Nioxin System 1 Review

Breakdown and Benefits of System 1

Ever heard the children’s rhyme: “First is the worst, second is the best, third is the one with the hairy chest”?! There seems to be a lot of debate about how the rhyme unfolds but the opening 2 lines are constant. First is the worst, second is the best. 

But what about hair loss products? Is one system really better than another? If you’ve read my review of Nioxin System 2, you’ll know that it’s the best one for my particular needs. But in this post, we’ll look at Nioxin System 1 reviews – to see how it might be the best for yours. 

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.

System 1: A Quick Look

Cleanser Shampoo

Therapy Conditioner

Scalp Treatment

The Story Behind The System

Nioxin has been going for over 30 years now, since a lady called Eva Graham struggled with post-natal hair loss. Failing to find a decent solution, she decided to make her own instead. Atta girl.

Of course, it’s changed a lot along the way. It isn’t manufactured in a bedroom, for starters!

Nope, it’s become a whole lot more official than that. And even though some loyal customers complain about the Proctor and Gamble takeover back in 2008 (when they reputedly changed Nioxin’s formula), the company still makes one of the top shampoos for alopecia and other hair loss products for women and men.

eva graham
Hi, I'm Eva Graham, I have a kind face.

How It Works

Nioxin may be one of the best hair loss treatment brands – but what I like about it is that it doesn’t make grandiose statements about magically regrowing hair. Rather, it simply states that it promotes a healthy scalp environment and improves the condition of your existing hair. 

And if you have stronger hair that’s more resilient to environmental damage or heat-related damage from styling tools, it’s less likely to break. Less breakage = less shedding. Yay!

LA Says: I’ve had quite a lot of experience using Nioxin so if you want a more thorough explanation of what it involves, read Lady Alopecia’s take on Nioxin here.

The Difference Between Nioxin’s Systems

where to buy nioxin
So, what's the diff!?

For the best results, you should try a 3-part system containing a hair loss shampoo for women and men, a conditioner and a leave-in scalp treatment. (Although you can of course, start off with the individual products.)

Although each system involves the same 3 steps – Cleanse, Optimise and Treat – the products within them vary. Why? Well, we’re all different – so we need different formulas depending on our hair type, or what might be causing the loss.

Some of us have very dry hair, prone to snapping. Others might use a lot of chemical dyes or heated rollers/straighteners. While others might have hair that’s in great condition – but live in a busy city with a lot of pollution. Which will affect the quality of your scalp environment, and your follicles’ ability to grow new hair, over time.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the different hair thinning systems, or kits:

  • Kit 1: For those with natural hair that’s thinning, just a little. This Nioxin System 1 reviews post is for you.
  • Kit 2: For people like me, with considerable thinning of natural hair. Read more here or see how it compares to System 1 in this post.
  • Kit 3: Recommended if you’ve got light thinning and color treated hair. Check it out
  • Kit 4: Also for color treated hair, but with more significant hair loss. Learn more
  • Kit 5: If you chemically treat your mop, and if it’s thinning lightly, you might like this post
  • Kit 6: This one’s great for excessive thinning of chemically treated hair. Check it out!

Want the freshest Lady Alopecia news? (For free, of course)

Join 1,000+ fellow alopecians who get my irregular updates about life with irregular hair.

Nioxin System 1 Reviews: The Big 3

Like I said, there are 3 products in each system, with 3 distinct jobs to do. If you’re using System 1, your hair is probably already in good enough condition; at least compared to those who might dye, bleach or perm their hair regularly.

Even so, you can benefit from this 3-pronged strategy to soothe your scalp and foster healthy hair growth. Read on to see what you’ll get in your System 1 kit, and what it can do for your needy noggin.

Cleanser Shampoo (Step 1: Cleanse)

I love the smell of peppermint oil in this shampoo and the way it makes my scalp tingle after use! And it seems I’m not alone. Because Nioxin Cleanser has been voted the #1 salon-selling shampoo to combat thinning hair, again and again. It’s a salon and dermatologist favorite as a hair loss treatment for women (and men!)

To use: Massage a small amount to wet hair and keep rubbing in small circles around your scalp for up to 1 minute. Lather, rinse, repeat if you like.

Cleanser Shampoo

Scalp Therapy Revitalizing Conditioner (Step 2: Optimise)

One of the downsides to the cleanser is that it can dry out your hair, at least when you first use it. (Don’t worry, your scalp adapts to the new treatment after a week or two!) In the meantime, this creamy conditioner gives your main a much-needed moisturizing kiss…without making oily hair heavier.

Smoothing frizz ‘n’ flyaways, while adding a lovely sheen that Charlie would be proud of. (Ok, so not exactly a role model. But he does have a fun name.)

