Kirkland Minoxidil Vs Rogaine: Which One Is Better For You?

Medically reviewedby Dr. Amy Revene M.B.B.S.
WrittenbyLuat Duong
Last updated

As many as 30 to 50 percent of men encounter male pattern baldness before age 50.

If you find yourself in this statistic, you're likely considering potential treatment solutions.

The two FDA-approved treatments for androgenetic alopecia are finasteride (Propecia) and minoxidil, the latter available over the counter and also under the popular brand Rogaine.

Both generic minoxidil and Rogaine have been approved for treating male pattern hair loss since the late 1990s.

However, in recent times, Costco's in-house brand, Kirkland, has emerged as a compelling competitor to Rogaine.

Kirkland only provides a 5% formulation, typically recommended for men. The pressing question is: does Kirkland match up to Rogaine in promoting hair growth?

Consequently, when debating Kirkland minoxidil and Rogaine, which emerges as your superior choice?

Minoxidil explained

kirkland minoxidil vs rogaine

Both Rogaine and Kirkland contain the active ingredient minoxidil. To understand the differences between the two, it's essential to know the background of minoxidil.

The Upjohn Company initially created minoxidil as a medication to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) in the 1950s.

In 1979, the FDA approved minoxidil for its use in treating hypertension, but its use is uncommon today due to the development of more effective drugs.

During clinical trials, researchers observed that minoxidil was effective in stimulating hair follicles, particularly in the vertex and crown regions of the scalp. This discovery led to the off-label use of minoxidil for hair loss prevention.

Today, minoxidil is widely used as an ingredient in many hair loss prevention formulas, including Rogaine and Kirkland.

It's also often used with a derma roller to produce remarkable results in both men and women.

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How does minoxidil work?

stimulated hair growth

Minoxidil is a vasodilator and a potassium channel opener to combat hair loss. Unlike finasteride, which targets DHT, minoxidil works by dilating the blood vessels in the scalp.

In individuals with male-pattern baldness, dihydrotestosterone (DHT) can cause hair follicle miniaturization, disrupting the normal hair growth cycle and leading to baldness.

By dilating the blood vessels, minoxidil ensures a sufficient blood supply to the hair follicles, providing the essential nutrients for hair growth.

This increased blood flow also keeps the hair follicles predominantly in the growth phase of the hair cycle, counteracting the follicle miniaturization caused by DHT.

Minoxidil also operates as a potassium channel opener. Large proteins on the surface of hair follicle cells allow potassium to enter, performing various cell functions.

While the exact role of minoxidil in opening these potassium channels and promoting hair growth is yet to be fully understood, scientists believe it plays a significant role since other potassium channel openers also stimulate hair growth in humans.

Is minoxidil effective?

Minoxidil is a well-established treatment for hair loss, with numerous studies supporting its efficacy. One of the earliest studies, conducted in 1987, compared two different minoxidil formulations (2% and 3%) with a placebo solution. The results showed that minoxidil was significantly more effective than placebo.

A longer-term study published in 1990 followed 31 men who used either 2% or 3% minoxidil for 4.5–5 years.

The study found that the men experienced the most hair regrowth after one year of use, after which the regrowth began to decline.

However, the men maintained their existing hair throughout the treatment's duration.

What is Kirkland minoxidil?

rogaine vs kirkland

Kirkland is a recent entrant in the hair loss market and is Costco's brand. The brand offers both foam and solution-based minoxidil-based products that help prevent hair loss in men. 

However, Kirkland doesn't offer any product suitable for women, which puts it at a disadvantage compared to Rogaine.

As a Costco brand, Kirkland is easily accessible through all Costco stores and online retailers like Amazon. 

What is Rogaine?

rogaine for hair fall

Established by Guinter Kahn in 1986 and headquartered in Newport, California, Rogaine is a significant player in the hair loss prevention industry.

The company was the first to market minoxidil for use in hair loss treatments, and its product line includes Rogaine for Men and Rogaine for Women, launched in the late 1980s and 1991, respectively. 

