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How I Stopped Hair Loss And Regrew Hair (For 20 Years And Going Strong)

When I was seventeen, my parents bought the family a camcorder for Christmas and to test it out, I decided to record a music video to the song “Video Killed The Radio Star,” which mostly consisted of me moving slightly while the camera was set to the strobe effect. I wanted to look like I was from the late 1970s (or at least what I thought looked like it), so I put on some hair gel. As I did that, a clump of hair came out from near my temples.

I became worried that I was losing my hair. My barber already said my hair was thin and suggested I would likely go bald, so it was on my radar, and not in a good way. I looked in the mirror and everything looked fine. Okay…nothing to worry about…

This image roughly shows the zones of regrowth I have experienced. The segments closer to my scalp are earlier regrowth. Farther are later.

This image roughly shows the zones of regrowth I have experienced.

Fast forward to September 1996 of my freshman year in college, just 9 months later. One day while I was showering in the horrible dorm showers, I noticed a lot more hair than usual in the bottom of the shower.

Later that day I looked at my hairline. It looked different than it had back in January. It had receded in the front of my scalp, across my forehead and temples, and a small bald spot was developing in the back.

I suddenly started to get worried. I was only eighteen. I couldn’t believe I was starting to go bald. At the time, I already considered myself at a dating and social disadvantage, and I hated that I may have had to add baldness to that. My dad went bald at a young age, and I always worried I would be next. And, my twin brother Jonathan was going through the exact same thing (not a surprise).

I have always been proactive, and fortunately the FDA had approved minoxidil for over the counter use in 1996, and it was showing up in stores when I noticed all of this. I went to the local K-Mart and bought a month supply of the 2% solution, since that was all that was available at the time. A few days later Jonathan decided to as well.

Luckily, since I started using it early enough, that alone caused frontal regrowth as well as growth at the vertex. I have used minoxidil 2% since fall of 1996, and my head has just as much hair as it did then. In fact, in recent years, my hair has actually gotten thicker, and I’ll explain how. Jonathan has used the exact same treatment and experienced the same positive results.

I make no guarantees (so consult your doctor!) of general safety or effectiveness for what I list below. It is simply based on my experience.

I list all the anti-baldness treatments I have used, along with discussion related to them, and they are all available over-the-counter (minus Retin-A), and cost next to nothing. Note that the key to effectively stopping and treating hair loss is to catch it early. In fact, a lot of my success is related to the fact that I caught it in its earliest stages.


I have faithfully used generic 2% minoxidil since 1996. When I started using it, my hair loss stopped immediately, minus some possible initial shedding. Within a few weeks I noticed small, fine, hairs coming in.

Within a few months, I saw normally colored hair growth around my temples and front of my scalp, and I assume in the back as well (since minoxidil has actually been proven to cause growth there). That hair remains to this day (well, not the exact hairs but you get my point).

vitaminsWithout being on sale, minoxidil sells for around $20 for a three month’s supply. Most guys today use 5% minoxidil, which is just as cheap, and more widely available than 2%, but with theoretically more risk of side effects. The instructions say to use a dropperful (1 ml) twice a day. I am down to once a day (if that) thanks to using other treatments. So, for about $20, I get what amounts to a six month supply. Right now you can get generic 5% minoxidil for under thirty dollars on Amazon, for a six month supply.

Now I add Retin-A to my minoxidil because it seems to increase its effectiveness. However, that is only available by prescription. If your doctor will prescribe it, you can add some to your minoxidil bottle.

Minoxidil likely works by bringing more blood to the scalp. It doesn’t address the main cause of male pattern baldness, which involves DHT. This article briefly explains how DHT causes baldness if you want to know. So, minoxidil may result in diminished returns after a while for a lot of users.

Also, one side effect of using it regularly is dry scalp. I had extremely dry scalp after using it. The solution? This thing called a “pocket hair brush,” which I call a “head scraper.” Give your scalp a vigorous once over with it every few weeks to a month, and you’ll notice you’ll pull up a lot of dead skin. It also may stimulate the scalp and clear any gunk on your scalp that may be hypothetically worsening your hair loss.

