Supplements for Shiny Hair, Glowy Skin, and Strong Nails—Do They Actually Work?

Here’s what you need to know.

By Caitlin Clark
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Anyone who’s dabbled in the art of dietary supplements knows an unfortunate truth: not all vitamins are created equal. There’s a lot of prettily packaged snake oil out there, which can drown out even the best hair skin and nails vitamins.

Fortunately, there are also thoughtful nutritionists in the world who can help us cut through the noise to find out what we really need. And though almost everyone could benefit from a daily multivitamin and probiotic, an extra boost of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D could be the thing that elevates your hair, skin, and nails to their glowiest, glossiest state.

Featured image by Belathée Photography.

Camille Styles Oaxaca_best hair skin and nails vitamins
Image by Michelle Nash

Ahead, nutritionist Georgia Thompson and naturopathic physician Dr. Trevor Cates, founder of The Spa Dr and author of Natural Beauty Reset, discuss the best way to find out exactly what vitamins your body really needs, how to tell if a supplement is truly effective, and their most recommended products for hair, skin, and nails.

Before we dig in though, it’s important to note that the key to healthy hair, skin, and nails should really begin with your diet.

“I find so many people look to supplements as quick fixes for all of their problems while they’re neglecting the basic tenets of health, including a diet of nutrient-dense, whole foods,” shares Thompson. “I’d encourage you to begin with these foundational building blocks first, and you’ll likely see an incredible improvement not just in the quality and strength of your hair, skin, and nails, but also in your health and overall well-being.”

Nitsa Citrine supplements_best hair skin and nails vitamins
Image by Claire Huntsberger

What makes a vitamin effective?

First and foremost, Thompson recommends working with a doctor to run tests and find out exactly what your body needs (i.e., what it’s deficient in).

But when it comes to buying vitamins, both Cates and Thompson agree: all supplements are not created equal. “There is little regulation on supplements, so it’s up to the consumer to do a bit of homework to find the best ones,” Dr. Cates adds.

tips for hunting down the best hair skin and nails vitamins

Reputation. Look for brands that have undergone extensive third-party testing. (Reputable brands will often include clinical trials on their site.)

Efficacy. Choose brands that are rich in high-quality ingredients (like omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and vitamins A, B, C, and E). This helps ensure your supplement is more bioavailable—able to be actually absorbed and used by the body.

Prepare to invest. “Unfortunately, many of the supplement brands you find on drug store shelves simply don’t contain the proper amount of active ingredient or ingredients listed, and often the quality of the ingredients is poor,” Thompson shares. “It’s worth investing more for a higher quality vitamin that actually works.”

One more thing to note: patience. “I find many people become discouraged when they don’t see immediate results, but it can often take months to experience a real difference, so be consistent,” Thompson adds.

Aishwarya Iyer breakfast_best hair skin and nails vitamins
Image by Michelle Nash

What ingredients support healthier hair, stronger nails, and clearer skin?

In addition to hair, skin, and nail heroes like zinc, vitamin A, vitamin C, collagen peptides, vitamin D3, probiotics, curcumin, omega 3s, and B vitamins (including B12, B6, folate, and thiamine), Dr. Cates shares two natural ingredients she loves for both internal and topical use: acerola cherry fruit extract and chlorella.

“Acerola cherry fruit extract is a rich source of vitamin C, putting foods commonly known to be high in vitamin C, like oranges and strawberries, to shame,” Dr. Cates shares.

“Meanwhile, chlorella extract is a freshwater algae that is known for its potential to purify and energize the skin. Chlorella plays a role in inhibiting the enzymes that break down collagen and elastin.”

Jacey Duprie_best hair skin and nails vitamins
Image by Kristen Kilpatrick

The Best Hair Skin and Nails Vitamins

Nutrafol Women’s & Men’s Hair Growth Supplement

“My husband has been actually taking this for about eight months now, and he has been a significant improvement in hair thickness, fullness, and growth. I personally appreciate that they take a whole-person approach to hair growth by targeting the root cause like stress and hormonal imbalances.” — Georgia Thompson

Vida Glow Natural Marine Collagen

Since launching with its hero Marine Collagen product in 2014, Vida Glow has become a cult-favorite in Australia and the UK, where it’s sold at Selfridges and Harrods. Now, the highly bioavailable (easily absorbed) product has finally cracked the U.S. market to give our hair, skin, and nails the effective boost they deserve.

Country Life Maxi-Hair Plus Skin & Nails

“This is a great, cost-effective option that provides a great blend of vitamins, minerals, extracts, and amino acids to support hair, skin, and nail strength and growth.” — Georgia Thompson

The Spa Dr. Skin, Hair & Nails Support

“This award-winning supplement is like a multivitamin for skin, hair, and nails.” — Dr. Trevor Cates

Pure Encapsulations Hair/Skin/Nails Ultra

“I have used and loved this brand for years and trust it for the quality and testing processes they use. This specific supplement is a handy one-and-done as it includes ingredients to support hair, skin, and nail health.” — Georgia Thompson

Act+Acre Plant Based Hair Capsules

A favorite of Camille Style’s in-house nutritionist Edie Horstman, this proprietary and clinically approved vegan formulation includes the key vitamins and minerals for hair growth. Horstman also loves that they’re committed to clean and unique ingredients, like horsetail extracts (which are rich sources of silica to add volume and shine).

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.

Shedavi Natural Hair Vitamins

Another favorite of Horstman’s (and Oprah’s!), these organic vitamins feature herbs packed with B vitamins, fatty acids, minerals, and protein-building nutrients.

Ora Organic Beyoutiful Hair, Skin, and Nails Supplement

Made with organic B vitamins (including biotin), organic algae, and one billion probiotics, this supplement is one of the most unique, plant-derived, and organic products available for hair, skin, and nails, according to Horstman.

OLLY Undeniable Beauty Gummy

For a hair, skin, and nails supplement that’s as nourishing as it is tasty, Olly’s offering packs a punch of vitamin C (a helpful collagen promoter).