By now, you've probably heard how great collagen is for your beauty routine, with everyone from beauty bloggers to wellness gurus touting the protein's many benefits. Collagen is having a major moment, to say the least. But when it comes to finding the best collagen supplements for skin and hair, there is a lot to consider. With different collagen types, sources, and forms to choose from, it's hard to know where to even begin. But this guide can help you find the right one for you.
First things first, you need to choose a source. Collagen is typically derived from the collagen-rich animal tissue of either bovines (cows) or pigs, but if you consider yourself a pescatarian, like I do, that's an immediate dealbreaker. Fortunately, there is also marine collagen, which comes from fish. Both collagen sources have been found to be effective in medical studies, so it's really a matter of personal preference.
One study found oral collagen supplements to increase skin hydration and dermal collagen density (i.e. an indicator of skin aging), and another study, looking specifically at marine collagen with plant-derived antioxidants, found that the supplements significantly improved skin elasticity. For the vegans in the house, there are plant-based collagen supplements available, although they don't technically contain collagen, but claim to "support collagen production with a mixture of amino acids, vitamins and minerals," according to The New York Times.
In addition to the collagen source, there are various collagen types (I, II, III,). While some claim to be particularly beneficial for certain areas of your body, the reality is that any collagen is going to be good for hair and skin. Nick Bitz, MD, a licensed, board-certified naturopathic doctor and collagen expert, told Well & Good that collagen types are basically just a marketing ploy. Instead, look to see if it's hydrolyzed collagen, which means it has been broken down for easier absorption in your body.
Last but not least, you need to decide if you prefer the supplement in powder, pill/capsule, or gummy form. Flavorless powders can be easily mixed into smoothies or coffee, but pills or gummies can be quickly popped. Again, it's all about what's going to work for your routine.
With all of that in mind, here are five fantastic collagen supplements that can give your skin and hair a major boost. All are highly rated on Amazon and have fans gushing about them.
1. Best Overall: A Collagen-Dense Peptide Powder
VITAL PROTEINS Unflavored Collagen Peptides, 20 Oz
If you're already starting your day with a coffee or smoothie, this odorless and flavorless collagen peptide powder from VITAL PROTEINS is an easy way to add collagen to the equation. It can be mixed into any cold or hot liquid, and with just one scoop, you get a whopping 20 grams of collagen.
The collagen is sourced from the hide of cows that are pasture-raised, grass-fed, non-GMO and kosher. The brand claims that happy cows equal happy collagen, and since the product has a 4.1-star Amazon rating and more than 3,500 customer reviews, they might be onto something.
What reviewers are saying: "I’ve taken biotin for many years for my hair and I think it’s helped (and will continue to take) but Vital Proteins has been a night and day difference. I thought my hair was just thinning from getting older. Nothing has helped my hair as much as this has."
2. A Hydrolyzed Marine Collagen Powder Made In North America
AMANDEAN Wild-Caught Fish Marine Collagen, 17.6 Oz
This 100 percent pure fish collagen supplement from AMANDEAN is a great choice for anyone looking for a bovine alternative. The fish are wild caught from the waters of the North Atlantic, and the product is made in Canada and packaged in the U.S. (important if you're looking to avoid Chinese-made collagen). The fat-free supplement is odorless and unflavored, so you don't have to worry about a fishy taste or smell, and it's hydrolyzed for maximum bioavailability.
You can mix it in any type of liquid, although the brand says that it's best taken with a source of Vitamin C for best absorption, and some have noted that it mixes better in warm liquids.
What reviewers are saying: "I have been using this for a year and in all honesty, was relatively skeptical starting out. I am a competitive adult athlete and was dealing with yet another soft tissue injury. ... My knee got considerably better in a few months but much to my surprise everyone was asking me what I was doing with my skincare and many of my close friends were sure I had had some “work” done!! Aside from the bonus benefit of smooth and lifted skin and strong nails, my bustline took a turn against gravity!"
3. A Collagen Powder With A "Triple-Action" Formula For Skin
Reserveage Collagen Replenish Powder with Hyaluronic Acid & Vitamin C, 2.75 Oz
If you're seeking a collagen supplement for your skin, there's something to be said for taking one that also includes hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C — two skincare ingredients with proven skin benefits. This bovine-sourced powder from Reserveage — made with bioavailable collagen peptides — was formulated by a team of nutritionists and dermatologists to nourish and protect skin. It's free of artificial coloring, flavoring, or preservatives, and since it's soluble, it can easily be added to water, juice, shakes, yogurt and more.
What reviewers are saying: "Take every day in my smoothies, no taste and no odor. My face is smooth and baby soft. Have noticed fewer wrinkles as well. Have reordered numerous times."
4. An Award-Winning Collagen Tablet With Vitamin C For Skin Health
Youtheory Collagen Advanced with Vitamin C, 290 Count
Some people swear this can still taste a flavorless collagen powder, and for those who struggle to down a collagen-infused smoothie, these award-winning collagen pills from Youtheory are the way to go. They're enhanced with Vitamin C, so they're a great choice for skin health, and the collagen is hydrolyzed for rapid absorption in the body. Just note that the collagen is sourced from bovine and chicken so if you're looking for a marine option, you'd want to try Youtheory's marine collagen tablet.
What reviewers are saying: "Takes a solid month to see a major difference, but my skin looks youthful and amazing. I will never stop taking this!"
5. An Easily Digestible Marine Collagen Gummy
BeLive Hydrolyzed Collagen Gummies, 60 Chews
These marine collagen gummies from BeLive taste good thanks to their tropical flavor. They're made in the U.S. in an FDA-approved and GMP-compliant facility, and rigorously inspected for quality. Not only are the gummies easy to consume, they're easy to digest too. The supplements are free of artificial colors, preservatives, gluten, wheat, peanuts, soy, eggs, or other GMO substances. For best results, it's recommended you consume twice daily.
What reviewers are saying: "I've only been taking these for thirty days and already I see a lovely difference. My hair was falling out and looking dull and the fall-out is minimal now and my hair is super shiny and healthy since I began these a mere month ago. My skin has a glow again and looks great. Nails are harder as well. This is the only change I've made in my regimen in quite a while, so I know for sure it's these Collagen Gummies. They taste great too. Win!"
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