In the last few years our understanding of supplements has come a long way. Where they were once believed to be an untrustworthy advertising ploy, we now know that beauty supplements can give us healthier skin, nails and hair.
In fact, the beauty supplement global market makes up a whopping £3.89bn today and is predicted to almost double by 2024 to £6.8bn! That’s perhaps unsurprising when we’ve started to learn more about what damages our hair and ways to fix it.
Stress, poor diet, fluctuating hormones, vitamin deficiencies, some medications and too much heat styling can all lead to dull, damaged and thinning hair and often hair loss too. But simply choosing the right supplement can give you locks a much needed boost.
“Everyone’s body is different in terms of how they absorb or don’t absorb vitamins and minerals from our diet.” Explained leading trichologist Mark Blake. “You could eat the healthiest diet in the world but still may be low in certain vitamins or minerals due to a number of factors such as: prescribed drugs, Crohn’s and Coeliac disease and many other likely suspects. Supplements plug the gap and help to support your overall hair health leading to thicker and fuller hair.”
In general he recommends using Biotin – the most common B-Vitamin and probably one of the most popular supplements for healthy hair – and B12. In fact, B12 deficiency has been linked to hair loss and may be involved in the premature greying of hair. Likewise, iron is important too as it delivers oxygen to your follicle cells and zinc is thought to play a role in hair growth too.
Of course, there are other factors, such as diet, that can impact on how our hair grows. Someone with a restricted diet or anyone who has a nutritional deficit, for example, will still be able to grow their hair, but it’ll be thin and fragile – not the thick, luscious hair you want.
Age also has an impacts, as the body needs the extra help to process vitamins and minerals changes, as does the quality and density of your hair. Mark said: “If you’re 30+ or someone who skips meals and eats “on the hoof”, then a hair supplement will do wonders for the state of your hair.”
That said, you won’t see results overnight. Hair takes around one month to be made under the scalp, one month to travel up to the opening of the hair follicle and a further month for you to see anything poking out from the scalp. In fact you’ll probably notice that your nails will be in better condition before you see any change in your hair. But you should start to see a difference in your hair between three to six months of use.
So, we tested everything from liquids and capsules to gummies and pills over an eight-week period, and here are our picks for the best tasting, and more importantly, the most affective supplements.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Simone Thomas the biotin hair care plan
Leading hair loss consultant and trichologist, Simone Thomas, who knows everything there is to know about getting healthy hair and the overall nutrition your hair craves, has created not one, but two, incredible hair care plans.
The first, “The Biotin Hair Care Plan”, is best for those looking to brighten dull locks, have shinier and stronger hair. While the Ginkgo plan is better suited to those with fine hair and suffering from hair loss. Both are vegan-friendly, completely natural, easy to swallow, have clear instructions and no horrible after taste.
Each plan contains three supplements that feed your hair with essential vitamins. Our testers tried both plans and were astounded by the results though overall the Gingko plan (£75, simonethomaswellness.com) was the most impressive. Results were consistent and noticeable within four weeks. If you’ve been neglecting your hair, stick to this plan to restart and refresh your tresses.
Buy now £75.00, Simonethomaswellness.com
Hair Gain gummies
If you’re someone that struggles to swallow pills and take supplements, these make a great choice. They’re chewable (without getting stuck in your teeth), easy-to-digest and taste delicious too. In fact, you’ll be tempted to take a few more of the apple-flavoured gummies.
Proven to stimulate hair growth by up to 78 per cent, using a patent ingredient that bizarrely comes from organic pea shoot. This powerful punch of biotin and zinc stimulates cells and follicles to kick-start growth. Although our testers didn’t report on significant hair growth, they did notice their hair was shinier and looked fuller after just four weeks, and all agreed they would return to this supplement time and time again. And unlike most gummy supplements on the market these don’t contain gelatine, making them vegan-friendly and gluten-free and guilt-free too (just 15 calories per two gummies).
Buy now £29.99, Hairgainnow.com
KeraHealth hair women
This well-respected hair loss brand has a supercharged range which includes these hardworking supplements that contain a patented technology ingredient, KerCysteine. Together with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, they work together to nourish, strengthen and stimulate hair follicles. This means existing hair is retained, dormant follicles are re-activated, and hair grows faster, stronger and brighter.
Although our testers found the supplements hard to swallow, they did notice a difference to the look and feel of their hair within just four weeks. If you suffer particularly from hair loss, then it’s worth giving these supplements a shot even at this price!
Buy now £60.00, Kerahealth.com
Hum nutrition hair sweet hair
Making waves on the other side of the Atlantic, this LA-born supplement range is now available in the UK and it’s already receiving rave reviews. Inspired by co-founder Walter Faulstroh’s continuous struggle with breakouts, the range is rooted in science and the strong link between nutrition and health. This haircare supplement is a cocktail of B vitamins, zinc, folic acid and biotin – basically all the ingredients you need for stronger, healthier looking locks.
