By now you may have heard about Kourtney Kardashian’s new project, a lifestyle and e-commerce website called Poosh (not to be confused with Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s long-standing similar concept). One of the products Kourtney been pushing the most is her collagen supplement in collaboration with Vital Proteins, which comes in the palatable-seeming flavors “Blueberry & Lemon Collagen Vibes” and “Pink Moon Milk Collagen Latte.” Clever, Kourt. Add “Vibes” to the name of a product and hypnotize half of the country’s millennials into thinking they need it. If something is going to be called “Pink Moon Milk” it better have some sort of magical fairy dust that will clear my skin, earn me a degree, pay off all my debt, and turn my enemies into pumpkins. But according to Betches’ favorite dietician, Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, in the latest episode of our Diet Starts Tomorrow podcast, collagen supplements actually do none of these things and might be total BS. She’s an expert who debriefed us on why they’re a scam, citing actual research and, like, scientific facts. Here are the biggest myths Tracy told us about collagen supplements.
1. It’s Going To Improve Your Skin, Hair And Nails And Make You Look Younger
Collagen as a protein itself is very important for maintaining the glowing, youthful appearance everyone desires. It binds tissues together for health in hair, skin, and nails. Your body has the most of it when you’re young and then slows in producing it at age 25. As you get older, you have less and less collagen, causing your skin to lose elasticity and your hair and nails to weaken, hence the association of collagen with anti-aging. After observing the positive effects collagen treatments had on bones, scientists tried to determine whether the positive effects of collagen could be extended to an ingestible form of it. When they analyzed the outcomes, they determined that ingesting collagen doesn’t allow you to gain the benefits of it, because the pH levels in your stomach totally break it down, which doesn’t allow it to be absorbed by your body. So, wow, the Pink Moon Milk really does absolutely nothing for you except let you tell people you drank Pink Moon Milk. If they don’t ask you what Pink Moon Milk is, you can just let them assume it’s some crazy trippy drug you tried while ~finding yourself~ on your trip to Thailand that they’re too embarrassed to admit they didn’t know was a thing.
2. It’s Produced From Totally Trustworthy Sources
You may not realize that the powders you’re putting in your body may actually be sourced from poultry, cows, and even fish bones and gills. Ew. Creators of these products take collagen from a bunch of different animal parts and put them together in the hopes that they will have the same effect as real human collagen, but they don’t. It’s kind of creepy to actually think about where these seemingly harmless powders come from. We don’t often enough question the legitimacy of the ingredients that we’re putting into our bodies.
3. It Gives You Nutrients You Can’t Get From Food
The main components of collagen supplements that are supposed to support the body are the amino acids glycine and proline, which are good for bones and tendons. As we already know, none of the supplements’ nutrients can be absorbed by the body anyway, but collagen supplements aren’t the only way we can take in these amino acids. They occur naturally in foods like fish, chicken, strawberries, and blueberries. So instead of blindly hopping on the “Collagen Vibes” bandwagon, remember you are probably better off literally eating normal food. You’re welcome.
4. It’s Good For You Just Because Influencers Are Telling You It Is
As we should have learned by now from the Khloé Kardashian Flat Tummy tea scandal, so many of the “healthy” products influencers advertise are scams. They are literally making money off of telling you to buy them, and there is nothing really in it for you to trust them wholeheartedly without doing your own research. Kourtney is telling you these supplements will change your life, but why should you believe her? She’s trying to sell them, after all. I know how tempting it is to be fooled by how she looks, but just remember all the money and professional attention behind her perfect skin and body. Or, to put it another way, you’re not ugly, you’re just poor, but buying shady supplements will only make you poorer.
5. It’s Worth The Money
Kourtney’s supplements cost $49 and, as we have now made it blatantly clear, they benefit you in literally no way. You are sacrificing $49 of your hard-earned money for fish bone powder that comes in a pink or purple bottle because Kourtney K told you to. I love the Kardashian/Jenners and acknowledge the fact that they somehow make me want to give them money for every single product they put out (do I really need another Kylie Cosmetics lip kit in a shade 0.1% different than the one I bought last month? Yes, because I know it will sell out and then I won’t be able to get it even if I want to—WAIT, no I don’t), so I understand the appeal. But there are better uses of $49. Take a cool exercise class you’ve been dying to try. Go to the grocery store and buy real food that will actually nourish you. Buy a nice face cream that might actually have a real external effect on the appearance of your skin. But buying a collagen supplement won’t really help you.
