Nanogen vs Toppik vs DermMatch vs Mane: Review of ingredients and side effects

By Paul Taylor

DermMatch, Toppik, Nanogen and Mane - which hair loss concealer product is best?

This review reveals ingredients, side effects and eight potential problems, including how they might cause your hair loss to get worse.

These four concealers were chosen because, together, they probably represent the most popular (and arguably best) you can get to hide your hair loss.

This page deals with DermMatch. Subsequent pages focus on Mane, Nanogen and Toppik.

Hopefully, by using these concealer products as examples, you’ll at least realize the potential problems you face using this approach.

Here are the product details for DermMatch: 

Product Details

DermMatch comes as a solid disc of colored powder that you apply using a type of brush (they’re called "EZ Grip, EZ Reach" applicators) that you first wet and then dab onto your hair and scalp.

Hair loss concealer powder

The powder works by adding thickness to your hair (by coating it) and also by hiding your scalp from showing (by coloring it).

Whilst there are just eight colors to choose from, you can use two different colored discs and blend them together to match your own hair color.

However, this leads to my first objection about these concealer products (see Problem #1 below).

DermMatch side effects and ingredients

There are reports that if you overdo it and apply too much powder, it will make your hair sticky. And this leads to my second objection about concealer products (see Problem #2 below).

But, otherwise, the plant-based ingredients of Dermmatch are said to be safe. So there shouldn’t really be any side effects.

Nevertheless, there are several other potential problems with concealer products from the research and reviews I've read:

Problem #1 – Not Enough Colors

DermMatch colors

The official DermMatch website states that you can blend colors as you would with paint on a palette.

Well, if you’re an artist, that might sound like fun trying to get it exactly right day after day.

But, for the vast majority of people, I would expect such a fiddly, messy, time-consuming process is totally out of the question.

So, unless you get lucky and your hair color matches exactly*¹, you could be in for a very frustrating time if you decide to use these products.

*¹ Eight colors (DermMatch), nine (Toppik), ten (Nanogen) or even twelve (Mane) still might not be enough to get a perfect match straight away. And clearly you don’t want people you meet, or look at you, don't start staring at your hair thinking that there’s something not quite right.

Just as wigs and dyed hair are sometimes very easy to spot, any mismatch in color can have the same effect. And, of course, the whole point of a concealer is to do just that, to conceal your hair loss from the world.

Problem #2 – Overdoing It

Surfer with wet hair

Contrary to what some manufacturers say, if you use these products every day, then you really should wash them off every day as well.

And that could present another problem:

One of the selling points of some concealers is that the product will stick very firmly to your hair. Initially that sounds great because it should mean you can enjoy every day activities like walking in the wind, playing sports and even going swimming.

But it also means that you probably need to be quite vigorous when you wash the stuff off. And that could cause some of your own hair to fall out too*².

Obviously then, if you were to repeat this process every day, it could add up to a substantial amount of extra hair loss similar to the effect caused by traction alopecia.

Personally, I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary to wash your hair every single day. And I think a lot of people agree.

But, clearly, if day after day you were to keep applying more and more concealer product (and some people will apply topical hair regrowth products every day as well) your hair and scalp is going to get all clogged up pretty quickly if you don’t wash it on a daily basis.

*² My own hair regrowth techniques also involve a physical interaction with the scalp. So, could it too dislodge hair in much the same way as washing out concealer products?

No. There’s a big difference between doing slow, relaxing massage-related techniques on dry hair, and washing and scrubbing off artificial particles from wet hair (wet hair being easier to dislodge than dry hair).

Not only that, but some of my techniques don't even act on the hair loss region anywhere near as much as you might expect.

On the next page, problems #3, #4 and #5 are explained.

This is page 1 of 4.

Read next page? The main problems with Mane.

Note: Images for illustrative purposes only - e.g., actual DermMatch powder disc not shown.

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