Some people claim other side effects (like increased wrinkling, especially around the eyes), but the fact is that it is a commonly used, over-the-counter drug attests to its general safety. While not risk free, it is generally thought to be safe when used topically. I haven’t experienced any of the side effects, at least not that I know of.

If you are concerned about increased wrinkles from minoxidil, the mechanism by which that happens may relate to collagen destruction. Internal and topical Vitamin C could help with that. I have taken 500-1000 mg of Vitamin C a day basically for the same time I have used minoxidil. I have started applying it topically (face and scalp) over the last few months and the results have been great.

Internal Saw Palmetto And Plant Sterols (Phytosterols)

This small study showed that a combination of saw palmetto and beta-sitosterol (a specific plant sterol) taken internally (I assume) had positive results in treating hair loss. This is because saw palmetto and plant sterols may block DHT. I have taken saw palmetto extract since around 2001, and plant sterols since about 2007. I take a daily saw palmetto and sterols a few times a week.

I have noticed no negative side effects from taking these chemicals. Granted, I don’t take a whole lot compared to what others do, but I can say that they haven’t negatively impacted me.

Since starting this, I began cutting my minoxidil usage down to once a day, and nothing on my hairline changed. If anything, I saw an improvement in my hair count, so I continue taking them internally.

Topical Saw Palmetto and Plant Sterols

In 2011 I decided to start applying these elements to my scalp topically. That actually resulted in an expansion of my frontal hairline, for the first time since 1996. For the base of the mix, I combine equal parts filtered water and slightly gooey coconut oil (let it melt a little), and some sunflower lecithin powder. The lecithin turns the water and oil into a mayonnaise-like consistency. Then I add a few sterol softgels, saw palmetto softgels and whisk it. It turns into a yellowish gel. I apply at the front and back of my hair. If I want to cover my whole head like a kind of shampoo, I mix it with some almond milk.

After using this, my frontal hairline expanded about 1/4 inch, particularly on the front right and left sides near my temple. And, that is using this very lazily, i.e. about once a week. I am currently expanding my usage of this to three times a week and seeing what happens.

Nizoral (Ketoconazole)

I just started this, but a few studies suggest that this anti-dandruff shampoo may be just as effective as minoxidil in treating hair loss. That doesn’t mean it will be magic, but could be a cheap part of a hair-loss program.

Nizoral is available from Amazon and drug stores. Online advice from successful users seems to be that the OTC concentration (1%) works well. Shampoo with your regular shampoo first, rinse, and apply the Nizoral. Massage in your scalp and leave on for about three minutes. Use it every third day. Sadly, in some people it can cause hair loss, so watch out for that side effect.

I will update this article if I see any noticeable improvement or side effects.

UPDATE: Since the original publication of this article, I have stopped using minoxidil on Nizoral days, effectively reducing my 2% minoxidil down to once a day, 5 days a week. I haven’t noticed any change in my hairline, either better or worse.

Other Supplements

I’m not convinced much else that is available over-the-counter will help with baldness, except perhaps topical azelaic acid. This means that I don’t think various supplements like Biotin or Silica will have much of an effect. I do take a lot of supplements, but I don’t think any of them directly impact hair loss, except the two I mentioned above. I do take Stinging Nettle for allergies from time to time, and it may inhibit DHT, but likely no better than the two I mentioned.

I have not mentioned Proecia/finasteride (aka Proscar) in this article. The reason is that I haven’t used it. It is available only by prescription. It is proven effective, and works in the same way saw palmetto and phytosterols hypothetically do, by blocking the effects of DHT. Some people swear by it, while a small percentage of others claim it ruined their lives by causing horrible side effects, including sexual performance related ones. Personally I avoid any pharmaceutical if I can.