Images: Shutterstock; Giphy (2)
It’s no secret by now that I’m a fan of high-tech beauty hacks. So when I was offered the chance to write about red light therapy, I dove in—despite having absolutely no idea what it was. 48 hours later, I’m semi-seriously considering taking out a loan to buy a Joovv Elite and converting a wall of my (tiny) apartment into a red light therapy studio. (Don’t worry, I’ll explain what a Joovv is, my uninitiated friends.) But first, a rundown of WTF red light therapy actually is, how it works, and how quickly whether you should do it.
What Is Red Light Therapy?
Red light therapy is, in the end, very much what it sounds like: a form of therapy for your body using red light. To be more specific, using wavelengths of red and near infrared light, and to be psychotically specific, using red light “in the mid-600 nanometer range” and near infrared light “in the mid-800s.” (You do not need to understand these words in order to reap the benefits. But should you, for example, have a very irritating boyfriend who demands to know the science behind all your beauty treatments, you can now cite those numbers for him.) These wavelengths penetrate “roughly 5 millimeters below the skin’s surface,” stirring up all kinds of sh*t in your cells without damaging the surface of your skin. A win in my book.
How Does Red Light Therapy Work?
The reason such specific wavelengths are required is that you’re going after a very specific effect: to strengthen the mitochondria in your cells. I’ve been waiting my entire adult life to use this fact that I learned in middle school, and here it is: the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. Unfortunately, my understanding never went far enough to know what that means, so I dove back into my research. According to Healthline, the mitochondria creates energy, or energy-carrying molecules called ATP (adenosine triphosphate. Do I have a PhD yet?). When red light stimulates the mitochondria, it creates more ATP—and with more ATP, cells have more energy to get sh*t done.
can you imagine falling in love with someone who doesn’t know that mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell
— keely flaherty (@keelyflaherty) March 24, 2018
What Does Red Light Therapy Do?
To get a more nuanced view of red light therapy’s effects, I spoke to Lindsay Malachowski, the Director of Operations at SKINNEY Medspa. First, I ran the effects I was most hoping were true by her: the wonders red light therapy is meant to perform for your skin. According to Joovv, a company offering at-home red light therapy devices, RLT is clinically proven to boost collagen production, reduce inflammation and redness, and improve the appearance of wrinkles. (I am aware that clinically proven implies there are clinical studies I could read. I prefer a more human approach.) When I asked Malachowski about these claims, she confirmed them as true—with some caveats.
Red light therapy, Malachowski explains, is “the most gentle form of photodynamic therapy:” AKA it’s effective, but not going to get you the most dramatic results. Because it’s LED rather than laser, and doesn’t work directly on the surface of the skin, it provides less “significant changes” than a laser treatment like Fraxel or IPL. That’s not to say RLT is useless—Malachowski specifically states that it’s an effective treatment to reduce redness, inflammation, breakouts, and eczema, with the added benefit of having no downtime afterward. Finally, while she affirms that red light therapy “does stimulate collagen,” she notes that here, too, it’s not the most dramatic treatment available on the market. (For that, she recommends non-invasive ultrasound or radio-frequency like Ultherapy.)
When I next asked Malachowski about red light therapy’s weight loss and fat reduction effects, she was notably less enthusiastic. According to her, there’s “little scientific evidence” supporting those particular claims. She doesn’t have much more to say about that, except to recommend CoolSculpting or EmSculpt to those looking for those results.
When I spoke to Joovv’s cofounder, Scott Nelson, he directed my attention to a whole other side of red light therapy benefits: namely, those that don’t immediately appear in the mirror (sue me, I’m vain). When I asked which groups of people would benefit most from red light therapy, he mentioned immediately that it can lead to “better-looking skin,” but he also mentioned people suffering from joint pain, trouble sleeping, or struggling with muscle recovery. He also mentioned that “elite athletes” use red light therapy to achieve “that edge” when it comes to increasing their performance or cutting down their recovery time. For what it’s worth, Joovv’s clients do include pro athletes Zach Johnson, Anthony Pettis, and Duncan Keith. As for better sleep, he says that using red light therapy “on a regular basis” will quickly improve sleep quality and REM cycles.
