About Oxford Biolabs
Oxford Biolabs is a nutraceutical and cosmoceutical company who manufactures a range of dietary supplements that promise to “naturally enhance a customer's well-being and appearance” by addressing unwanted signs of aging like hair loss, skin aging, and premature graying.
Compared to many other supplement companies, though, the website emphasizes that their products contain only natural ingredients from top-tier suppliers, and that their experts develop “credible science that can make a genuine, noticeable difference.”
Oxford University is a name brings to mind a high level of prestige and scholarly rigor. But in the case of Oxford Biolabs (the company), can you realistically expect their products to make a noticeable difference in your appearance—at least related to hair loss and premature graying? That’s the main question we’ll help you answer here.
The Basics of Graying Hair, Hair Loss, & Skin Aging
The Oxford Biolabs website covers several dense topics, so we’ll unpack each one as quickly as possible below. Then, we’ll be in a much better position to look at Oxford Biolabs’ products through the lens of this information.
What Causes Graying Hair?
According to Jeffrey Benabio, MD, a dermatologist at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego, “Hair goes gray when color-producing cells [called melanin] stop producing pigment.” This is the “melanocytic activity” referenced on the Oxford Biolabs website.
The Library of Congress tells us that exactly why these cells stop producing pigment, however, remains somewhat of a mystery. But they point out that it’s thought to involve a combination of internal factors like genetics, hormones, and the aging process, along with external factors including climate, pollutants, toxins, and exposure to chemicals.
What about potassium ion channels also mentioned on the Oxford website? The Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign reports these are “membrane proteins that allow rapid and selective flow of K+ ions across the cell membrane, and thus generate electrical signals in cells.” In layman’s terms, they help generate the electrical impulses that drive the nervous system.
What about their relationship with hair graying? Specifically, the “dermal papilla cells in human hair follicles” mentioned on the Oxford website for their TRX2 supplement? Using this as background detail, we’ll address this important question in the Ingredients section below.
But before moving on, let’s address two more fundamental concepts.
What Causes Hair Loss?
The Mayo Clinic reports that hair loss can be the result of many different factors, including “dermal papilla cells in human hair follicles,” although the most common cause is androgenetic alopecia—commonly known as male or female pattern baldness.
While the condition isn’t fully understood by the medical community, a hormone called dihydrotestosterone is thought to cause hair follicles to produce increasingly thin, fine hair, until it stops producing hair that’s visible to the naked human eye.
What Causes Skin to Age?
The visible signs of aging are a cumulative process and involve fat loss (especially in the face), bone loss around the mouth and chin, cartilage loss in the nose, and—the main culprit—exposure to the ultraviolet radiation generated by the sun. This is the ‘photoaging’ referenced on the Oxford Biolabs website.
Here, the sun’s rays damage collagen and elastin, the skin’s two most abundant proteins, which provide structural strength and elasticity, respectively. Then, this causes the skin to lose its luster and its firmness.
How, exactly, do these ingredients contained in Oxford Labs’ supplements help address these issues? Let’s dive in.
Taking a Closer Look at Oxford Labs’ Supplements & Ingredients
Overall, there are currently seven products in the lineup. While no labels were provided on the Oxford website at the time of our research, we emailed the company and received a quick response to our inquiry. Here’s what we learned:
TRX2 Food Supplement for Hair & Hair Revitalizing Lotion
Promoted as a safe, naturally-based hair regimen that provides “vital nutrients that nourish hair on a molecular level,” by “understanding the role potassium channels play in the growth of hair” and using them to “facilitate the transport of nutrients into the hair follicle.”
Just take three capsules daily with food, which can be taken together, or at separate times. Ingredients include:
- Carnipure tartrate (L-carnitine tartrate) 800 mg
- Potassium chloride 191 mg
- L-Leucine 150 mg
- L-Isoleucine 75 mg
- L-Valine 75 mg
- Niacin 40 mg
- Zinc 15 mg
- Biotin 150 µg
- Selenium 75 µg
Oxford’s Hair Revitalizing Lotion contains most of the same ingredients, with a slightly different dermatologically tested, synthetic fragrance and dye-free formula:
Water (Aqua), Carnitine Tartrate, Propanediol, Phenoxyethanol, Biotin, Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine, Niacin, Potassium Chloride, Zinc Citrate, and Dimethyl Sulfone
You’ll apply 1 ml of the formula using the included dropper two times a day (in the morning and in the evening) to the scalp in the area of thinning hair. Use fingers to massage into scalp, wash hands well afterward, and continue using over a prolonged period of time to maintain results.
