Sometimes too much choice can be a bad thing. Like when you find yourself being trampled at a Black Friday sale. Or when you face panic at the breakfast buffet. Or when you discover a line of treatments for hair loss, but you’ve no idea which one is best for you.
Fear not. Lady Alopecia is here to help! In this Nioxin System 2 reviews post, I’ll cover one of Nioxin’s 6 systems to help you make that decision easier.
I’ll review the kit that’s intended for people with natural hair (rather than a coloured or chemically treated mane). And for those with excessive hair loss or alopecia.
It’s called Nioxin System 2. It’s the one that worked for me and it’s recommended for progressed thinning. (FYI: The company has a different kit for pretty much every hair type – but more on that in a sec.)
Emma’s ‘not a doctor’ disclaimer
Hi there, I’m an alopecian, I’m not a doctor! Any advice I give is based on my own research and personal experiences. This site is however reader-supported. When you buy through external links, I may earn a tiny affiliate commission. Learn more here.
Nioxin Research Laboratories, Inc. was created by a lady called Eva Graham in 1987, following her own experience of acute hair loss after giving birth. The company has gone from strength to strength since – and even though pharma giants Proctor and Gamble took over in 2008, it maintains Eva’s original ethos. To create salon-quality products that promote a healthier scalp environment and thicken hair.
But can Nioxin regrow hair? Actually, I don’t think so. Even the company doesn’t make such a grandiose claim. Rather, it lists the following benefits:
So while Nioxin does promote a healthy foundation and stronger locks, it never claims miraculous regrowth. Sorry.
LA Says: Want to know more about the company’s background, its products and the pros and cons of use? Then jump to Lady Alopecia’s thoughts on the brand.
Or, for an overview of the different kits available – plus a more detailed breakdown of System 2 – just keep reading, dear reader! Because this post focuses on Nioxin System 2 reviews, and on Nioxin System 2 reviews only.
Although you can buy standalone products, I’d recommend trying a 3-part system, or kit. Start out with a full-sized version or, if you’re feeling cautious, check out a miniature trial kit first. Cute.
We’re all different, right? Our locks vary, our scalps vary… and so does the way in which we experience hair loss. Or the reasons behind this loss. Which is what I like about these treatments – they aren’t a “one-size-fits-all” solution.
Instead, Nioxin offers 6 different systems for you to choose from. Which is nice of them. But like I mentioned earlier, sometimes this can result in too much confusion.
LA Says: You might wonder: “What’s the best Nioxin system for me?” Well, the short answer is, it depends on your hair type. Is it chemically treated or coloured? Do you have extra-coarse, extra-fine or thinning strands? There will be a kit that matches your needs.
So don’t pay too much heed to all those Nioxin system 1 vs 2 reviews – because one kit isn’t necessarily “better” than another. Rather it’s a case of one being more suited to your particular needs.
Let’s face it. There’s loads of Nioxin system reviews out there. But you mightn’t have time to read each individual one. So here’s a quick overview of each 3D care system, plus links to more information if you need it. Yay!
Psst… Still not sure which one’s for you? Then check out the manufacturer’s consultation tool.
First of all, let me explain that Nioxin has recently updated its range of treatments. Maybe it was to include even more hair types. Or maybe they’re as indecisive as I am. Either way, they’ve changed things up.
So back in 2014, when I first started using Nioxin, System 6 was the right one for me. However, now I’m better off using the one called “System 2: Noticeably Thinning, Fine Hair” because well, that’s what I have! Also, I don’t use dyes or other chemical treatments so my mop is natural. What’s left of it, anyway. 😉
LA Says: If you come across Nioxin System 2 reviews, make sure they’re up to date. People might be talking about the products before the changes took place – so their comments may not be relevant anymore.
But does Nioxin really work? Well, it did for me. Back in 2014, my bald patches filled in within a couple of months. What grew back was very short, and it didn’t stick around for too long, but it did grow back! I noticed a small bald patch shortly after I discontinued use – so maybe I should’ve kept it up.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve used Nioxin on and off. Admittedly, it’s never for a long enough stint – it’s too hard to source when I’m travelling.
But I do notice that even after 2 weeks, my hair becomes softer, shinier and thicker. I’m making it my mission to stock up on Nioxin System 2 next time I’m home and to test it out properly again – I’ll let you know how that goes!
Each Nioxin hair system kit contains one cleanser shampoo, one scalp therapy conditioner and one leave-in scalp treatment. Providing all the TLC your noggin needs in 3 steps: “Cleanse – Optimize – Treat”.
As the folks who make it note, system 2 “strengthens resilience against damage and breakage, leaving thicker, fuller-looking hair with a healthy shine.” It’s also said to be the best system for post-pregnancy thinning hair. Nice one.
Step 1: Cleanse. With a minty smell of peppermint oil and a tingly sensation after use, this is one helluva refreshing start to your morning. It’s the #1 salon-selling hair thinning shampoo and it’s available in 10.1oz (300ml) and 33.8oz (1L) bottles.
