Hair ties are my security blanket. Whether I go out with girlfriends for dinner or make my way to work, I never leave the house without one on my wrist, in my bag or in my hair. Not that I make ponytails look chic in any way, but I just hate the look of my hair down.
My hair is naturally frizzy and it gets these uneven waves of curly roots and limp ends, so regularly blowdrying and straightening my hair has been a crucial part of my hair care/styling routine for the past decade. But without the additional time to add volumizing sprays, dry shampoo and serums to my hair, wearing it down reveals the years worth of heat damage. It’s fine, its thin and the older I get, the more hair I find clogging up my shower drain and trapped within the teeth of my brushes and combs.
While I typically space out my shampoo days (every two or three days) to avoid excessive damage from water, sulphates and heat damage, for the past month, I’ve been washing my hair every other day with one biotin-infused shampoo that claims to add volumes to my hair.
Shop it: $7 (originally $9), Amazon
But the heck is biotin and what does it do?
Often associated with hair and nail restoration, biotin is actually just a more sophisticated term for water-soluble B vitamin, which quickly dissolves in water after entering the body. Formerly known as vitamin B7 and vitamin H, it helps the body metabolize proteins and process glucose to convert it to energy.
OGX’s Thick & Full Biotin & Collagen promises to thicken and texturize any hair type with just one use.
“This powerful formula helps volumize even the skinniest strands into fuller and more abundant looking locks,” reads the description.
But because I haven’t seen any results yet, I reached out to a dermatologist to figure out if biotin shampoos work when it comes to fine and thinning hair.
“There isn't a shampoo on the market that reliably grows hair or stops hair loss. There are some which are touted to block DHT (dihydrotestosterone), however, their absorption into the hair follicle apparatus to affect hair growth patterns is questionable at best,” explains Renée A. Beach of Bay Dermatology Centre and Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto.
Due to the mix of genetics and other hormonal activity, avoiding hair loss at the root (literally) can be a tricky battle.
“Unfortunately biotin is not a helper or effective therapy in hair loss. But make sure you have sufficient iron, B12, zinc and a regular thyroid are all important in preserving healthy hair,” Beach suggests. “To preserve the hair shaft practice gentle styling like avoiding heat with styling, getting regular trims, avoid.styles that pull firmly on hair strands and if dyeing the hair, go about 1-2 shades darker than your natural hair colour”
While there continues to be a lack of scientific evidence that backs up superpower claims that biotin shampoos actually works for thinning hair, there’s one shampoo on the market that’s been known to effectively reverse this major hair issue.
Shop it: $13, Amazon
Claiming to revitalize hair at the follicle with biotin to strengthen and fortify weak and fragile strands, Biotin Shampoo for Men & Women has racked up more than 2,000 five-star reviews.
“Impressive results in just 13 days. The top of my head was pretty much going bald. It was to the point it was just noticeable the thinning on top of my head. I purchased this product based o all of the positive feedback it had...All I have to say is that this bottle is worth the money.” says one reviewer.
“I was experiencing extreme hair loss, when I moved to Seoul, South Korea’s due to the pollution. I read the reviews on this product, and thought, “Why not?” I used it daily for eight months not thinking much about it, then I took a side-by-side. This shampoo works!,” says another.
Just like OGX’s shampoo, this one is formulated with a vitamin-rich complex of biotin to strengthen strands and washes away dirt, oil and follicle-clogging impurities to create the clean environment for growing hair.
Beach says washing your hair two to three times a week (once a week for afro hair) with sulphate-free shampoo will do the same.
“There's a saying ‘treat your hair like a silk scarf,” she says. “Meaning be delicate and don't harm your hair day to day with the blow dryer, the ceramic straightener or a lack of scalp shampooing.”
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