These vitamins for hair growth and thickness are turbo-loaded with beauty superfoods, like biotin, saw palmetto, and iodine, aimed at giving you the hair-tossing power that's usually limited to shampoo infomercials. It's worth noting that "hair supplements have not been independently scientifically studied, and results from companies' own studies are dubious," says Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, a cosmetic dermatologist. But anecdotally, many of them deliver real, voluminous results.
- Jolene Hart, Jolene Hart is a beauty and health coach certified by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. She is also the author of, Eat Pretty.
In recent years, naturally-formulated products have surpassed old-school minoxidil as the most in-demand supplements to thicken hair. “I prefer oral supplements and protein dietary intake as these measures have proven more efficacy in my personal patient experience,” Rita Linkner, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City, previously told Well+Good. These products work by blocking the formation of DHT (or dihydrotestosterone), a hormone that both shortens the hair growth cycle and shrinks the follicle, leading to hair thinning.
Keep in mind that it may take these supplements six months to show results (aka the time it takes your hair to grow out), and while none will make you go from limp to lush overnight, in time you might just get a little bit closer. Scroll through for some of our favorites.
6 supplements for hair growth and thickness
The first product on Hart’s list of supplements for hair growth and thickness is Hair Essentials, which acts almost like a multivitamin for your hair. This is because it has a wide range of ingredients from zinc and iodine to Chinese herbs like han lian cao (said to stall premature loss of hair color and graying). “Zinc is necessary to produce carotene in the body, which boosts hair growth,” says Jolene Hart, a beauty and health coach. “Bamboo and horsetail are sources of silica, which builds hair strength and elasticity. It also has vitamins A and C, which are general beauty vitamins great for repair and renewal. “
HUM uses nutrition science to create supplements that each target a specific beauty issue, from stronger nails to clear skin. This hero product, Red Carpet, is filled with essential omega 3 and omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin E, all from plant sources, to support fuller, shinier hair (and also glowing skin). Bonus: The pills are encapsulated in algae instead of gelatin, so they’re vegan, plus free of gluten, GMOs, artificial colors, and preservatives.
This derm-recommended product has become a cult-fave in recent years, and is stacked with ingredients that work to block the formation of DHT. “Nutrafol is a great hair supplement with just the right amount of biotin to avoid acne along with turmeric, ashwagandha, and saw palmetto,” says Dr. Linkner. One of our writers even tried it for herself, and saw thicker, fuller hair in only a short amount of time.
With vitamin B-5 (or pantothenic acid, where the shampoo Pantene gets its name), plus iron, the Aviva Hair Revitalizer “helps prevent thinning hair,” Hart says. Plus, “it has pumpkin seed oil, which is a healthy fat for a healthy scalp.” Another ingredient is iodine, which promotes a healthy thyroid function. One of the signs of a deficient thyroid in women is early hair loss, Hart says.
Some people don’t like swallowing pills, so of course there are gummy supplements for hair growth, too. These pack a blend of biotin, vitamin C, and borage oil, an oil made from a plant with the highest known naturally occurring amount of GLA (an omega-6 fatty acid thought to boost hair and skin health). All of the colors, flavors, and sweeteners are derived from fruits, vegetables, and herbs, too.
This supplement combines a hair health complex with a polypeptide complex, which work together to provide thicker, fuller hair. A few star ingredients? Stress-fighting ashwagandha root, bioperime, which increases blood flow to the scalp, and saw palmetto fatty acids, which blocks the formation of DHT. And if you need more convincing, a study published in the Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications showed that 91 percent of patients who took Hush & Hush supplements saw improved hair growth after three months.
For more intel about what to do about thinning or shedding hair, check out the video below.
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