Today, Rogaine enjoys a solid reputation in hair loss prevention, with numerous positive reviews on Google Reviews and other platforms.

The company produces minoxidil in solution and minoxidil foam formats for convenient application to the scalp.

Kirkland minoxidil vs. rogaine: What's the difference?

When it comes to hair loss products, the primary difference between Rogaine and Kirkland Signature is the brand name. Both companies offer a 5% minoxidil solution in foam and liquid forms. 

The topical hair loss treatment is ideal for those seeking a deeper penetration into the balding scalp, but it may be absorbed into thick hair. 

The foam is a bit more expensive than the liquid but is generally preferred due to its ease of use.

Both companies sell minoxidil preparations in three-month supplies for the best value, and there isn't much difference between the two brands.

While one of North America's most prominent retail chains supports Kirkland Signature, Rogaine is the original brand that popularized minoxidil in the consumer market.

According to user reviews, both products effectively slow or prevent hair loss.

Are there any known side effects?

Minoxidil products can cause several common side effects, whether brand name or generic.

Known side effects of minoxidil:

  • Local Irritation: Common side effects include itching and redness at the application site.
  • Allergic Contact Dermatitis: This can cause symptoms such as flaking and a burning or tingling sensation. The tingling might be due to increased blood flow at the application site.
  • Anaphylaxis: In rare cases, a severe allergic reaction can occur, causing symptoms such as hives, a body rash, nausea, vomiting, and swelling of the lips, tongue, throat, or mouth. If this happens, stop using the product and seek emergency medical care immediately.
  • Increased Shedding: Especially when starting treatment, increased hair shedding can occur. This is often referred to as 'minoxidil shedding' or 'dread shed,' and it's a result of inactive follicles shedding their hair to make way for new active hair. This shedding is usually temporary and lasts four to eight weeks. If shedding persists for longer, consult your physician.

Remember, while minoxidil is generally safe and effective for hair loss treatment, it's important to be aware of the possible side effects and to seek medical attention if necessary.

An effective alternative to Kirkland minoxidil and rogaine

Alternative to kirkland minoxidil and rogaine

1. Targeted, Natural Ingredients for Safe, Effective Growth

While both Kirkland and Rogaine rely on minoxidil, a potent chemical, Scandinavian Biolabs harnesses the power of nature with its Bio-Pilixin® formula. Our product uses scientifically-supported, 100% vegan ingredients, avoiding harsh chemicals. This means effective hair growth without the risks of scalp irritation or other side effects commonly associated with minoxidil-based products.

2. Clinically Proven Results Without The Wait

Our serum isn't just about ingredients; it's about results. In clinical trials, users observed significant improvements in as little as 45 days, faster than the typical minoxidil timeline. We're talking about an 89% reduction in hair loss and a 52% increase in hair density. You get visible results, fast.

3. Comprehensive Care for Your Scalp and Hair

Scandinavian Biolabs goes beyond just stimulating hair growth. Our 3-step system includes ingredients like Capilia Longa, niacinamide, and Aloe Vera, which not only reduce hair loss but also promote overall scalp health and hair strength. It's a holistic approach, treating your hair and scalp as an ecosystem that needs balance, not just a growth medium.

4. A Commitment to Sustainability

In a world where environmental consciousness is paramount, our routine offers you peace of mind. We commit to eco-friendly practices, ensuring that your journey to thicker hair doesn't come at the planet's expense.

5. Satisfaction Guaranteed

We understand the importance of trust, especially when you're exploring alternatives to established brands like Kirkland and Rogaine. That's why we offer a satisfaction guarantee. Try our product, and if you're not satisfied within 150 days, we'll refund your purchase. We're that confident in our product's ability to transform your hair.

Upgrade your hair care routine with a scientifically-proven, natural approach. Embrace the effectiveness, safety, and sustainability of Scandinavian Biolabs – your hair will thank you.