Simply apply a grape-sized amount to wet hair, build up a nice lather and gently massage into your scalp for up to 1 minute before rinsing.
Step 2: Optimize. This creamy conditioner adds weight and moisture to flyaway, thinning locks. Some people might be tempted to buy the cleanser alone but that’s not a great idea, to be honest. Because when you first start using it, the shampoo actually dries out your hair considerably. That’s why you need the conditioner – to keep your scalp and strands hydrated during the crossover.
In the Nioxin System 2 kit, this product comes in a 10.1oz (300ml) bottle – but it’s also available separately, as a 33.8oz or 1L bottle. After rinsing out the shampoo, apply roughly a pea-sized amount of conditioner to your scalp, right through to the ends of your hair. Leave in for up to 3 minutes as you belt out your latest shower song. Rinse and enjoy the silky feel!
Step 3: Treat. The Nioxin System 2 Scalp Treatment is the scalp therapy your noggin needs. Like it’s been subjected to years of substance abuse (dry climate, cheap soap, traffic pollution etc) and now you’re sending it to rehab.
In addition to some lovely antioxidants like white tea extract and peppermint oil, it contains SPF 15 and two of Nioxin’s trademarked technologies (BioAmp and Glyco-Shield), to protect your scalp from any further damage. Phew.
Apply to towel-dried hair that you’ve split into sections. No need to rinse – just let it do its thang.
Like with so many things in a consumer-driven world, there’s always an option to add on. To supersize your offering. Which is probably why the manufacturer suggests using a range of 3D Intensive Care products in addition to your Nioxin hair system kit.
LA Says: Ever a sucker for a bit of marketing, I bought enough bottles to start my own salon. But like I said, they worked out pretty well!
What I used:
Psst… Stay tuned for my full review of the Intensive Care range! Oh, and Nioxin also offers an Advanced Thinning Product collection. I’ll cover that soon, too.
Using shampoo and conditioner is pretty straightforward, right? Right.
Still, in case you need extra help, check out this video from Nioxin. It explains the best way to apply the above products.
Remember to separate your hair into sections before applying the Scalp & Hair Treatment and the Dermabrasion Therapy product from the Intensive Care line. This helps them to work their magic on the areas that need it most – so you don’t waste a single drop!
You’ll hear a lot of fancy phrases thrown around when it comes to Nioxin. I’ve already mentioned two of their technologies, BioAmp and Glyco-Shield – which isn’t another Avengers agency, btw. 😉
But they also include a Scalp Access Delivery System and something called Activ-Renewal. The latter is meant to promote a “youthful-looking scalp complexion.” Whatever that means.
In terms of ingredients, the two main active ones in system 2 are ensulizole and sulisobenzone. The products also contain plenty of vitamins and enzymes – for a more detailed breakdown of these ingredients, check out this post.
Nioxin’s products ain’t exactly the least expensive hair loss treatments on the market. However, I still think they’re pretty good value, considering how long they last. And the fact that they’re professional salon quality – so they’re bound to cost more than a generic shampoo from big companies with extravagant claims.
You can buy the 33.8oz/1L cleanser for $20–$30 from Amazon. Which is nearly half the price you’ll pay at a salon. And you can snap up the full System 2 Kit for as little as $40.
Read more on where you can buy Nioxin, or check out the manufacturer’s “salon finder” instead.
Maybe you’ve bought System 2 already. Or maybe you’re still on the fence. Either way, you’re probably wondering: How long does it take to work?
Well, once again, this depends on the person. In many cases, people notice a difference in volume and texture after just 2 weeks. But usually, it takes daily use for at least 6 weeks to see significant results.
And although the company recommends using their products for a minimum of 6 months, I think that 3 months should give you a fair idea of whether it’s working for you… or whether you should move on.
A lot of different figures right?! Sorry. But we are all different, after all. So see what works for you!
And how many times a week is safe? I used all of the products in the kit daily, but if you have an overly sensitive scalp, this might not be the best approach for you. In that case, try using the shampoo and conditioner every second day, alternating with a more natural option like JĀSÖN Organics. Make sure you still use the Hair & Scalp Treatment daily, though.
You can buy the full pack – or the Nioxin System 2 Starter Kit – straight from the manufacturer’s site, from your local salon or from a trusted online retailer. You can even buy it at large outlets like Walmart – however, I wouldn’t recommend this. The products in these stores are at cutthroat prices for a reason and you might not be able to trust their quality.
That’s entirely up to you. You might want to stop using it as soon as you notice signs of regrowth – or it might be your shower companion for life. Many customers actually report hair fall when they stop using Nioxin, which is obviously a disadvantage of turning to it in the first place.
The short answer is either System 2, System 4 and System 6. That’s because these are the systems recommended for progressed thinning. You can narrow your search down further by figuring out which hair type you have – natural, colour-treated or chemically-treated – to determine which system might be best for you.
