Get the glow-down with our guide to the very best collagen supplements and why they work.

In our supermarket baskets and our beauty cabinets: collagen supplements are everywhere. Available everywhere from high-end luxury fashion retailers to the local health food shop, it is endorsed by all those in the know, from celebrities to mums on the school run, each extolling the virtues of this secret glow weapon. But what exactly are the benefits of collagen supplements and how do you know which brand to plump for?

In our collagen supplement guide we’ll share more on the different types of collagen (clue: they are not all created equal); demystify some of the common confusions around supplementation; and share seven of the best collagen supplement brands.

What Is Collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies; the foundation to everything from our bones to our skin. So fundamental is it, in fact, that the word collagen actually comes from the Greek word ‘Kolla’ meaning glue; quite literally is the glue that holds us together.

Whilst there are sixteen types of collagen in our bodies, when it comes to beauty it’s type one that you need to know about. It’s the one found in most skincare supplements and the variety we need to replenish as we age. A densely packed fibre, it makes up 90 per cent of our body’s collagen and is the building block of our skin, bones, tendons and connective tissue.

So, why do we need to supplement it? As we age, naturally the quantity and quality of collagen our bodies produce decreases (around 1 per cent loss each year from age 25 onwards). This can be further accelerated by lifestyle factors such as smoking, excessive sun exposure and eating too much sugar or refined carbohydrates.

What Are The Benefits Of Taking A Collagen Supplement?

A comprehensive 2019 scientific review* of eight studies of over 800 patients showed that ‘oral collagen supplements can increase skin elasticity, hydration, and dermal collagen density.’ In layman’s term that translates to firmer, smoother, healthier looking skin – from the inside, out.

Capsules, Pills Or Powder?

In short, it boils down to personal choice, the key being to go for whichever form you are most likely to take consistently and doesn’t feel like a chore to take. Try taking it at the same time every day – with your breakfast tends to work well – to make it an engrained habit in your daily routine. Common feedback from collagen users is that results only came after long-term, consistent use. If you don’t like popping pills, a flavourless supplement you can add to a morning smoothie is an easy way to get your daily dose. Another key factor when choosing your supplement brands is quality and purity. Look for ethical, sustainable brands with high-welfare sources of collagen.

What’s The Difference Between Bovine And Marine Collagen?

Put simply, bovine collagen comes from cattle and marine collagen from fish. There are lots of pros and cons for each type but the key factors to note are that marine collagen is the most ‘bio-available’ form of collagen, meaning it is the most easily absorbed by our bodies and, if wild-caught, is generally the purest form and the most sustainable as it is made from fish skin, which would otherwise be a byproduct. Before investing in any form of collagen, do ensure you research a brand fully to understand their sourcing methods and ethical practices to make your own informed decision.

Can You Buy Vegan Collagen?

Rather than delivering your body ‘ready-made collagen’, vegan collagen supplements will help boost your body’s own natural production of collagen by providing it with the vitamins and minerals it needs to increase levels – including vitamin C, proline, glycine and copper.

7 Of The Best Collagen Supplement Brands

Absolute Collagen

The ‘face’ of collagen in the UK, Maxine Laceby’s iconic yellow sachets of bio-available, premium marine collagen are heralded by her ‘Absoluters’ as game-changers in ingestible beauty, with 78 per cent seeing results in twelve weeks. Shop it here.

The Beauty Chef

The Beauty Chef’s Vegan Collagen Inner Beauty Boost, part of its ‘edible skincare’ collection, is a bio-fermented probiotic elixir that has been scientifically formulated to increase the skin’s collagen production, for smoother, plumper, more radiant skin, naturally. Shop it here.

Dose & Co

Dose & Co, endorsed by Khloe Kardashian, uses bovine collagen in a range of powders and ‘creamers’ in sweet treat flavours including vanilla and caramel to add to your daily cuppa for a skin-boosting hit. If it’s good enough for a Kardashian… Shop it here.

Beauty Pie

As you may expect from Beauty Pie, its Super Powder sets the bar high when it comes to the beauty standard in collagen supplements. The hydrolysed marine collagen peptides – meaning the collagen molecules have been broken to make them easier to absorb – are sourced from wild-caught fish yet delivered in a sweet, natural berry flavoured drink. Great for adding to morning smoothies for a super glow, without skincare. Shop it here.

Vital Proteins

Vital Protein’s poster girl and new chief creative officer Jennifer Aniston is a big advocate of its on-the-go options, from a flavourless powder supplement to add to your morning cuppa to bars, waters and shots, all of which ensure you’re getting your collagen boost throughout the day. Shop it here.

Ancient & Brave

Ancient & Brave’s wellness range of brews use advanced nutritional formulas of intelligent botanical ingredients, powders and oils to target not just skin, but cognitive function, metabolism and mental wellbeing, too. Its collagen and cacao supplement combines hydrolysed collagen peptides with adaptogenic ashwagandha for stress resilience, vitamin C rich baobab, antioxidant-rich beetroot and carob and cinnamon for natural sweetness. Full of goodness to kick-start your day and pep up more than just your skin. Shop it here.

Raw Beauty Lab

This award-winning collagen builder contains vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients to protect elastin and build collagen levels, with the added bonus blend of antioxidant-rich superfoods from organic, plant-based sources. Shop it here.

* Ref. Oral Collagen Supplementation: A Systematic Review of Dermatological Applications

By Lydia Mansi
September 2021

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Lydia Mansi

Lifestyle Editor

Lydia is an all-round lifestyle guru, tireless champion of women in business and our resident expert on beauty.