These are a great choice for vegans who are usually deficient in B vitamins, so this allows them to get a speedy no-nonsense fix. They taste great, but we recommend eating them with food because they contain zinc. And lastly, they’re reasonably priced especially for a supplement with consistent and loyal happy customers.
Buy now £27.25, Cultbeauty.co.uk
IoniCell For Women
Trinny Woodall swears by this award-winning all-round supplement for improving the state of her hair. Specifically formulated for women, this easy-to-swallow capsule has been clinically proven to help our bodies generate collagen, re-hydrate cells and improve their performance for a more youthful appearance, lustrous hair and stronger nails. Thanks to its quick absorption, testers were reporting a difference in their hair in as little as three weeks.
Buy now £20.00, Victoriahealth.com
Phillip Kingsley trichotherapy PK4 soya protein boost
Legendary hairdresser and trichologist, Philip Kingsley, is one of the most trusted names in the hair industry, so we were expecting hair worthy of a shampoo advert after a few weeks of taking these.
The supplement, Tricho Complex, contains 100 per cent of your daily iron intake and biotin. Both vital for strong hair and encouraging growth. A particularly good choice for anyone that is particularly concerned about hair loss and thinning.
However, if you’re someone that often forgets to take their supplements, then this is probably not for you as you need to take two in the morning and two again in the evening, which our testers found a little too much to maintain.
Buy now £30.00, Philipkingsley.co.uk
111 Skin reparative beauty dose
Although these capsules are not primarily for hair, originally designed to improve the health and vitality of the skin, its ingredients read just like a hair supplement.
Rich in antioxidants, this supplement encourages turnover of cells and a healthy dose of a potent blend of ingredients (Vitamins A, C, E, Q10) that help repair and restore your hair, skin and nails simultaneously, with the extra benefits of improving your gut health too.
It does come with a price though, and quite a hefty one, but if you can afford it and want a multi-tasking hardworking supplement in-one, then it’s absolutely worth the money. Plus, the frosted jar will encourage you to leave it on show which in turn will remind you to take it daily.
Buy now £95.00, 111skin.co.uk
Hairburst hair vitamins for women 35+
If you’re over 35, you may have noticed your hair beginning to thin, looking a little duller and just in need of help. If so, these hair supplements can help! They’re super rich in both collagen and iron, both of which are crucial to maintaining great skin and hair as you grow older.
While we can’t promise these supplements will turn back the clock, our testers were impressed with how much shinier their hair looked and they had significantly less hair loss when washing and combing their hair since taking the supplement.
Buy now £34.99, Hairburst.com
Nioxin recharging complex supplements
This brand has built its good reputation on a stellar haircare line that gives thicker and fuller hair, so we were expecting equally rave reviews from these supplements. However, our testers found the tablets difficult to swallow, the packaging was tricky to open and it took weeks before they noticed results. If you have bags of patience, then in time, you will eventually benefit from hair regrowth thanks to this multi-nutrient being packed with biotin, zinc and iron to support the hair and encourage a glossy new mane.
Buy now £26.77, Amazon.co.uk
When Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon reveal their secret to fuller and healthier looking hair, we listen. Backed by 25 years of research and development, this hair supplement has been feeding nutrients to thinning and dull hair for centuries – and still gets top results. It’s the crème de la crème of hair supplements, but you need to fully commit to taking the small pills every single day for at least three months to see a difference.
Formulated with biotin, zinc and vitamin C to improve the overall health of hair, skin and nails in addition to AminoMar C; a unique marine protein complex. The pills proved easy to swallow but tasted a little chalky.
For best results, it’s encouraged to take one tablet in the morning and another in the evening, which our testers found inconvenient. It’s also worth noting that the supplement contains fish and shellfish, so if you’re a strict vegan, keep kosher or have a fish allergy, these are a no-go. Plus, you can’t take Viviscal if you’re breastfeeding, but don’t fret, your body will be helping to look after your hair during this time.
Buy now £51.99, Hollandandbarrett.com
Kansha Alchemy good hair nutrient complex
This unique hair supplement is well-thought out and deserves a big shout out. It is created to keep the hair in its’ growing phrase, both by the keratinising ingredients and the extra blood flow to the scalp. When the hair stays in its growing phase, it doesn’t fall out, so your hair instantly looks fuller.
These supplements are packed with 30+ pure and potent ingredients that are minimally processed, which is why they have a distinct smell (E numbers are often used to mask smells), which makes the taste harder to swallow. They’re also quite large in size compared to other tablets, so have a glass of water handy. That said, our testers really noticed a difference to their lack of hair loss and said they’re nails were stronger and longer too!
Buy now £29.99, Kanshaalchemy.co.uk
The verdict: Hair vitamins
The standout product has to be Simone Thomas’s Wellness haircare plans. From the thoughtful packaging (there’s a nutritious recipe card inside every box) and the easily digestible capsules that compliment all areas of your health, to the incredible results, there’s no real competition. If, however, you’re looking for a fuss-free supplement that also feels like a treat, then Hair Gain is the way to go.
Read how this cult conditioning treatment transformed one writer’s brittle locks and restored her hair’s shine
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