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Why I Don’t Believe in Using Hair Vitamins for Growth

Avatar • Jun 29, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 8.27.29 AM

by Tori (pictured above)

When you go to a pharmacy or supplement shop, you can find a supplement for pretty much anything. And, if you ask someone who is on his or her hair journey what their goals are, it would probably be to have healthier and/or longer hair. With the increasing desire for longer hair (in particular), several companies have been marketing hair vitamins at increasing rates in recent years.

Now, before I continue, here’s my disclaimer: I have never taken any hair vitamins and the purpose of this article is not to judge or bash any of the companies who make these products or their consumers. What I want to discuss is what seems to be a new ‘trend’ and my personal thoughts about taking hair vitamins.

Why take hair vitamins?

The main reason most people take hair vitamins is to improve their hair’s overall health. Individual goals may vary, but it is usually to acquire thicker, stronger, longer, healthier hair (or nails). As human beings, we can be impatient. We want results instantly and I can certainly relate to having that feeling. When I started my fitness journey, I saw small changes but I felt that maybe I could achieve more if I took weight loss supplements.

The temptation to turn to supplements was there, even in the beginning of my hair journey. I still had relaxed hair and I read somewhere that taking a high dose of biotin would help with my damaged hair. Of course, I was willing to try anything that would help. I quickly realized it wasn’t for me because I would feel nauseous every time I took the pills and my face started breaking out. I stopped taking them after a week. But, I said all that to say that I understand if someone is on their hair journey and are not seeing results in the time frame they expected. A company’s product, whose marketing strategy is to target to those who want faster, more amazing results, I can see how it would be appealing.

Possible Concerns:

Adverse effects

Any drug you put in your body comes with side effects. The effects may affect some worse than others but it is still cause for concern. Many ‘specialized’ supplements contain high doses of certain vitamins/minerals, which can increase the side effects for some people. It is best to consult a physician prior to adding any supplements to your diet.

Over supplementation  

When you are adding supplements to your diet, there is always the possibility that you could be ‘over supplementing’ yourself. The fact is that many of the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals we need, can be found in the foods we eat. Therefore, if you are eating well AND taking multiple supplements you may be taking in way more than the required amounts of certain minerals or vitamins. It’s always best to research and again, always consult a physician before taking supplements.

It’s all in your head” syndrome

I believe for some people, the notion that their “hair isn’t growing” or their hair “will never get longer” is all in their head. Our hair is always growing; some at faster rates than others. Therefore, I believe some people who take supplements may not necessarily increase their hair growth rate, but because they believe it will help, they begin to see the length they were actually already gaining without the supplements.

But Tori, what else can I do to improve my hair’s health besides taking hair vitamins?”

Some alternatives to vitamins:

Healthy diet and lifestyle

When you focus on your overall health, your entire body will benefit, including your hair. Try to incorporate healthier foods and make wiser lifestyle and health choices and you will see an overall improvement with time.

Try a regular multivitamin.

If you don’t always eat a balanced meal or feel you may need a little dietary supplementation, how about trying just a regular multivitamin. Many multivitamins will provide reasonable amounts of all the possible vitamins and nutrients you may need versus a hair vitamins that may only focus of high doses of a few vitamins and minerals.

Healthy hair regimen and routine

Healthy hair starts from within, but how you care for your hair is also important. Treat your hair well and stick to a healthy hair care routine.

Patience

Are you all tired of hearing me talk about patience yet? Well, quicker isn’t always better. Wait it out.

Also, check out my previous article for tips on how I grew my hair without taking hair vitamins.

What are your thoughts on hair vitamins? Have you tried any? What were your results/experience with the hair vitamin you tried?

About Tori: I’m Tori, a Jamaican-born natural currently living in Texas. I was reunited with my natural texture in January 2012 when I big chopped, after transitioning for a year and a half. I am still learning about my natural hair, and hope to share the knowledge and experiences I gain as I continue on my natural hair journey. You can find me on Instagram @bonafidestyle.

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straightnochaset
straightnochaset
6 years ago

Great article. Patience is key!

Sabrina Antoinnette (link to Instagram)

Amen! It is so hard not to get curious with these shortcuts and claims of fast results, but you just can’t go wrong with a holistic and all around approach to health — you’re bound to see a difference, and not only in your hair. Great article & right on time.

