Medically reviewed by Jill Johnson, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 12/11/2021
You’ve undoubtedly heard that drinking water can help your skin glow, but what about when it comes to making your hair grow?
Drinking lots of water offers countless benefits, from improving your cardiovascular function to supporting your joints, skin and internal organs. However, while staying hydrated does provide some hair-related benefits, there isn’t much evidence that it stimulates hair growth.
That’s not to say you should stash your water bottle, however.
Below, we’ve explored the relationship between water consumption and the health of your hair, as well as possible hair-related benefits of keeping yourself properly hydrated.
We’ve also shared a few science-based tips you can use to stimulate healthy hair growth so you can enjoy thicker, smoother and healthier hair.
Does drinking water help your hair grow? Let’s dive in.
While water does play a role in your hair’s health, appearance and texture, there isn’t yet much in the way of research showing that it stimulates hair growth.
Your hair grows as part of a natural, multi-phase process that’s generally referred to as the hair growth cycle. Throughout this process, stem cells develop into keratinized cells, which make up the hair that grows from your scalp.
The hair growth cycle can be divided into three main phases: anagen, catagen and telogen. In the anagen phase, hair actively grows out of the follicle, reaching its full length over the course of what can be several years.
In the catagen phase, the hair transitions from growth to inactivity. Finally, in the telogen phase, the hair follicle becomes dormant. Over time, hairs in the telogen phase shed and are replaced by newer anagen hairs.
Throughout the growth process, your hair depends on numerous micro and macronutrients in order to remain strong and healthy.
These include vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc, niacin and biotin, as well as protein and other nutrients. If you’re deficient in these nutrients, it may lead to reduced hair growth or hair shedding in the form of telogen effluvium.
Drinking water contains trace amounts of some of these nutrients, although the exact amounts can vary based on your location. However, there’s no evidence that drinking large amounts of water has any real impact on your hair’s growth cycle.
With this said, drinking plenty of water is definitely a good thing for a healthy scalp. Human skin is about 64 percent water, and maintaining healthy water intake is important for keeping your skin hydrated, functioning and healthy.
Another common belief is that drinking water helps prevent hair loss. While there’s some truth to the idea that staying hydrated plays a part in keeping your hair healthy, most hair loss occurs due to factors unrelated to the amount of water you drink.
In women, common causes of hair loss include female pattern hair loss, which develops due to a mix of genetic and hormonal factors, and telogen effluvium, a type of temporary hair shedding that can occur due to stress, illness, trauma, nutritional deficiencies or medication.
While drinking a reasonable amount of water is good for your health, it doesn’t have any effect on your genes or levels of androgen hormones involved in pattern hair loss.
Drinking extra water also won’t help minimize stress or treat hair loss that’s caused by your use of medication. Side note: If you are feeling stressed, of course, staying hydrated can help you feel better in general.
While your water intake doesn’t have much of a direct effect on hair growth, there are real benefits to keeping yourself hydrated. These include:
Maintaining a normal temperature. Water plays an important role in helping your body regulate its temperature. It’s especially important to drink water if you live in a hot climate or have a physically active lifestyle.
Protecting your joints. Water is found in synovial fluid, which cushions joints. So in essence, drinking water supports this, helping to cushion your joints. If you’re dehydrated, you might be more at risk of damaging your joints from overuse or accidents.
Processing urine and other waste. Water helps your body to digest food and deal with waste products such as urine, perspiration and bowel movements. Staying hydrated is important for encouraging healthy digestion and preventing constipation.
Flushing bacteria from your body. Because water assists in removing waste products, it’s important for flushing out bacteria, including bacteria that can build up in your bladder and potentially cause infections.
Maintaining electrolyte balance. Water helps your body balance important minerals and electrolytes, such as sodium. This is important for maintaining proper fluid balance and bodily function.
Normalizing blood pressure and heart function. Proper hydration plays a key role in your cardiovascular health by stabilizing your heart function and maintaining your blood pressure at a normal level.
