provides creative hair loss solutions, including advanced hair transplant techniques and the latest in regrowth technology, to ensure that his clients achieve their desired results.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.