When it comes to products that promise miraculous beauty benefits, I’ve always been a shamefully easy sell. I’ve tried them all. I once even bought a year’s worth of a seriously questionable brew called Dr. Miller’s Holy Tea, which promised to detox my system and help me shed unwanted weight. I did lose a lot, but after a routine checkup with my doctor, found out that I had actually contracted a parasite while traveling in Mexico. You can imagine my disappointment.
So, I couldn’t help but be intrigued by the recent abundance of beauty powder supplements to hit the market. With promises of increased collagen, perfectly balanced skin pH, and renewed cell production, these things sound like legitimate miracle workers. Naturally, this led to serious self-doubt: Was my diligent cleanse, tone, moisturize, repeat skin regimen not actually enough? I had to investigate.
What I learned is that the concept isn’t new. People have been taking supplements and seeking out foods with skin benefits for some time now. A few years ago, even Nestle tried to capitalize on our desire for perfect complexions with their Glowelle drink (its tagline: “beauty from within”), full of vitamins, antioxidants, and plant extracts. It wasn’t a hit, though, and the brand removed it from stores after only a year or two.
But, with big names like model Elle Macpherson and wellness guru Amanda Chantal Bacon behind this new slew of powders, they certainly have our attention. My mission was clear: This called for a test drive.
Wondering what on earth I was actually ingesting during all this sampling, I talked to Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, a dermatologist and the co-director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in D.C. “There’s not a lot of scientific evidence that supplements have a direct effect on the skin,” she says. In other words, she thinks a lot of the hype is just, well, hype. “However," she concedes, "a few of these products contain potent anti-inflammatory ingredients, which could help the skin.”
So, in the hopes of finally (maybe?) discovering the key to perfect skin, I decided to test out six of these superstar beauty powders to find out what's behind all the hype.