Losing hair and watching as it sheds onto a brush every morning is about as stressful as it gets. You may not be sure what caused your hair loss, and worse — may have zero clue how to stop it from happening. The massive number of products on shelves that claim they can help with thinning hair and hair shedding doesn’t always help, either. Before you get shedding under control, you may find yourself spending an obscene amount of money on shampoos, serums, and even pricey high-tech devices.
Your first step should always be to consult a professional like a certified trichologist or dermatologist because getting a handle on the reason for your hair loss is key to finding a solution. Hair loss caused by stress may require a different approach than one caused by hormonal changes or even from external factors like products you’re currently using that could be making matters worse. Another tip — one thing you can start doing at home without spending a lot of money — is to take a closer look at your diet to figure out whether you’re missing key nutrients that could be contributing to hair health issues. A vitamin or mineral deficiency could lead to hair shedding. And, sometimes, even if you don’t have these deficiencies, certain supplements that contain ingredients proven to be effective can help bridge the gap in your nutrition and boost healthier hair. If you’re experiencing mild to moderate hair loss (especially over 40), hair experts say these are the best supplements to try. Just remember to get a second opinion from a hair expert who can tell you which one is right for you.
Best Hair Supplements
Nutrafol Women’s Balance
According to Celestine Gitau, a certified trichologist and the owner of a hair and scalp health blog, Nutrafol Women’s Balance can promote visibly thicker hair, adding more volume and coverage. She says it can resolve hair shedding and that an impressive 93% of Nutrafol users reported experiencing healthier hair in just six months.
Nutrafol Women’s Balance (which costs $79 per month for a monthly subscription) is designed specifically for the needs of women ages 45 and older. It contains ingredients like hydrolyzed marine collagen, biotin, vitamins C, D, and E, and its own blend of botanical extracts that are said to promote healthier hair before, during, and after menopause. The brand also has options for women ages 18 to 44, those experiencing postpartum hair symptoms, men, and there’s even a vegan formula.
Viviscal Hair Growth Supplements
Another pick by Gitau, this supplement nourishes thinning hair in three months and is great for correcting hair loss from stress, hormonal changes, and natural aging, she says.
Viviscal (which starts at $36 but prices vary depending on the amount you order at once) contains ingredients like biotin, vitamin C, iron, and the brand’s own AminoMar marine collagen complex.
OUAI Hair Supplement for Thinning Hair
This pick restores, strengthens, and adds shine while preventing hair breakage, according to Gitau. OUAI Hair Supplement is priced at $42 supplement (and costs less if you subscribe to receive it monthly) contains pea sprout extract to support hair, biotin for hair strength, and a multivitamin complex for a healthier scalp.
“I recommend these supplements for hair because they have a wide variety of nutrients,” Gitau says. “When it comes to hair minerals and vitamins need each other to perform at their best. So having a supplement that does not contain one but many critical vitamins and minerals is a great way to keep your hair healthy.”
Which specific vitamins and minerals help?
While supplementation is relatively affordable and easily accessible, it is important to know which vitamins and minerals are helpful in treating hair loss, says Dr. Enrizza Factor MD, a dermatologist at My Eczema Team.
“The oral supplement effectively promotes significant hair growth in women with temporary hair thinning,” Dr. Factor says. “Hair growth is affected by many variables, but overall nutrition is the most important factor. Consuming enough of each vitamin in the diet may help keep the hair healthy.”
Dr. Factor recommends always looking for vitamin D, vitamin E, and B complex vitamins. “Supplementation with vitamin D may not have direct links with hair growth, but having a deficiency may impact hair health,” Dr. Factor says. “B vitamins are essential for metabolism and nervous system function. Vitamin E is a nutrient that acts as a powerful antioxidant in the body.”
If you do happen to have a vitamin deficiency, it may be enough to boost your daily diet with nutritious fruits, veggies, and protein sources that contain these vitamins. Consider keeping a food diary to start and sharing it with a medical professional who can then point you in the right direction — whether that means changing your diet, adding a supplement, or both.