We asked a hair loss expert for the answer.

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Browse the shelves of any major beauty retailer or check out the products at your favorite hair salon, and you're bound to spot biotin-infused shampoo. These formulas have taken the hair care world by storm and promise to deliver stronger, shinier, and fuller strands with every wash. But like many hair-growth boosting formulations, biotin-infused shampoos have been met with some skepticism and questions. What exactly is biotin and how does it work? What's more, is there any truth to the claims that biotin-infused shampoo can actually encourage hair growth? To learn more about this trendy ingredient, and its role in shampoo, we tapped an expert for his insight.

What is biotin?

Biotin, also known as B7, is a water-soluble B complex vitamin, explains board-certified facial plastic and hair surgeon, Dr. Gary Linkov. "Biotin is found in many of the foods we eat (such as meat, fish, and eggs) and in supplements and multivitamins. It is involved in the body's metabolism, cell signaling, and gene regulation." Dr. Linkov also notes that biotin improves the body's keratin infrastructure, which can promote healthy hair, skin, and nails. For this reason, biotin is commonly used in many beauty supplements.

woman long hair blowing outdoors
Credit: Galina Zhigalova / Getty Images

What are the benefits of biotin-infused shampoo?

So, we know the benefits of taking biotin orally, but what about its topical application? Biotin-infused shampoos work to strengthen follicles, while adding thickness and volume to your strands; soft and glossy ends are other benefits. Formulas touting this buzzed-about ingredient also claim to improve scalp circulation for long and healthy hair.

Does biotin-infused shampoo help hair grow?

While regularly using a biotin-infused shampoo, like Oribe's Gold Lust Repair & Restore formula (from $17, nordstrom.com), can improve the overall state of your hair, according to Dr. Linkov, they won't actually help hair grow. "These shampoos can give more volume and texture, but they will not grow new hairs, or affect hairs at the follicular level. Even oral biotin has modest effects on growth." It's also important to note that since shampoo is only left on the scalp for a short period of time, it won't be properly absorbed by the skin. "Topical biotin shampoos lack the absorption required to create a systemic effect," adds Dr. Linkov. So, while biotin-infused shampoos may give you the extra volume and bounce you're hoping for, they aren't effective in treating those who suffer from hair loss.

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