This New Vitamin Promises Less Anxiety and Healthier, Shinier Hair, But Does It Work?
Here’s to less stress and better tresses.
Updated Oct 11, 2018 6:28 PM
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The words “hair growth vitamins” probably conjure up images of influencers on Instagram shelling blue-colored gummies that promise longer and thicker locks. As a result of the famous-on-Insta marketing campaigns, hair-focused vitamins have taken on a reputation of overpromising and under-delivering in recent years.
That’s why it’s both refreshing and surprising to see that the latest brand to hop into the hair vitamins genre is a pretty reputable one, Moon Juice. The well-known wellness megabrand just launched its supplement SuperHair, which is meant to target not only hair health and growth, but also stress and anxiety. What’s different from other hair vitamins is that Moon Juice’s version is packed with a plethora of good-for-you ingredients, like well-known adaptogens and collagen.
While those products are undeniably useful for your body and overall well-being, are they specifically great for promoting hair health? We’ve been testing out the vitamins for weeks (#journalism), and then we asked a hair-growth scientist to give his thoughts on the ingredient list. So do you really need a hair-growth supplement? Well, it depends on your stress levels and diet—let us explain though.
What does a hair vitamin even do?
Hair-growth supplements and vitamins work, provided there is a nutritional need. If you are overly stressed, have an illness, or a poor diet, it might be affecting your hair quality. “But if you are healthy and maintain a balanced diet with plenty of iron, B vitamins, vitamin E, protein, zinc, and trace nutrients, then it is unlikely supplements will do anything for you,” says Dr. Dominic Burg, chief scientist for Evolis Professional. That being said, if you’re on a strict or mainly plant-based diet or live a stressful lifestyle, supplements can nutritionally support hair health. This is because of the way our bodies conserve and manage nutrition. “Your body knows that your hair is not essential for maintaining your life, unlike your heart, lungs, and brain,” says Burg. “When your body is under stress or you don’t have enough nutrients, then it will shuttle those nutrients and energy to essential organs and away from the hair.” This can result in hair follicles prematurely entering into the resting phase and slowing down growth.
So, final answer: For most healthy people, a vitamin will not result in thicker and longer locks, but it will help to boost hair quality for those who need it.
What about SuperHair—what’s in it?
There are vitamins, a number of botanical ingredients, and adaptogens in this hair-growth supplement, but only a handful encourage hair growth, says Burg. A few key ingredients in SuperHair show promise though, like saw palmetto and horsetail. Saw palmetto helps inhibit excess levels of DHT, a hair-destructive hormone, to help hair maintain its thickness. Horsetail has more limited evidence, but it’s possible it provides the body with silica, which boosts hair strength. Those two ingredients might be helpful to you, but where SuperHair really shines is the additional vitamins and adaptogens. Ashwagandha and ginseng both help the body with stress hormones, which can harm hair when at high levels.
Domino’s Emma Newbern has noticed not only an improvement in hair quality but also a reduction in overall stress in the last few weeks of taking SuperHair. “The ashwagandha has helped with the stress of living in Manhattan,” she says. “But I’ve also noticed my hair thinning from stress recently. In the few weeks of taking it, I have noticeably more hair on the right side where I was thinning.”
The supplement also has over 100 percent of daily amounts of vitamins A, B (including B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12), C, and D, as well as iron, zinc, and iodine. “I eat a plant-based diet, and it’s specifically formulated with this diet in mind,” says Newbern. “Plus, I just love having more hair on my head.”
Would our tester recommend it?
“Yessss,” says Newbern, and she’s already planning on repurchasing a new bottle. Although she cautions the four capsules every morning is a bit much when you’re in a rush in the am.
Would a hair scientist recommend it?
“For those of us on strict and restrictive diets, with high-stress lifestyles, illnesses, or on specific medications, supplements can provide nutritional support for hair,” he says. It’s also good to check with your doctor even for over-the-counter supplements like this, Burg cautions. Even natural ingredients, like saw palmetto and horsetail, can have effects on certain medications and hormone levels.
Interested in testing out a hair growth vitamin yourself? Here are a few, buzzy options.
If You’re Stressed
Chock-full of adaptogens, vitamins, and collagen, this bottle goes way beyond hair growth.
If You Want It Hair Stylist–Approved
Celebrity hairstylist Liz Rim told us this is magic: “I’ve watched people take this regular women’s vitamin, and for some reason, hair grows like crazy,” says Rim.
If You Want It to Taste Good Too
Biotin, biotin, biotin, along with a hefty amount of vitamin B and D, but most importantly, they’re watermelon-mint flavored.