Supplements are having a major moment right now. Shelves are spilling with a slew of CBD tinctures, probiotics galore, and entire lines dedicated specifically to ingestible, nutrition-based beauty (DirtyLemon® with its drinkable retinol, for instance). Gone are the days of slinging back a solitary biotin pill; we’re living in an era of comprehensive beauty-from-the-inside-out supplementation.
Retinol shouldn't be used by women who are pregnant, considering getting pregnant, or nursing. Please consult with your doctor before use.
Nutrafol® — which is dedicated explicitly to hair growth, strength, and lustre — is one of the buzziest brands in the supplement space. I’d first heard about the brand while listening to an old Fat MascaraTM podcast with board-certified dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD, who swore by the hefty yellow pills. A quick Google® search of Dr. Engelman and her outrageously long, lustrous hair would make anyone a Nutrafol convert. My order couldn’t arrive fast enough.
Why I wanted to try Nutrafol
For the last decade, my hair has remained the same length. It doesn’t matter how long I go between haircuts, or how diligent I am about using heat protectants when styling — my strands sit just below my shoulders and that’s that. So, when I heard that Nutrafol could help my hair grow longer, I knew I had to give it a go.
Despite my hair’s stunted length, it’s always been naturally thick — and I don’t want it to thin as I get older. So, ensuring that my already-thick hair stays that way was another reason I decided to try Nutrafol. Plus, given its rave reviews and the clinical research to back it up, I figured I didn’t have much to lose — so, I committed to three months’ worth of supplements, knowing I’d have to be religious about taking them. To help, I kept my bottle somewhere I’d see it every day — that’d be next to my coffee machine, folks — and, since I travel frequently, I also set reminders before every trip to count out all my vitamins and supplements, and throw them into a smaller repurposed bottle.
How does Nutrafol work?
Unlike Rogaine and similar OTC hair growth products, Nutrafol doesn’t use minoxidil (a topical vasodilator that promotes blood flow, and thus hair growth, on the scalp). Instead, Nutrafol works from the inside out; the supplement is comprised of ingredients that are anti-inflammatory, stress-adaptogenic, and rich in antioxidants.
Minoxidil shouldn't be used by women who are pregnant, considering getting pregnant, or nursing. Please consult with your doctor before use.
“The featured phyto-compounds include curcumin, ashwagandha, saw palmetto, and tocotrienols,” says Hadley King, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. “Curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties, tocotrienols have antioxidant properties, saw palmetto inhibits dihydrotestosterone [which helps prevent testosterone conversion into DHT, a hormone that shrinks hair follicles]. Ashwagandha is an adaptogen that can help decrease cortisol [a stress hormone] to help keep hair follicles in the growth phase longer.” NYC-based board-certified dermatologist Sapna Palep, MD, calls this list “very comprehensive,” adding that its ingredients are known to help with hair growth.
As always, talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement.
A 30-day supply of Nutrafol will set you back $79. Each bottle contains 120 pills — which, yep, amounts to four (sizable) pills a day. While this feels like a lot at first, I can attest that you get used to it pretty quickly.
My Nutrafol Results
The thing with supplements, especially those that impact things like hair and nail growth, is that they take time to deliver discernable results. “To really see significant results, it usually takes three months, depending on the individual’s own hair growth cycle,” Dr. Palep explains.
This timeline rang true for me: I got my first outside compliment about two and a half months into taking Nutrafol. A friend, who was standing behind me, took my hair in her fingers and exclaimed, “Your hair is getting so long!” I thought maybe it was a fluke, or the way my hair was laying that day, but she made the same comment about a week later. More validation came when someone replied to an Instagram® story, commenting on how great my hair looked. I also noticed a difference in the mirror — nothing major, but definitely more length and sheen.
Perhaps the greatest validation of all, especially in these early months, are all the baby hairs sprouting around my hairline and scalp. A definitive sign of new growth!
Will I continue using Nutrafol?
The Nutrafol price tag isn’t exactly cheap (it works out to roughly $2.50 a day), but I feel like it’s an expense that’s worth the cost. (We do so much for ourselves beauty-wise already — mani/pedis, hair extensions, lash extensions, facials, massages, etc.) This is a product that’s made a notable difference for me, and I feel it’s worthy of getting a line in my beauty budget. I’ll stick to it for a full year and then reassess — but at this point, I feel confident saying that Nutrafol is worth the investment.
Dr. Dendy Engelman is a paid Allergan® consultant.
Complimentary product was provided to the author for the purpose of writing this article.
Product price may vary from the time this article was written.