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What Beauty Supplements Do You Take? And Do They….Work?!

Author: Charlotte O'Shea

Up until the last year or so I have always taken a supplement of some kind, primarily a “beauty” specific supplement aimed at healthier hair, skin and nails. I popped a capsule every day in the vain hope this teeny tablet would make my locks more lustrous, my epidermis sparklier, my nails all shiny and strong……

I took Perfectil throughout my misspent youth. I am unsure as to it’s exact benefits, it was one of those situations where it had become much like brushing my teeth – it was part of the daily ritual. I had no idea whether should I stop taking it, there would be any noticeable difference at all.

About five years ago my Mum introduced me to Viridian Ultimate Beauty Complex, she said she witnessed a positive outcome so perhaps I should give it a whirl. Apparently it is “a synergistic combination of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients for the maintenance of collagen integrity, supporting the underlying structures of healthy skin, hair and nails…”

Fancy.

I honestly saw an improvement, but whether this was as much to do with changing up my skincare routine and positive updates to my diet at the time I’m unsure. Regardless, right up until I found out I was pregnant (and a brief flirtation again last year) I carried on purchasing a bottle every month.

And then I got bored.

And so I stopped.

And nothing really….happened.

So was it all just placebo?

I know that a good balanced diet with fruit, vegetables and whatnot should provide your body with all the fuel it needs to be healthy and strong. But as there are so many supplements on the market, surely some of them must actually do something?

A posh (i.e. expensive to have a consultation with) dermatologist once told me that I should absolutely take vitamin C and zinc, they were vital for collagen maintenance (or was it production? I forget) and that all of her patients see the benefits, particularly more radiant complexions. She didn’t recommend a particular brand, just that you had to take the vitamins every day. And drink lots of water of course.

I tried it out for a few months and once I had run out I didn’t rush out to buy any more vitamin C or zinc. I guess I can’t have been bowled over by the results. Or perhaps I didn’t persevere for long enough.

I’m at a point now where my skin, hair and nails are a little worse for wear, a debilitating cough and cold, central heating and a lack of sleep have definitely taken their toll. And I’m wondering whether a supplement of some kind might give me a little bit of a sunshine boost – or at least prevent everything from seemingly flaking off.

I’m quite taken with the hype (and branding!) of FOUNTAIN “The Beauty Molecule“. Yes folks, I have been known to part with my hard earned cash because I like the bottle and the marketing speil is you know, sexy. They also do a GLOW MOLECULE (I know, so scientific sounding!) so I’m wondering….if I take both together, I should see some kind of wondrous effects surely?!

I would really love to know if you take any beauty-focused supplements, the reasons why and if you feel they have genuinely made a difference to your appearance in a positive way. Online research usually leads me to the fact there is often very little actual scientific/proven results and not to bother. That I should simply drink less wine, eat less cake and introduce considerably more kale into my life…but where’s the fun it that?

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27 thoughts on “What Beauty Supplements Do You Take? And Do They….Work?!

  1. The really obvious thing, that surprisingly alot of people neglect, is drinking water. I have gone from drinking about a litre a day to drinking closer to 3 and a half every day and I have noticed a huge difference. My skin wasn’t bad to begin with, but it is now much MUCH better. It feels incredibly soft and smooth and my complexion is much more even. I also have much more energy (even on little sleep), don’t feel bloated (even after stuffing my face with cakes and bread) and my eyes are much brighter. Yes it is sometimes tedious, especially when I’m out. And I spend plenty of time going back and forth to the loo! I take vitamin c and zinc every day as I find it helps my immune system. I work in an open plan office and didn’t get ill at all last year, even though I was surrounded by people coughing and sneezing at various points. I know that vitamin c is good for your skin too, and your dermatologist confirmed it. The capsules claiming to be wonder pills will have exactly the same vitamins and minierals you’ll get in a pack of multivitamins, but often a lower percentage so you’re better off just buying the actual vitamin you want. I don’t think there’s a shortcut to looking and feeling your best, it takes consistent effort. But it totally worth it when you find a balance that works for you and aren’t constantly battling between different pills and products

    1. Amma I should really drink more water. I’m saying this as I have my second coffee of the day…..

      As you said, I find it very tedious, and boring. And the continuous trips to the loo thing is so time consuming. I do make the effort to always order water when I’m out and about, I’ve also fairly recently started drinking sparkling as when chilled is quite refreshing.

      It’s interesting what you said about Vit C and Zinc, perhaps I should persevere, and I would agree – there aren’t shortcuts unfortunately, it would just be nice if there was a bit of an easy option “boost” occasionally (I’m just off to pour myself a glass of water…) x

  2. Oh Charlotte this is a good post for me, I’m a slave to the supplements! Mainly for nutrition and health, but I throw in the skin hair and nails ones too. My husband is a Dr and he tells me there is good science behind taking Vit C for general health and Vit D and B to stave off Alzheimer’s, but scoffs at the rest of the stuff I pop! I tend to think if it doesn’t cost much and can’t hurt me, its worth a try. I keep them all in my desk drawer at work so I remember to take them first thing in the morning with a big glass of water – wish I could manage drinking 3.5 litres of water like Amma – I just get so bored of going to the loo!