So, Where Do I Get It Done?
Good question! Certain salons and spas offer red light therapy treatments, including SKINNEY MedSpa. (It’s not offered as a service on its own, but it’s a 20-minute portion of their Hi Tech Facial, and they also offer it after Botox, filler, and Fraxel treatments to speed up healing.) Other treatment settings might include lying in a red light therapy bed for 20 minutes, offered by aesthetician Mzia Shiman in NYC.
If you’re looking for an at-home version (a phrase I’ve always personally been happy to hear), Joovv sells red light therapy devices in sizes ranging from purse-friendly to a six-foot-tall wall-mounted model. For these, Nelson recommends a daily treatment of 8-10 minutes, standing three to six inches from the device. When I asked how quickly you saw results (I’m impatient, okay?), he let me know that effects like pain and inflammation relief could be seen in a single session. Effects on the skin, however, would take up to 4-6 weeks of daily treatment.
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Have you tried red light therapy yet? ❤️I just love trying the latest health technology, so when I had a chance to try the new @joovvsocial Joovv Go, I jumped at it!! ❤️ Red light therapy can help with skin health, fat loss, muscle recovery, joint health, sleep, inflammation and more!! ❤️ So many health benefits in the handheld portable Joovv Go!❤️ Now when I have downtime (which I’m still learning how to just relax sometimes ?) I use my new Joovv Go on everything from my face (my glowing skin obsession continues ?) and if I have sore muscles from fitness, I can target those areas too! ❤️ . Hair @kaidoeshair ❤️ . #sponsored #joovv #redlighttherapy #lighttherapy #healthylifestyle #antiaging #musclerecovery #healthtechnology #healthychoice #naturalhealth #naturalhealthcare #fatlosstips #influencer #scottsdale #healthblogger #nutritioncoach
So, will I be marching out to begin my 4-6 weeks of dedicated red light therapy? Honestly, definitely, but I’m not a hard sell on products that promise to solve all my problems. While experts may not agree on all the effects of red light therapy, there does seem to be substantial scientific evidence that it’s a useful treatment for skin quality, pain relief, and improved sleep. Other claims you can test for yourself, and write blog posts about if you so choose. But if this treatment is even half as effective as the clinical trials supporting it would suggest, I’d say it’s definitely worth a shot.
Images: @skinneymedspa, @jolenegoring / Instagram; @keelyflaherty / Twitter
A few months ago, I came across an article from The Cut about the potential mental health benefits of infrared saunas. Even though I was in Los Angeles at the time, the sun was still setting at 4pm, and my mood levels had definitely been suffering for it. At that point, I’d tried exercising six times a week, meditating, and gratitude journaling to keep my Seasonal Affective Disorder at bay, and frankly, sweating it out in a sauna sounded like a way more appealing option. Once I was back in my beloved NYC, I promptly booked an appointment with HigherDOSE, an infrared sauna spa with locations all over NYC, New Jersey, and Connecticut. It’s also the preferred spot of celebs like Leonardo DiCaprio, Michelle Williams, and Bella Hadid, if you’re into that. Read on to find out the alleged benefits of infrared saunas, and what I thought after my 60-minute session.
What Do Infrared Saunas Do?
Simply put, infrared saunas claim to make you hotter in every way (obviously, pun intended). Not only does an hour of intense sweating knock off some water weight, but infrared heat may actually help boost your metabolism. According to Dr. Frank Lipman, who spoke to The Cut, just half an hour in an infrared sauna could help you burn up to 600 calories. (That’s like, one million squats or an hour on the treadmill. If this is what celebs have secretly been doing instead of working out, I will never feel okay again.)
