I’ve been taking Finasteride, using Minoxidil and Nizoral since 2002 and all three have been the reason why I haven’t LOST my hair. I didn’t gain much back, and I shed alot to this day, but I have alot more than I would have had if I didn’t actively do something about it. Finasteride attacks it generally from a internal hormonal level, minoxidil attacks it on the surface, and yes, does the most effective work on the crown. Nizoral helps clean your scalp and follicles of fungus and other microscopical “stuff” so your hair and scalp is healthier and doesn’t flake from the Minoxidil. I would also recommend a good conditioner because using Minoxidil will dry out your scalp and hair and it can get itchy and flaky. Currently, there is not much else you can do, besides a hair transplant, but you’re no where near that stage I presume.
As far as progress, many experience shedding, but not all. I wouldn’t worry too much about it because shedding is seasonal and your hair will come back. And the little “vellous” hairs in front may get a little thicker and denser, but they will never get back to the way it used to be. If you start now, you may not lose them. You’ll probably see something happening in about 4-6 months if you stick to the regiment, and by something I really mean not losing any more hair. It will take about 8-10 months before you see denser vellous hairs, if it does happen.