Put simply, even though drinking lots of water doesn’t have much of an effect on your hair growth, it’s still a good thing to do for your general health and wellbeing.
If you’ve ever looked up how much water you should drink daily, you’ve probably come across a variety of different answers, from four to six cups to eight cups or more.
The reality is that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Everyone’s personal needs are slightly different, meaning the right amount of water for one person may not be adequate for another.
In general, drinking around eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day is a helpful rule of thumb for most people. You may want to drink more water if you:
Live in a hot, humid region where the weather causes you to sweat often
Have a high physical activity level and need to keep hydrated after exercising
Experience signs of dehydration, such as dry llps or dark, strong-smelling urine
On the other hand, you may need to drink slightly less water if you have certain types of kidney or heart disease, a health condition that causes water retention, or if you use medication such as some antidepressants or NSAIDs. Your healthcare provider can let you know if this is the case.
Remember that you don’t need to only drink water to stay hydrated. Other drinks, such as fruit juice, tea and even soda can help you hydrate. Just be aware that lots of these drinks are high in sugar, caffeine and other substances that shouldn’t be consumed in excess.
While drinking extra water won’t directly stimulate hair growth, there are numerous steps you can take to boost the growth of your hair.
Just like your skin and internal organs, your hair depends on numerous vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to grow and maintain itself.
One way to make sure your hair grows to its full potential is to eat a balanced, healthy diet that features all of the essential nutrients your body requires for hair growth.
If you’ve noticed your hair looking a little thin, try to prioritize nutrients such as iron, zinc, niacin, and vitamins A, D, E and B7 (biotin) — all of which are involved in the hair growth process.
The best way to do this is to eat a balanced diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables and lean protein sources. For even better results, try to prioritize biotin-rich foods such as salmon, beef liver and sunflower seeds.
Want to give your diet a hair-growth boost? If you’ve noticed brittle hair or excess shedding, you may want to consider adding a hair loss vitamin or biotin supplement to your hair health routine.
Biotin is a vitamin that’s involved in the synthesis of the protein keratin, which makes up a large part of your hair shaft construction. Although biotin doesn’t directly stimulate hair growth, people deficient in biotin often show signs of hair loss.
You can easily increase your biotin intake with our hers’ Multivitamin Gummies, which are formulated specifically to strengthen and support your hair, skin and nails.
An easy way to make your hair appear thicker is to minimize habits that contribute to damaged, broken hairs.
Common sources of hair breakage include brushing too often or aggressively, styling your hair in tight ponytails or braids, overexposing your hair to heat, coloring your hair often and wearing hair extensions or a weave.
To keep your hair healthy and minimize breakage, try to avoid these habits. Instead, be careful with your hair and focus on habits that promote thicker, healthier hair growth.
If you have visible hair loss, one of the most effective things you can do to promote growth is to use minoxidil.
Minoxidil is a topical hair loss medication that works by moving hairs into the anagen phase of the hair growth cycle and stimulating blood circulation in your scalp.
Numerous studies have found that minoxidil stimulates hair growth in women, including one 48-week study that involved almost 400 women with pattern hair loss.
Since minoxidil comes as a foam or liquid, it’s easy to use as part of your morning or evening hair care routine.
Our hers’ minoxidil solution and minoxidil foam options are available online, with both products formulated specifically for stimulating women’s hair growth. You can also learn more about minoxidil in our full guide to using minoxidil for female hair loss.
While drinking water probably won’t promote faster hair growth, as you’ve read above, there are numerous benefits to keeping yourself hydrated. In fact, drinking enough water can help you look and feel better, overall.
Try to maintain a healthy intake of water. If you have a normal lifestyle, this could mean drinking eight glasses of water a day. If you’re active, or if you live in a hot, humid environment, you may need to drink an extra glass of water or two to avoid dehydration.
As for growing thicker, stronger hair, you may want to look into our range of science-based hair care products, which are formulated specifically to support and maintain your hair.