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 production, and deficiencies are connected to loss and breakage.* However, biotin deficiency 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 breakage.*
- 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.*
Now, of course if you want additional support, you can also add a targeted hair and beauty supplement with unique nutrients and botanical combinations to the routine as well, but having a robust multivitamin as a base can benefit your overall health and is a great place to start.*
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. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She has worked at many top publications and brands including 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 and updates in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as travel, financial wellness, and parenting. She has reported on the intricacies of product formulations, the diversification of the beauty industry, and and in-depth look on how to treat acne from the inside, out (after a decade-long struggle with the skin condition herself). She lives in Brooklyn, New York.