Remember, this is just my experience. But, whatever I’m doing, I’m doing it right, for me. I have kept my hair 20 years after seeing it start to recede. A good friend of mine started balding at exactly the same time. He dismissed it. He is completely bald. There is nothing wrong with that, and he owns it perfectly. However, there are things you can do, especially if you catch it early enough!

Always Assume Attraction

cute young couple

Image courtesy of marin/

One of the greatest tips we give guys when trying to get a girl is actually pretty simple: it’s assume she’s attracted to you. It sounds kind of ridiculous, but it actually works.

Is she staring at you? Giggling in your direction? Talking to you in a friendly way? Assume attraction.

Assuming attraction isn’t necessarily that easy in practice. It’s often because of a lack of confidence. Most guys, especially less assertive guys, typically assume a lack of attraction, not the other way around. As a result, they’re nervous around women.

Their brains are inserting all sorts of “cognitive distortions” into the mix, and they assume the worst: she is staring because he has a hair out of place, or she is giggling because she thought of a joke, or whatever.

And, that is why assuming attraction is essential, even if she might not be attracted, and here’s why.

First, you should assume attraction because it changes your entire interaction dynamic. Think about how a guy acts when he knows the girl already likes him. He can be relaxed and confident. His body language, speech patterns, and general demeanor are radically different. By assuming attraction he can automatically act in a way that is more likely to come across as attractive and confident.

Second, women are typically more passive participants in the whole dating game. Even the most independent ones still like to take their cues from the guys. If you set the friend “tone,” it is should be no surprise that you will get “friend zoned” (after all, it’s the only tone you set!). If you set an attraction tone, you still might not get the girl, but you’re much more likely to do it because that’s the way you framed the interaction.

Finally, attraction is not rational. It’s not even really a choice as we’ve pointed out before. So, by assuming attraction, you are making small changes in your body that you’re likely not even aware of.

This means your testosterone is likely rising. So is your adrenaline. Your brain chemicals are also shifting to make you more confident and attractive. By assuming attraction, your body is actually making you more attractive (chemically and otherwise). And, at the subconscious level, women are picking up on this.

What is she isn’t attracted? Well, so what? It just means you are more likely to be your best self in that interaction, versus coming across as insecure.

So, it’s vitally important to assume attraction when interacting with a girl. It will make you far more successful in the dating game.

Haunted Hoochie Haunted House Review

hoochie1Last night Jonathan and I went to the Haunted Hoochie, a popular haunted house attraction near Columbus, Ohio. Since the tickets are $25 (VIP $45), I was really hoping it would be an amazing haunted house experience…and let me just say…it definitely was!

We arrived early…very early, especially for a Thursday apparently. We were literally the first non-employees there when we got there about 7:00 PM. Since it started at 8:30 we figured there would already be a long line. I am guessing on weekends and as Halloween approaches, arriving as early as we did would be a plus. Once we parked ($3.00 cash) we walked toward the actual event.

There are plenty of port-a-potties in front of the venue, which is a plus. There are also concessions in that general area as well. After that, we walked to the ticket barn and waited for the tickets to open. We each bought regular tickets. They accept cash and credit card.

hoochie2After we got tickets, we got in line for the haunted house. We were near the front. A few people came dressed in costumes, and various haunted house actors walked around scaring people. Warning: they will touch you (appropriately) and say crass things. Of course, that is part of the fun and everybody seemed to enjoy it. A sign as you enter does warn you that if you’re a politically correct asshole, don’t bother buying a ticket. Hopefully that sorted out a few potential whiny buzzkills.

About a half hour before it started, the place started broadcasting music videos. Most of them seemed to relate to 9-11 truth movement and anarchist type themes, such as the more obviously conspiratorial “The Cause Of Death” by Immortal Technique and more mainstream ones like “American Idiot” by Green Day. Since I have a pretty strong libertarian streak I could appreciate it, but I am sure some people were offended.

hoochie3Around 8:30, things lit up a little more, a half-naked woman came out into a cage like thing near the top of the haunted house, and started dancing. That is around when they started letting people in.