Rachel
Rachel
6 years ago

Agree 100% especially with the “It’s all in your head” syndrome point. Everyone’s hair grows. I don’t take vitamins for hair, don’t really even take them for my body, I never could just take a bunch of pills. Plus there is NO way someone can give credit to a pill for hair growth considering all the different factors that are involved in hair growth, genetics/heredity etc. I have never met a single natural who only uses 1 product on her hair outside of water. We all layer, mix and mingle products, so giving credit to one thing is not accurate, and… Read more »

Ally
Ally
6 years ago

Great advise! The fact that so many companies are on the vitamin bandwagon and feeding on our insecurities or impatience is alarming. We (humans) already get most of the vitamins necessary via diet alone, perhaps a multi-vitamin is a better choice for those who don’t eat healthily. These new hair vitamins/minerals are nothing but snake oil scams, they don’t grow your hair any quicker (90% of the time). The only thing they do is make your pockets lighter.

Key
Key
6 years ago
Reply to  Ally

Actually, (I have to correct you) we as humans don’t get most of the vitamins necessary through diet. Most vitamins that are found in vegetables and fruits have dwindled down in their nutrients throughout the pass years because of GMOs etc. For example, carrots back in the sixties had way more nutrients than carrots today. I don’t think taking supplements is going to hurt your health but better it.

Ally
Ally
6 years ago
Reply to  Key

I agree with you to an extent, but the way that these hair vitamins are pushed upon consumers makes one think that they cannot grow hair without them. We both know that’s untrue. It won’t harm them (in most cases) but it’s not detrimental to hair growth either.

BUtifullyHuman
BUtifullyHuman
6 years ago
Reply to  Key

Key,

While this is most likely true, the writer DID mention the use of a good multivitamin. In the event that you do not get the full amount of nutrients from diet alone. Many of these hair vitamins push a few particular “vitamins” within the supplement for growth. I think she meant keeping it well rounded is most beneficial.

Reanna
Reanna
6 years ago
Reply to  Ally

We must also remember most vitamins and minerals are only needed in very small or trace amounts. The remainder is stored in your liver and any excess usually passes through your urine, well the water soluble ones anyways. So to some extent taking multivitamins may not always be necessary for persons that lead really healthy lifestyles already.

Ally
Ally
6 years ago

Another thing, taking excessive vitamins or supplements can be harmful! Yes the food source and GMOs do affect the levels but still we get more than adequate amounts because most of the food available to consumers is fortified. Carrots for example, has Beta-carotene which is a precursor to Vitamin A activity. Taking a multivitamin is perfectly fine but taking large dosages of vitamins as I’ve seen some do can lead to toxicity (liver abnormalities and birth defects). I think that the average woman of childbearing age should be aware of those risks and proceed with caution.

O
O
6 years ago
Reply to  Ally

People need to be aware of their own dietary needs and shouldn’t supplement over the RDA without having blood tests to determine if they are deficient in a particular vitamins and minerals.’ Lots of the hair vitamins contain large doses of vitamins and minerals that women in the Western world are likely NOT to be deficient in but don’t contain at all or sufficient levels of the vitamins and minerals that women are likely to be deficient in. For example lots of hair vitamins contain high doses of vitamin A and biotin multiple times the RDA. Have you heard of… Read more »

cookieeyes
cookieeyes
6 years ago
Reply to  O

True, I’m very low in iron, and I am noticing I feel more tired than when I’m not low o n it. I don’t know how to get more iodine in though?

O
O
6 years ago
Reply to  cookieeyes

Certain table salts have iodine in them (look at the packet ingredients to check) and so does seafood.

lablooplah
lablooplah
6 years ago

sigh i agree with the article. Unless we try to learn about our own hair, own own individual strands, we find ourselves taking shortcuts for quick solutions. I love this article. Yes hair grows that’s true but retaining length that’s a problem. How many naturals follow the generic advice for hair care to a T? for example, type 4s should employ heavy butters into their hair needs. Or Type 4s should really employ protective styling more than others. Now neither of those approaches work for me. I’ve realized that in my 2 years being natural, i’m about to go into… Read more »

cepfeng
cepfeng
6 years ago

This a great and timely article. Good work!

Tiffanita
6 years ago

I get adverse reactions from just multivitamins, so I’m definitely not taking another vitamin. I believe that if you take care of yourself and your hair (inside and out), your hair will grow!

