Most women want long, luxurious hair. Even those who prefer their hair to be short still want beautiful, healthy hair. Having nice hair is tied to your self-image I think. I know it is tied to mine. It’s important to me to have beautiful hair.
About a year ago, my hair began to break off. For many years, I have had chemically treated and I am a notorious ponytail wearer, much to my mother’s chagrin. Plus, my hair tends on the finer side. At that time, I had bad split ends and my hair just looked dried out, like straw. My new hairstylist started by lobbing off all the dead ends and gasp my hair was freakin’ short! My hair hadn’t been that short since college when I thought it might be cool to have a chin-length bob (which I immediately regretted).
Anyway, in a desperate attempt to regrow my hair, I decided to try hair, skin and nail supplements. I ended up trying a couple of them. I scoured several sites and ultimately settled on Centrum Multi +Beauty and Nature’s Bounty.
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Centrum Multi + Beauty
I’d been a long-time customer of Centrum vitamins, although sporadically, specifically taking the multivitamin. So naturally, I considered this product under the Centrum brand. Since I had been off the vitamin wagon for a while, I thought that the gummy formulation would encourage me to take the supplements.
I liked the fact that there were no artificial flavors or sweeteners, and that there were flavors, cherry, berry, and orange. The instructions, which I followed dutifully, were to take 2 gummies daily. There were 45 doses in the bottle. It contains 50% vitamin A, 75% vitamin C, 100% vitamin E, 250% vitamin D3 and 833% biotin (2500 mcg). I used this product for 3 months in total, going through 2 bottles completely.
The taste was disgusting at first. The texture gross, gummy and mealy, nothing like the delicious fruity goodness of gummy bears as I had hoped. I gulped them down, but by the end of the first bottle, I could palate them without too much grimacing. I couldn’t tell the difference between the flavors, but to be fair, it’s not like I sat there savoring the flavors. The sugar did help me to continue taking them (the first 2 ingredients are glucose syrup and sugar!).
Nails: Most of my nails are fairly strong, fortunately. There’s only one that is a little weaker. It used to grow funny following an accident I had as a kid. But a product for strengthening nails made a huge difference. Still, I do occasionally have issues with the nail being a little thinner and chipping more easily than the rest. In any case, I did not notice any difference in the growth or strength of my nails.
Skin: I didn’t have a lot of complaints about my skin, to begin with, but I saw no change in my skin. I didn’t notice a change in the tone, texture, really anything.
Hair: nada. My hair didn’t seem to grow any faster or stronger or longer. Disappointing.
Nature’s Bounty extra strength Hair, skin and nails
When I was purchasing the product above, the person ringing me up said that this was the product she used. She had long, beautiful, thick, shiny black locks. Why not? I thought. Even the label touts this as the “#1 brand for hair, skin, and nails.”
The instructions say to take 3 soft gels daily, preferably with a meal. It contains 100% daily value of vitamins A and C, 200% daily value of vitamin D, and 50% daily value of vitamin E. According to the supplemental facts, each dose has 5000 mcg biotin per serving, which is 1667% of daily value. This also contains 30 mg of hyaluronic acid, 50 mg of hydrolyzed collagen, as well as 25 mg of argan oil.
The soft gels themselves are small, much like vitamin D and were easy to take, although they had a strange smell I can’t quite put my finger on. Once or twice, I attempted to take them without food but quickly learned that I should follow those instructions and take them with food. However, there was a gross aftertaste taking all 3 at once. This taste was not as noticeable if I took one 3 times a day with each meal, but still there. I took these pills for about 6 weeks total before I stopped.
Nails: There was no noticeable difference to me in the strength of my nails or the speed of growth.
Skin: Again, I didn’t notice any difference in my skin, as far as brightness, clarity, or tone.
Hair: I did notice that I was shaving more often. The hair on my legs (and underarms) was growing more, that’s for sure. But I didn’t notice the hair on my head growing any more quickly, or getting any thicker. That was disappointing because that was my goal in taking the supplement, to begin with! Maybe if I continued to take them, the growth from my scalp would kick in, but was I willing to risk turning into a werewolf to get my long hair back? Um, no.
Was my pursuit misguided?
Your hair follicles do indeed require a steady supply of nutrients because of high turnover. However, I found out that it’s pretty rare that someone in the developed world is going to have the deficiencies that the supplements tend to address. Barring things like malabsorption, malnutrition or an atrocious diet, you’re covered by the most part.
Notably, there are medical issues that can cause problems with your nails, skin, and hair. Thyroid abnormalities can cause dry hair, brittle hair, or hair loss; dry itchy skin; brittle nails. Hormonal problems can cause hair loss. Diseases like alopecia or infections cause hair loss. Even things like taking antibiotics for a long time or seizure medications can affect. My point is that there are many possibilities for why you may be noticing that your hair could be out of whack.
There are tests to check for thyroid function and the level of iron in your blood, for example. So you should see your doctor first. If you are out of balance, they can recommend the best way to get yourself back in balance.
While you may not be able to control whether you become iron deficient, for example, there are a lot of things that are in your control. A healthy diet that includes lean protein is a great idea. Take care of your hair—watch the blow drying, flat ironing, ponytails.
As for your nails, minimize or avoid acrylics or biting your nails. Use gloves when washing dishes or cleaning. Moisturize your hands and nails! Use moisturizing soap. Stop smoking! Always use sunscreen.
As for me, besides eating a bit better, I started a routine of better hair care. I started doing regular protein treatments, conditioning and washing with trims as necessary. I found other options besides my beloved ponytail.
My hair no longer looks dried out. It is shiny and healthy-looking. So I rarely even resort to flat ironing, which would previously just make things worse. My hair is starting to grow and I have fewer split ends, meaning, the hair I have will stay there and not have to be cut off (yay). So eventually my hair will get longer. But the condition overall is better.
The maintenance program worked better than the vitamins. While having my hair cared for professionally regularly is more of an expense in money and time, I have seen better results overall, and I am happier. I don’t necessarily recommend that you do that unless you want to or are able. Just don’t take the supplement and think that’s all you are going to have to do. You have to do your part to care for your hair as well.
I don’t think I’m done searching for a good supplement to promote hair growth, though. The search continues….
Do you use supplements for your hair, skin, and nails? What do you use?