Beauty supplements: You either love ‘em or you think they’re total BS. Or, if you’re like me, a little bit of both. On one hand, I’m very into the idea of ingestible beauty. Your skin and hair need certain nutrients in order to thrive, and supplements are an easy way to get them. On the other, I know that plenty of pills and potions are made up of marketing fluff, and it’s tough to find a professional who believes in the power of an all-natural smoothie powder. Maybe that’s why the best new 2019 beauty supplement brands — including Rae, Wholy Dose, and Sundaily — seem to incorporate the same key component: science.
“Not all supplements are created equally, and you want to make sure you’re putting something into your body that has true benefits for your health and wellness with a proven safety profile,” Dr. Amanda Doyle, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and Lycored Brand Ambassador, tells The Zoe Report. She does think it’s a good idea to incorporate some sort of beauty-focused vitamin into your routine, though. “The right supplement can absolutely give the skin a glow from the inside out,” she says.
Her favorite skin-healthy nutrient is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory lycopene, found in natural tomato extract (or these Lyma capsules) — but somewhat surprisingly, Dr. Doyle is also a fan of ingestible collagen. “Many believe that oral collagen likely does not reach the skin in any appreciable way,” she says. “That being said, studies have used collagen tripeptide with notable improvement in skin elasticity and hydration.” She suggests looking for hydrolyzed collagen or a clinically-proven formula for best results.
“It’s highly important that when choosing a skincare supplement, you do your homework,” Dr. Doyle says. But don't stress — I’ll let you copy mine. Ahead, the best beauty supplements of 2019, all backed by research and packed with glow-giving goodness.
"As I started my own wellness journey, I found one of two things: First, nothing exists in the market for women looking for supplements at a price I was willing to pay — everything was really expensive,” Angie Tebbe, the co-founder of just-launched women’s wellness brand Rae, tells TZR. “Secondly, the supplements that were affordable were either not made for women or were gummies and full of sugar.” She didn’t love either of those options, so she created her own vitamins. “At $14.99 each, Rae is accessible to all women and is vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free and natural, with no added sugar or harmful fillers.”
The co-founder says the wellness brand approaches formulation “holistically, with both science and nature in mind.” Its beauty-specific offerings feature ingredients that support overall wellness — because “when you’re strong and thriving, you shine from the inside out,” Tebbe says. But there’s also “ingestible hyaluronic acid, biotin to promote healthy skin and hair growth, vitamins C and E, licorice root, and aloe vera to help promote and jumpstart collagen production in your body.”
New brand Wholy Dose has one goal: To convince you that collagen supplements can and do work. “Clinical studies have been conducted on our collagen that show it is indeed efficacious and easily absorbed by the body,” Gina Holzer, the company's founder, tells The Zoe Report. “As shown in studies, when taken consistently, our collagen helps smooth fine lines, keep skin hydrated and plumped, strengthen hair and nail growth, and improve digestion, bone, muscle, and joint health in as little as four to eight weeks.”
So what separates Wholy Dose’s collagen from the rest? The formulation. “All Wholy Dose products have a base blend of collagen, biotin, and horsetail,” Holzer explains. “Studies have found that results in hair and nails can be optimized when collagen and biotin" — a B vitamin that strengthens hair and nails — "are taken together.” Horsetail, while less common, is an herb that’s loved by holistic nutritionists for its high silica content. “Our bodies naturally produce silica, but this declines with age, similarly to collagen,” the founder explains. “Horsetail can aid with collagen production and has the ability to smooth skin, aid with skin issues such as eczema and rosacea, reduce redness of skin, smooth out fine lines, strengthen hair growth, and make hair shinier.” All you have to do is stir a scoop into your morning latte.
