Collagen Peptides. So hot right now.
No, but really. If you are even remotely up to date with your health and beauty trends, then you know that it’s nearly impossible to escape a conversation about skin care without someone attempting to drag you to the nearest Whole Foods to drop $40 on a bucket of miracle powder that, no matter what anyone tells you, does not tastelessly dissolve in water. No? Just me? Cool. Let’s rewind a bit then.
What Is Collagen?
Great question for those of us who did everything in our power to avoid taking a single science class in college. Collagen is one of the most important proteins in the human body; it basically holds us together. Your hair, skin, nails, and tendons rely on collagen to maintain their structure and keep you both pretty and mobile. So, in short, it’s kind of a big deal. The issue is that as we age, collagen production in our bodies decreases, which means that our hair gets less shiny, our skin starts to sag, and eventually, we succumb to death. Welcome to your twenties.
Enter: collagen peptides. They’re a water-soluble supplement that is said to improve hair strength, skin elasticity, and sometimes gut health, depending on the kind you take. Basically, they’re a miracle drug, but they are neither a drug nor a miracle. Just science. Crazy, right?
High-end grocery stores sell buckets of collagen peptides from a variety of brands that you can mix into your morning coffee or water and drink throughout the day. So you would think that the simple solution here would be to get off your ass, buy some, and then integrate them into your daily routine, adding yet another step to your never-ending battle against mortality, right? If only it were that easy.
The thing about routines is that I struggle with them. Constantly. I’m currently rocking, at best, a 20% consistency rate on taking the three vitamins I’m supposed to be taking daily. I’ve ruined enough birth control cycles in my life that it’s probably redundant for me to even take the pill because I’ve run my uterus into the ground. It takes an endless barrage of Post-it notes, phone reminders, and meticulous to-do lists to get me through my day, and I still manage to forget something most of the time. So buying a jug of collagen peptides to collect dust in my cabinet isn’t something that I really feel like I could validate. Then I came across Dirty Lemon.
If you’re a woman in your twenties who’s ever shown the slightest inclination for health, beauty, or spending money on things you don’t need, you’ve probably been targeted with Dirty Lemon Instagram ads. Trust me, I know. I work in media.
Per their website, Dirty Lemon sells “better beverages.” Their line of natural elixirs and tonics cover all kinds of wellness topics, from charcoal cleanses and anti-aging remedies to sleep aids and energy boosters. What caught my attention was the Beauty Elixir, which they formulated to “hydrate skin, increase elasticity, reduce wrinkles and trigger new collagen production.” The ingredient that caught my eye was the Hydrolized Marine Collagen Peptides, something that I’ve been interested in ever since I wrote an article about Kourtney Kardashian’s diet regimen. If it’s good enough for Kourtney, it’s likely too good for me, so I was sold.
Just to clear things up: This is not a meal replacement or a cleanse. All Dirty Lemon products are designed to work with your normal daily diet, meaning you can enjoy them and not suffer the side effects of a typical cleanse. It definitely sounds too good to be true, but it’s at times like this that I like to remember that not every aspect of our lives has to be miserable. A refreshing pre-2018 notion, but it still stands.
Dirty Lemon recommends that you drink their products for two weeks to experience optimal results, so that was my plan. While weight loss was not promised and I didn’t expect to see any come from this, I did decide to drink my daily elixir first thing in the day to see if it would stave off that early morning appetite I’ve suddenly accrued in my mid-twenties. Tragically, that was not the case.
My initial impression upon receiving my first Dirty Lemon shipment to my office: it’s cute as hell. These tiny branded bottles are literally made for Instagram. Although smaller than expected, they still look super chic when you’re running around the office pretending to be very busy. Sorry I was late for this meeting, I was busy drinking Beauty Elixir and looking young forever.
The taste of the Beauty Elixir was a walk down memory lane for me, because it tastes like a less aggressive version of the Master Cleanse, with the added benefit of getting to eat food while you enjoy it. If you, like me, have a taste for sour things with a slight cayenne kick at the end, you’ll love it. If not, have fun aging.
An added benefit? Dirty Lemon products make great mixers—something I was very excited to hear heading into Memorial Day Weekend. Does drinking collagen peptide vodka cocktails kind of negate the point of this whole ordeal in the first place? Maybe. But no one ever said being sober and looking young forever had to be mutually exclusive.
My favorite part about this experiment was that, unlike any other supplement I’ve ever purchased and forgotten about, it wasn’t difficult to incorporate the Beauty Elixir into my daily routine. In fact, I was excited about it. Sure, now I wake up and immediately crave a sour drink, but that’s a problem to be dealt with at a later time.
Down to what we all actually care about, though.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t come into this a bit skeptical. Despite the fact that collagen peptides have a proven track record of working for a wide variety of people, I have a problem letting myself truly believe in them. It just seems too good to be true, you know?
Well two weeks later, consider me a changed woman. The results were slow to manifest, but once they kicked in, it was hard to ignore. Since my skin isn’t naturally flawless, I work very hard to keep it looking good. The only routine I’ve managed to successfully maintain is my stringent morning and nighttime skin care regimen, but even that doesn’t have me looking like a Neutrogena commercial model in my day-to-day life.
My skin, albeit generally clear, is incredibly fair and prone to pinkness. I wear a light serum foundation every day to even out my tone and neutralize any pink spots. Or because I’ve been socially conditioned to suffer an anxiety attack if I think about leaving the house without makeup on. Your call.
After about a week of using Dirty Lemon, I began to notice how much smoother my makeup was going on in the morning. In fact, I started using about half as much foundation as I had been previously. I thought maybe this was a user bias on my part until someone at work commented on how bright my skin was looking.
What really made me a believer was what occurred during a workout class just two days before my two weeks were up. A side effect of that incredibly fair skin I mentioned earlier? At the first sign of any amount of physical exertion, I immediately turn an almost concerning shade of red. It’s like my body recognizes that I may be in danger of exercising, and suddenly every capillary I possess is visible through my skin. It’s because of this that I’ve spent my entire life actively campaigning against running in public places or working out around anyone that I know. Also, just fuck running. It’s the worst.
But here I was, 30 minutes into a particularly hellish class, looking at myself in the mirror, and realizing that not only was I not a splotchy mess, but I was glowing. I was so shocked that I proceeded to stare at myself like a psycho, examining my face at every angle in search of an all-too-familiar red patch that would soon expand across my entire face and chest. It wasn’t there. Sure, I felt like puking on the floor during the class, but you would never have been able to tell by looking at my face. Some people might say that could just be a sign of naturally getting more in shape, but those people have too much faith in my physical abilities. I was sore as hell, quaking with every pulse, and considering abandoning the class early under the pretense of a forgotten appointment, but my skin was fine. Better than fine—it was clearer than I could ever remember it being.
Now here I am, after two weeks of a daily dose of elixir, and my skin looks amazing. I’ve had a long, tiring week and have been patchy at best with my nightly routine, but it’s not showing. I haven’t necessarily noticed any extravagant change in my hair, but that could be because at any given moment, there is three days’ worth of dry shampoo caked in it. I don’t think I can technically blame Dirty Lemon for that, so I’m chocking this one up to a win.
The Beauty Elixir worked for me, and if I could rationalize spending $45 a week on it, I would do so in a heartbeat. If you’re looking for something to kick-start your skin care routine while also serving as an impromptu chaser, this is the product for you.
Images: Giphy (3)