Some people swear by them, others say they're useless, but do hair supplements actually work?
Turns out, this isn't a clear cut question. Why? Because there are precisely 1,456 different supplements on the market, all claiming to do a wide range of things. According to their bottles, some even perform miracles.
Narrator: They did not perform miracles…
If you've ever wondered about hair supplements, you’re not alone. In 2020, Adore’s hair supplement sub category grew by 250 per cent = lots of people Googling ‘best hair supplements’.
To cut through marketing BS with cold, hard facts, we've done the hard work for you by asking two medical experts to spell out exactly what hair supplements can do.
Do Hair Supplements Work?
According to trichologist (that's a hair doctor) and Philip Kingsley Brand President, Anabel Kingsley, the way hair supplements work has to do with how our body divides up the nutrition we give it.
"Nutrition is the most important thing for your hair, above what products you're using or how you're styling it. If your nutrition isn't correct, your hair just isn't going to grow as well as it should," she told the Beauty IQ Uncensored podcast.
"This is because hair isn't an essential tissue. To us, it's essential, it can make or break your day, but our bodies literally couldn't care less [about hair] because it's dispensable. If my hair fell out right now, I would be a mess but my body would physically be fine."
Kingsley went on to explain supplements can be helpful because "it's really hard to eat correctly for your hair because its energy and nutritional requirements are so high and unique."
And because our hair isn't an essential tissue, whatever you eat is first shuttled to the parts of your body that keep you alive. Then, your hair receives the leftovers, if there are any. Supplements aren't miracle pills, though.
"In order for a hair supplement to work, you have to take them alongside a healthy diet. If you're putting supplements into your body but your diet isn't great, your body is going to send those nutrients to your essential tissues. Secondly, a supplement isn't meant to be a meal replacement. It's meant to be a compliment to your diet."
"It's normal to lose up to 100 hairs a day, but if it continues for more than three months, and especially if it's accompanied by other symptoms, seek [professional] help. Whenever I see [a patient], I'm thinking about: What are they eating? What are their vitamin and mineral levels like? Even scalp health, were they pregnant, were they ill six to 12 weeks ago? You have to look into all of these things holistically."
So, the short answer is: If a hair supplement promises to make your hair grow in just a few weeks, approach with healthy scepticism.
You can listen to our full interview with trichologist Anabel Kingsley on this episode of the Beauty IQ Uncensored podcast below.