So, gummy vitamins aren’t the best for you — they’re typically made of gelatin and include added sugar for taste. Dr. Emilia Javorsky, MD, MPH, a dermatology researcher at Harvard Medical School, wanted the ease and convenience of a gummy without the questionable ingredients… and thus, Sundaily was born. “Instead of the gelatin, which is usually created from boiling the bones and hides of cows and pigs, Sundaily uses pectin, created from fermented discards of apple and orange skins, making the formulas vegan,” a representative for clean retailer Credo tells TZR in a press release.
In addition to the vegan base, Sundaily vitamins include only one or two active ingredients each, like polypodium (a plant-based antioxidant sourced from Central and South America), astaxanthin (a natural source of collagen-boosting vitamin C), and vitamin D. “Backed by decades of skin research, [the gummies] boost your skin’s natural ability to fight free radical damage and resist the effects of UV light, smog, and stress on your skin,” the Credo rep says.
“As a clinical nutritionist, I understand the importance of using the best quality ingredients that I can find,” Jessica Sepel, the nutritionist behind JSHealth Vitamins, tells The Zoe Report. “This vitamin brand took two years to create and has undergone rigorous testing by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), which is part of the Australian Government’s Department of Health.” Unlike the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. — which barely regulates supplements — Australia’s TGA is “very stringent” about the claims vitamin companies can make. “Our customers can be assured that our products and claims are backed by science,” Sepel says.
The brand’s Skin + Digestion Vitamins rely on vitamin B2 and vitamin C to accelerate wound healing (AKA pimple healing) and collagen production; zinc to support gut health and soothe inflammation, burdock root to “relieve minor skin eruptions,” and turmeric to aid digestion. As Sepel says (and science confirms), “A poorly functioning gut can lead to blemishes, pimples, acne, and other common skin conditions. It was essential that our skin vitamin was able to assist with digestion.”
Superstar by MIJA Naturals is maybe the best-smelling and best-tasting smoothie mix-in I’ve ever tried; and it’s also super-effective, too. “Superstar is developed by a registered dietitian nutritionist, Sarah Koszyk, MA, RDN, a licensed expert in food and nutrition,” the brand tells TZR in an email. “She developed Superstar over years of working with clients who served as data points to determine common dietary deficiencies as a result of the modern day lifestyle.”
Every ingredient inside is considered a “superfood,” — hence the name — from the ceremonial-grade matcha (“It acts as the base of the formula and provides the motherload of antioxidants and phytonutrients, the scientifically backed compounds that promote long life,” Koszyk says) to the moringa leaf (“It has a multitude of amazing benefits from reducing inflammation to improve gut health and controlling blood sugars,” she notes.) While it’s not specifically billed as a beauty supplement, all the key ingredients — the matcha tea, the dried moringa leaf, and more — have complexion-clearing benefits, too.
The next time you’re browsing Walmart.com for affordable beauty buys, check out the supplement section. There, you’ll spy just-launched brand Glow Habit and its four vegan gummy vitamins: Good Skin Habit, Happy Hair Habit, Sleep Well Habit, and Probiotic Habit. The line was developed with a certified nutritionist and features “research-backed ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, biotin, silica, and vitamins C and E,” the brand tells TZR in a press release.
OK, fine, you got me: This one isn’t technically a beauty supplement. It is, however, full of anti-aging benefits… for your brain. “Antara is the only all-natural herbal line focused specifically on optimizing and protecting the mind,” Caroline Rasmussen, the founder of Antara, tells The Zoe Report. The range features “nootropics,” a class of ingredients connected to cognitive function, including curcumin and gotu kola. (Both have also been linked to skin health, by the way.)
“The curcumin in Amrita Anti-Aging Brain Food was specifically developed by neuroscientists at UCLA to cross the blood brain barrier and is clinically proven to deliver potent anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective outcomes,” Rasmussen says. “Gotu kola (also known as tiger grass) has traditionally been used both internally and topically for wound healing, and is beginning to be seen in skincare as it has similar regenerative properties on collagen as it does in the brain.” Antara is taking the phrase “beauty and brains” to a whole new level, and I’m here for it.