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Presenting Dame – SIRE’s Newest Addition

From SIRE for men to Dame for women, Discover solutions for hair loss, menstrual health, and birth control.

Topical Minoxidil is the only topical treatment option for male-pattern and female-pattern hair loss recognized by the FDA. It has shown effectiveness and a good safety profile in clinical trials.

In male-pattern hair loss, current evidence have shown that Minoxidil 5% is more effective than 2% in men, so 5% is recommended for men who want to treat hair loss.

Men who start applying Topical Minoxidil in the early stages of their baldness, and who have smaller areas of baldness, respond best to Topical Minoxidil.

In Singapore, Topical Minoxidil at a concentration of 5% is available over-the-counter, without a prescription in two formulations: Foam and Lotion. Both Foam and Lotion formulations of Minoxidil are marketed by Johnson & Johnson under the brand Regaine in Singapore.

Minoxidil: Foam vs Lotion

The Lotion formulation of Minoxidil was the first formulation developed. Studies found that the side effects from Topical Minoxidil are infrequent, with the most common side effect reported being scalp irritation.

Men treated with a higher concentration of Minoxidil 5% compared with 2% Minoxidil reported more scalp irritation.

It was also found that propylene glycol; an inactive ingredient used in the Lotion formulation of Minoxidil, can potentially irritate the skin. Propylene glycol is used to allow Minoxidil to penetrate the surface of the skin. This allows Minoxidil to reach the hair follicles where it can do its magic.

The Foam formulation was developed nearly two decades after the Lotion formulation, as an alternative to circumvent side effects experienced with the use of the traditional Lotion formulation. Unlike the Lotion formulation, the Foam formulation is free of propylene glycol.

Research has shown that both the Foam and Lotion formulation of Minoxidil are effective for treating male-pattern hair loss. There are currently no studies done to support that one formulation works better than the other at treating hair loss.

From an effectiveness standpoint, you should get similar results from either formulation of Minoxidil. Scalp treatment and hair loss products are often a matter of personal preference. Here at Sire, we’ve got you covered – read on as we discuss the differences between the Foam and Lotion formulations.

Side Effects

As mentioned earlier, the main difference between the Foam and Lotion formulation of Minoxidil is the presence of a single ingredient: propylene glycol.

If you are a Minoxidil Lotion user who experiences side effects like scalp irritation, dryness, itching, redness or scaling on the application area, there might be a good chance you are reacting to the propylene glycol in the product. If these side effects are occasional, it might not be a big deal. However, frequent recurrence could indicate scalp inflammation which would be bad for hair regrowth.

If you experience such unpleasant side effects regularly, you might consider switching to Minoxidil Foam and monitor if those effects go away. Scalp-related issues can still occur with Minoxidil Foam, but they are much less likely due to the absence of propylene glycol.

If you are a new user to Minoxidil and are prone to sensitivity around the scalp area, Minoxidil Foam might be a better product to start with.

Winner: Minoxidil Foam


Generally, Foam formulations absorb more quickly into the skin compared to Lotion formulations. Minoxidil users may find that the Foam formulation absorbs into the skin faster than the Lotion formulation. This would leave a less oily residue on the scalp, reducing the appearance of “greasy hair”.

In our hot and humid Singapore, this might be an important factor to consider. If you are often out and about, taking in the full brunt of Singapore’s natural climate, Minoxidil Foam might be a more comfortable option.

Winner: Minoxidil Foam


Both formulations of Minoxidil are convenient to use, it is simply a matter of habit. The process of applying either formulation of Minoxidil to your scalp and massaging it into your skin takes only a few minutes to complete.

Minoxidil Foam is absorbed quickly into the skin and is faster drying compared to Minoxidil Lotion, which makes it less likely to drip and less time consuming to apply.

Both the foam and lotion Minoxidil require you to apply it twice a day, so it’s a bit less convenient than taking one finasteride tablet a day.

Consumer use studies have pointed out that Minoxidil Foam fits easier into the general consumer’s daily routines.

Winner: Minoxidil Foam

Ease of Application

Both formulations of Minoxidil are easy to apply. Minoxidil Lotion comes with a dropper that quickly and accurately measures the required amount of Minoxidil while Minoxidil Foam is dispensed from the can via a nozzle. It is a matter of personal preference.

Some Minoxidil users may find Minoxidil Lotion easier to apply to specific areas of the scalp using the dropper. This is especially the case if you have long hair near the application area which may catch some of the foam before it makes it to your scalp.

Some Minoxidil users may find Minoxidil Foam easier to apply to large areas of the scalp. Minoxidil Foam may be easier to apply if you have a significant area of balding or thinning hair.

Winner: Tie

Practicality in Singapore

Minoxidil Lotion is available over-the-counter at many pharmacies, while Minoxidil Foam is only available at specific retailers and there’s only one brand of Minoxidil Foam.

The other consideration is our hot and humid weather. If you are always sweating, then Minoxidil Lotion can cause more discomfort.

