Hair vitamins and supplements seem to be all the beauty buzz—I can't begin to quantify how many queries I get on them, their efficacy, and which ones I recommend. Recently I was asked if you need a hair-specific option, or if you can expect to see hair growth benefits from something like a daily multivitamin? My answer—like most of my answers in beauty—is it depends entirely on your goals and the exact formula you're taking. Allow me to elaborate.
Can taking a multivitamin help hair health?
The short answer is that if a multivitamin contains specific ingredients shown to support hair, follicle, or scalp health, you may see some improvement in the overall quality of your hair.* So yes, a multivitamin may encourage healthy hair growth!* But it's not a guarantee: You have to evaluate your multi's ingredient list first.
Here, some well-researched ingredients (aka, micronutrient and phytonutrients) to look for in your multivitamin:
- Biotin: Biotin is a very popular hair supplement addition. Biotin is a type of B vitamin, specifically B7. The vitamin is involved in keratin production1, and deficiencies are connected to loss and breakage.* However, biotin deficiency2 in the U.S. population is rare.*
- Silica: This is a mineral commonly found in nature and in the body. While the exact mechanism is unknown, some research finds that it is able to promote hair strength and thickness and decrease hair breakage3.*
- Antioxidant support: Many hair woes can be traced back to oxidative stress and free radicals (it's associated with shedding, graying, and dullness). So to promote healthy hair, many lean on antioxidant complexes and ingredients such as vitamins C, E, K, B2 (riboflavin), and carotenoids like beta-carotene (vitamin A), lycopene, etc.*
If a multivitamin contains hair-supporting ingredients, you may see the shining results.* But first you need to do your research to find options that are well-designed and multifaceted.
Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com. In her current role, she covers all the latest trends in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as lifestyle topics, such as travel. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.