SummerBaby
SummerBaby
6 years ago

I agree 100%. I was taking a multivitamin than I switched to Hair, Skin & Nail vitamins. Those things were fine at first until they were “improved” w/ridiculous amounts of biotin. They wrecked havoc on my skin. My hair was constantly dry & I didn’t notice any growth. Yes, I drank plenty of water it didn’t make a difference for me.

cookieeyes
cookieeyes
6 years ago

Vitamins are derived from the food we eat. Cucumber,spinach and kale are good for hair. Kiwi is great too. I think just eating healthy is the key. I was wondering how those hair vitamins work. But, I haven’t heard very good reviews on them at all. I have heard a few people say that the hairfinity and other over hyped vitamins are good for them. However,I don’t think they have a sure way of knowing if those supplements DO indeed work for them? Like, how would you REALLY know they work? I think it’s sort of the placebo effect, in my… Read more »

BunnyB
BunnyB
6 years ago

I take hair, skin, nails vitamins, but I only take one a day as opposed to the suggested 3. The dosages are waaaay to high to take 3. I am considering switching to a multivitamin though.

Jazine
Jazine
6 years ago

Eating a balanced diet is key for overall health, but don’t believe for a second the food we eat is all we need to get our vitamins and minerals. Our soil in the United States is just about depleted of vital nutrients-even organic fruits and veggies are not enough. We are still missing the 90 essential nutrients the body needs to sustain itself at optimal level. We have to supplement somewhat to compensate for the missing nutrients in our food.

Tisha
Tisha
6 years ago

I’m amazed that people telling others Not to take vitamins are people who have no problem growing hair. I have no problem growing hair 1/2 a month like clock work. I have a lot of health problems but still 1/2 a month. I would never tell someone to be patient about growing hair because My being patient and there’s are clearly different. In 3 years I will have 18 inches & retain 16 in the front and 15 to 14 in the back. Now someone who grows only 1/4 a month. They will only have 9 inches in the same… Read more »

Anon
Anon
6 years ago
Reply to  Tisha

@Trish, I agree with you

Anon
Anon
6 years ago
Reply to  Anon

I meant , I agree with you

Kita Williams
Kita Williams
6 years ago
Reply to  Tisha

I don’t think its a matter of growing hair. These people are better at RETAINING their length. There is a difference. As long as you are alive and well your hair will grow. Many people lose hair through manipulation. I don’t believe in taking hair vitamins at all. My hair also grows faster than the average. However, I do pay attention to how I treat my hair because if I keep having to cut my ends then my “growth” will be stunted.

tale
tale
6 years ago

I always find it funny that it’s people with no obvious health issues and a butt length thick mane of hair preaching about subjects like this. Your article may work for most people but you lose the genetics lottery and start losing your hair on top of a body with issues absorbing nutrients and let’s see where you stand then. Not everyone who takes nutrients or supplements does it because we want hair NOW. Some of us are following doctors instructions and desperately trying to hang on to the 4 strands of hair on our heads.

Pebblesnbambam4evr
Pebblesnbambam4evr
6 years ago
Reply to  tale

You are so right. I agree 100% I think the same thing when it comes to weight loss. People who act like they know how your body works, and how it’s sooooo easy to lose weight. Well not for all of us. Or they assume you’re unhealthy or ugly or just not “doing it right” because you can’t totally get to the correct healthy size. Genetics does play a bit of a role in the game with anything you’re trying to do to improve your over all well being, or appearance. I’m trying to lose weight now, and I“m taking… Read more »

Chrissie
Chrissie
6 years ago
Reply to  tale

She does mention, albeit in a short comment, that she understands the use of supplements by those having trouble meeting their hair goals on their own. But I think the article is more for those who tried growing their hair for just a couple months with very undisciplined hair practices (I am speaking about someone I know specifically) and didn’t get the couple inches they thought they would. Basically people who could totally grow their own hair on their own (and save a few bucks in the process) if they took the time to get to know it and take care… Read more »

AJ
AJ
6 years ago

I sooo agree agree with your article that hair pills are not for everyone. I found out through trial and error that I didn’t need them, either. I had been taking Biotin for a while and I finally put it together that it was making my face break out in random little pimples or black heads (Normally, my complexion wass usually very smooth and I would only get a pimple or 2 around the “monthly visit”). I hadn’t realized before hand that I was already eating a well-balanced diet so I wouldn’t need the access supplement in my body and… Read more »

Melody Austin
Melody Austin
5 years ago

I think this is a really important article for most to read. There are more studies showing that manufactured supplements are damaging to our health, and really can’t replace getting better nutrition. I started taking a product called Juice Plus, which is simply pure fruits and veggie nutrition pressed into a capsule. It’s actual food and not a supplement. I added this to eating a little healthier to combat some other health issues I was dealing with. I started feeling better, but also noticed my hair was growing really quickly and my skin was looking great. I wasn’t looking for… Read more »

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