Viviscal is one of the leading hair brands. They make supplements and topical products like shampoo which they claim will help you grow hair and reduce shedding.
In this article we’ll review the medical trials of Viviscal, as well as their product formulations, to determine if this brand is likely to be effective for hair growth.
Clinical Trial Results
Viviscal has funded several clinical studies of their products which is generally a sign of a high-quality brand. It shows that they take research seriously and want to produce a product that’s clinically-proven to work.
The first study tested whether Viviscal could promote hair growth in middle-aged men with thinning hair. The study was placebo-controlled and double-blinded, which is the gold standard for supplement research. It minimizes bias in outcomes.
After 180 days, study participants taking Viviscal increased total hair count by 8% while those taking a placebo pill had decreased hair count of 3%. Those taking Viviscal also saw increased hair density.
Overall we find these results quite impressive and suggestive that Viviscal may actually help mitigate the effects of male pattern baldness in some patients.
Viviscal has also funded studies of their supplements for women. One study from 2015 tested the effects of the supplement on women with thinning hair.
The study found that hair count increased to a statistically significant degree in the Viviscal subjects, while the placebo group showed no effect. The results of this study were even more impressive than the study on men, with terminal hair count increasing over 32% in only 90 days. Terminal hair is the thick, full-length hair that grows mostly on the head while vellus hair is smaller, thinner and often white or transparent in color.
The study on women also found that shedding decreased significantly.
A second study on Viviscal in women with self-assessed hair thinning showed more moderate results. Hair shedding was reduced in the group supplementing Viviscal, but terminal hair diameter was unchanged. This means that hair thickness was not improved.
This study was on younger women so it’s unsurprising that the results weren’t as impressive, as older women tend to have more issues with hair thinning and loss.
A third study on Viviscal for women found impressive results, with terminal hair count nearly doubling.
Overall there is more clinical data suggesting Viviscal is effective for hair growth in women than men, but there is proof in both cases. We find the research on Viviscal for hair growth in women with self-perceived hair thinning to be impressive.
It’s important to note that Viviscal funded all of these studies so there is some level of bias, but the studies were well-designed with placebo groups. Ultimately very few supplements will be studied independently by researchers, so studies funded by companies are about the best consumers can hope for.
We also want to point out that these studies were mostly conducted on groups of both genders with thinning hair, not documented pattern baldness. Pattern hair loss can be more challenging to naturally treat than thinning hair. We suggest Viviscal products are much more likely to be effective for people with thinning hair than for pattern baldness as diagnosed by a dermatologist or doctor.
That being said, we hope Viviscal publishes studies in the future testing whether their products are effective for male and female pattern baldness.
Formulation Review - Viviscal Hair Supplements
Viviscal uses nearly the exact same formulation in their supplements for men and women. The Supplement Facts panel for Viviscal for Women is shown above, but our comments also apply to Viviscal for Men.
The first section of the ingredients contains a blend of vitamins and minerals. While vitamin and mineral deficiencies can cause all sorts of biological problems including hair loss and thinning, we don’t see the point of a seemingly random blend.
The only ingredient in this section that’s individually proven to be effective for hair loss is biotin. This B vitamin has been shown in medical research to effectively resolve hair thinning issues due to underlying pathology, and its inclusion in formulations is part of why we recommended Prose hair products previously. Even in the case of biotin supplementation, we need more research to definitively determine whether it’s beneficial for healthy adults with no biotin deficiency.
What seems to make Viviscal effective is its trademarked marine complex called AminoMar Marine Complex, at a dosage of 450 milligrams (mg), along with horsetail extract which provides a naturally-occurring form of silica, and millet seed extract.
Strangely, Viviscal doesn’t publish much of any information on their website or in their clinical studies suggesting the actual biological mechanism of efficacy. That is, they don’t really explain why or how their supplement works.
450 mg is too low of a dose for the protein to have any significant effect, so we theorize that the micronutrients and other chemicals in one of these botanical ingredients must be effective for hair growth.
Viviscal Pro Review
Viviscal sells another hair supplement which is more expensive called Viviscal Pro. Based on the price and name, you’d assume it to be more effective than the standard Viviscal supplements. It’s only available in salons, spas and from doctors.
Based on the ingredients, we believe this product is no more likely to be effective than regular Viviscal. This seems to be a pure branding play. It’s also notable that original Viviscal is the formulation studied in the medical trials, and this product doesn’t appear to have been studied.
Viviscal Pro has a vitamin and mineral blend with fewer ingredients, and a lower biotin dose.
The marine complex in this product has a 25 mg higher dose, which should be negligible.
Formulation Review - Viviscal Shampoo & Conditioner
Viviscal makes not only supplements but also personal care products like shampoo and conditioner.
Their shampoo does contain some ingredients which should be effective for improving hair quality such as keratin and biotin, but we don’t recommend it due to the inclusion of fragrance and preservative sodium benzoate. It’s established in medical literature that cosmetic exposure to fragrance is potentially harmful to human health, and this broad descriptor doesn’t require manufacturers to list exactly what chemicals are used in the fragrance, so it’s best avoided altogether.
Viviscal’s conditioner has the exact same effective ingredients and concerning ingredients, so we don’t recommend it either.
We find their supplements for hair to be safer than their topical products for hair.
Nutrafol Vs. Viviscal
Consumers often ask whether Nutrafol or Viviscal is a better option, given that we published a Nutrafol review which was favorable.
We believe that Vivscal is a better option for men, because they have published clinical research proving their supplement can improve hair growth in men, while Nutrafol hasn’t.
For women, we would recommend Viviscal over Nutrafol. Both companies have published impressive clinical research on their supplements for women, and even though Viviscal has published more research, we believe Nutrafol’s formulation is superior and contains more individual ingredients which are proven to be effective for hair growth and hair quality improvement.
Viviscal Side Effects
Viviscal supplements are very safe. None of the four medical trials reported any adverse effects compared with placebo, nor would we expect there to be any harmful side effects based on the formulation.
Many prescription hair treatments contain rare but serious sexual side effects, so Viviscal is clearly superior in this regard.
We believe that their personal care products like shampoo and conditioner may cause minor side effects like local irritation or discomfort due to the inclusion of fragrance, which is why we don’t recommend these products.