When you see influencers on Instagram insisting their go-to hair growth supplement is responsible for their long, thick strands, it’s easy to raise an eyebrow. After all, they usually get paid to feature the products, right? And they probably have an awesome hair stylist, extensions, and loads of hair treatments at their disposal to boot. But here’s the good news: hair growth supplements actually do work -- if you can find the right one.
If you’re wondering how to identify the best supplement for hair growth, then start with the basics. Here’s the lowdown.
Make Sure Your Hair Growth Supplement Contains The Right Combo of Proven Ingredients
With so many options out there, it can be daunting to find the best hair growth supplement, but the key is to search for the handful of ingredients proven to make a visible difference. Get to know the science-backed vitamins and minerals from start to finish.
Chances are you probably already look out for biotin in your hair growth supplements -- which means you’re looking for a type of B vitamin. Also known as vitamin B-7, biotin supplements are known for their ability to treat hair loss in those who are biotin deficient . However, you’ll notice that quite a few supplements feature several other ingredients along with biotin in their formulas. Why, you ask? A recent study showed that biotin on its own was rarely effective for hair growth, except for those suffering from a biotin deficiency. This is why you’ll often see other vitamins like vitamins A, C, and E as well as folic acid in herbal supplements for hair loss. Our Lovestruck Biotin Gummies include all of these plus zinc to stimulate keratin production, support hair growth, and hair tissue repair.
Another member of the B fam is vitamin B-12, known for strengthening and conditioning the hair by helping to create red blood cells, which carry essential nutrients to the scalp and hair.
Folate or folic acid is a water-soluble B vitamin (B-9, to be precise) that promotes healthy cell growth. When it comes to hair health, folic acid can stimulate growth and create a stronger environment for your mane in general.
All these vitamins are found in our Lovestruck Biotin Gummies for Hair along with vitamins B-5 and B-6, which also positively affect hair growth. Biotin can also be found in our Full Spectrum Hemp Gummies for Hair.
All of the cells in our bodies need vitamin A -- period. But vitamin A is especially crucial for hair growth. It encourages the production of sebum, an oily and waxy substance produced by the sebaceous glands. Sebum keeps our scalp moisturized and protected, which in turn keeps our hair and the surrounding environment healthy.
The antioxidant properties found in vitamin E  are extremely beneficial to hair health -- particularly for those who are already suffering from hair loss. One study showed that after supplementing vitamin E for eight months, a focus group experienced a 34.5% increase in hair growth.
Iron deficiency is a major cause of hair loss, especially among women. Because iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen to cells throughout the body, it’s essential for normal hair growth and health.
Zinc is one of the key nutrients in repairing and maintaining the scalp. The mineral encourages hair tissue to grow and repair itself, and it also plays an important role in keeping the hair follicles and oil glands healthy. Studies have shown that zinc supplements improved hair growth in those with zinc deficiency.
Make Sure Your Hair Growth Supplement Addresses Stress and Hormones
Did you know that in women, two of the biggest hair loss factors are thyroid complications and stress?
Even if an ingredient doesn’t directly affect the scalp or follicles, it can play a major role in growing hair if it tackles stress and hormones. One such hero ingredient is CBD (click here to learn all about it). Here are three more:
Hair follicles are highly sensitive to hormones. Vitamin D (yes, it’s a hormone!) plays a super-important role in supporting healthy locks. In fact, research shows low levels of vitamin D are linked to hair loss. While having a vitamin D deficiency is quite common, in some cases  the hair loss can be more extreme. Our bodies produce vitamin D through sun exposure, but it’s also found in plenty of hair growth supplements.
Ashwagandha is a natural herb known for its cortisol-reducing and hormone-balancing abilities. Hormonal imbalances and high cortisol levels from stress affect the current state and function of the hair, which eventually affects hair growth. Ashwagandha can be found in our GRO Hair Boost Adaptogen Supplement, which is a hair supplement powder that doubles as a thyroid hormone balancer and fatigue reducer.
When the hormone testosterone is converted into a molecule, it’s known as DHT, which has been linked to hair loss. Saw palmetto is a plant with small berries that has been known to slow down the conversion of testosterone to DHT, which is why the botanical makes a great addition to a hair growth plan. One study  showed an 11.9 percent hair growth increase among 25 participants over four months. Saw palmetto is one of the key ingredients in our GRO Hair Boost Adaptogen Supplement  powder, which shows results in just 90 days.
Make Sure Your Hair Growth Supplement Doesn’t Cause Unwelcome Side Effects
Admittedly, we’re veering off topic a tad here but it’s worth noting: Many drug-based hair growth solutions and prescription medications will cause side effects -- and not good ones. (Some supplements will too, actually.) Make sure you always do your research and make sure your hair growth supplement doesn’t include fillers or unproven ingredients that can aggravate the situation.
Here are some examples of hair loss drugs that might sound tempting (because we often associate drugs = more powerful), but might come with side effects:
Arguably the most popular hair growth treatments out there is Minoxidil, but you need to be cautious whether you’re taking it orally or not. The most common side effects of minoxidil include dizziness, nausea, swelling, lightheadedness, fainting, and even weight gain. Many people tend to lean towards minoxidil because it’s one of the few hair loss treatments that is FDA-approved, but in some cases, the bad outweighs the good.
In more extreme cases of hair loss, some people turn to prescription medication. However, as we all know, medications can come with a ton of side effects and who wants to solve one problem only to deal with another in return? While they’re likely to help, you need to keep a few things in mind if you’re considering taking the prescription route.
For example, spironolactone is usually prescribed to manage high blood pressure and a common acne treatment, but it’s been used as a hair loss treatment for women. Spironolactone is an androgen-blocker and can block androgens from reaching the hair follicles. The result? Hair loss is stopped, but at a catch of course. After all, it is a drug that’s made for blood pressure, and taking it can affect your own. Spironolactone has also been linked to changing kidney function and producing potassium levels that are higher than normal. After starting spironolactone it’s common for users to take blood tests to have their potassium levels checked. There have been some reports  of spironolactone having a link to estrogen-related tumors and breast cancer.
Another drug, finasteride, is mostly prescribed for men’s hair loss, but some women get an off-label prescription. The oral medication is designed to prevent testosterone from converting to DHT, which contributes to hair loss. However, it’s shown the best results in the beginning stages of treatment. “It won’t help regrow hair that’s been gone for three or more years,” Dr. Shilpi Khetarpal told Consumer Reports. It can cause birth defects in some women, so it’s important to tell your doctor if you’re expecting or are trying to get pregnant.
So, is finding the best hair supplement for hair growth as complicated as you thought? Hopefully not. All you need is the right vitamins and nutrients and you’ll be on your way to luscious locks in no time.