I’ve had alopecia for over 20 years. And I’ve tried so many hair growth treatments, I’ve lost count! The only thing that’s really helped my hair loss was when I cut out inflammatory foods and took key supplements: to reduce inflammation, balance my hormones and address some nutritional deficiencies.
While I don’t think there’s a miracle pill to regrow hair, I fully believe in supporting your immune system, correcting the deficiencies or imbalances which so many of us have (especially women) and treating the ‘root cause’ of hair loss – not just the ’symptom’ of hair loss itself.
Unfortunately, the supplement industry is largely backed by big pharma companies out to prey on people’s vulnerability. You could spend a fortune (as I have, over the years!) trying every variant of every vitamin or mineral going. Supplements aren’t FDA approved as hair loss treatments, either.
BUT… in my experience, supplements really can reduce shedding, improve hair growth and help other issues like brain fog, headaches and menstrual issues. My advice would be to work with a licensed practitioner, to see what could be triggering your own hair loss (as we’re all different, so what works for me may not for you).
If you can’t afford that, you could try an all-encompassing hair growth supplement, which target the most common causes of hair thinning, include proven hair growth ingredients and work to improve your skin and hair health, from the inside out. Which is what I’ll cover in this post!
Emma’s ‘not a doctor’ disclaimer
Hi there, I’m an alopecian, I’m not a doctor! Any advice I give is based on my own research and personal experiences. This site is however reader-supported. When you buy through external links, I may earn a tiny affiliate commission. Learn more here.
Viviscal are a hair health industry leader, best known for the hair growth supplements they make for both men and women. They also make topical hair growth products with natural ingredients, including a shampoo, conditioner, exfoliating scrub and serum – which, like their supplements, are 100% drug-free.
Viviscal uses a patented AminoMar complex made from marine proteins like shark cartilage and mollusk powder, plus plenty of omega-3 fatty acids and some top other vitamins and minerals to reduce hair thinning and promote scalp health.
They work together to nourish each hair follicle and extend the anagen (growth phase) of the hair cycle – giving you a higher change of hair growth.
With the best results appearing after 3–6 months and, as one clinical trial showed, a “significant decrease in hair loss” after only 90 days, Viviscal hair supplements offer an exciting (and natural!) alternative to treating hair loss.
Viviscal has plenty of great natural ingredients to boost volume, reduce hair thinning and promote existing hair growth from hair follicles. You can also get a Pro and Extra Strength version – with the same ingredients, only a higher dosage. Viviscal has 8 active ingredients but these are my favorites:
Nutrafol is another drug-free hair supplement with clinically backed ingredients. It has more options though, as these hair growth supplements are targeted towards the various reasons that can lead to hair loss, and for different stages of life.
Nutrafol’s range includes: one supplement for men, one for women, and another hair growth pill for women in their first year postpartum. Their fourth supplement is for women experiencing peri or postmenopause, and the hormonal changes they incur.
Many of us are deficient in key vitamins or minerals that are needed to support healthy hair growth. Or maybe we eat well, but our body can’t absorb the nutrients from our food due to underlying gut problems or hormonal imbalances.
Nutrafol aims to address these specific issues while extending the anagen (growth) phase of the hair cycle and delaying the exogen phase, where your hair naturally falls out.
The best thing about Nutrafol is how personalized the treatment plan is. Based on the results of their Hair Wellness Quiz, you can pick hair supplements that address the root causes of your own thinning hair, support hair growth further with targeted immune system boosters and avail of ongoing support with naturopathic doctors, plus a free hair mineral analysis every 6 months when you choose a subscription.
Nutrafol has plenty of vitamins and minerals that naturally help your hair grow stronger and what’s more, help your body to absorb them more efficiently. This is great news for anyone with an autoimmune condition as often, we can’t aborb the nutrients we need from food alone. The ingredients that help to address these imbalances most are:
Both Viviscal and Nutrafol include clinically tested plant extracts, marine collagen and other great hair growth ingredients: such as zinc, iron, a Vitamin B complex (although Nutrafol contains a wider variety) and biotin.
Biotin has long been hailed for its hair growth properties – but note, scientific evidence on this is limited and it can mean side effects like nausea or cramping for those with a sensitivity.
I think Nutrafol has the edge when it comes to its ingredient list. First of all, it’s 100% drug-free and natural (Viviscal is also 100 drug-free, but not entirely natural as it contains some fillers and additives).
