Top Supplements For Hair Growth in Females

Katelyn Hagerty

Medically reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP

Written by Our Editorial Team

Last updated 10/11/2021

Perhaps you’re just looking to boost hair growth a bit. Or, maybe you’re dealing with hair loss and need to correct it. 

If the latter applies to you, you’re not alone. Research has found that less than 45 percent of women make it through life without losing at least some of their hair.

Whatever your reason, you’ve probably seen all types of dietary supplements marketed as being able to increase hair growth and give you fuller hair. 

But which hair supplements should you actually pay attention to? And do they really work? 

Well, let’s have a look...

Top Hair Supplements for Growth

There’s no shortage of supplements that claim to promote hair growth. You see a sea of them every time you walk down the cosmetic aisle at the supermarket. 

Shelf after shelf of serums, vitamins, sprays, shampoos and everything in between. 

But what are they and do they really work? We’re breaking it down. 

Biotin

This B vitamin is known for encouraging healthy hair and growth. 

One study found that taking a supplement that included biotin (and other ingredients) produced faster hair growth in women dealing with thinning hair. 

Generally speaking, it’s worth noting that most studies only find biotin supplementation helps if you’re suffering from a biotin deficiency.

It’s naturally found in some foods — including eggs, milk and bananas. If you get plenty of biotin in your diet, you may not need a supplement. 

But, if you’re concerned you’re not getting enough in your diet, a nutritional supplement may help. 

Hers offers a biotin gummy that also includes other vitamins like vitamin D. Low levels of vitamin D have been found to contribute to hair shedding.

Silica

Among many other claims, silica supplements are marketed as products that make hair stronger and healthier. But do they actually do that? 

There is actually a small amount of research that shows that silica may help give you stronger hair and make it more resistant to breakage.

One study looked at women with fine hair who were given a non-therapeutic placebo or a supplement containing orthosilicic acid (a stabilized, bioavailable form of silica).

After nine months of supplement use, the women who took silica reported thicker hair and improvements in strength and elasticity.

Fish Oil

It’s often touted that fish oil supplements promote hair growth and strength. You should know there’s not enough evidence to draw this conclusion just yet. 

But there is some preliminary research that has found that omega-3s (the main component of fish oil supplements) may prevent certain types of hair loss and even stimulate growth.

One small study from 2015 looked at women who took a supplement that contained omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, along with certain antioxidants. After six months, most women reported increased hair density and less hair loss.

There is also a study from 2018 that was done on mice. It looked at mackerel-derived fermented fish oil used topically and found that using it stimulated hair growth.

Melatonin

You’ve probably heard that melatonin can help with sleep. But some also believe it can help with the hair growth cycle. 

A review of research specifically looked at the effects of melatonin on hair growth and concluded that it may work to treat a type of hair loss called androgenetic alopecia. This is often referred to female pattern hair loss (or female pattern baldness).

The review looked at multiple clinical studies to draw the conclusion that topical melatonin is a viable hair growth promoter. 

In one of the studies, it was  found that using melatonin for 30 or 90 days led to a significant reduction in the severity of androgenetic alopecia.

Researchers still don’t quite know how melatonin works to address androgenetic alopecia, but the results so far are interesting, to say the least.

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Additional Treatment Options

Beyond hair growth supplements, there are plenty of other medications and treatments that can encourage hair growth and deal with hair loss. Some of them include:

Minoxidil 

If you speak with a healthcare provider, they may suggest topical minoxidil as a treatment for hair loss. 

Sold under the brand name Rogaine®, it is actually FDA-approved for androgenetic alopecia. Minoxidil comes in a 2% solution or 5% foam. 

Although its exact mechanism of action is still unknown, researchers generally believe that when applied topically, minoxidil sends a signal to your blood vessels to open so that more nutrients and oxygen can get to the hair. 

Additionally, it stretches the growth period for hair, so more follicles are created to replace lost hair.

Spironolactone

The acne drug spironolactone may be prescribed to you as a hair loss treatment if testosterone is behind your loss.

When testosterone roams free, it can attach to androgen receptors in the hair bulb and the dermal papilla which regulates hair growth. This may shrink your hair follicles.

That roaming testosterone may also be converted into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which can then also attach to androgen receptors and cause hair loss.

Spironolactone prevents testosterone from turning into DHT. It also slows the production of androgens, which will slow this type of hair loss.

Shampoo and Conditioner for Hair Loss

Dry, brittle hair is prone to breakage and can make your hair appear thinner. Dryness-inducing habits include using hot tools frequently and dying or relaxing your hair. 