Hair Growth Routine | For Men
Hair Growth Routine | For Men
Formulated to combat shedding & signs of balding
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Hair Growth Routine | For Women
Formulated to combat thinning hair & visible scalp

Kirkland minoxidil vs. Rogaine: Pros and cons

Kirkland minoxidil pros:

  • Contains the same active ingredient, minoxidil, at the same concentration (5%) as Rogaine.
  • More cost-effective than Rogaine, with the foam being half the price and the solution almost three times cheaper.
  • Available widely, both at Costco stores and online retailers like Amazon.
  • Comes in three-month supplies for better value.
  • Many user reviews testify to its effectiveness in slowing or preventing hair loss.

Kirkland minoxidil cons:

  • No minoxidil-based product is available specifically for women.
  • Less well-established brand compared to Rogaine.
  • The solution may not absorb well into thick hair, and the foam may not penetrate as deeply into the scalp.

Rogaine pros:

  • The original, well-established brand of minoxidil for hair loss prevention.
  • Backed by numerous positive user testimonials.
  • Offered in both foam and solution forms, allowing for user preference.
  • Provides a dedicated customer service team for assistance and queries.
  • Offers specific products for both men and women.

Rogaine cons:

  • More expensive than Kirkland Signature products.
  • Although it offers a product for women, it is at a lower concentration (2% minoxidil) which may be less effective.
  • The cost and brand name may create expectations of superior effectiveness, which may need to be met given the similarity in active ingredients and concentrations to cheaper brands like Kirkland.

How much does it cost: Kirkland minoxidil vs rogaine

When comparing the cost of Kirkland minoxidil and Rogaine, it's clear that Kirkland provides a more economical option.

A three-month Rogaine foam or solution supply is priced at $43.84 on Amazon. On the other hand, Kirkland offers a six-month supply of their foam, which contains the same amount as Rogaine's package, for only $49.49 on the Costco website.

This provides double the treatment duration for a marginal increase of $6. Moreover, Kirkland's minoxidil solution offers even greater value, with a six-month supply costing a mere $16.99.

The solution is just as effective as the foam, making it a bargain with a roughly 60% discount.

Therefore, Kirkland Signature's minoxidil solution emerges as the clear winner for those seeking a cost-effective minoxidil treatment option.

Should you choose liquid or foam minoxidil?

The choice between liquid or foam minoxidil largely comes down to personal preference. Foam minoxidil, developed in response to allergic reactions caused by propylene glycol in the liquid formulation, is often chosen for its convenience. However, some believe the liquid formulation provides better results due to enhanced absorption.

The liquid formulation of minoxidil is often considered more potent due to its better absorption properties.

This is because the liquid directly contacts the scalp, allowing more active ingredient absorption.

However, the liquid formulation can potentially cause skin irritation, mainly due to the presence of propylene glycol, an inactive ingredient that some people can be sensitive to.

On the other hand, foam minoxidil offers a more comfortable application process and is generally easier to use without making a mess.

It was specifically designed to minimize side effects, especially for propylene glycol-sensitive patients.

However, some users have reported that the foam can sometimes stick to the hair, preventing it from fully reaching the scalp.

Hence, while it may be more convenient, the foam might not be as effective for everyone, especially for those with thicker hair.

Who shouldn't be using minoxidil?

Although minoxidil is widely available without a prescription, some groups of people should not use it. These include 

  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • individuals with patchy hair loss or sudden hair loss of unknown cause
  • babies and children
  • people with inflamed, irritated, or infected scalps. 

Additionally, those with a history of low blood pressure, people who use other medications on their scalp, and individuals with cardiovascular health issues should consult with their primary care physician before using minoxidil to ensure there are no potential risks or interactions with other medications.

Considerations before using minoxidil

If you're considering using minoxidil, there are a few things to keep in mind before starting the treatment. 