To use: Once you’ve finished with your cleanser, run a modest amount of conditioner from root to tip. Leave it in for 2 or 3 minutes so it can really work some smooth magic. Rinse.

Therapy Conditioner

Scalp & Hair Treatment (Step 3: Treat)

Treat yo’ self to some scalp therapy. After all the crap it has to deal with – from heated styling tools to traffic pollution to humid climates – it deserves a little TLC.

Allow your hair follicles to absorb some much-needed antioxidants like white tea and peppermint oil extracts. Protect your skin from sun damage with SPF 15 plus Nioxin’s trademarked technologies – BioAmp and Glyco-Shield. Really ‘treat’ your scalp and who knows – it might just reward you back.

To use: Split your towel-dried hair into sections. Next, spritz a pump of the treatment into each section, massage it in a little, and leave it in.

Scalp Treatment

System 1 Buyer’s Guide: Is It Right For Me?

The good news is, you’ve got 6 Nioxin systems to choose from – so you’re bound to find one that’s suitable for you. The bad news is, with so much choice available, it might be hard for you to determine which one is right for you!

Basically, if you have fine or natural hair, you can narrow your choice down to System 1 vs System 2. Then you just need to consider whether you’re experiencing light thinning or more excessive hair loss. If it’s the first scenario, then System 1 is probably the best Nioxin system to promote hair growth.

LA Says: If you’re not still not sure which category you fall into, talk to your hairdresser… or use the consultation tool on

Can a Supplement Help Alopecia?

Sure it can! Check out my top supplement for hair loss.

Any Other Products?

Glad you asked. Why yes, there are. In fact, there always seems to be more to buy when it comes to hair regrowth treatments!

To be kinder to your credit card, I’d just start off with Nioxin’s System 1 kit and see how you go. But of course, if you want to go the whole hog – like I did – here are a few other top products in the range to help stimulate hair growth:


Psst… Read more about these add-on products in my full write-up on Nioxin!

Where can I buy it?

From a range of places, really. You can start off with a starter or trial pack if you like straight from the manufacturer’s site. You can also use their “salon finder” to find a stockist in your area or save a considerable amount by getting it from a trusted online retailer. 

However, you need to be careful when doing so. Read this post on where to buy Nioxin to learn more. 

Common Questions

Just like we’ll react to different products in different ways, we’ll react to their frequency of use differently, too. I used Nioxin daily but other Nioxin system 1 reviews, from those with particularly sensitive scalps, mention using the products only 3 times a week. See what works for you.

Nioxin is fairly cheap, compared to many other shampoos for alopecia out there. You can get the 33.8oz/1L cleanser for $20–$30 from Amazon. (That’s almost half of what you’ll pay at a salon.)

Again, it depends on the person. Nioxin recommends using System 1 for at least 6 months but you might start noticing new vellus hairs after just a few weeks. Bear in mind, you may actually experience more hair loss during this time as the scalp makes way for the newbies.

Yes, a few. Redness, irritation and tingling are all normal reactions to Nioxin. But more serious side effects like swelling or hives aren’t – read more about them here.

Final Thoughts: First Might Be The Best... ​

What works for me might not work for you. System 2 is my Nioxin supply of choice; System 1 might be yours.

Hopefully this post has given you a clearer idea of the difference between the kits. So if you want to start using Nioxin, you’ll know which one to go for.

As always, I’m open to your feedback, comments and experiences. Get sharing below!

Lady Alopecia Signature

Want the freshest Lady Alopecia news?

Get free, semi-regular alopecia-related news things and musings.

Psst… If no welcome email shows up, check your spam.

Emma in a bubble


Lady Alopecia

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!

You may also like..


2 Responses

  1. Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences with Nioxin. I have been using the system 1 cleanser (shampoo) for well over twenty years and it does work for me. However, now that they have added Sulfates I am not sure if I should continue using it?

    X David

    1. Hi David, thanks for your comment – much appreciated! And great to hear that you’ve had good results with Nioxin. I had wondered the same myself but I still notice that whenever I use Nioxin, it really helps in terms of texture, softness and shine. I know sulfates get a bad rep but then I read this post that indicated they mightn’t be so bad after all. I’d say use your own judgement…if you’re still using Nioxin and still benefitting from it I’d keep it up! As far as I know, they added the sulfates back in 2008 so they’ve been in for a while. Thanks again for the question! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Yay! New Friends!

Just stick in your email to join the gang. 

If no welcome email appears, please check your spam. Oh, and don’t worry, I won’t give your details to Zuckerberg and you are free to unsubscribe at any time. 

Yay Friends!

Join the gang and receive semi-regular news and joy from someone with very irregular hair.