For those of you less obsessed with losing weight (tell me your secrets), infrared saunas also have major skin benefits. Again per Dr. Lipman, infrared heat boosts circulation, blood flow, and collagen production, giving you an immediate post-sauna glow, as well as long-term benefits from regular use. Lipman, along with HigherDOSE’s co-founders, also hype up the detoxing capabilities of infrared saunas. Co-founder Lauren Berlingeri claims that infrared pulls “heavy metals, environmental pollutants, and radiation” from your system, and the instructional pamphlet inside the sauna room advised that some of your sweat may come out as black from all the toxins being released. (Sidenote: I’m still not sure that I believe “detoxing” is a real thing, but I really want it to be.) Other potential benefits include pain relief (from sore muscles to chronic headaches) and a boosted immune system.
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Currently sweating it out at an infrared sauna place. If you don't know about infrared saunas GET ON BOARD! I love it so much. It's not like a regular sauna where I can only sit there for like 10 mins and then I feel like I'm melting. infrared saunas are great for deep muscle relaxation, detoxing, cardio vascular health and your skin! Michelle told me it helps skin heal faster – I don't know about that but it does feel great! But you know, obviously, I'm no doctor(right @steveagee??)
Finally, the mental health benefits: a 2016 study showed that whole-body hyperthermia (whole body heating, specifically to 101.3º F, for the non-scientists among us), could have antidepressant effects lasting up to six weeks. Claims have been floating around for years that infrared heat can influence serotonin levels or release endorphins, but evidence is tenuous. The 2016 study, however, focuses on the “stress” aspect of sitting in a sauna—the extreme heat—and how these bursts of stress can better train your brain to deal with non-sauna stressors, like anxiety or depression. Again, no one’s claiming that this is rock-solid science, but these studies, along with the fact that everyone seems to feel f*cking amazing after leaving one of these saunas, was enough to make me desperate to try it for myself.
So, What’s An Infrared Sauna Like?
I visited the 11 Howard location of HigherDOSE, and was immediately thrilled by the spa-like room I entered. Each sauna room has a private bathroom (with a nicer shower than the one in my apartment), a Bluetooth speaker system, water, chilled eucalyptus towels, and of course, the sauna itself.
You’re given a chromotherapy menu, which tells you the different light therapy colors available to you, and the benefits of each type of light. It’s pretty intuitive (yellow and orange are more activating, blue is more relaxing), but given that I’m a type-A weirdo, I spent the first half hour cycling through all of them anyway. The first 20 minutes felt like sitting in a colorful, less-hot-than-normal sauna. I was warm, but I didn’t have that slowly-being-cooked feeling I get after about 10 minutes in a regular sauna. At the 20-25 minute mark, things got really satisfying, by which I mean sweat started pouring down my entire body. Again, in regular saunas, I’ll notice a drip here or there, then walk out and be surprised at how sweaty I actually am. In the infrared sauna, there was no doubt that I was coated in sweat, and steadily producing more.
I also have a pretty short tolerance for regular saunas; I’d say 20-30 minutes and I’m begging to leave. With the infrared sauna, I was happy to stay in there a full 50 minutes (I left 10 minutes to shower), and honestly could have stayed a bit longer. Promptly after showering, I noticed a few things. My skin was baby-soft, the dull full-body ache from yesterday’s boxing class was greatly improved, and while I didn’t suddenly feel an all-around calm or “mental high,” my anxiety was noticeably tamed. I know this because my face, which is highly sensitive to many things, including heat, got some crazy red blotches about ten minutes post-sauna. But the last time I’d gotten blotches like this, I locked myself in a bathroom for two hours, crying furiously and sending my dermatologist selfies. This time, I washed my face, said “f*ck it,” and moved on with my day. See? Anxiety calming.
I’m not including a description of my blotchy face to alarm you. Any discoloration was gone within the hour, and I trust that if you have skin like mine, you already know that heat is a trigger. But it was truly remarkable to look in the mirror at something that would have typically ruined my day and be able to let it go. In terms of a mental boost from the infrared sauna, I was expecting something like a runner’s high (which I’ve also never achieved, possibly because I’ve never run long enough to get there). But the mental boost I got instead was actually way more valuable to my life—for the next few hours, at least, I didn’t get derailed by minor sh*t. As far as superpowers go, I’ll take it.
So, the only real major con of infrared saunas? The price tag. HigherDOSE sessions cost $45 and up for solo sessions, or $30 and up if you go with two people. As a one-time expense, it’s not bad, but given that many of the benefits are unlocked by regular use, I wish the experience were slightly more accessible. Given my experience, I’d love to go more often, but until my wellness influencer career really takes off, I’ll likely have to limit it to a once-monthly treat.