Together, they advertise these formulas has been shown to positively influence hair at the molecular level by “maintaining the membrane potential of hair follicles, stimulating the de novo synthesis of potassium channels, restoring potassium channel activity and functionality, and hyperpolarizing hair follicles.”
At a visual level, they tell us this resulted in “the cessation of hair loss, hair growth—including in frontal and temple areas, and visibly stronger and thicker hair shafts.”
With this said, according to the cumulative data presented by sites like the Natural Medicines Database, WebMD, and Examine.com, there isn’t sufficient evidence indicating that any of these ingredients can increase the function of potassium ion channels in the body—or if they can, that this increase would result in reduced hair loss caused by androgenetic alopecia.
To support these claims, the Oxford Biolabs website provides a summary of a 2011 study (we received a copy as well) that found, after 18 months:
- Mean hair count (in a 2” x 2” scalp area) increased by 49.2 percent
- Mean hair thickness (a bundle of 30 strands) increased by 38.7 percent
- Terminal hair change (change from vellus to non-vellus) increased by 36.4 percent
- Self-evaluation of length reflected a 1.6 cm increase
Melaniq Supplement for Hair Pigmentation
This formula was developed to help men and women who are experiencing general premature graying by “supplying vital nutrients that can reduce the impact of associated factors.” Take three capsules per day with food.
- Green Tea Extract (200 mg EGCG) 400 mg
- Vitamin C 320 mg
- L-Tyrosine 200 mg
- Ascophyllum nodosum 180 mg
- Quercetin 150 mg
- Lycopene 2 mg
- Copper 1,500 µg
- Folic Acid 400 µg
- Biotin 50 µg
- Vitamin D3 20 µg
- Vitamin B12 6 µg
Similarly, according to the same sites mentioned in the previous section, insufficient clinical evidence exists indicating these ingredients can help stimulate the synthesis of melanin or protect melanocytes from damage. Or, that these changes can meaningfully reduce premature graying in humans.
DRM4 Skin Care Food Supplement for Skin
While this supplement wasn’t available for sale at the time of our research, it was prominently listed on the Oxford Biolabs website, so we decided to include it here.
DRM4’s formula claims to supply your skin with vital nutrients that can help reduce the signs of premature aging caused by factors like UV radiation, toxins, air pollution, oxidative damage, and poor diet. Take three capsules per day with food, whether all at once, or one per meal.
To accomplish this, it includes the following ingredients:
- Chia Seed Oil (270 mg ALA) 450 mg
- Vitamin C 300 mg
- Algae Oil (90 mg DHA) 225 mg
- Borage Seed Oil (35 mg GLA) 178 mg
- Bilberry Extract (22 mg anthocyanidins) 90 mg
- Vitamin E 50 mg
- Niacin 32 mg
- Vitamin B2 4.2 mg
- Lycopene 2 mg
- Iodine 150 µg
- Biotin 100 µg
- Selenium 55 µg
Although omega-3 supplementation can have many benefits, including reduced cholesterol and triglyceride levels, decreased likelihood of heart and cardiovascular disease, and reduced high blood pressure and osteoarthritis symptoms, these same sites indicate there’s insufficient clinical evidence that it—or any of the other ingredients in DRM4—can meaningfully reduce the signs of visible aging in otherwise healthy skin.
Hair Revitalizing Foam, & Thickening & Styling Cream
Pro tip: Since beauty expert Paula Begoun informs us that only the first five to six ingredients in a topical formula impact its effectiveness, this is what we’ve included below.
Oxford Biolabs’ foam is a topical aerosol that promises to nourish hair follicles. Simply shake well, apply half a capful two times per day (in the morning and in the evening) to the area of thinning hair, and use your fingers to massage into the scalp. Ingredients:
Water (Aqua), Butane, Carnitine Tartrate, Propanediol, Propane, Biotin …
In addition, their Thickening & Styling cream can help you achieve more volume by working it through clean, towel-dried hair. The first six ingredients include:
Water (Aqua), Pisum Sativum Peptide, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, VP/VA Copolymer, Hydroxyethylcellulose …
According to sites like Truth In Aging, Paula’s Choice, and EWG.org, most of these act as skin conditioners (propanediol, glycerin), surfactants (cetyl alcohol), moisture inhibitors (VP/VA copolymer), and thickening agents (hydroxyethylcellulose).
Nourishing & Anti-Oxidizing Hand Cream
A gentle hand cream formulated with milk proteins that can help skin retain moisture, while smoothing and nourishing skin. Features a non-greasy, fast-absorbing texture that can be applied to the hands as often as necessary. The first six ingredients include:
Aqua (Water), Isopropyl Palmitate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Propanediol …
According to the same sites listed in the previous section, most of these act as skin conditioners (isopropyl palmitate, glycerin, glyceryl stearate, propanediol) and surfactants (cetearyl alcohol).