    I just have the purple Boots multi-vitamin for skin, hair and nails (great when vitamins are on 3 for 2 which seems to be always) and if I take a break for holidays or something I swear my hair looks shinier and more lustrous after a week back on the wagon and I do tend to avoid the office colds πŸ™‚ – who know if its true, but it makes me feel virtuous! I’m not even going to look at the Fountain website, too dangerous this far away from payday!! xx

    1. Hi Jenni! That’s really interesting on the Vit D and B, and Vit C does seem to be the number one recommendation if you are to take anything. I wonder if you absorb (?) it any better/differently from a tablet rather than food though? Not that I’m saying I always eat food that contains my RDA of it C anyway.

      I have had the most awful cold this last week and really wonder if a dose of it C and zinc would have made it slightly more bearable!

      The fountain stuff looks amazing, as does “liquid collagen” (!) – you wonder how they can get away with promoting this stuff if it does absolutely nothing! x

  3. The only supplements I take are Omega 3 Fish Oil’s, specifically the Pharma Nord ones as they’re the only ones I’ve found that don’t repeat on me (can’t abide the ones that taste fishy). I only started taking them because they’re supposed to encourage your body to burn fat, especially round your stomach & waist (my problem area). The interesting thing I found was that my skin noticeably improved (& to a certain extent my hair and nails). I stopped taking them for a while and that’s when I realised they were actually doing something.

    There is a part of me though that is conscious that you usually start taking supplements to change something about your body/health and in the process of doing this you usually do more than one thing (in my case drink a LOT more water) so its hard to fully qualify what actually works other than stopping them and seeing what happens.

    I drank match green tea for a while and honestly didn’t notice any difference at all even though I have friends that swear by it. Just shows that what works for one person doesn’t work for everyone, we’re all made differently πŸ˜‰

    I will continue on my quest though (as we all do) to try new things AND drink a LOT more water (I did read that the more water you drink your body gets used to it and you need to go to the toilet less – have no idea whether this is true or not!) xxx

    1. Grainne I know a lot of folks who swear by fish oils, especially those that suffer from dry skin and joint pain. I can’t stand fish – just the thought of it makes me feel queasy, which is ridiculous, as it is so good for you!

      Perhaps I should look into this Pharma Nord brand if you find it ok. I have never heard of the fat burning association I must say. And I clearly MUST drink more water! (I now have a half litre bottle at my desk!) x

  4. Hi Charlotte, I work in public health research which means I have advice and recommendations on tap with experts to discuss current trends, media coverage and all things health related. Wonderful job perk πŸ™‚ I agree with your dermatologist and some other reader comments on the vitamin C and zinc and this is top of my supplement list. Since I starting taking it 2 years ago I haven’t suffered sickness, not even my usual twice yearly cold…..hope I don’t jinx myself now! I also take daily: Vitamin D (living in NI and working indoors requires it!), vitamin B12, fish oils and a prebiotic billion strain. 2-3 litres of water per day, ginger tea and like yourself I am just about to have my second coffee of the day. I may well have a third as a pre-workout later! I love the thought of beauty pills reaping amazing results but until there is enough research I am eyeing up some Freddy jeans for my spare cash πŸ™‚ x

    1. Clare what a fascinating job! I may just have 158 questions to ask you……..

      What does a “prebiotic billion strain” do? is this to help with digestion/gut health etc? I hear this has a lot to do with the health of your skin and whatnot too. And what are the benefits of ginger tea? (I quite like ginger, I’m thinking I may be able to stomach this more than the herbal/mint teas I can take or leave) x

  5. I did exactly the same as you and have a collection of beauty pills, none of which i remember to take. I’m now 7 months pregnant and i blame by now very dry skin etc on my diet which has definitely been worse over the past few months due to sickness/ too much dairy and wheat which i usually avoid. The one thing I totally recommend which i was skeptical of for ages is echinacea- buy the drops and have some in your water every day. I found they have really worked for me if you are feeling run down and has definitely helped avoid winter colds. x

    1. Thanks for the tip Rachel! I actually found my skin was incredibly dry during pregnancy, it can be a hormonal side effect. The plus side was my hair was distinctly non greasy, I didn’t have to wash it for days! I found using nothing but a warm flannel a gentle creamy cleanser and a tonne of Aveeno cream really helped with my face. Also Lansinoh lanolin cream on lips and other flaky areas x

      1. Thanks Charlotte, that’s really helpful! After Lauren’s post on coconut oil have started to lather my face in that now as well as my tummy. Must try Aveeno; also a good slathering of Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream is pretty good pre bed, not a great day time look though!x

  6. I don’t take any supplements for beauty however I have been converted to probiotics for immunity. I have been using Optibac for Daily Immunity and am totally converted. I start getting cold symptoms (a bit of sneezing etc) and then – nothing! And for me that’s miraculous as I usually catch everything going. My thinking is if I am well and not always recovering from colds I will generally look more well (ie not dry crispy skin!).

