My freshman-year dorm mate, a Paris Hilton lookalike who hailed from a wealthy Northern California suburb, was very clued into the fish oil craze of the early 2000s. Each day, she choked down one of those amber, egg-shaped pills to fortify her French manicure and color-treated tresses. It was, as far as I can remember, my first introduction to the idea of beauty supplements. Fish oil has fallen out of favor since then, clearing the way for biotin to take over as today’s beauty buzzword of note, but I remain as skeptical of the latter as I was of the former back in 2008. Of course, now that my own color-treated hair has started to thin out in my 30s, I find myself—against my better judgment—hunting for the best biotin supplements while wandering the grocery aisles.
So I decided to find out once and for all: does biotin really work at strengthening hair and nails? And what are the tried-and-true brands that actually live up to the hype?
Featured image by Riley Reed.
For guidance, I tapped two of my favorite experts, celebrity chef and nutritionist Serena Poon, and Camille Styles resident nutrition consultant and double-certified integrative nutrition health coach, Edie Horstman. Keep reading for answers.
Does biotin really improve hair and nails?
Biotin is a B vitamin that most people derive from a well-rounded diet (particularly when foods like fish, eggs, sweet potatoes, and almonds are incorporated). If you aren’t getting enough biotin, this may lead to brittle nails and hair loss.
“A handful of small studies has shown how biotin supplementation helped strengthen already brittle nails,” shared Poon. “Unfortunately, there is no evidence that supplementation with biotin will help already healthy hair and nails grow or strengthen. ”
Is it okay to take biotin every day?
This question earned a resounding yes from our experts, though both noted that a well-rounded diet should have a sufficient amount of biotin for an adult.
“Biotin is safe to take—even at high doses,” says Horstman. “That being said, taking too much can sometimes cause side effects like stomach aches and sleep issues, but these are pretty rare.”
How much biotin do I really need each day?
The daily recommended intake of biotin for all adults is 30 micrograms.
“To give you an idea of how much food you need to consume to reach your daily value, one egg contains 10 micrograms of biotin, one-fourth cup of sunflower seeds contains 2.6 micrograms of biotin, and half a cup of sweet potato contains 2.4 micrograms of biotin,” Poon explains. “It is unlikely that you need to take a biotin supplement, but you can always check with your healthcare provider if you are unsure.”
The Best Biotin Supplements Available in 2023
The following supplements were culled from past nutritionist recommendations, along with Horstman’s current favorites.
Every product is curated with care by our editors and we’ll always give an honest opinion, whether gifted or purchased ourselves. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a small commission at no cost to you.
Wellbel Women Hair Skin and Nails Supplement
“These science-backed vitamins support hair, skin, and nail health, from the inside out. Evidence-based, Wellbel only uses vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO ingredients. These ingredients, like betaine HCL and saw palmetto, have been used in human clinical trials and published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.” — Edie Horstman
PURE SYNERGY Vita·Min·Herb for Women
This multivitamin covers a lot of ground (such as energy, brain health, digestion, immunity, and heart health), but features a variety of nutrients that supports natural biotin production.
Cymbiotika Liposomal B Vit Complex
Horstman loves this mood-boosting B vitamin complex, which increases energy in addition to promoting cellular health.
Ora Organic Hair, Skin, and Nails Support
This is one of the most unique plant-based hair products available, according to Horstman. It packs a powerful punch with organic B vitamins, organic algae, and 1 billion probiotics.
Nutrafol Women’s Balance Hair Growth Supplement
There’s a universal sentiment about Nutrafol: this stuff actually works. One way the physician-formulated product performs its magic is by addressing the root cause of hair thinning, such as stress or hormonal imbalance.
Act+Acre Plant Based Hair Capsules
“This cutting-edge supplement is committed to clean and unique ingredients, like horsetail extracts, which are rich sources of silica to add volume and shine. The addition of biotin promotes a healthy and consistent growth cycle and the combination of plant extracts and vitamins promotes hair growth, resilience, and visible strand thickness.” — Edie Horstman
FoliGROWTH Hair Growth Supplement
Packed with biotin, as well as vitamins D and E, the supplement has enough stellar ingredients to replace your general multivitamin while supporting thicker, stronger locks.
HUM Nutrition Hair Sweet Hair
A good gummy vitamin is always welcome, but HUM’s biotin-packed gels also happen to be the real deal (with thousands of five-star reviews to back it up).
Shedavi Hair Growth Vitamins
All natural and nutrient-packed, Shedavi collects botanicals from around the world to create a vitamin that supports longer, healthier, and fuller hair. Best of all: no chalky aftertaste.
Moon Juice SuperHair
Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K address many of the nutritional deficiencies that get in the way of healthy hair, while organic adaptogens (ashwagandha and ginseng), follicle protectors (saw palmetto and pumpkin seed), and micronutrients (from horsetail and kelp) support strands from the inside out.