Images: Keziban Barry; @higherdose (2), @busyphilipps / Instagram;
In 2018, we’ve definitely noticed that the way we use makeup is changing (unicorn brows, anyone? JK, this trend made my eyes bleed). Specifically, we’ve seen a lot more honesty from celebs and normals alike about how much of a role makeup plays. Think: Kardashian-esque contouring, YouTube beauty tutorials, #nomakeup selfies. And often, it’s been empowering to watch people openly celebrate both natural looks and the transformative power of makeup. But recently, the tone has shifted. While the idea was once more “everyone has flaws and that’s ok,” it’s now about having such naturally perfect features that makeup would only detract from them. These treatments are typically semi-permanent (aka not a full nose job/brow lift—so ‘90s), always expensive, and basically give you an Insta-filtered face. Here are some of the semi-permanent treatments celebs are using to get that perfect “effortless” look.
I’m lumping these two together, not because they’re all that similar, but just because these are the beauty treatments we’ve all known about and made fun of since the ‘90s. Both treatments have gotten a lot more sophisticated—so the Samantha Jones raw meat face doesn’t happen after peels anymore, and people with Botox can (kind of) still raise their eyebrows—but they’re still the basic anti-aging treatments we all know and wish we could afford love.
@amberrose we couldn’t love that beautiful smile more. We love when you come to see us! #repost • • • • • Fresh faced @drjasondiamond’s office! I got a re-up on Botox! ???? Everyone in his office is so sweet and helpful! Hit up Dr. diamond for Botox, fillers or any type of Facial plastic surgery! He’s the best in the business ????❤️????
Microneedling is a procedure in which a tiny needle pokes holes all over your face. (If you’ve ever used a dermaroller, it’s the expensive version of that.) This then promotes collagen production as your skin heals, which reduces the visibility of fine lines, wrinkles, pores, and acne scars. You know, all the things that make you look like a human, which is no longer desirable. Treatments cost up to $1,000, but then your skin is as good as Kourtney Kardashian’s. (You didn’t really think it was her diet that made her skin good, right?)
@kimkardashian having a Microneedling treatment with @drjasondiamond ???????? Microneedling is great for fine lines and wrinkles and to increase the collagen production in the skin! We offer this for just £49 per Treatment! To book call 07590652233 ???? #LipEnhancement #LipFiller #CheekFiller #CheekEnhancement #ChemicalPeels #Microneedling #Manchester #Cheshire #Aesthetics #KimKardashian #TheLipKing #TheLipKingAesthetics ????
Injections is kind of a vague way of putting this, but that’s because injections can do so many different things. You can use filler to fix bad under eyes, smooth out your jawline and cheeks, and really just smooth out any imperfections you’re worried about. While I’m certain that most celebrities over a certain age have had some sort of filler put in, some of the most vocal users are the cast of Vanderpump Rules. In fact, Lala Kent and Tom Sandoval recently took a joint trip, where Lala got something called “Diamond Facial Sculpting.” (Fillers, but fancy I guess?) Lala says Tom was there for “moral support,” but I swear I saw him in a chair in the background of her IG story. Hard to believe Sandoval would willingly skip out on a beauty treatment.
No, I’m not talking about laser hair removal. (Though I’m certain that any celebrity who’s ever worn a bikini has gotten that too.) I’m talking about lasers used as facial treatment, which, like fillers, come in many varieties and have many uses. Basically, lasers can be used to fade pigmentation (*glares at rosacea-ridden face*), even out texture and tone, and basically act as “permanent concealer.” MUST BE NICE. Both Kim Kardashian and Jhené Aiko have recently raved about their laser treatments—and if they’re not #skingoals, IDK who is.
This one is along slightly different lines, because it’s not about skincare. BUT, now that we are officially living in the Age of Eyebrows, it’s pretty freakin’ important. Microblading is getting semi-permanent tattoos draw onto your brows with teeny tiny strokes that resemble real hairs. This then gives you the appearance of naturally full brows for roughly two years. It also costs around $1,000 upfront, plus a mandatory touch-up two weeks later. So yeah, I’ll be getting that when I’m 70 and win the lottery, and will be drawing on my brows each morning until then. Irritatingly, I cannot tell you that celebs like Cara DeLevingne have used this treatment. Instead, it’s a whole bunch of awfuls including Bella Thorne and Lena Dunham. Microfeathering is another version of this treatment, which basically just fills in instead of drawing you a whole new brow.
