The truth about hair vitamins

If you've ever dreamt about having long luscious locks but don't want to spend a fortune on hair extensions, we're willing to bet that you've considered, or at the very least noticed, the hair vitamins that are plastered all over Instagram and every other social media platform. Claiming to give you thicker, fuller, longer hair, they sound almost too good to be true, and we can't help but wonder if hair vitamins live up to the hype.

Studies that look into the effectiveness of hair supplements are commonly only carried out on those with an underlying medical condition, such as hair loss, meaning there is little to no evidence that suggests you'll benefit from them if you're in good health. "Most of us dermatologists just don't recommend oral supplements to healthy people," Dr. Sheryl Hoyer, a dermatologist with Northwestern Medicine, admitted to Prevention. Ultimately, most experts believe changes to your lifestyle and diet are more likely to improve the health of your hair than vitamins. If you're already getting all the nutrients you need from a balanced diet, adding more of those hair-strengthening vitamins isn't going to help. "Your body only keeps what it needs, and then it gets rid of the rest," trichologist Dominic Burg told Cosmopolitan.

Always look for hair vitamins with biotin and fish oil

That's not to say that hair vitamins won't work. Biotin and fish oil are two key ingredients often found in hair supplements, which have been proven to improve hair health and condition, and if you're not getting those nutrients in your diet, supplements are a good way to up your intake. "Biotin strengthens the hair and increases its density," while "fish oil makes hair and nails shiny," Dr. Michele Green told The Greatist. While most of us want to see immediate results, it's important to remember that you won't notice any difference or change for at least months, meaning sticking to the supplement plan is crucial. 

Given the supplement industry is renowned for being widely unregulated, Green recommends you do your research and read the ingredients on each product to work out which hair vitamin brand will work best for you. "You want to be sure the label says they're 100 percent natural and list all-natural ingredients with no synthetic fillers," Green added.