Living in a dry climate can also cause parched hair. 

Boost moisture by using a hair loss conditioner after you use a hair loss shampoo

You can also keep your tools on the lowest setting (or set days when you skip them all together!). Weekly hair masks are also a good idea. 

Lifestyle Tweaks

Changing certain habits can also help you address hair thinning. 

For example, a healthy diet may help a healthy scalp. Studies have shown that if your iron levels are low or you’re not getting enough zinc, it can potentially be bad for hair health. 

People who increased these things in their diet have seen an improvement in hair growth.

Zinc can be found in foods like crab, pork chops, cashews and oatmeal. Worried about an iron deficiency? Eat more leafy greens, meat and seafood, or look into iron supplements.

Smoking has also been connected to hair loss. First, smoke is a pollutant that can damage hair. Plus, cigarettes have been found to damage the DNA of your hair follicles.

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Considering Supplements for Hair Growth

From biotin gummies to fish oil capsules, there are plenty of supplements on the market that are advertised to help with growth, give you stronger hair or promote fulle, more luscious locks.  

Many of these supplements have some preliminary research that support these claims. But it’s good to highlight the word limited in that sentence. 

In addition to dietary supplements, there are a variety of medications and other things you can do to address hair loss or assist with hair growth. 

These medications could specifically be helpful if you are dealing with a condition like female pattern hair loss.

For example, minoxidil has been proven to work and is backed by the FDA specifically for the treatment of hair loss. 

Additionally, addressing nutritional deficiencies that could be affecting healthy hair growth could help give you a healthier head of hair, too. 

Before you take anything, it’s always a good idea to consult a medical professional about what hair loss treatment can help give you more growth or promote thicker hair. 

15 Sources

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

  1. Dinh, Q., Sinclair, R., (2007, June). Female pattern hair loss: Current treatment concepts. Clinical Interventions in Aging, 2(2): 189–199. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2684510/
  2. Ablon, G. (2015). A 3-Month, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study Evaluating the Ability of an Extra-Strength Marine Protein Supplement to Promote Hair Growth and Decrease Shedding in Women with Self-Perceived Thinning Hair. Dermatology Research and Practice. Retrieved from https://www.hindawi.com/journals/drp/2015/841570/
  3. Biotin (2020). Medline Plus. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/313.html
  4. Khan, Q., Fabian, C., (2010, March). How I Treat Vitamin D Deficiency. Journal of Oncology Practice, 6(2):97-101. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2835491/
  5. Yang, F., Zhang, Y., Rheinstadter, M., (2014, October 14). The structure of people’s hair. Peer, 2:e619. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4201279/
  6. Wickett, R., Kossmann, E., Barrel, A., et al., (2007). Effect of oral intake of choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid on hair tensile strength and morphology in women with fine hair. Archives of Dermatological Research, 299(10): 499-505. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17960402/
  7. Le Floc’h, C., Cheniti, A., Connetable, S., Piccardi, N., et al., (2015, Jan 8). Effect of a nutritional supplement on hair loss in women. J Cosmet Dermatol. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25573272/
  8. Kang, J., Yoon, H., Kim, S., (2018, September). Mackerel-Derived Fermented Fish Oil Promotes Hair Growth by Anagen-Stimulating Pathways. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6164340/
  9. Fischer, T., Trueb, R., Hanggi, G., et al., (2012). Topical melatonin for treatment of androgenetic alopecia. International Journal of Trichology, 4(4):236-45. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3681103/
  10. Suchonwanit, P., Thammarucha, S., Leerunyakul, K., (2019). Minoxidil and its use in hair disorders: a review. Drug Design, Development and Theory, 13: 2777-2786. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6691938/#:~:text=Minoxidil%20is%20a%20common%20medication,as%20increasing%20body%20hair%20growth.
  11. Islam, R., Bell, R., Green, S., Davis, S. (2019). Effects of testosterone therapy for women: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol. Systematic Reviews. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6329173/
  12. Brough, K., Torgerson, R., (2017, March). Hormonal therapy in female pattern hair loss. International Journal of Women’s Dermatology 3(1): 53-57. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5419033/
  13. How to stop damaging your hair. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Retrieved from https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/insider/stop-damage
  14. Guo, E., Katta, R., (2017, January). Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use. Dermatology Practical and Conceptual, 7(1): 1-10. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5315033/
  15. Trueb, R., (2003). Association between smoking and hair loss: another opportunity for health education against smoking? National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12673073/

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

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