There’s been a major boom in the hair vitamin market, with quite a few companies marketing their own brand vitamins as the magical pill needed to get long and thick tresses. Celebrities are even jumping on the bandwagon to endorse the brand of their choosing. From hair care brands to weight loss companies, the bevy of bottles to choose from is outstanding. But there are so many questions around these questionable pills everyone seems to be defaulting to for overnight success in hair growth. So many of us wonder what’s in them? How do we even know what the best brands are? And most importantly, do they even work?
For the most part the staple ingredients in any hair vitamin are going to be components of Vitamin B (that includes Biotin), vitamin E, and a sulfur based supplement like Methysulfonylmethane, commonly referred to as MSM. All of these supplements are available at your local vitamin shop and any store that carries vitamins. However, the vitamin industry is not stringently regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who classifies vitamins as dietary supplements and outside of regulating Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP), does not restrict how much of one supplement can go into a single vitamin capsule. That is why it is important to get the Supplement Facts of any hair vitamin prior to purchase, so you know what you are ingesting.
Secondly, just about all the supplements found in any hair vitamin can be ingested through eating a healthier diet of dark leafy greens such as Swiss chard. With any form of the B Vitamin family, whether it is B-complex, B12 or Biotin, one must drink a lot of water in order for it to be effective and not lead the acne breakouts. You cannot pop a hair vitamin pill and then drink 32 ounces of soda or a sugary drink. Taking these vitamins requires healthy eating habits and access to a bathroom; you’ll be peeing on the hour, every hour.
Here’s my recommendation prior to deciding whether to take a branded hair vitamin.
- Get a blood test at from your doctor and test for a Vitamin B deficiency. I was surprised to find that I was Vitamin B deficient and even more surprised that gluten sensitivity could be blocking the natural absorption of vitamin B or a sign of more serious illnesses such as Lupus.
- Read the ingredients and price out the individual vitamins. We’re all about being a smart shopper. If you can get the same vitamins for cheap, like Biotin capsules at 5000mcg, then taking two branded hair vitamins with 2500mcg of Biotin in each capsule may not be the money smart way.
- Understand that no matter what you take, whether it’s the all in one branded hair vitamin, or individual vitamins, they need to fit into your lifestyle. Also understand that you need to up your water intake. You must drink at least 3 liters of water per day. You will need to pee a lot (it should be a clear bright yellow, until all the supplement has flowed through your system) and if you can’t deal with that stay away from the Biotin.
- You hair, nails and skin are the last parts of your body to get nutrients. That’s why it’s important to have a healthy diet overall. Eating a healthier diet will trump ingesting vitamin capsules.
So, to answer the question: yes hair vitamins do work. But their effectiveness relies on a healthy lifestyle. Always research the brand and it’s ingredients beforehand. And remember, many individual vitamins may afford you the same results and be cheaper.
Research from these sites:
Jouelzy (www.jouelzy.com) is a YouTube vlogger who covers (4C) natural hair, culture and tech as she celebrates the diversity of smart Brown girls. You can catch up with here via Twitter (www.twitter.com/jouelzy) or YouTube (www.youtube.com/jouelzy).
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Natural Hair Columnist