Are There Any Side Effects Associated With Oxford Biolabs’ Products?
The company’s website emphasizes that you should speak with your physician before taking any of these supplements if you’re pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.
WebMD and the Natural Medicines Database also indicate that taking selenium short-term is ‘possibly unsafe’ when consuming doses larger than 400 mcg, or even long-term at lower doses, since it can increase the risk of developing selenium toxicity or diabetes.
Outside of this, one of the most common side effects reported for niacin is temporary flushing (and the associated redness and itching), and l-carnitine can have a moderate interaction with medications that slow blood clotting.
For these reasons, it’s always a good idea to talk with your doctor or healthcare provider before taking any new dietary supplement, whether from Oxford Biolabs or another manufacturer.
How Much Do Oxford Biolabs Products Cost?
As mentioned earlier, we’ve yet to hear back from the company about DRM4’s availability and pricing. In the meantime, their other supplements are as follows:
Note: According to a company representative, Oxford’s Hair Revitalizing Lotion (2 fl oz), Hair Revitalizing Foam (2.5 fl oz), Thickening & Styling Cream (1.7 fl oz), and the DRM4 supplement are currently not available in North America.
- TRX2: $69.54 (90 vegetable capsules)
- Melaniq: $59.10 (90 vegetable capsules)
Autodelivery Supersaver Program
- TRX2 Classic Pack (three bottles every 90 days): $173.94
- Melaniq Classic Pack (three bottles every 90 days): $150.74
Supersaver membership also provides free shipping on all orders sent to the EU and US, as well as free samples of future products. You can cancel anytime.
Pro tip: Along these same lines, according to Oxford’s FAQ, “Shipping times can significantly vary among the countries; usually 3-8 days for most European Union orders and 8-15 days for most international orders.”
All unopened and unused supplement orders come with a 60-day money-back guarantee, less S&H. To request one, customer service can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Via phone, EU customers can call +44 1865 582004, while US customers should dial 702-793-2275.
What Do We Know About Oxford Biolabs as a Company?
Oxford Biolabs Ltd. is based out of Oxford, UK and has been in business since 2009. The company was founded by Dr. Thomas Whitfield, who holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Christ Church, University of Oxford.
Despite their length of time in business, we didn’t encounter a whole lot of online customer feedback about the company. The only site that provided a meaningful number of reviews was TrustPilot, where 17 members gave Oxford Biolabs an average rating of four stars.
There, most compliments appeared to revolve around effective products and solid customer support. The two, one-star reviews complained of ineffectiveness and less-than-stellar customer service, although the company made a good faith effort to resolve each of these situations.
Will Dietary Supplements From Companies Like Oxford Biolabs Deliver Meaningful Value?
While we didn’t test either of Oxford Biolabs’ formulas ourselves, the company appears to have a clear focus on providing their customers with science-backed supplement formulas (at least in the case of TRX2) that deliver value for the money. They also come with a mostly positive—if not limited—online customer reputation, and stand behind their products with a 60-day satisfaction guarantee.
And while we’re not medical or clinical professionals, based on our years of supplement research, the single study for Oxford’s TRX2 supplement appears to be compelling and promising. We even wrote out for a copy of this study (along with labels for each of their products) and received an almost immediate reply.
We think it’s important to also balance these details with the fact that the Natural Medicines Database, WebMD, and Examine.com cumulatively report there’s insufficient clinical evidence that these supplement’s individual ingredients will deliver on the manufacturer’s claims; e.g., that they can reliably address unwanted signs of aging like hair loss, skin aging, and premature graying.
Along these same lines, we’ve learned in our past research and interviews that high-level organizations like the National Institutes of Health and the US Preventive Services Task Force emphasize otherwise healthy individuals (i.e., those not deficient in any of the ingredients) don’t need to take dietary supplements.
Finally, Oxford Biolabs’ money back guarantee only applies to unopened bottles, which means as soon as you give one of their supplements a try, you own it.
Coming back to the WebMD article we cited at the beginning, they note that except in rare instances, graying hair typically doesn’t indicate a medical concern. However, this might not be the case if your hair suddenly starts falling out, or if your skin has been exposed to enough UV radiation (or other contaminants) that it's experiencing premature aging. What's the point?
Bottom line: When dealing with any medical or dermatologic concern like premature graying, aging skin, or hair loss, you need professional advice from a trained physician to help you make an informed purchase that will deliver the most value, based on your specific diagnosis.
With this said, if they recommend that you proceed with a dietary supplement, Oxford Biolabs’ products seem to tick a lot of the necessary boxes. And based on our experience, their customer support is top-notch.