Happy Tuesday with Bella's new brows #Repost @microbladingla with @repostapp ・・・ Microblading LA was featured on Bustle! ????????Actress Bella Thorne @bellathorne came back to our studio for her touch up with Julia @juliaaffaria and Bustle wrote a piece about it this morning. Check the link in bio for the full article! ???? We'll post before and after pics a little later today so stay tuned… Brows by Julia @juliaaffaria ????????????
Do I have anything against these treatments, beyond the fact that I can’t afford them? Yeah, a little. I definitely have a problem with celebrities who pretend they haven’t had ANYTHING done. I respect their privacy and all, but I’m a grown-ass woman and I find myself getting upset about my own visible pores. This isn’t something that bothered me even two years ago. But now, every picture I see on Instagram features skin that doesn’t look like skin. And just a few years of being bombarded with those images has been enough for me to think there’s something wrong with my face because of it. Which is all to say, I’m truly worried for young kids who are growing up surrounded by that kind of illusion, and not being repeatedly and aggressively told that it is, in fact, an illusion.
Ultimately, I think it’s probably positive that these treatments are public enough that I can even write this article. Yes, the treatments themselves are becoming more mainstream. But the information is available—if you look—about why exactly these celebs can post #nomakeup selfies that make me feel like a garbage rat. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to start a GoFundMe because all these procedures cost more than my rent.
Images: drjasondiamond, thelipking, lalakent, jheneaiko, microbladingla_juliafaria / Instagram
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.
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I’m a firm believer in drinking your problems away. Tired? Iced coffee (with Kahlúa). Hungover? Bloody Mary. Bad breakup? Wine. See your fuckboy ex at the bar? 10 shots of vodka will do the trick. But as for those crows feet and laugh lines that are popping up on your twentysomething-year-old skin? I don’t technically have a cocktail I’d suggest for those, but there are some majorly effective (and yummy) collagen supplements that you can mix into just about any beverage so you can drink your way to smoother, bouncier skin.
In case the ex-Bachelor contestants on your feed haven’t already started endorsing collagen peptide powders (and given that Kourtney Kardashian already does), you should probably know that collagen is the building block for our skin that gives it youthful suppleness and glow. But as we age, the collagen begins to deteriorate, thus the need to mix the supplement with whatever drink your heart desires so you can start working on your skin from the inside out. In addition to boosting your skin’s elasticity, the latest collagen powders can also support hair, nail, skin and joint health—even more of a reason to drink up. Because what’s better than working on getting FaceTuned-esque skin while getting shitfaced? Nothing, that’s what.
1. Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
Vital Proteins is the brand that you’ve probs spotted on your newsfeed, and it’s also the brand with the largest variety of collagen products. The most popular is their unflavored powder, which is sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine hides (aka cattle). It mixes easily with any drink (or baked goods), and is smooth and completely flavorless. The peptides come in multiple package sizes and forms, including powders and capsules. The peptides are also sold in dark chocolate and blackberry, vanilla and coconut water, and mixed berry flavors.
Skinade is a peach and mangosteen flavored drink that you’ll incorporate into your morning routine, and after a month you’ll actually be quite surprised at how evenly-toned, hydrated, radiant, and younger your skin looks. It’s a little pricier than its counterparts ($150 for a 30-day supply), but the results are beyond worth it. It’s also lactose, gluten and dairy free and tbh, the taste is pretty good—think of it as drinking a Bellini everyday, minus the prosecco and plus the fact that it makes your skin look amazing.
3. The Beauty Chef Collagen Inner Beauty Boost
This is a very concentrated blend of collagen, maqui berry, açai, papaya, blueberry, goji berry, and pomegranate powders, along with zinc and vitamin C. The vitamin C is important, because it helps the body’s cells absorb the collagen to nourish the skin and protect against premature aging caused by environmental factors. The bottle contains about a month’s supply and the boost can be mixed with water, smoothies, or into baked goods.
