Do Collagen Supplements Actually Work?
We tested ingestible beauty powders, so you don’t have to.FEB 24, 2021 11:39PMBY ELLE TEAM (ELLE MAGAZINE)
Who hasn’t listened to a juice cleanse addict attest to how “glowy” her skin looks since she liquefied her diet? But juice cleanses are junior varsity wellness torture. ADVERTISINGRecently, health and beauty brands have upped the ante by creating super-charged beauty elixirs like liquid collagen, activated charcoal lemonade, clay shots, and now, ingestible powders designed to make you better looking.Think of collagen powders as the Tang of skin care—mix them into water and voila!—glowy skin, no chewing needed. Featuring concentrated ingredients that promise everything from firmer skin to renewed vitality, Moon Juice’s ayurvedic-inspired “dusts” and WelleCo’s green ingredient-packed Super Elixir have been championed by wellness poster girls like Gwyneth Paltrow and Elle Macpherson respectively.Experts are sceptical about the efficacy of said powders, but not completely dismissive. “Some powders contain high doses of nutrients, antioxidants, and probiotics,” says Jessica Weiser, MD a dermatologist at the New York Dermatology Group. “I would prefer to have my patients ingest these important components from natural sources and fresh food as opposed to powder or other supplements.” Dana James, a triple board certified nutritionist (who, full disclosure, offers her own version of a beauty powder) and functional medicine specialist, agrees. “The best option is to have a fresh green juice versus a powdered form. However, if that’s unavailable to you, then the powder form could be a good option,” she says.The scariest thing about these products to me was the potential taste. Here, a full breakdown on what each one tastes like, what the supposed benefits are, and the experts’ thoughts.
MOON JUICE BEAUTY DUST
Ingredients: Pearl powder, goji, schisandra, rehmannia.Supposed Benefits: Using avurvedic principles and ingredients, the dust is designed to, “calm the nerves, increase collagen production, firm tissue, and fortify hair, skin, and nails.”Expert Opinion:Gwyneth Paltrow has endorsed Moon Juiceon Goop. James cites research on schisandra showing that it is an adaptogen that can stabilise the stress response and that it also has antioxidant and other physiologic benefits.Taste: With a light earthy flavour, this could pass for iced tea with a hint of sweetness. It didn’t dissolve seamlessly in cold water, though, and a thick sludge accumulated at the bottom of my glass.Rating: 7/10US$52/25 servings.
ISAGENIX Collagen Elixir – AVAILABLE IN THE A+C ONLINE STORE!
Ingredients: Synchronised marine collagen (5g per serve), vitamin C, biotin, zinc, goji, aloe vera, acerola berry, chamomile. Supposed Benefits: “Isagenix Collagen Elixir can give you a boost of collagen which naturally declines as we age and helps nourish your skin from within to keep you radiantly beautiful.”Expert Opinion:Studies have shown that consuming marine collagen can increase collagen density by almost 30 per cent, resulting in firmer, more hydrated skin. Similarly, wrinkles and texture were also reduced, by 14.4 per cent and 16 per cent respectively, over four weeks.Taste: This collagen supplement has a delightful superfruit flavour, thanks to its key botanical ingredients.Rating: 9/10AU$49.99/10 servings.Brought to you by Isagenix.
THE SUPER ELIXIR
Ingredients: 45 ingredients including wheatgrass, goji berry, lactobacillus, spirulina, grapeseed extract, milk thistle extract, zinc, biotin, and many others.Supposed Benefits: This Elle Macpherson-approved “whole food elixir” is designed to “boost your nutritional profile and keep your body within a desired alkaline range.”Expert Opinion: “I can’t recommend things with a million ingredients,” says Valori Treloar, MD, a dermatologist and certified nutrition specialist who practices integrative dermatology. “The more you add, you’re increasing the risk that someone will have problems [with an ingredient] as a gut irritant or as an allergen or intolerance.” Also, experts offer mixed reviews on the alkaline diet.Taste: When mixed in water, this pond water-coloured drink boasts a surprisingly pleasant flavour. I tasted mostly lemon with some green undertones. However, it didn’t dissolve well in water.Rating: 6/10.AU$85/300g.