They stagger people in by small groups, by letting a group of VIP people in (people who basically pay extra to get into a shorter line) along with those of us in the regular line. It does take awhile, but it is worth it to get the full experience.

I am not going to give away everything, but I will say that the haunted house is brutally graphic. Beheadings, human sacrifice, and even portrayal of war and a plane crash. You walk through a variety of super scary and gory scenarios throughout the house. They include a war zone (Vietnam it seemed like), a sort of Satanic equivalent of the Catholic Church complete with a twisted pope, a crashed plane, an execution, and more.

There are so many hidden people throughout the house grabbing you, that you will at least get surprised a couple of times, even if you are like me and pretty much difficult to surprise. One of the actors was telling me before hand that people peeing their pants is pretty common.

hoochie4They make use of darkness, strobe lights, and lots of cool animatronic creatures (including huge dinosaurs). And there are loads of actors grabbing you, (pretend) cutting you with chainsaws, and yelling at you.

The gore and scariness level are off the chart, I promise you. If you are scared easily, you’ll either love this or hate it. I suggest staying close to your group, because it is dark and a little easy to get separated if you’re not careful (at least it seemed like a possibility to me).

Guys, I suggest going with a girlfriend or significant other, because her first reaction will be to hold onto you. I am sure it would be much more fun that way.

It lasts quite a while. They do a great job of pacing you, by stopping you to watch a few of the scenarios.

When you’re done, they give you a pair of 3D glasses and you can walk through the “Bad Trip in 3D.” It is really cool. I am not sure how they did it, but as you walk everything is in bright and colorful 3D. Even the floor has specs of color that hover in the air. That lasts about ten minutes and is really freaky and has to be seen to be believed. It is a nice addition and makes it definitely worth the 25 dollars.

I promise you, if you love haunted attractions, especially getting scared and lots of cool scenarios and props, you will love this. I have never experienced anything like it in my life and I loved every second of it.

The only main drawbacks to the experience are the price (it is still high compared to many other haunted attractions) and the long lines, which formed behind us as the night progressed. But, that can be part of the fun, because you’ll be able to interact with actors and other people excited about going to a haunted house (see our article How To Meet Girls At Haunted Houses for more information on that).

The Most Lazy And Ineffective Advice You Have Been Told Since Childhood

man giving thumbs up

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/

No matter where you look, from elementary classrooms to Twitter replies, everyone is telling everyone else, “Just be yourself!” On the surface, this advice sounds very affirming and loving. However, it is really a lazy effort put forth by whoever is saying it AND it is bad advice also. Let me explain.

“Just be yourself!” said your first grade teacher, even if that meant your nose-picking, girl-pinching, smelly ways led to having zero friends show up at your birthday party.

“Just be yourself” said your mom, even though you really wanted to make the basketball team, and your lack of skills (and lack of time spent practicing) caused you to fall flat on your face.

“Just be yourself!” said your high school teacher, even though you dressed like a slob, had no confidence, had no conversation skills, and desperately wanted a date throughout high school, and couldn’t get one.

In all of these examples, “just be yourself” is horrible advice, and I will explain why.

It is Lazy Advice

“Just be yourself” is a lazy, thoughtless, and a downright dismissive response to people who have a real need (lack of friends, inability to achieve a goal, and lack of social skills necessary to attract a romantic partner). Let me give you a non-social example.

You have a need. You really want a new car. In fact, you really need a new car, since the one you have is broken down. You go to a friend who is a mechanic. His response is, “Let’s not worry about your broken transmission (which I could actually help you with); just be yourself.”

But, you may protest…”David, nobody would ever say that about fixing a car! If he responded like that, he would be blowing you off!”


So, why, in the case of someone who needs personality or appearance help, do we blow them off? In each cases I listed above, rather than helping you achieve your life goals (such as making friends in first grade, getting a spot on the basketball team, and getting a date), the people in your life dismissed your concerns, effectively suggesting you carry on in a miserable state.

