Spend Or Skip? Évolis Reverse Activator For Thinning Hair
If every anti-aging product on the market really did what it claimed, we'd all look 18. And while there are many effective products that help make the most of our looks as we age (and I, for one, like the way I look better at 45 than I did at 18), there are also many that are nothing but snake oil. Thus, I've created this series, Spend or Skip?, in which I will apply my twenty years as a beauty guinea pig to objectively road-test and review buzz-generating, anti-aging products that everyone's talking about. The mission: to help you decide whether to buy—or bypass—the latest fountain of youth.
What's on the hot seat: Évolis Reverse Activator
If you’ve been reading MediumBlonde for a while, you know I’m a fan of minoxidil, the active ingredient in Rogaine. If you don’t know that, read this. However, I’m aware that not everyone can use minoxidil—or wants to use minoxidil. Although the cases are rare, some women believe minoxodil makes them dizzy or faint; others just don’t like the consistency or smell. Thus, when I heard about Évolis Reverse Activator, a minoxidil-free scalp treatment that’s supposed to help thinning hair grow back thicker and denser, I took a closer look.
Minoxidil works by widening the hair follicle to encourage thicker strand growth—and by extending your hair’s growth cycle so strands stay put on your head longer. The Évolis Activator works differently. Applying this treatment to your scalp twice a day inhibits the production of a protein called FGF5, which is believed to be one main cause of hair loss.
So what's the Évolis story? Maria Halasz (look out for a What Works featuring her soon), CEO of biotech firm CellMid, started shedding hair like crazy in her early forties, . She was in the process of trying minoxidil without much success (she’s in the doesn’t-like-the-smell-or-consistency camp), when CellMid—and Maria—were introduced to a small Japanese biotech company with a new FGF5 inhibitor.
CellMid was considering a licensing deal with this Japanese company, and Maria, in the spirit of research, took home a few samples of this FGF5-inhibiting product to try on her scalp. She saw a difference almost right away. “I noticed there was less hair in my brush within weeks, but it was my hair stylist that pointed out that I had all this new hair growing. He wanted to know what I’d been doing so he could tell his other clients suffering from thinning hair. It was at that point I knew it was worthwhile to persist with the Japanese.” So worthwhile, apparently, CellMid bought the company in 2013.
In the spirit of research, I will also be trying this FGF5-inhibiting treatment. Like minoxodil, the Évolis Activator must be applied twice daily. The treatment, applied with a dropper, is water-like and odorless, so I would think, unoffensive to most. It also absorbs really quickly. Maria said to continue using my minoxidil while I test the Activator. Because they work differently, there should be no conflict. Plus, if I stopped my minoxidil cold turkey, I'd experience an uptick in shedding which would make it hard to gauge how the Évolis Activator was working.
My hair is thinnest and most fragile along the hairline, especially at the temples, so that’s where I will apply. The Évolis collection also includes a shampoo, conditioner and deep treatment, and I'll use those on occasion as well. But the active, FGF5-inhibiting ingredient is most concentrated in the Activator, so that's the product I will be reviewing. Clinical studies of the Évolis Activator say results are most apparent after 16 weeks (four months of use), but because Maria saw a difference sooner than that, I will report back monthly. And, in the meantime, if there are other buzzy, anti-aging products you'd like my opinion on, email me at email@example.com. If I've tried the product, I'll share my honest opinion—and if I haven't, it may show up in a future Spend or Skip?