Close up of attractive woman

Beauty is within

We all want glossy hair, glowing skin and glamorous nails, and the answer is to tackle the problem from the inside out.

Medical herbalist Gabriella Clarke shares her pick of the supplements to help bring back the glow.


A member of the B vitamin complex, biotin is water-soluble meaning your body can’t store it, which therefore increases the risk of deficiency.

It may help solve brittle nail problems, restore hair colour and even thicken hair. A Californian study[1] confirmed that oral biotin supplements effectively supported significant hair growth in women with temporary hair thinning. The study also showed that hair became shinier owing to an increased ability to retain moisture.

Good sources of biotin include nuts, egg yolks, sardines and mushrooms.


Found naturally in the body, silica helps maintain the strength of connective tissue, which includes hair, skin and nails. It is used by the body to form collagen which can help reduce wrinkles. Silica is especially useful for strengthening hair and brittle nails that are weak and prone to splitting. Horsetail and Bamboo are among the richest sources and are popular ingredients in good quality silica supplements.


A common ingredient in beauty supplements, zinc is thought to help strengthen slow growing nails that are split and discoloured. It can also be used to treat acne. Oysters are the richest source of zinc, which is also found in good amounts in pumpkin seeds. Don’t take zinc supplements on an empty stomach though, as it can cause nausea and sickness.


Iron deficiency anaemia, which can cause hair loss and the nail beds to be thin and concave with raised edges, is common, especially in women of childbearing age and those who have recently given birth. Iron supplements can help reverse these problems but poor quality ones can cause constipation so always go for something called a ‘food state’ supplement. Try taking iron supplements with vitamin C, to boost absorption.


[1] .A Glynis. A Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study Evaluating the   Efficacy of an Oral Supplement in Women with Self-perceived Thinning Hair. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3509882