Viviscal for Hair Growth: How It Works, Pros & Cons, Alternative

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There are plenty of products out there that claim to reduce or even reverse hair loss, but many of them do little to actually stimulate new hair growth.

One of the most popular options on the market is Viviscal, a hair growth product and supplement brand.

If you’ve ever Googled solutions for thinning hair, chances are you’ve come across this product before.

It’s even been mentioned by the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Cate Blanchett, and Gwyneth Paltrow.

We’ve done some in-depth research to find out how Viviscal products work and what type of results you can realistically expect.

What is Viviscal? 

Viviscal is a hair health brand that offers a variety of products, including shampoo, serum, and their star product: hair growth supplements.

Viviscal supplements promise to improve the appearance and thickness of hair that’s prone to excessive shedding or breakage by protecting the hair and stimulating new growth.

The main active ingredients in Viviscal hair growth supplements are:

  • horsetail extract
  • silica
  • biotin
  • vitamin C
  • iron
  • niacin
  • zinc
  • calcium
  • marine collagen

According to their website, Viviscal conforms to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements, though they are not FDA-approved.

How it works

A small 2012 study showed that Viviscal does have a tangible effect on female hair growth.

Over 180 days, women with thinning hair were given either Viviscal Maximum Strength or a placebo twice a day. The study found that those who were given Viviscal showed significant growth along with hair shine and skin smoothness.

“The oral supplement assessed in this study safely and effectively promotes significant hair growth in women with temporary hair thinning,” the study concluded.

Viviscal contains a range of ingredients known to support normal hair health. Some of the ingredients are also helpful for people with hair loss due to a specific deficiency.

According to the 2012 study, the main active ingredient that contributed to hair regrowth was the Viviscal AminoMar C extract, which contains shark cartilage and fish oil.

The study noted that the other active ingredients in Viviscal, while helpful for reducing hair loss, are not known to actively promote new growth unless hair loss was due to a specific nutrient deficiency.

Let’s take a look at the supplement’s active ingredients in a little more detail:

  • AminoMar C. Viviscal’s claim to fame is their unique AminoMar C marine complex blend, which combines shark cartilage and mollusk powder.
  • Biotin (Vitamin B7). Biotin is a common ingredient in hair growth products, as it’s a natural protein that helps maintain normal hair health in humans.
  • Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron and contributes to scalp health.
  • Iron. Iron is a crucial element in cell repair and growth, including hair growth. Iron deficiency is a common cause of excessive hair loss.
  • Niacin. Niacin has been shown to increase hair density in people with alopecia.
  • Zinc. Zinc contributes to normal hair health. A zinc deficiency is another common cause of thinning hair.
  • Calcium. Calcium is a mineral that contributes to normal hair growth.

Do experts recommend it?

We spoke to several healthcare professionals to get their take on this product.

Greta Yadav, MD, dermatologist and medical director at Skin Science Dermatology, explains that Viviscal’s studies show that the product can be useful, but that more research would be required to find out whether or not the product is really exceptional.

“There is some evidence for it working, but the evidence is hardly robust, and I would say that this isn’t exactly a game-changer when it comes to hair loss and finding a meaningful way to decrease hair shedding for women and men,” she says.

In other words, it’s not guaranteed to work. Still, unless you have any allergies to seafood, it’s unlikely to do any harm.

Giulia Guerrini, lead pharmacist at digital pharmacy Medino, says that Viviscal is a good option, but only for certain people.

“This supplement looks like a good option if your hair loss is thought to be caused by iron, biotin, and zinc deficiency,” she says. “It contains iron in the form of ferrous fumarate, which is gentler on the stomach, but still provides a good amount of iron.”

On top of that, Guerrini notes that the vitamin C in Viviscal will help increase the absorption of iron.


Don’t take Viviscal if you have a shellfish allergy, as it contains both shark cartilage and mollusk powder.


Viviscal typically costs between $30 and $50 for a pack of 60 tablets, which lasts 60 days.

Frequently asked questions 

Is Viviscal FDA-approved?

As noted on their website, Viviscal isn’t eligible for FDA approval because it’s not a drug.

Nevertheless, the brand follows FDA-approved manufacturing processes.

Does Viviscal cause hair growth on the face?

Some may be concerned that Viviscal will promote hair growth on unwanted areas of the body in addition to the head.

According to Viviscal’s website, the product promotes your normal hair growth cycle. Unless you’ve noticed excessive hair loss in other areas of the body, you’re unlikely to experience additional growth anywhere but your head.

Does Viviscal have any side effects?

According to Viviscal’s clinical trials, there are no adverse side effects to the supplement.

How long before you see results from Viviscal?

Viviscal claims that results should be visible within 3 to 6 months.


Based on the clinical study and customer reviews alone, it seems that Viviscal does work for a lot of women.

However, the product isn’t a surefire way to regrow thinning hair. For some people, the only result may be extra shine.

We recommend trying this supplement as long as you do not have fish intolerances. If your hair loss is significant, it’s best to check with a doctor about the most effective options for you.

Meg Walters is a writer and actor from London. She is interested in exploring topics such as fitness, meditation, and healthy lifestyles in her writing. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, yoga, and the occasional glass of wine.

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