You might experience redness, irritation and tingling, especially in the beginning – this applies to every kit, actually. And while these reactions are perfectly natural, others aren’t. Discontinue use if you experience any facial swelling, rashes or hives, which could be a systemic reaction to the products’ ingredients.
If you’ve made it to the end of this post, well done. There’s a lot to take in, I know.
Hopefully, you’ve figured out whether System 2 is your perfect match, or whether you need to see someone else in the area. Or move to another neighbourhood even, a different brand entirely!
Whatever the case, I hope that my experiences with Nioxin 2 have answered some of your questions. If not, feel free to get in touch.
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Alopecian. Yoga Teacher. Copywriter. Here to share information, offer support and show people the adventures that can lie in hair loss. I’m proud to have alopecia and I want to help others embrace their baldness, too!
THoughts on sodium laurel sulfate…thought it wasn’t good ingredient for hair/skin
Hi Maria, thanks for your question! And it’s a good one…it seems there is some debate around this subject. On the upside, sulfates are really effective at cleansing the scalp from unwanted sebum and bacteria, which can clog the follicles. On the downside, they may strip hair of its natural oils and make it dry and brittle. I used to always say “avoid anything with sulfates” but then I came across this article (and others, which say it’s a myth!) which led me to think, maybe they’re not all that bad.
It’s a judgement call, I guess. Nioxin never dried my hair out – in fact, it made it super shiny and smooth, the best condition it had been in ages – but if you’re already prone to very dry hair, perhaps sulfates aren’t for you. Hope that helps!! 🙂
I’ve been getting corticosteroids shots for 4 months so far to reduce the alopecia – I had one bald spot which recovered, but now I have two extremely large patches on my scalp that can’t be hidden (33yo male, with dark hair). My dermatologist feels that touted hair wash systems don’t work well because of the limited contact time. What’s your opinion on that?
Hi Edmund, thanks for your question. Your dermatologist is right, to an extent – as I say in this post, there’s really no such thing as a ‘miracle shampoo’ for alopecia. (Unfortunately!) But what systems like Nioxin do is create a healthier scalp environment. They can reduce shedding in the first place by clearing excess oil from the scalp (and unblocking follicles)…plus, since they nourish the hair, it’s less likely to break and snap in the first place. All I can say is that Nioxin worked for me, and I saw results fairly quickly. But I’m a firm believer in a holistic approach and feel it’s so important to address the root issue, not just the symptom – that’s why I go on about nutrition and lifestyle tips so much!
Also, I personally would NEVER advocate corticosteroid injections. I got several rounds, when I was 16 and like you, they worked for a while on smaller patches. But then I became immune to their effectiveness too, and my patches spread bigger than ever before. The functional medicine doctor I see now told me I may have done a lot of damage to my immune system back then with those shots – which is why I’d now recommend a more natural approach whenever possible. If you can, I’d highly recommend coming off the shots as while they might be a quick fix (for some) they really don’t offer a long-term solution.
But obviously, this is all totally your call! I hope my experience can help you out a little, though. Take care, and thanks again for writing in! 🙂
I’m a 21yo male with history of male pattern baldness in mums paternal line and my dad has an M shaped receded hairline but still has hair. I’ve got thick hair a normal hairline however I’ve noticed that in a cm or so area on both my temples there’s been a clear thinning going back a bit into the hairline. I don’t know whether to go for system 1 or 2 as the rest of my scalp has normal thinning other than these two small areas but I’m worried they’re the start of a proper recession. As for the sulphate content I shampoo twice a week and was thinking to use a leave in conditioner an hour before shampooing to give me hair a head start.
Hi Ivan, thanks for getting in touch. And good question! I would recommend, in your case, starting with System 1. As you say, the rest of your scalp has normal thinning…I used System 2 because I had basically no hair to begin with, so my shedding was quite fast and quite extensive. Hopefully, once you start using it, you can stop that recession in its tracks! Also have a look at this post on nutrition I wrote, which explains a little about how you can reduce inflammation (linked to hair loss and the autoimmune response) with certain lifestyle changes. Because I don’t believe there’s a ‘miracle cure’…rather, it’s a mixture of different factors, and hair thinning treatments is just one part. Having said that, Nioxin was certainly effective for me, and I hope it can be for you, also!
That sounds like a nice idea re the shampooing, I also just use Nioxin 2 or 3 times a week now. And sometimes I’ll leave in a coconut/peppermint oil mask as an overnight treatment for extra moisture! Best of luck with your System 1 if you go for it. Let me know how it goes!
I’m allergic to the spf in the treatment. Is it available without this ingredients?
Hi Gayl, thanks for your question! Aw and I’m sorry to hear about your allergies, that’s unfortunate…but good that you know! As far as I’m aware, Nioxin is not available without these ingredients – however, I would also highly recommend Pura D’Or (which you can read about in this post) as it’s a much more natural solution. Best of luck! 🙂