The Dark Side Of Hair Growth Supplements And Why You May Want To Reconsider Using Them

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Multiple supplementsEven though I prefer to give advice that applies to the majority of our readership, it’s difficult to talk about hair growth without pulling from one’s own experience and today I will get more personal than usual when I revisit the subject of hair growth supplements. I have written about them in the past here and here in very general terms.

Hair growth supplements sound perfect don’t they? You pop a pill daily with or without a meal and they tremendously increase your hair growth rate, some even claiming potential gains of an inch per month.

You combine your new supplementation with a decent hair regimen, cross your fingers and pray for BSL hair. You have to admit, the pull of hair growth aids is sometimes irresistible to us black women.

Until about 6 months ago my own experience with supplementing vitamins for hair growth was theoretical for the most part having never bothered with them. Hair grows anyway right?

When I was making my final push to achieve my waist length hair goal in November of last year, I decided that along with boot-camp protective styling, I would also try supplementation. After all, so many hair gurus and long haired youtubers admitted to taking supplements to enhance their growth efforts. It was definitely worth a try I thought.

In November 2012 I opted for the ever popular Fast Grow Ethnic Hair Growth Enhancer which I took religiously as described. Unfortunately it was unavailable when the time came to re-order so I switched to Hair Formula 37 in December 2012.

In the middle of November I started to notice a disturbing symptom. I developed involuntary muscle twitches. We all get muscle twitches from time to time which are perfectly natural and generally go away on their pretty quickly but this was very different from anything I’d ever had. The twitches would go away for a day or two but would always come back. They were particularly persistent in my bottom eyelids.

It wasn’t actually very noticeable to other people unless I specifically pointed out the area as it was happening (thank goodness), but it was something that I was constantly aware of and truthfully, it was beginning to frighten me. A google search of the symptoms brought up everything from ‘nothing to worry about’ to ‘a fatal muscle wasting disease’. Clearly not helpful.


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About Alma

Hi! I'm Alma Ruddock, a full time blogger. I stumbled on a hair care forum in 2008 frustrated with my breaking relaxed hair and the information that I found there changed the fate of my hair forever!. I started as a way to help both myself and other women of color achieve their dreams of long healthy hair. I have now achieved my goal length and I continue to bring new information about hair on both this website and my personal blog.

  • Carmella McCoy

    I stopped using them a year ago when biotin caused me to have nightmares

    • Cha-Tia Frazier

      I had been taking biotin and experiencing extremely vivid dreams! That’s why!

    • Carmella McCoy


  • Celeste Jackman

    Carmella McCoy thats scary.ive stopped taking biotin.i didnt get nightmares but only saw growth in my lashes.but im over the hype of hair will either stay this length or grow or i cut it.thats it

    • Carmella McCoy

      I know that’s right. I got growth everywhere,but im just gone gro it the old fashioned way. In twists

  • Yolandaa Hair

    Hi. I am still shocked (without judging ) when sum1 take pills for growing hair. But it is never too late to stop n u know the hair will grow maybe but the consequences will come soon if u r lucky will come soon or late or when old( don’t be surprised)
    Who say that we have to stretch curly hair to have the length,who say that long hair is only the one which is trendy?.
    I am going natural and if my can just do a right ponytail(to style quickly) that’s it.
    We have to be patient n run away any product s.thx

  • Malakah Angellia Gladston

    I’m still amazed at how many black women believe that they’re going to automatically turn into rapunzel just because they pop some “vitamins”. Your hair grows regardless of wether you take vitamins. People say they see 1 or 1 1/2 inch per month but has it ever occurred to anyone that that’s NORMAL growth even if they WEREN’T taking these vitamins?? I think It’s psychological, people WANT to believe that they work so they convinced them that they do. My hair has grown SIGNIFICANTLY with simply proper care and protective styles.

    • Michelle Davis

      Don’t agree I believe that extra do play a big part in the growth of the hair. I have seen it first hand in my daughter hair

  • Kendrick Danso Cliff

    Please admin, what is the name of that pills

  • Jamila Kelly

    I use that hairfinity and my hair has thickened considerably :3 over the past two, but I guess not everything is for everyone. I’m a way but sceptic and started to take them to see how worked.
    Also, kid you not. …this post reminded me to take them. Ty!

