This Supplement Is the *Only* Thing That Helped My Thinning Hair

I hop out of the shower. I brush through my long, thick hair with a paddle brush, then use my fingers to quickly run some shine serum through my strands before letting it air-dry. This is because a.) I can’t be bothered with further styling and b.) my voluminous, silky hair honestly looks better when left untouched.

Can you guess how much of that is true? I’ll give you a hint: Only the part about me not styling my hair because I’m lazy.

Sadly, if my life were a hair commercial, it would be less Pantene and more Hair Club for Men…for a woman. My hair has always been kind of an afterthought, and that’s largely because I’ve never been particularly proud of it. Growing up, I played a lot of sports, and as a result, my hair was often pulled into a tight braid at the tippy-top of my head.

Cut to post-grad me. With a new, grown-up job and a desire to look older (oh, 21-year-olds), I decided to start wearing my hair down. The problem was, after years of wearing it in tight ponytails (plus what was probably a combo of genetics and other factors), my hair was…scarce. It was also falling out in what seemed like massive clumps every time I showered. I didn’t feel comfortable enough to wear it down, so I stuck to messy buns and an “I’m trying to make it seem like I’m too effortless to care about my hair” attitude. But the reality? I didn’t just dislike my hair. I hated it.

I quickly became fed up with the vaguely spherical box I’d stuffed my hair into, and so began my journey for the fuller, thicker hair of my dreams. I researched methods that were some combination of effective, fast-acting and—again, I was 22 at this point—cheap. First up? Adding hair-healthy foods into my diet (think almonds, spinach, Greek yogurt, etc.). When that didn’t seem to do anything, I decided to dip my toe into vitamins, and started taking fish oil and biotin every day. I wasn’t thrilled by the fishy taste of the former, but I would’ve gladly put up with it if it did anything for my limp hair. Alas, it didn’t.

My third course of action—which I had been avoiding because of its cost—was Viviscal Advanced Hair Health Supplements.

I’d read about Viviscal dozens of times, usually in interviews with models who praised its ability to keep their hair—which was constantly being tugged at and styled—in good condition. I bit the bullet and ordered my first month supply (60 supplements: you take one in the morning and one at night). That was in October of 2015. A little more than three years later, I’m still hooked. I swear I’m not being dramatic when I say that this stuff changed my hair completely.

Like me, many women will experience some form of hair loss at one point or another. It can be caused by everything from stress, hormonal changes (specifically post-pregnancy and menopause) and overstyling to, sadly, genetics.

With the goal of nourishing hair from within, Viviscal contains a combination of biotin, zinc, vitamin C, horsetail extract, iron and an exclusive marine complex called AminoMar. (Yes, that means it’s off-limits if you’re vegan or vegetarian.) According to Viviscal, this cocktail of vitamins and supplements is meant to strengthen and promote the growth of existing hair that has either slowed or stopped growing.

When I first read about how it works, the whole process seemed a little over simplistic and idealistic (don’t worry, that’s just the dumbed-down explanation; Viviscal has a more robust one on its site). But, as I mentioned, I was so desperate for fuller hair that I threw caution to the wind and tried it. If you’re in the same boat, know that I’m obsessed, but that there are two things you have to realize: Viviscal is neither a cheap fix nor a quick fix.

At $40 to $50 for a one-month supply, it’s pricey. (You can occasionally find deals on Amazon—that’s what I do.) You also have to be patient. Many of the negative reviews I read were written by women who stopped using the product after a month or two. Many of the positive reviews stressed the importance of sticking with it for longer. Personally, I found that after two months, I was losing less hair in the shower. Still, I didn’t notice any change in fullness until around the five-month mark. It’s a long time to wait to see results, but once I started noticing a difference, it made the waiting worth it. My hair doesn’t grow any faster than it used to, but I can absolutely feel a difference in its overall fullness. The base of my ponytail, for example, is probably twice as thick as it was before I started taking Viviscal.

Thankfully, I haven’t experienced any side effects, but some women do. Some reviewers note that their hair gets greasy faster than it used to, while others report that all of their body hair grows faster, too. Still, if you’re worried about thinning hair and are able to put in the time and money, I highly (highly) recommend trying Viviscal out.

Have I been cast in a shampoo commercial yet? Nope. Will I ever be cast in a shampoo commercial? Also nope. Viviscal isn’t magic. It’s not going to give you Blake Lively hair, but—at least in my experience—it will solve an embarrassing problem while giving you the confidence to take the damn ponytail out every once in a while.  

Buy it ($40 for a month-long supply)

RELATED: 9 Hairstyles That Make Thin Hair Look Insanely Thick

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