Plantur 39 makes a wide range of hair loss products, including shampoo, conditioner, and tonic. Their products are mostly marketed in Europe and the UK but are also available for purchase in the US.
Most of the Plantur products contain synthetic caffeine, and they are all targeted at women over 40. Why?
In their words:
Before the menopause, hair roots are protected by high levels of female hormones (estrogen). After the menopause, estrogen levels will decline and the impact of male hormones (testosterone) will increase.
The consequences: hair grows thinner and falls out prematurely, the scalp becomes more visible and the hairline recedes.
Nature’s phyto active ingredients help the scalp protect itself from the consequences of decline estrogen levels. The caffeine in this shampoo prevents premature exhaustion of hair growth caused by the impacts of testosterone.
When washing, the active caffeine ingredient penetrates all the way into the hair follicle, which can be detected after being left on for as little as 120 seconds.
A combination of natural wheat extracts and provitamin B5 condition, repair and protect coloured and stressed hair. The damaged hair structure is smoothed and the hair is provided with intensive shine.
Plantur 39 claims that its products keep hair from falling out, and provide support and protection for damaged and stressed hair.
What they mean here by “impact of male hormones” is DHT, the byproduct of testosterone which is responsible for much of hair loss in both men and women.
Do Androgens Really Cause Female Hair Loss?
In male AGA, there is an established link between the male hormones (androgens) and hair loss. The main culpable androgen being DHT. Men who due to genetic mutations cannot synthesize DHT never go bald.
Most researchers agree that androgens contribute to around one-third to one-half of female AGA cases. Yet even in these cases, there are probably other factors that scientists have not yet identified (1). This is the reason why anti-androgen medications are not the first line of treatment. It also explains why the FDA never approved finasteride for female AGA.
The scientific consensus is that what we call female AGA are actually diverse pathologies. We have grouped these together under one term (female AGA) more for reasons of convenience than anything else. While some cases are linked to androgens and will respond to antiandrogenic treatments like spirolactone, many won’t.
Having said that, menopause is a time when many women will start to develop female AGA (3). It is possible that among this group of women, hormonal changes, including an estrogen/androgen imbalance, may play a role in hair loss.
The Plantur 39 company says that caffeine, which is a primary active ingredient in these products, can reduce hair loss resulting from low estrogen and elevated androgens.
The research, however, does not suggest that caffeine blocks androgens like DHT. Scientists don’t understand its exact mechanism of action. However, it acts more as a generic hair growth agonist than an androgen blocker. That means it stimulates the hair follicles to proliferate, extending the anagen growth phase at the expense of the telogen resting phase. The end result is more hairs that are growing for longer.
Because caffeine is not generally considered to work by blocking DHT, it has been studied for both men and women (4). Scientists also frequently compare it to minoxidil, another compound that stimulates hair growth independent of DHT.
The Benefits of Caffeine
Plantur partly bases their claim for caffeine on studies that show the hair follicles retain caffeine up to 24 hours after using the shampoo. They stop short of actually suggesting the shampoo can cause hair growth.
It is true that caffeine does penetrate the skin easily (5). Furthermore, when applied topically, it is primarily absorbed through the hair follicles. This makes it very suitable as a topical treatment for hair growth. These claims from the makers of Plantur 39 are straightforward and accurately reflect the science.
Is Plantur 39 Okay for Younger Women?
Yes. Plantur 39 is safe for both men and younger women. Some women go through early menopause. Other women struggle with hormonal imbalances at early ages. Because of its active ingredients, Plantur 39 should work just as well for younger as well as for older women.
Is Plantur 39 Okay for Men?
Dr. Wolff, the maker of Plantur 39, also has another popular shampoo line for men, Alpecin. However, the active ingredients in both lines of shampoo are almost identical.
In practice, the difference between Alpecin and Plantur 39 is the smell, the marketing, the price, and the packaging. Even though the active ingredient in both is caffeine, the manufacturer markets Alpecin for men and Plantur 39 for women.
However, due to the way caffeine acts on the hair follicle, it should work equally well for male and female androgenetic alopecia. This means that men can safely use Plantur 39, and women can safely use Alpecin. Setting psychological factors aside, both sexes are likely to get essentially identical results from either product.
How to Use Plantur 39
Plantur 39 recommends that you use their shampoo and conditioner often. In addition, they also recommend using the Plantur 39 tonic. This also contains caffeine, but unlike the shampoo and conditioner, you don’t wash it out.
You should leave both the shampoo and the conditioner on your scalp for at least two minutes each. This will allow for sufficient absorption of the caffeine and maximum penetration to the follicles.
For the Plantur 39 tonic, the makers recommend using it daily, because the tonic stays effective only for a 24 hour period.
Here is more on that question from them:
Does It Actually Work?
Understandably, it is the effect of Plantur 39 on hair growth that interests users the most. So, it is important to clarify that Plantur 39 is not a “hair growth” product, but instead, it is a hair protection product.
Below is a summary of the main positive and negative points that users of Plantur 39 have highlighted online.
- Many verified buyer reviews on Amazon.com observe that Plantur 39 seems to reduce their hair loss.
- Others claim that this product adds stronger texture and more body to fine hair.
- Many reviewers say these Plantur 39 products smell really good.
- A few reviewers even reported new hair growth while using the product, usually around the hairline.
- And finally, some mention a combination of the above: less hair loss, and improved hair texture and appearance.
As with all hair loss products, not everything is going to work for everyone. There are some negative reviews of Plantur 39 products online.
- Some people have claimed Plantur 39 products are expensive, and not worth the price. Others say that their hair loss continued despite using these products.
- Some simply say they saw no difference.
- Others noted that their instructions arrived in German, when they were expecting them to arrive in English. For those buyers, it makes sense to visit the English version of the Plantur 39 website, which includes an extensive FAQ including instructions.
- You don’t always know what you will get when you order online. For this reason, you can prefer vendors on large websites like Amazon.com that feature hundred or thousands of ratings.
What is our verdict?
Overall: It Might Be Worth Trying
Plantur 39 products are relatively new to the US, but they have been established in the European market since 2005. The company that sells Plantur 39, Dr. Wolff, is a massive German beauty conglomerate that has existed since 1905. They report sales of Plantur are strong and have seen continuous growth since its introduction.
For a clinical-grade caffeine shampoo for treating hair loss that does not break the bank, Plantur 39 is an attractive choice. Setting marketing claims aside, it will likely work equally work for both men and women.
On the other hand, the fact that it looks and smells so nice, suggests it is laden with chemicals aside from caffeine. If you are interested in natural, caffeine-based shampoos that are high in caffeine and low in unnecessary harsh additives, there are other options.