  7. Charlotte, that’s about the same number of questions I have every day too! We can trade tips…..your makeup ones are the best πŸ™‚
    Yes, you are right, the prebiotic helps with microflora gut balance, assists the immune system and can help with bloating etc. That and fish oil have made my skin and hair in better condition than anything. I drink ginger tea as a coffee substitute rather than for any specific health benefits (although apparently good for digestion and anxiety) . Herbal and green teas are some of my least favourite things in life!
    I am currently trialing some Paula’s Choice skin perfector I got via Birchbox….very interested to see how it goes x
    Ps kale is overrated πŸ˜‰

    1. Ah ha Paula’s Choice! I often read her reviews before indulging in new make-up products, I’m sure it’s saved me lots of money on stuff that is all just hype (can’t say I check her site ALL the time mind..) I’d be really interested to know if her own products are any good.

      I can see a trip to the supplement shop coming on πŸ™‚ x

  8. Just take a vitamin D and calcium supplement. Vitamin D is the only nutrient that we don’t ingest as part of our diet and none of us get enough of it anymore because (rightly so) we’re all more focussed on slapping on the SPF to protect from UVs. That is why loads of kids are getting rickets again!

    I also take evening primrose oil, as it is supposed to help with tenderness in certain places at a certain time of the month if you’re female πŸ™‚

    If there was some sort of wonder pill we could take that would be amazing, but alas I think we just have to stick with a healthy balanced diet, aim for the 7 portions of fruit and veg a day and drink lots of H2O.

    Hopefully now we’re in February we’ll start to perk up a bit, I blame January!

    1. Ha Kitty I blame bloody January too! I didn’t know there was an increase in cases of Rickets in children, good grief, I’ll be investigating natural sources of Vit D and making sure Mabel gets hers in that case x

      1. Ricketts has increased but its still a very rare disease with c700 cases a year, mostly related to poverty and poor diet. Kids from 6 months to 5 years should have Vit D drops having less than 500ml of formula a day or are Breastfed and mum isn’s taking Vit D. Best natural source is sunlight, I take my lead from a Dr friend who doesn’t put suncream on her kids for the first half hour in the UK in summer to let them get some exposure.

      2. Don’t freak out Charlotte, but sunlight is the only natural source of Vit D, so when you see it in supplement form and added to yoghurts, cereals and other forms it has all come from the same place, which I think is really interesting!

        How do you get sunlight into supplements and food? Well you shear a few sheep, extract the naturally produced grease from their fleeces which captures and holds on to Vit D from the sun. The grease is then processed somehow in a lab and made into pure Vit D! I saw it on a documentary, and loads of sheep fleece grease only makes a small amount of Vit D so it’s really expensive to produce. They had a small tube of it that was worth tens of thousands of pounds!

        So yeah, interesting, but maybe not exactly pleasant to think about as you take your morning supplement!

  9. I take zinc and vitamin c and fish oil. My skin has vastly improved but I have also over hauled my skin care too….

  10. Really interesting to read all these responses. I tried the Fountain supplement (can’t remember which one, the “beauty” one I think) but never really saw or felt any difference. I’m now trying to take Dr Zelens omegas capsules and a probiotic, but thinking I should add in some Vit C and Zinc after seeing all the comments here (and feeling really run down this winter).

    I guess I’m just always unsure as to whether I’m getting any tangible benefits – I’ve never started something and felt appreciably better, or stopped and felt worse, which makes it hard to be bothered remembering to take the supplements!

  11. I take Vit D (I work indoors for 10 hours a day so in Winter its dark arriving and leaving work πŸ™ ) Vit E (it acts as an antioxidant, which protects cell membranes. Also helps maintain healthy skin, eyes and strengthens the immune system) and Feroglobin (“Feroglobin-B12 is gentle iron supplement, in capsule form with zinc and vitamin B12…Iron is an essential mineral, which contributes to the normal formation of haemoglobin and normal oxygen transport in the body.”) as recommended by my Mum; I’m really pale, bruise like a peach and my iron levels are always borderline. Haven’t noticed a massive difference with it, still bruise like a peach but the thing I like about it is it includes B vitamins, I’ve taken these before as a B complex and I notice when I don’t take B vits – I feel (more!) crazy/neurotic when I don’t take vit B…not sure if its hormonal but I notice a difference without vit B.
    So far I like the combination I’m taking and probably won’t stop until I need a different set of vitamins (fingers crossed for pregnancy this year so will change up my vits/supplements nearer the time!) Might even add vit c as I work in a hospital with ALL the germs!

  12. My mums been taking Imedeen tablets for the past year and her skin is flipping amazing. It’s really plumped up and looks fresh and hydrated and I know she is rubbish at drinking water. I’m definitely taking them in the lead up to my wedding this year and beyond!

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