Hair Loss Concealers: Options for Thinning Hair
Reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Rachel Sacks
One option that might stand out is hair loss concealers, also called bald spot concealers. Available in a variety of forms, hair loss concealers aim to hide bald spots and give the appearance of fuller hair.
But how effective are hair loss concealers? And is hair powder bad for your hair?
If you’re thinking about buying hair powder for thinning hair but have some questions, consider this your one-stop guide for everything you need to know about hair concealer.
What Is Hair Loss Concealer?
Basically, hair concealer or bald spot filler is a pigmented product that aims to blend in naturally with your existing hair while covering any thinning areas to make your hair look thicker. It’s designed to work with various hair types and comes in a range of colors, from blonde to medium brown to jet black and everything in between for a natural look.
And just so you know what to look out for, early signs of balding could be noticeable hair thinning, a change in your hairline or more hair loss than usual when showering or brushing.
Bald spot concealers don’t actually treat hair loss. But this product can be used alongside hair loss medications like finasteride and minoxidil (which we’ll get into below).
Bald spot filler comes in numerous forms, with hair loss concealers falling under three general types:
Whether each form works to cover up bald spots depends on the person and their hair loss. A scalp powder for thinning hair might work for some, while a spray may be more effective for others.
Each type of hair loss concealer works slightly differently — something we’ll discuss in more detail below.
How Hair Loss Concealers Work
Hair loss concealers work in several ways. Some change the color of your scalp to make bald areas less obvious. Others visually thicken your hair through the use of fibers or powders.
Hair Fiber Concealers
Fiber hair loss concealers, or hair-building fibers, are tiny fibers made from proteins such as keratin.
Keratin hair fibers cling to your natural hairs by static electricity. This may not sound very secure, but the best hair fibers for thinning hair are durable and designed to withstand wind, water and other weather conditions.
They come in a wide range of shades to match your natural hair and look and feel like coarse powder. When sprinkled or sprayed into your hair, the hair fibers attach and create the illusion of thickness in areas of your scalp affected by hair loss.
Hair Powder Concealers
Similar to concealer makeup, hair-thinning powder camouflages your bare scalp and thin hairs with a color that matches your hair. Hair powder concealers are applied with a sponge, then brushed to make sure the concealer is evenly distributed.
Like hair fibers, powder hair loss concealers are water-resistant but can also be easily removed with shampoo.
Liquid Hair Concealers
Liquid hair loss concealers work in a variety of ways. Some add artificial thickness to your existing hair by coating the hair shaft with ingredients that cling to it and make it appear thicker.
Others work like a root touch-up spray, applying an artificial color to your scalp to reduce the level of contrast between your hair and the color of your skin. Some liquid hair loss concealers come in hair spray form, while others come with an applicator and are applied similarly to makeup.
Advantages of Hair Loss Concealers
If your hair is starting to thin, or if you already have significant hair loss, using a hair concealer offers several advantages.
The appearance of thicker hair. When used correctly, good-quality bald spot concealers provide full coverage. Many are available in a range of colors and create the appearance of thicker hair, making them helpful in concealing bald or thin spots. While there’s not a lot of research on hair loss concealers, there appears to be positive feedback. In an anonymous survey of hair concealer users, 71 percent reported improved self-esteem as a result of their concealer use.
Value for money. Most hair loss concealers are inexpensive. You can find good quality, well-reviewed bald spot fillers and hair-thinning powder online and in drugstores, with a whole month’s supply costing under a hundred bucks.
Speed. Medications like minoxidil and finasteride are highly effective, but they can take months to start working. Though using scalp powder for thinning hair won’t stop hair loss, it works right away and produces an immediate, easily noticeable improvement.
Convenience. Most hair loss concealers can be applied a couple of minutes before an important event, making them a convenient option if you only need to add thickness on certain occasions.