Secondly, not only does Nutrafol have a lot more vitamins and minerals, it contains proven DHT blockers, stress adaptogens and hormone balancers which target the main causes of thinning hair and hair loss. Plus, its ingredients differ depending on what supplement you choose (and what might be triggering your hair loss) so you’re more likely to get to the root cause.
Viviscal offers a more generalized approach for thicker hair, without the targeted boosters or the ongoing support. But some skeptics of Nutrafol would say they only adjust their ingredients list and offer more options to sell more hair growth supplements. So you might prefer a catch-all option that’s kinder to your wallet.
Another main difference between Viviscal and Nutrafol is that Nutrafol isn’t actually a supplement; it’s a nutraceutical. Plus, it’s mainly in pill form (apart from the serum and scalp exfoliator), while you can get Viviscal shampoo, conditioner, exfoliating scrub and serum as a more comprehensive hair care treatment plan. (Although I’d still recommend Revita as the best natural shampoo for supporting hair growth!)
Viviscal hair supplements are much cheaper than Nutrafol – plus, you only take 2 pills a day instead of 4, so a bottle will last you longer. If you choose an auto-ship option, you can get discounts on your order too. Nutrafol also offers auto-ship subscriptions but you don’t get those discounts when you buy in bulk. You can, however, get free hair mineral analysis and doctor consultations.
Ok, we’ve covered a lot here so let’s recap with the pros and cons of each hair growth brand.
Each brand has different hair growth supplements and topical treatments available so it can be hard to know where to start. I’ve outlined below the products I’d personally recommend for a few issues people might struggle with – but for a more comprehensive view, try Nutrafol’s hair wellness quiz.
Take 2 Viviscal supplements daily. They’re better value and you can probably still afford their shampoo and conditioner for a more targeted approach to treat hair shedding. Try Viviscal
Two options: You can take Nutrafol (whichever of the 4 supplements best matches your needs) plus one of the hair boosters available on their website. Or, you can take a proven hair growth supplement that clocks up amazing reviews for a third of the price (yep, you heard me!) Try Folexin
Any of the above supplements plus a scalp treatment, like Nutrafol’s exfoliating scalp mask or Viviscal’s scalp scrub can assist with healthy hair growth.
I’m a big fan of supporting your immune system to help skin, nails and hair health in general. Folexin supplements offer the most affordable way of doing this, and one of the most effective options, too!
You could – but why hedge your bets?! I’d recommend choosing the option that you feel you can afford and sticking to it for at least 3 months (although remember, Viviscal recommends a 6-month minimum for best results).
I can’t say for certain but in my opinion, Nutrafol offers a more personalized approach, with ongoing support so you’re more likely to find and treat the root cause.
You could further support hair growth with a gentle shampoo like Revita or Pura D’Or.
Both Viviscal and Nutrafol act as clinical proof that hair doesn’t need chemical-heavy treatments, with often negative side effects, in order to grow.
When comparing the two, Nutrafol has better ingredients, a more targeted approach and doctor support – so it would most likely be better for hair growth. Still, it’s A LOT more expensive and you need to take 4 pills a day. Viviscal is cheaper and you only need 2 pills a day, plus it contains many of the same ingredients.
There is that third option I mentioned, though – one that’s cheaper, is all-natural and contains proven hair growth ingredients. That option is Folexin. It’s so, SO much cheaper and has great deals and discounts when you buy a few bottles at once. Plenty of clinical studies have shown its effectiveness in terms of its ingredients and it comes without nasty side effects, too.
Ok, so maybe you haven’t heard of it like the other two – but probably because Nutrafol and Viviscal can spend millions on marketing (which, FYI, drives up their product price). Folexin has a very similar formula, without the giant pricetag. Meaning it largely relies on word of mouth, and that word of mouth is very positive indeed: check out my Folexin review here!
I hope this post has helped you see how effecive hair loss supplements can be as opposed to harsh topical options – and that I’ve helped you narrow down your choice in terms of Viviscal vs Nutrafol!
As always, feel free to share your comments and experiences below.
Love & hugs,
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Alopecian. Yoga Teacher. Copywriter. Here to share information, offer support and show people the adventures that can lie in hair loss. I’m proud to have alopecia and I want to help others embrace their baldness, too!