  • Minoxidil is not a cure: Minoxidil is a treatment that stimulates hair follicles to spend more time in the active growth phase. It cannot create new hair follicles or replace what has been lost.
  • Start early: You should start minoxidil treatment as soon as you notice signs of hair loss. Delaying treatment could lead to the permanent loss of many hair follicles.
  • Temporary results: Minoxidil results are temporary, and you'll only see results as long as you continue using the product. Once you stop, any new hair you have regrown will fall out, usually within 3-6 months.
  • Varied results: Minoxidil results can vary from person to person. Almost half of the users will not see new hairs, and they should stop treatment after four months if no improvement is noticed.
  • No miracle drug: While minoxidil is an affordable and widely available treatment option, it's not a miracle drug. Consistent use is necessary to see any results.

How long does minoxidil take to work?

only fda approved minoxidil

Whether Kirkland minoxidil or Rogaine, minoxidil typically starts showing visible results after about 3-4 months of consistent use. minoxidil works with the natural hair growth cycle, stimulating hair follicles to spend more time in the active growth phase known as anagen.

The hair growth cycle usually lasts for several years, with most of the time spent in anagen. Hair loss occurs when follicles spend more time in the shedding and resting phases or fail to enter anagen altogether.

When using minoxidil, the initial phase may cause some shedding as the follicles prepare for new growth.

This phase usually begins about 2-3 weeks after starting the product and can last a week or two or until the new hair starts to grow.

However, it's important to note that the effectiveness of minoxidil can seem to diminish over time.

This is not necessarily due to the product losing efficacy but rather due to ongoing damage and hormonal changes that continue to cause hair loss.

Therefore, for minoxidil to be effective, it must be used consistently and indefinitely or until you're willing to let your hair loss progress and the newly grown hair fall out.

Does it matter which minoxidil brand you use?

No, it does not significantly matter which minoxidil brand you use in terms of the effectiveness of the active ingredient. minoxidil is a generic medication, meaning that the active ingredient, minoxidil itself, remains the same across all brands.

However, differences can be based on the inactive ingredients used by different brands. These ingredients may affect how well your scalp absorbs the medication and how your skin responds.

For example, some formulations might include additional moisturizing agents to combat scalp dryness, while others may use a different type of alcohol as a solvent which could potentially irritate certain skin types.

Additionally, individual preferences can also come into play. Some people might prefer one brand over another due to factors like price, scent, or ease of application.

For instance, one brand might offer a more appealing scent or a more user-friendly applicator, making the treatment process more enjoyable or convenient.

Conclusion

Both Kirkland and Rogaine offer effective minoxidil-based solutions to combat hair loss. Their choice largely depends on personal preference, with considerations such as brand recognition, availability, cost, and suitability for women influencing the decision.

However, Kirkland minoxidil offers a compelling option if you seek a cost-effective treatment.

Alternatively, if you are looking for a solution that caters to both men and women, Rogaine remains a reliable and well-established choice.

For those seeking a non-minoxidil alternative, Scandinavian Biolabs offers a scientifically-developed 3-step routine that may stimulate hair growth, reduce hair loss, and maintain overall hair health.

FAQs

How does minoxidil work to treat hair loss?

Minoxidil stimulates hair follicles to spend more time in the active growth phase of the hair cycle, promoting hair regrowth.

How long does it take to see results from using minoxidil?

It typically takes 3–4 months of consistent use to see results from minoxidil.

Is Rogaine more effective than Kirkland minoxidil?

Both products work by using the same active ingredient and should be equally effective, although some people may experience different results with each product.

Can minoxidil cure baldness?

No, minoxidil is not a cure for baldness. It can only promote hair regrowth in areas where hair loss has already occurred.

Will the hair I regrow from minoxidil fall out if I stop using it?

Yes, any new hair regrown from minoxidil will fall out if you stop using the product. Continued use is necessary to maintain results.

Resources:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12196747/ 
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482378/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK278957/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2938579/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2180995/ 
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3549804/ 

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Luat Duong

Luat Duong is a Copenhagen-based writer and content strategist specializing in hair loss and health. His work has been featured in MyHealthGuide, The Right Hairstyles, and Woman's Era. He is a graduate of Vaasa University. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.