4. Bulletproof Collagellatin Protein
Cult-favorite Bulletproof Protein is derived from pasture-raised cows and is naturally sweet. It can add the perfect flavor to your fav coffee, or go in a smoothie as a meal replacement pre- or post-gym. The powder also contains the brand’s XCT oil, which adds high-energy fats to your diet. You’ll get the extra kick you need no matter what you choose to mix the collagen with.
5. Vital Proteins Collagen Beauty Water
Vital Protein’s Beauty Water mix contains collagen in addition to hyaluronic acid, probiotics, and a mix of organic fruits to hydrate the skin as well as boost it’s elasticity. While there are no added sugars, the powder comes in strawberry lemon flavor to add just the right amount of sweetness to, say, a vodka tonic.
As much as we try our best to take care of ourselves and stay on top of our health, sometimes (aka every weekend) we slip up. Like, I can spend Monday through Friday talking about my waspy paleo diet and active lifestyle, but then the weekend comes with like, eight tequila shots, a late-night diner stop, a grueling hangover and a full-on carboload, and suddenly I’m like, barely alive by Sunday night. We did some research and rounded up some supplements that will help keep you healthy on those days where you forgot to eat a vegetable or get more than four hours of sleep or replaced water with grain alcohol. Here are seven supplements you should be taking on the reg:
Taking a probiotic every morning will help with digestion, prevent bloating, and keep your gut healthy throughout the day. Probiotics are literally live bacteria and yeast, which sounds gross AF, but your body already produces them naturally, and adding an extra supplement will change your life. If your stomach is particularly sensitive to specific foods, a probiotic will do wonders for any bloating or nausea you might have throughout the day. Also, if you frequently get yeast infections or other vaginal probs, probiotics might help balance your shit out. Yah these things are like 30 fucking dollars a box at CVS, but just suck it up because they’re the best.
This one sounds gross too, but don’t knock it till you down it with a liter of water. Taking a fish oil supplement every day has been proven to prevent ADHD, Alzheimer’s, depression and anxiety. It’ll also help reduce inflammation in your body strengthen your hair and nails, so stop gagging and order your fish oil. We know what you’re thinking, and no it won’t make your vagina smell or taste (more) like fish.
Vitamin C isn’t only meant to be taken when you feel a cold coming on. It obviously boosts your immune system which helps prevent sickness, but Vitamin C has so many other benefits that most people don’t know about. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, and it’ll help your body maintain any weak connective tissue, like your bones, blood vessels, and skin. If you’re prone to breakouts or blackheads, taking a Vitamin C supplement will be a game changer for your skin.
You may have seen collagen powder being used in a smoothie in some health food blogger’s Instagram story, and there’s a reason it’s completely blowing up in the wellness world. Collagen is a tasteless powder that helps aid gut health, soothes sore muscles, and prevents wrinkles in your skin as you get older. Plus, two scoops has like, 20 grams of protein, so adding some to your smoothies or yogurts, or even your coffee, will help keep you full longer after breakfast. PSA: Getting collagen injected into your lips does not count, Kylie.
Most betches happen to be anemic as fuck, but even if you’re not, getting some extra iron in your diet is so good for you. When you’re not getting enough iron, your nails will get super brittle, you’ll bruise really easily, and your hair might even start falling out. Don’t wait till you look like Mary-Kate Olsen. Start taking a slow-release iron supplement to keep your body strong and keep your hair on your head.
There are eight B Vitamins, and they have been proven to help maintain your metabolism, your muscle tone, and your concentration. Folic acid, specifically, helps keep red blood cells healthy, which is super important for your long-term health. Whether you’re going into work with two hours of sleep, recovering from a weekend of one too many vodka sodas, or just trying to upkeep all that work from your 2-pound SoulCycle weights, taking B vitamins is def the right call for you.
Bullshit ads from your childhood have been telling you to drink a shit ton of milk to get your calcium, but a lot of leafy greens and vegetables actually have more calcium in them than dairy does, so you don’t have to be chugging a cup of 2% every morning. I mean, that should be a given. Anyway, if you’re worried your bones could use some extra strength or you’re prone to dental issues, taking a calcium supplement is a good idea.