It is Just Plain Bad Advice

Imagine if you just stayed yourself. Pick any point in your life. What about your awkward self in 6th grade? What about your pre-college, less educated self? What about “yourself” yesterday, when you were mad all day?

Would you be working that great job now if you stayed “yourself” before you went to college? Would you have completed a marathon if you remained your awkward past self? Would you be happy today if you stayed your angry yesterday “self?”

What if throughout most of your life you haven’t been happy or fulfilled, at least in a particular area? “Yourself,” at least at that moment, or throughout many moments in your life, hasn’t been what you want from life.

Instead of “be yourself,” our philosophy is to, yes, accept and be comfortable with who you are at that moment, while striving to better yourself to become your best self

Being your best self is ultimately about figuring out your core values (what makes your life meaningful and happy), and then making personality and behavior changes that align with those values.

Maybe you value having close friends, a physically and emotionally beautiful girlfriend, and a fit body. If you aren’t at a point in your life where you have any of those things, then becoming your best self means learning how to achieve those goals, and then changing your behavior (and regularly practicing those changes) to become the person you want to be.

That is why we run this site, and why we wrote our six books. We believe that every guy wants to be happy, admired, and have the ability to make friends and get dates (the number is up to him…maybe he just wants one great friend, or to be surrounded by them).

So…as 2016 winds down and we think about the new year, think less about being “yourself” and more about becoming your best self.

Insight Timer Meditation App Review

Meditation is powerful psychological tool, and research shows it has mental (and spiritual) health benefits. While the term is often associated with religions, primarily Buddhism (although Christianity has a strong tradition of “contemplation” that is a form of meditation), meditation doesn’t have to be religious or denominational at all.

In fact, I wrote about one type of meditation called Open Focus in a previous post that many people use to relieve pain and increase creativity. Also, a type of meditation called “mindfulness” is a part of an evidence based therapy called Dialectical-Behavioral Therapy, often used in treating Borderline Personality disorder, drug and alcohol dependence, and other mental health disorders.


The app has various guided meditation options

Since people from all walks of life are interested in the health benefits of meditation, including stress reduction and increasing relaxation, apps have popped up that aid in the process. After looking through various apps over the last few years, I think I have found my favorite: Insight Timer, which is available for both Android and IPhone.

I’ll start with my favorite aspect of Insight Timer, which makes it unique among different meditation apps, and that is the social component. You set up a basic profile, including a place for a brief bio, a photo, and a list of your recent meditation activities. You can control the privacy of your profile. The app also allows direct messages, adding friends, and joining groups based on locations and meditation interests.

After you meditate, you can see people who meditated “with you,” and send them brief canned messages like “thanks for meditating with me” if you wish. You can also view nearby meditators based on the location you provide. So, people within about a 50 mile radius will see my profile if they search nearby.  This allows you to connect with others who are trying to improve their lives through meditation. So if you live near me, look me up and add me as a friend!

In terms of the actual meditation aspect of the app, it is one of the best. While I have used Stop, Breathe, and Think, as well as Buddhify (both great apps by the way; my preference for this app shouldn’t be seen as putting down those apps), I like that this app includes a lot of guided meditations as well as a way to set your own meditation timer.

The guided meditations (under the “guide” tab) include over 2000 recorded meditations from a variety of spiritual traditions (including Christianity – there is a Lord’s Prayer one, for example), as well as ones that are purely psychological in nature, such as ones designed to help you sleep or de-stress.

This shows some of the options available in the timer section.

This shows some of the options available in the timer section.

You can also create your own meditation (so to speak) through the timer section of the app. Here you can change the length of the meditation, the starting sound, if you want a sound at a particular interval, the background music, and the sound at the end. You can also set it so you have none of those features. You can also set the type of meditation, if it is prayer, yoga, etc. You can then save your settings to presets for future use.

