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Minoxidil Foam Vs Liquid: Which Is Best?
Dr Kieran Dayah (GMC)
Medically reviewed by
Dr Kieran Dayah (GMC)
Updated on June 19, 2024

Topical Minoxidil is one of the most popular products for stimulating hair growth. Suitable for men and women, and proven to treat many different types of alopecia, Minoxidil foam and liquid are widely used among hair loss patients.

If you haven’t started using Minoxidil yet, you may be unsure which type of topical Minoxidil is best: Minoxidil foam vs liquid.

Here, we’ll explore the benefits and disadvantages of using Minoxidil foam vs liquid, so you can decide which type of topical Minoxidil is right for you.

Table of Contents

Is Minoxidil foam better than drops? Clinical evidence

There haven’t yet been any clinical studies comparing Minoxidil foam and Minoxidil liquid in hair loss patients, so it’s tricky to know if there’s a clear winner.

However, some animal studies have compared these two types of topical Minoxidil, which may give some insight into their effectiveness.

One such study found that foam and liquid formulations have similar levels of effectiveness for hair loss [1]. Another found that 5% Minoxidil foam increased hair weight by 12.4mg on average, while 5% Minoxidil liquid increased hair weight by 9.27mg [2].

Another animal study showed that the uptake of 5% Minoxidil foam was five times higher than 5% Minoxidil solution two hours after application [2].

These findings suggest Minoxidil foam may be very slightly more effective than the liquid formulation, although the margins are extremely slim. Ultimately, both types of topical Minoxidil at 5% strength have been shown to improve symptoms of hair loss.

Another study has shown that systemic absorption of Minoxidil 5% foam is around half of that of Minoxidil 5% liquid [3]. Systemic absorption refers to the amount of Minoxidil that reaches organs and tissue beyond the scalp.

Lower systemic absorption usually means there’s a lower risk of systemic side effects, which may be important if you’ve experienced side effects with hair loss treatments before.

Minoxidil foam vs liquid: comparison table

Here’s how Minoxidil foam and Minoxidil liquid compare at a glance.

 Minoxidil foamMinoxidil liquid
Absorption5x greater uptake than liquid5x lower uptake than foam
Results21% increase in average hair density with 5% foam [43]16% increase in average hair density with 5% solution [43]
Price£34.99 (one month’s supply of Regaine)£30.99 (one month’s supply of Regaine)
Strength2% Minoxidil, 5% Minoxidil, 10% Minoxidil2% Minoxidil, 5% Minoxidil

As you can see, the two formulations are very similar in terms of effectiveness and affordability. You’ll pay a slight premium for Minoxidil foam, but you may also see slightly better results.

There’s conflicting evidence for levels of absorption. Some researchers have suggested contact dermatitis triggered by liquid Minoxidil use may lead to better absorption [1].

Other techniques like derma rolling for hair can improve absorption of both types of Minoxidil.

No matter which type of topical Minoxidil you use, be careful when applying Minoxidil around cats and dogs. Minoxidil can be highly toxic to pets.

Minoxidil foam vs liquid for scalp hair loss

Clinical evidence suggests the results of Minoxidil foam vs liquid for scalp hair loss are very similar. So how does this translate to visible hair loss control and hair growth?

This 36-year-old female patient used Carexidil, a liquid containing 5% Minoxidil, to tackle her female pattern hair loss [5]. Here are her results after six months of applying this solution twice a day:

before and after results of using 5% liquid Minoxidil on a female patient with androgenetic alopecia
Before and after results of using 5% topical Minoxidil solution to treat female pattern hair loss

A 31-year-old man also saw good results using this same Minoxidil liquid formulation:

Before and after Minoxidil results on a male patient
Before and after results of using topical Minoxidil to treat male hair loss

By comparison, here are the scalp hair growth results for a 32-year-old man before and after six months of 5% Minoxidil foam use [6]:

Before and after results of using Minoxidil foam for 6 months
Before and after using Minoxidil form to treat male pattern hair loss

As you can see, the visual hair regrowth offered by both types of Minoxidil supports the clinical evidence that Minoxidil foam and liquid are effective hair loss treatments. Learn more about using Minoxidil spray for hair loss.

Minoxidil foam vs liquid for beard hair loss

There aren’t many studies that have investigated the use of Minoxidil for beard growth, so it’s unclear whether Minoxidil foam or liquid is best for treating beard hair loss.

However, Minoxidil works on beards the same way it works on scalp hair: it stimulates blood flow to the hair follicles, increasing the nutrients and oxygen required for healthy hair growth. So it’s likely that both Minoxidil foam and liquid will have similar effects on beard hair loss.

Minoxidil foam vs liquid: side effects

Topical Minoxidil is known to cause certain side effects. These include:

Minoxidil liquid, the original formulation, contains propylene glycol, water, and alcohol. Propylene glycol is said to cause many of the above side effects, which is why foam-based Minoxidil was developed [1]. Minoxidil foam doesn’t contain propylene glycol, so you may see fewer side effects with a foam formulation.

How to apply Minoxidil foam vs liquid

Applying Minoxidil is simple, regardless of which formulation you use. These videos show you how to apply Minoxidil foam and liquid respectively.

Watch: How to apply Minoxidil foam

Watch: How to apply Minoxidil liquid

Should you rub in Minoxidil foam?

Gently massage Minoxidil foam across your thinning and balding areas. You don’t need to rub it in vigorously, but you can use your fingertips to get the required coverage across the scalp.

How to get the best results from Minoxidil

Whether you choose to use Minoxidil foam or liquid, there are ways to maximise your hair loss results:

  • Combine Minoxidil with Finasteride — Using both treatments is often an effective way to treat male pattern baldness.
  • Use it consistently — Topical Minoxidil should be applied twice a day, morning and evening, for at least three months. If you stop using it, your hair loss is likely to resume.
  • Use the right strength — Minoxidil comes in three different strengths (2%, 5%, and 10%). Women are often advised to use 2%, while 5% is recommended for men.

If you’re not seeing the results you want from Minoxidil, it may be time to speak to a hair loss specialist. Book a free consultation at the Wimpole Clinic to start your hair restoration journey.

Minoxidil Foam Vs Liquid: Which Is Best?, Wimpole Clinic

Minoxidil foam vs liquid: FAQs

Looking to learn more about Minoxidil foam vs liquid? Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about these topical medications.

Yes, it’s possible to use too much Minoxidil. While overusing topical Minoxidil is unlikely to be dangerous, it may increase your risk of side effects like skin irritation, contact dermatitis, itchiness, and excessive hair growth on the face or body.

It won’t take long for Minoxidil foam to absorb into your scalp, providing you’ve used the right amount. It’s recommended that you allow five to ten minutes between Minoxidil application and going to bed, wearing a hat, or applying other products.

Minoxidil usually works best in the early stages of hair loss. If you’ve been bald for some time, you’re less likely to see substantial improvement from Minoxidil foam or liquid alone.

When applying Minoxidil, it’s hard to avoid getting the solution in your hair, regardless of whether you use foam or liquid. Fortunately getting Minoxidil in your hair won’t have any damaging effects, though you may find it makes your hair feel a little oily or greasy.

Dr Kieran Dayah (GMC)
Medically reviewed by Dr Kieran Dayah (GMC)Updated on June 19, 2024
The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
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