  • Ni-Ni Henderson

    Bout time something like this was posted. There are people sending up their bill money buying pills to achieve long and thick hair. Even though some of the things in those pills promote hair growth and thickness in many cases, you can over do it and mess up all of the progress.

  • Dasja Chante

    I take prenatal vitamins… we’ll see how those work out.

  • Starlan Hoke

    Who wrote this I have a jumping in my bottom lid now for 3 weeks thank for infor

  • Kelly Nechelle Mcgruder

    I read prenatal vitamins will make ur hair grow. I’m just taking black strap molasses and maybe a multi evryother day.

  • Wanda M Jenkins

    Starlan Hoke I had the same jumping so I stopped taking the supplements and the jumping has stopped as well also had headache

  • Bonnie Ashford

    Tamarra James not sure if you are still taking supplements but maybe they are causing the breakouts and/or headaches.

  • Shermeka Tubbs

    I’m a nurse, and from what I read she was taking too many things. Over supplementing. Everyone has different experiences. I used biotin for years, and now I only use hair finity. I haven’t had any of the above symptoms. The story was interesting, but I hope it doesn’t scare people. It’s ok to take ONE supplement not 4 at the same time, because it will create imbalance. If it disagrees with you, just stop taking it.

  • Devera Smith Robinson

    I take Biotin because it helps your metabolism, not to grow my hair. Many years ago my daughter’s hair began to break off after being colored and a dermatologist prescribed Biotin for her. While taking them she started losing weight and that’s when I began taking them but not consistently. For the past couple of months I’ve taken them consistently to aid in weight loss and yes, they do work for that. My hair has grown but I don’t attribute the growth to the Biotin though because I believe it would have grown anyway and I’m taking really good care of it as well.

    • Felicia Johnson

      devera what mg are you taking?

    • Devera Smith Robinson

      5,000 once a day. I drink a lot of ACV water daily too.

  • Lola Jackson


  • Tamika Clark

    I was taking msm and biotin and had to stop!! I was having some bad side effects!! Glad I’m not the only one that went through craziness lol my hair grows fast as it is, I had to stop putting so much stress on myself to grow my hair faster then it does on its own

  • Benita Ann Green

    A daily multivitamin and Biotin is all you need. She was taking too many things at one time

  • Michelle Williams

    I Take Natures Bounty Hair, Skin And Nails ..And So Far No Serious Side Effects, Maybe Some People Bodies Are Sensitive To Certain Nutrients In The Vitamin..Or Maybe She Was Just Using To Much At A Time…Ohh I Forgot To Say That The Natures Bounty Vitamin Has Made My Skin Absolutely Flawless!!!!

  • Zennedy Bibbs

    I take Biotin (hair & nails) and I don’t really have any acne or anything and im 14 soo lol my hair is growing and so are my nails.. and sometimes I may get a bad pimple but thats it.

  • Courtney Gray

    Well the pills work for me. And all the hype about the supplements obviously show they work. So the fuss is because they ain’t work for u

  • Vanessa Ryan

    Great article..I’ve always been skeptical of hair supplements but I am a big juicer and I attribute that to my hair growth and strength..natural vitamins from your veggies and so great for your body! Love it!

  • Rhauntia

    I also had the eye twitching problem. I thought I was the only one lol. But I still take vitamins just not as often I take them every other day and the twitching stopped. And I stopped taking as many also.

  • cherry

    I read this after searching for information on natural hair care as I have gone back natural. Anyway even though I may be very late I think it needs to be said if only to better advise someone after me. The problem is not supplements but lack of advice or knowledge. Sorry but you were ill advised and just went about taking pills. It is very important to listen to your body. When taking any drug whether natural or not please research or get medical advice. You were taking Niacin at a substantial dose and if you had sought medical guidance you would have known that it is normally prescribed with antihistamines. Any supplement has a risk of harm especially when taken without proper knowledge

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