My hair has always been my thing. Over the course of my life, I've done a copious amount of things to it: I've curled, crimped, braided, twisted, teased, bound, cut, feathered, and of course, colored; but the most stressful quest of all has been growth — and so I had to finally ask myself: Do hair growth vitamins work?
Now, I had seen ads for these vitamins all over the Internet. I had been on the Instagram pages of different brands, looking at the "Before and After" photos of supposed "users" of the hair growth vitamins with absolutely stunning results. I've stressed my growing out process in the past by adding extensions of all forms, including a weave, bonded/fused pieces, and glue-ins (probably the worst things ever). So my inquisitive cells couldn't help but wonder whether a little solution-in-a-bottle was a more viable option.
For context: A few years ago, I decided to go "Khaleesi Blonde" by way of Daenerys Targaryen hair (another great obsession of mine). After basking in the platinum hair glory for a while, my now icy-blonde locks were at the perfect point to (that's right) color them yet again. I went through a rotation of blue, pink, and lilac/lavender, feeling like a glorious mermaid unicorn princess the entire time. To this day, despite all the damage, I still say it was totally worth it. But I digress: What I loved even more than perfectly-purple hair was the fact that I had long hair. I've always been someone who loved long hair (another reason I love Game of Thrones so much — it rules the realm of hair) and with all the bleaching and coloring of my already fair, thin hair... well, suffice to say, it ceased to grow.
Rather than grow longer (you know, the natural way of things) my hair began to break off at the ends. Constantly. It was so bad that my hair actually kept getting shorter and shorter for a while, without scissors even coming anywhere near me (they were the devil as far as I was concerned). The breakage would happen every time I showered, every time I brushed my hair, and anytime I attempted to style it. Feeling devastated, I immediately rushed to the Internet for a magical hair potion that would instantly make my hair grow long and strong once again... yet the only thing I could find that came anywhere close were the notorious hair growth vitamins.
Call me a skeptic, but I didn't fully trust the reviews of the "users" that posted their "amazing" results. Because let's be honest, sometimes these companies may pay people to use their product and give less-than-truthful reviews. Thus, I took it upon myself to purchase a bottle of the magic-hair-pills myself, to see if hair growth vitamins really do work, and if they're also worth the money. I decided to go with Hairburst hair growth vitamins, them being one of the most popular brands I noticed floating around the good-ol-net. This product claims to "promote healthy hair growth from within," and though the recommended use is three months, they do claim results within month one. They also say this:
"Our product is of the highest quality and produces fantastic results for our users. We are so confident you will enjoy and embrace your hair journey, we offer a money back guarantee on returned unused products." — Hairburst.com
How are people supposed to know if a product works without actually using it first? Anyway — confusion aside, with this grand claim fueling my excitement, I began what I hoped would be my "hair growth journey." The vitamins themselves include collagen, biotin, vitamins A, B, and C, folic acid, and several other essential vitamins for hair growth. There are 60 pills in the bottle, which equate to a one-month supply, as you take two pills per day — one in the morning, and one at night — and cost about $37 (plus about $10 shipping). The pills are rather large and taste absolutely horrible, so I had to choke mine down with orange juice (or anything else with a strong taste to avoid gagging). Thank god I was doing this all for the sake of beauty.
I must also note that while I was taking these vitamins, I made sure to take care of my hair in other ways. I decreased styling immensely, trying to limit curling my hair to only once a week. I stopped teasing my hair, and cut out hairspray. I also used a leave-in hair serum on my ends, which locked in moisture and added strength to the previously dyed, dry hair. Oh, and I stopped coloring my hair completely as well (which was, after all, the original reason for my hair's distress). I was going all-out for this quest.
After choking back two vitamins per day for a month, I was anxious to see if it had worked, of course. It's said that hair normally grows about half an inch per month. My hair, never being quite normal, grows more slowly — at about 1/3 inch per month. If my hair grew any more than that, I'd consider it a success. As I placed that measuring tape against my scalp and drew it down the length of my hair, my heart sank as I realized my hair grew at the same rate it normally does. One month, and sadly, no change.
I decided to purchase another bottle of hair growth vitamins and give it a try for yet another month, in the event that the results took longer than just one month to really notice (and why not be thorough?). As I continued to take the hair growth vitamins for the second month, however, I noticed my hair growing increasingly greasy.
Now, as I mentioned before, I have very fine hair. I can go three days max without washing my hair normally (after that I need the help of dry shampoo), but taking the hair growth vitamins was making my hair so greasy that I had to wash it every other day (and that was pushing it). I was hoping that this increase-in-grease meant that all the vitamins were getting to my scalp, enriching it and causing my hair growth to boost. Yet again, when I went to measure my hair growth at the end of the month, it grew the normal 1/3 inch.
It's at this point where I decided to throw in the towel. At the end of the day (er, two months), all the hair growth vitamins did for me was waste almost $100 and give me greasy hair. They really weren't for me, as much as hoped and dreamed they would give me back the mermaid hair of my dreams.
Instead, I have opted for taking a daily multivitamin for women every day. These vitamins contain most of the same ingredients that the hair-growth pills contain, plus more that are essential for overall health. And it costs around $10 only for a 3-month supply. Once I began taking these, the grease level of my hair returned to normal, and I noticed a general increase in my hair's strength and shine (even though my hair continued to grow at its normal rate). I've also continued to go easy on the styling and teasing, and I still use a hair serum before every blow dry. After a few months using this method, I've finally started to notice my hair growing significantly longer.
My advice to anyone who is also trying to start their hair growth/health journey and wants to try hair growth vitamins? Don't. Although I didn't use the vitamins for the allotted three month, there was certainly no difference after two. A daily multivariate can give you all the vitamin benefits without the excess cost.
The real key to hair growth success is to take great care of your hair. Stop coloring it, style it the least amount possible, baby it with nourishing products, and take a daily multivitamin for an extra healthy boost. And most importantly of all: Be patient. It took Rapunzel her whole life to grow out her hair, after all.