P.T. Barnum once said “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Well, the hair industry equivalent could quite possibly be the following: There’s a new “miracle” solution released just about every week.
In our quest for immaculate locks, many women have been turning to the latest and greatest darling of the hair care world—vitamins—to strengthen their strands (in addition to their nails and skin). These magical little elixirs make many promises (think quicker hair growth, stronger strands, etc.) but as with all cosmetics, it can be pretty darn difficult to separate the fluff from the gems out there.
After all, what do hair vitamins really do? Are they actually effective or are they just an expensive gimmick?
Since many of these “miracle worker” vitamins could be costing you a pretty penny, we here at BeautyStat wanted to make sure you’re getting the most out of your money, so we sought the opinions of industry hair experts and YOU to unveil the truth behind the burgeoning hair vitamin industry. Read on lovelies, and decide for yourselves whether vitamins are worth the effort (and the cost)!
Before we get to the fun part (products, obviously!), let’s just get some biology out of the way. And by biology, I mean why hair vitamins are actually necessary.
According to Leonard Golino, Master Stylist and Colorist at the Chris Mitchell Studio in NYC, hair—and its growth cycle—is a lot more complicated than you might think.
“Hair is an appendage of the skin. It has a life cycle and it needs a constant supply of proper nourishment. I believe that hair vitamins are affective if taken with proper diet and exercise,” he says.
In fact, Golino says that cardiovascular exercise can enhance the effects of vitamins, helping the nutrients flow to the scalp where they get to work nourishing your hair.
And nourish, they do, according to Laurentius Purnama, celebrity stylist and owner of Laurentius Salon in Philadelphia. “These vitamins do promote healthy hair and nails,” Purnama says. “There are few of our clients using Biotin (a lot of these vitamin products contain biotin, especially Recharging Complex by Nioxin), Perfectil and simple vitamin E. It does strengthen your nails and [creates] stronger hair follicle.”
For optimal results, Alan Gold, Creative Director of The Haig & Co. Salon in Suburban Philadelphia, suggests using 2500 mg – 5000 mg of Biotin per day and Vitamin D3 2000. Both vitamins help reduce hair fall out and strengthen hair, offering noticeable results within 3 months of continued use.
When it comes to seeing results, though, Golino recommends preventative measures. “I do think it is best not to wait until the hair is lost before starting a vitamin and exercise program. I did not wait until I lost my hair before taking vitamins,” he says.
Toni Love, licensed cosmetology and barber instructor and author of “The World of Wigs, Weaves, and Extensions,” agrees. “The results come with continued usage. You can’t take a few and expect immediate results,” she says.
But even though hair vitamins don’t offer immediate gratification, some of them can do wonders for your mane, Love says. Like many people, Love and many of her clients have taken Biotin and have seen positive results.
So have many of BeautyStat’s readers. We asked you to sound off on Facebook about hair vitamins, and many of you said you’ve used Biotin successfully. Jill Appenzeller considers herself lucky to have found an easy match in Biotin: “I take Biotin and it has been a miracle. My hair is twice as thick; you could see the new hairs growing out like a dog’s undercoat.”
Jasmine Bacon, on the other hand, has tried many hair vitamins (including Biotin). In her quest to regrow her hair, Bacon has tried hair vitamins, Nioxin Follicle Booster and even a hair steroid injection into the affected regions of her hairline.
Bacon has learned a thing or two from her forays into the world of hair vitamins. First off, there are side effects to every treatment, and there’s no one cure-all when it comes to hair growth. While using certain vitamins or hair growth treatments, Bacon experienced certain side effects (breakouts with Biotin and dry hair with the Nioxin Follicle Booster). Overall, though, Bacon’s pretty pleased with the results she’s seen.
“I use hair vitamins as my primary source of hair-growth treatment at the current time. The time when I have seen the most growth is when I used multiple vitamins at one time. At the current time I am taking Biotin and Vitamin E,” she says.
Although many of you are vitamin believers, not everyone is. On Twitter, @fireeyez1218 sounded off: “I’m not [in] favor of them, I think as long as you have a healthy diet, exercise and take a multivitamin, you don’t need it.”
Whether you’re a vitamin lover or not, if you’re going to use them to help regrow or strengthen your hair, Toni Love says there’s one very important step many people skip over: the research phase.
“I would advise [people] to do their own research when selecting a vitamin for their hair,” she says. “A test your readers can do to detect if the vitamin is soluble is the following: Put a fourth of water in a clear glass/cup, drop the vitamin into it, after a few minutes, the vitamin should dissolve. When it dissolves, you will see the different ingredients in its ‘chemical make-up’ and that’s a great indicator that it is breaking down in the body.”
- Chrissy Callahan
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