BEAUTY CHEF GLOW INNER BEAUTY POWDER
Ingredients: Chickpeas, lentils and other beans; linseeds, maqui berry, chia seeds, green tea powder, ginger turmeric, quinoa, and more “fermented foods and probiotics.”Supposed Benefits: “Nourishes and enhances skin from the inside.”Expert Opinion: There is definitely evidence that probiotics can be good for the skin. But both Treloar and Weiser recommend never using any of these products as a meal replacement. “Ultimately I believe that eating a well-balanced whole food diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruit, protein, healthy fats, whole grains, and of course lots of water,” Dr. Weiser says.Taste: It looks and smells like grape juice. It was a bit sweet at first, but ultimately delicious. It has a slight aftertaste of moss, but otherwise it was the best-tasting of the bunch.Rating: 9/10AU$59.95/150g
SPARKLE COLLAGEN PEPTIDE SUPPLEMENT
Ingredients: Collagen, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid.Supposed Benefits: A clinical study showed a 7-15% increase in skin elasticity after using the oral collagen contained in this powder.Expert Opinion: James is sceptical about the benefits of ingestible collagen. When you digest protein, which is what collagen is, it gets broken down into amino acids. “It’s really at the discretion of the body how [the amino acids] will be used,” James says. So if your body needs them for more crucial functions, such as making neurotransmitters or rebuilding muscle, your face may not show results.Taste: When mixed in water, it looks like cloudy lemonade. It has an artificial sweetener meets citrus taste that’s tart, like Crystal Light. Overall, it was palatable, though it would taste better in juice or a smoothie. Or mixed with gin and lime juice and made into a gimlet.Rating: 5/10AU$28.50/30 day supply
PERRICONE MD SUPER BERRY WITH ACAI DIETARY SUPPLEMENT POWDER
Ingredients: Berry extracts which provide anthocyanins, ellagic acid, polysaccharides, and quinic acid.Supposed Benefits: According to the company, this product provides “antioxidant protection to help defer the visible signs of aging.”Expert Opinion: Treloar is firmly on #TeamWholeFood. “Have a bowl of mixed berries instead!” she recommends. “It’s not just the polyphenols [and antioxidants] that are beneficial. A lot of the benefit we get is from the non-digestible fibres and their effect on gut flora, which can be pretty profound.” According to Weiser, “Vitamin C is known to be absorbed from dietary supplements to a certain extent.”Taste: It mixed well in cold water, and turned the colour of beet juice. The sweet, fruity taste (thank you, Stevia) was almost too sweet. It reminded me of Gatorade, but I bet it would be delicious as a popsicle or blended into a smoothie.Rating: 6/10AU$75/30-day supply
BEAUTY SCOOP NUTRITIONAL BEAUTY SUPPLEMENT
Ingredients: Protein (from whey and soy), magnesium, collagen, various vitamins, zinc oxide, and other supplements.Supposed Benefits: The company claims that this powder has proven benefits on skin, hair, and nails. They have studies to back up their claims.Expert Opinion: It’s not that different from a lot of protein powder supplements out there. James points out that collagen is usually derived from animals like cows and pigs, so if you’re a vegetarian, be sure to check the label.Taste: Do NOT drink this plain. I tried it in water and it tasted like a pulverized Nilla wafer mixed with plaster dust. So I mixed a half scoop in with a Kusmi Chai tea. It was a bit sludgy and didn’t dissolve easily. Add it to a vanilla milkshake and call it a day.Rating: 1/10(Beauty Scoop Nutritional Beauty Supplement is not currently shipping to Australia)US$70/one-month supply