The timer is geared toward a more Buddhist and Eastern understanding of meditation, since it uses traditional Eastern bell sounds (or the sound of wood blocks hitting) as the choices. This may be a drawback for those wanting to avoid this connection. The background music choices are kind of “new age” type of music or nature sounds. You can purchase other types of bells as well as different background music packages. It doesn’t seem like you have the ability to use your own music in the app.

Every meditation is tracked and logged, unless you choose not to log it at the end, which is an option.

The great news is that all of this is free, unless you want to add extra music or bell sounds.

The main drawback I have noticed is that it lacks some customization as far as using your own music or background noise. It also is geared more toward Eastern traditions so those preferring a Christian experience might be disappointed.

Overall, I like Insight Timer, and recommend this app for a meditation experience that offers a lot of variety as well as a social component.

A Harsh Reality: Obesity Destroys Testosterone Levels And Attractiveness

CDC_Overweight_and_Obesity_map3Almost a year ago, Jonathan and I released our book, Lose Weight And Be Healthy Now: Forty Science-Based Weight Loss Tips to Transform Your LifeThat book lists over 40 ways to lose weight. Anyone without an agenda can tell you excess weight matters in dating and relationships  (obesity is less attractive). However, this article isn’t about the physical looks aspect of obesity, but what it does to the male body that destroys both health and social success.

The obesity epidemic spreading across Western countries is having dangerous side effects for men, and they are both physical and social. To see the obesity epidemic in action, have a look at the animated gif on the right. Click on it for a bigger version.

One of the biggest side effects related to obesity in men is the fact that obesity destroys a man’s testosterone levels, and that is bad for a variety of reasons.

While many people think of testosterone as a bad thing (like guys with their hat backwards grunting at each other while listening to Limp Bizkit music), the reality is much different. Not only do high testosterone levels not cause aggression, but they actually can cause guys to be fairer and less aggressive.

Other research suggests that high testosterone levels increase the desire for social dominance, but that doesn’t necessarily increase aggression, unless it is expected in the environment (i.e. the men with higher testosterone in prison would be more violent; the men with higher T in many more civilized environments would simply be more charming and assertive).

Also, if you are still thinking of testosterone as a “bad” chemical, low testosterone is a risk factor for diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and even atherosclerosis.

And to emphasize this point further, low testosterone levels could be why you’re perpetually single and stuck in a rut at work. Testosterone is important for attracting women, with women preferring men with higher T levels and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. That high testosterone to low cortisol ratio is also what is seen in people who are leaders in any given situation.

So: higher testosterone (and lower cortisol) makes you healthier, more relaxed, socially dominant, attractive, and more likely to be a leader. That is the good news.

man with punching bagThe bad news is that obesity lowers testosterone levels, which in turn promotes obesity, creating a downward spiral that makes both losing weight and raising testosterone levels very difficult. Many guys have been significantly overweight for years, and it is no surprise that it has turned them into socially frustrated and angry guys.

And, even though it is commonly assumed testosterone naturally declines with age, a recent study found that it wasn’t necessarily age that was the main problem, but weight gain that often comes with age! So, that expected decrease in energy, desire, etc., that comes with age? It likely doesn’t have to happen – if you aren’t overweight at least.

While we talk about personality factors a lot on this blog, the bottom line is that your weight may be killing your social and work life, even beyond appearance issues.

Losing weight and working out could seriously help your social success. While I suggest any type of exercise that burns calories, if you focus on weight loss that helps raise your testosterone levels, your social (and physical) results will be magnified because it will address the low testosterone-obesity downward spiral.

Aerobic exercise can increase testosterone levels, but if you run, stick to sprinting and avoid extra long distance runs. Otherwise, interval training increases testosterone levels, so try a program like Insanity. Weight lifting also boosts testosterone (as does any weight resistance, particularly chopping wood).

If you don’t want to buy a fancy weight set or a gym membership, I suggest looking into body weight exercises.

Also, we teach our clients, holding certain body language poses can also raise testosterone levels, thereby creating a feedback loop in which your confidence grows, causing your testosterone to grow, and then increasing confidence again, and so forth.