They claim to help with everything from hair loss to dandruff and brittleness, but with so many to choose from, how do you go about deciding which one’s right for you? Here’s what to look for and what to buy
Kansha Alchemy Good Hair Nutrition Complex, £32.99
For: Stronger hair and preventing hair loss
The inspiration for Kansha Alchemy came from founder Ann-Louise Holland’s personal experiences with hair loss and her disappointment in the options that were available to her. The product of the research she conducted into the subject, Good Hair aims to address the cause rather than the symptom of androgenic alopecia or male pattern baldness (DHT, a derivative of testerone), and contains biotin, zinc and hair growth enhancing antioxidant selenium, in addition to herbs palmetto and pygeum africanum. Plus, it doesn’t contain synthetics, preservatives or fillers to increase its efficacy.
Terranova B-Complex with Vitamin C, £13.95
For: The dandruff-prone
“There are lots of different B vitamins, and many of them have been associated with the development of dandruff,” explains Fiona. “A deficiency of biotin (vitamin B7), for example, has been found to lead to skin lesions that resemble seborrheic dermatitis, while folic acid (vitamin B9) has been found to improve the condition.”
“If you’d like to boost your intake with supplements, make sure you choose a formulation that includes all the B vitamins (rather than one or two in isolation), as they all work together,” she recommends.
Viviscal Max Strength Supplement, £29.99
For: Hair growth
This is a favourite of dermatologist, Justine Hextall’s, who often recommends it to her patients for supporting the foundation of healthy hair growth. “One of the most commonly used supplements for healthy hair and nails are marine proteins such as those in Viviscal, which have been shown to reduce hair loss and promote stronger hair,” she says. “They provide missing amino acids in the hair follicle to promote a healthy follicle and subsequent hair growth.”
Philip Kingsley Biotin Boost, £30
For: Weak, brittle hair
This newbie from Philip Kingsley contains a trio of ingredients – biotin in addition to zinc and oxygenating vitamin B12 – to strengthen breakage-prone hair and stimulate the scalp.
It’s recommended to those who follow a low protein diet as well as vegans, vegetarians and those who are gluten-free. “It is also formulated with pure biotin, which makes it more effective,” explains Anabel. “We specifically chose to formulate vitamin B12 and zinc into it as deficiencies in both are very common – especially in women.”
My Hair Doctor Volume-ise Nutritional Supplement, £25
For: Hair health and growth
This contains a great mixture of hair building blocks such as biotin, collagen, iron, B vitamins, zinc, vitamin D and microcirculation-boosting botanicals. “We worked with a specialist nutritional company to produce the most effective capsule containing what researchers have proven to be the most scientifically beneficial collaborative ingredients essential for hair growth, nail strength and skin repair,” explains Guy. “We have had excellent feedback in the months that it has been used as part of the My Hair Doctor – 5 step Volume-Ise programme.”
Healthspan Super20 Pro probiotic, £8.95
As well as our gut, it seems that our scalp can also benefit from certain strains of probiotics. “A randomised, placebo-controlled trial found that a type of probiotic called lactobacillus paracasei reduced the severity of dandruff, as well as alleviating other symptoms such as redness, itching and greasiness,” notes Fiona. “Interestingly, the levels of malassezia yeast (associated with dandruff) also decreased.
“It’s possible to buy lactobacillus paracasei on its own but, like B vitamins, its best to supplement with a variety of probiotic strains. Look for a formulation that contains 20–50 billion colony forming units (CFUs), and take one capsule daily.”
Philip Kingsley Root Complex, £38
For: Problematic scalps
Containing omega-3, vitamin D3 and vitamin E, this supplement’s been formulated with the needs of itchy scalps in mind. It also offers a distinct delivery system designed to allow for better absorption. “It is contained within an ultra-modern ‘pill in a pill’, where an inner capsule of dry ingredients lies suspended in an outer one encasing oil ingredients,” Anabel tells us. Its combination of anti-inflammatories helps tackle dandruff, eczema, scalp flaking, irritation and dryness.
Disclaimer: Certain supplements are used for different reasons and a one-size-fits-all approach should never be adopted. In addition, pregnant women and anyone on medication should always consult a doctor before embarking on a supplements programme.