Disadvantages of Hair Concealers
Is hair powder bad for your hair? While hair-thinning powder is a good option for some people, there can also be disadvantages, depending on the type you use.
Temporary hair loss solution. As noted, hair loss concealer is a temporary solution that doesn’t actually treat hair loss or encourage hair growth. One of the biggest disadvantages of hair fibers, for example, is that they work by binding to your natural hair, which means they aren’t effective in areas that already have significant balding. Also, many concealers only provide results for a short period and wash out when you shampoo your hair.
Appearance. While some hair loss concealers look extremely natural, others can look a little artificial, especially if you only have a small amount of hair left. You may need to try several hair loss concealers to find one that works well for you.
Messy application. Some hair loss concealers — particularly powders and liquids — can have a messy application process. Others can rub off on pillows, hats and other surfaces that come into contact with your hair.
Side effects. Hair loss concealers are generally safe, but some people may notice irritation, redness and other side effects. Although rare, excessive use of a hair concealer or aggressively scrubbing it off could lead to inflammation of the hair follicles. You could also get small open sores, causing bacteria to get into the hair follicles, potentially resulting in folliculitis.
The side effects are likely rare, but if they do happen, stop using the product and contact your healthcare provider.
Hims has helped thousands of men regrow their hair
Alternatives to Hair Loss Concealers
Using hair loss concealer can be a quick, convenient way to boost thickness in areas of your scalp with noticeable thinning.
Consider combining hair loss concealer with one or several of the following hair loss treatments for better results:
Minoxidil. Minoxidil is a topical medication that stimulates hair growth and slows down hair loss. Used daily, it can help stop you from losing hair and may even help you to grow back hair in areas with noticeable thinning. We offer this treatment online in the form of minoxidil foam, as well as a topical minoxidil solution.
Finasteride. Finasteride is a prescription medication that works by blocking the production of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which causes hair loss in men prone to male pattern baldness. We offer finasteride online either as an oral medication or as a combination topical finasteride & minoxidil spray, following a consultation with a healthcare provider who will determine if a prescription is appropriate.
Volumizing products. If you’ve noticed your hair getting thinner, you may want to add hair products with certain ingredients like saw palmetto to your haircare routine. This volumizing shampoo and conditioner duo uses hair thickener ingredients like biotin, rice protein and argan oil, while a thickening shampoo with saw palmetto can give hair a boost.
Biotin supplements. Various hair loss supplements are available that may help prevent hair loss, promote better hair health or stimulate new hair growth. One of the most popular is biotin, a water-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in the growth of your hair, skin and nails. You can try these biotin gummies to boost hair growth.
Hair transplant surgery. This surgical procedure involves transplanting hairs from the back and sides of your head to the scalp and hairline. Hair transplant surgery can be costly, with procedures typically priced in the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. However, it produces permanent results and may be a good option if you’d like to avoid relying on concealers over the long term.
If you’re interested in more ways to cover up thinning hair, check out this guide on how to get rid of bald spots.
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No matter the treatment plan, the best place to start is somewhere. Early action is the best hair loss prevention.
The Final Word on Hair Concealers
If you’re panicking because you have a growing bald spot or just want the appearance of the fuller hair that you had in your youth, we get it. You may have even considered trying a hair loss concealer.
Here’s what to keep in mind:
Hair loss concealers are pigmented products that fill in any thinning areas and blend in with your natural hair to make your locks look thicker.
These bald spot fillers come in different colors and forms, from hair-building fibers to hair powder and liquid hair concealers. So whether your hair is light brown, blonde, auburn or dark brown, there’s a good chance you’ll find a product that matches your hair color.
There can be pros and cons of hair concealers. The benefits are that they’re convenient, efficient and typically affordable, while the downsides are that they’re a temporary solution, don’t solve hair loss and may have side effects.
Fine hair and ensuing hair loss can make or break your confidence and self-esteem, so it’s natural to search high and low for a solution. Explore more hair loss treatments to find the best one for you.