Winner: Tie

How to apply Minoxidil Foam vs Minoxidil Lotion

Minoxidil Foam

  • Wash your hands in cold water and dry them thoroughly before handling the product. Foam will melt on contact with warm skin or warm surfaces.
  • Part your hair to expose the hair loss area. Hair should be completely dry before application.
  • Holding the can vertically upside down, press the nozzle to dispense half a capful of foam onto cold hands or a cold surface (e.g. a clean dish). The product should be applied twice daily, in the morning and at night.
  • Using your fingertips, spread the foam over the hair loss area. Massage foam gently into the scalp, not hair. Repeat until all hair loss areas have been covered. Wash hands thoroughly after application.
  • The product should be allowed to dry completely before lying down (e.g. on the bed) or before application of other hair products (e.g. for styling or coloring). The product can stain clothing and bed linen if not fully dry.

Minoxidil Lotion

  • Ensure scalp and hair are clean and dry before application of the product.
  • Using the dropper, measure out 1 mL of the product. Rub about 1 mL of the product into the scalp of the hair loss area. Apply the product twice daily (morning and night).
  • Wash and dry hands after applying the product. If it gets into the eyes, mouth or nose, rinse these areas thoroughly immediately.
  • Do not double the dose if you miss an application.
  • Allow 2-4 hours for the medication to reach into the scalp. Avoid any activity that might wash away or dilute the product (e.g. bathing or swimming) for 2-4 hours after application.
  • At night, apply the product 2-4 hours before bedtime. The product can stain clothing and bed linen if not fully dry.
  • Do not dry the scalp with a hair dryer after applying the product. This action will reduce the effectiveness of the product.
  • If applicable, apply other hair products (e.g. for styling or colouring) only after the product has dried. These products generally do not affect the effectiveness of Minoxidil.

How to Get the Best Results from Minoxidil Foam/Lotion?

  1. Apply it correctly
    Topical Minoxidil found in hair products is to be used as a scalp treatment and not a hair treatment. It should be applied daily to the affected areas on a dry scalp, exactly as prescribed for maximum benefit. You can refer to our administration guidelines (adapted from Regaine) or your product information leaflet that would list step-by-step instructions that you can follow to apply Minoxidil Foam or Lotion properly.
  1. Be consistent. Topical Minoxidil works best when it is used twice a day. If you often forget to use Minoxidil, try setting a phone reminder, placing the product in a prominent place or simply using a sticky note in the bathroom to remind you.
  2. Use it with Oral Finasteride. Topical Minoxidil works well on its own, but there is some evidence to suggest that a combination treatment of Topical Minoxidil and Oral Finasteride may be more effective than treatment with either alone.
    However, further studies are still needed to determine whether combination therapy should be routinely recommended. Always discuss with your doctor the best option for you.
  3. Be patient. It is important to understand that patience is required in hair regrowth. Hair shedding may occur at the initiation of treatment with Topical Minoxidil and usually decreases within two months. It has to be used daily for at least four months for potential visible results to be seen, and it would take a full year of dedicated treatment to determine the effectiveness of the product.


Both Minoxidil Foam and Minoxidil Lotion are effective treatments for male-pattern hair loss. Both formulations have their advantages and it comes down to personal preference.

If you use Minoxidil regularly, consider trying both formulations to see which works best for you.

If you are not too sure and need more advice from a licensed doctor in the comfort of your own home, get started here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What is Minoxidil?

Minoxidil is an FDA-approved over-the-counter medication commonly used to promote hair growth and combat hair loss. It’s available in both foam and lotion formulations.

Q: What’s the difference between Minoxidil Foam and Minoxidil Lotion?

The main difference lies in their application methods. Minoxidil foam is easy to apply, dries quickly, and doesn’t leave a greasy residue. On the other hand, Minoxidil lotion might take a bit longer to dry but can be massaged into the scalp more effectively.

Q: Which one is more suitable for me – Foam or Lotion?

The choice between foam and lotion depends on your personal preference and hair type. Foam is often preferred by those with oily scalps, as it’s less likely to weigh down the hair. Lotion can be a better option for individuals with a dry scalp, as it provides more moisture.

Q: Are there any side effects of using Minoxidil?

Some users may experience mild side effects such as scalp irritation, itching, or dryness. These effects usually subside with regular use. If you notice any severe or persistent side effects, consult a healthcare professional.

Q: Can Minoxidil be used by both men and women?

Yes, Minoxidil is suitable for both men and women. However, there are different concentrations available for each gender. Make sure to choose the appropriate concentration based on your gender and the product’s guidelines.

Q: Do I need a prescription to buy Minoxidil?

In Singapore, Topical Minoxidil is available over the counter and does not require a prescription.

Q: Can I stop using Minoxidil once I see results?
It’s generally recommended to continue using Minoxidil even after you start seeing positive results. Discontinuing use may lead to a reversal of the regrowth effects. Consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions about stopping or continuing usage.

A tablet a day keeps the baldness at bay.

Consistent daily usage is key to help you slow down your hair loss.

Months 1-2

You may not be able to see any visible changes within the first 1-2 months of usage. Some people may shed more fine hairs than usual. This is completely temporary and normal.

Months 3-6

Your hair loss may have slowed or stopped. Take a photo every month to track your progress. Stay the course!

Months 7 and beyond

Hair loss might have considerably slowed down or stopped. Some people might even see signs of regrowth. Don’t stop now, keep going!

We were meant to be bold, not bald

With Sire, you can say goodbye to expensive consultation fees, and ridiculous mark-ups on medications. Style shouldn’t cost more than your daily cup of coffee.


Sire is part of the MOH’s list of direct telemedicine providers.

hair loss doctor singapore

Feel young and confident with a full head of hair.