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There’s no doubt about it: The supplement market is seriously oversaturated. And that holds even truer when you’re talking about health and beauty supplements specifically. You can’t walk through a store, scroll through Instagram, or click through the Internet without encountering some kind of pill or potion promising anything and everything from clearer skin to a healthier gut.
So, first of all, should you even be taking a supplement? That’s a question for your doc (and make sure to chat with them before you start taking one). But the general consensus from the experts we’ve spoken with, as well as our firsthand experience is that as long as you choose the right one, ingestible supplements can be a good, well, supplement to your existing beauty and/or wellness routine. They won’t replace the basics such as wearing sunscreen or eating a healthy diet, but they can be a helpful piece of the entire puzzle. And the upshot of having so many options out there? There’s something for every want and need, whether you want to give your skin a little extra boost, combat stress, or ward off a cold.
However, choosing the right supplement requires a bit of homework. “Finding a supplement brand you trust requires looking beyond pretty packaging,” explains dietician Lisa Moskovitz. “It is important to do your research so you understand exactly what you're putting in your body.”
Ahead, she outlines what you should be looking for when shopping for a beauty and health supplement.
Meet the Expert
Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CDN, is a dietician and the CEO of NY Nutrition Group and a medical expert board member of Eat This Not That. Her specialties include healthy weight management, intuitive eating, hormonal disorders, and disordered eating, and pre- and post-natal nutrition. Her approach is simple and scientific, and she believes that there is no one-size fits all plan when it comes to health and nutrition.
What to Look For in a Beauty and Health Supplement
When it comes to choosing a supplement, Moskovitz recommends looking for a product that’s been tested by a third-party company. “While most supplements are relatively safe, they are not regulated by the FDA,” she says. “For that reason, some products may not have all the ingredients it lists on the label. Fortunately, there are third-party testing companies that check for product quality or safety issues. Look for a USP, ConsumerLab, or an NSP seal on the back of the bottle to guarantee quality control."
Thoroughly Read the Ingredient List
Specifically, Moskovitz recommends looking for any unusual or unfamiliar ingredients on a supplement’s ingredient list. “Many supplements will contain some well-known nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin D, and magnesium; however, there are also a plethora of herbs and extracts that are often bundled in to enhance the results and marketability of a product,” she says. “Most of these are innocuous, but if you're taking any prescription medications or have certain medical conditions, these extras might do more harm than good.” Her advice? Always consult with a dietician or your prescribing MD to ensure that the supplement is safe for you.
Check the Claims
Supplement brands often make lofty claims and promises about their products, but they’re usually not as life-changing as they’re sometimes marketed to be. That said, Moskovitz says it’s up to you to do your own research. “Supplements are expensive and can eat up a lot of your paycheck, especially if you’re committing to daily consumption,” she says. “For that reason, before you go to your cart to check out, make sure you fully check out all the claims and associated research. Supplements can be helpful, but their results are often subtle and are certainly not a quick-fix cure. They are only effective when they are truly filling in a gap, targeting a specific issue, or contain specific ingredients that are well-studied—and in some cases, you’re not getting more than false hope in a well-packaged bottle.”
Ready to incorporate beauty and health supplements into your daily routine? Ahead, meet the products we think are the best of the best.
Best Overall: Ritual Essential for Women
For minimalists looking for one do-it-all pill, Ritual fits the bill. More isn’t always better when it comes to multivitamins; many contain upwards of 20 ingredients that your body may not always be able to break down. That’s why this one uses only nine (lots of essentials for women, including folate, omega-3, and iron, to name a few). Plus, you only have to take two capsules, once a day. A favorite of one Byrdie editor, she appreciates that they’re easy-to-swallow and don’t induce nausea, and boost your looks too. “Since beginning to take them (it's been about three months), I've noticed visible growth in my hair and especially my nails,” she says.
Best for Glowing Skin: The Nue Co. Skin Filter
Plenty of supplements promise to leave skin more hydrated and radiant, but this takes it one step further, using ingredients that work to combat all kinds of complexion imperfections, think sun damage, pigmentation, and breakouts. Credit a combo of champagne grape seed, vitamin C, and zinc that was tested (under dermatological control, we should add) and proven to brighten skin by 26% in just two months. It doesn’t mean you should give up your topicals, but it may be worth adding this to your skincare lineup.
Best Personalized: Paragon Daily Packs
There are plenty of personalized supplement plans out there, but our VP calls these, “the 2.0 of bespoke vitamins and supplements.” Instead of just filling out a survey, you actually send them a strand of your hair for analysis, so that they can best determine which nutrients you do—or don’t—need, and the packs you get change daily. “That means a customized regimen that considers what's best for you every day of the month. How brilliant is that?” she says. We agree.
Best Probiotic: Seed Daily Synbiotic
Here’s the thing: A healthy gut is truly the foundation of overall health, as it affects everything from your digestion (obvi) to how your skin looks. Probiotics—AKA beneficial bacteria—are great for promoting gut health, but this formula goes above and beyond. It touts both probiotics and prebiotics, basically food for this good bacteria to flourish. It’s a powerful combo that turned our senior editor into a loyal devotee. “I’ve been taking the supplements for over a year now, and I can feel (and see) the difference. I'm more, you know, regular, and feel less bloated on a daily basis,” she says.
Best for Sleep: Care/of Dream Team On-the-Go Sleep Support
Like a grown-up pixie stick (with benefits), pop one of these mixed berry-flavored powder packs before bedtime. Each one contains 2.5 mg of melatonin, the hormone responsible for your natural sleep-wake cycle to help you fall asleep and catch some quality ZZZs. Because they’re perfectly portable, they’re also ideal for travel and combatting jet lag.
Best Gummies: Goli Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies
Apple cider vinegar has a long list of health benefits, known to boost immunity, lower glucose levels after eating, decrease signs of skin aging, and deliver antibacterial properties. The only drawback? Swigging a shot of ACV daily is much easier said than done (not to mention that it can also contribute to enamel erosion) Enter these delicious gummies, which are legit delicious—one Byrdie editor says they taste like a caramel apple lollipop. One serving, two gummies, is equivalent to one serving of apple cider vinegar.
Best Budget: Glow Habit Happy Hair Habit Vitamins
Despite the sheer volume of supplements out there, it can still prove somewhat challenging to find good quality, affordable options. That’s why we love this Walmart-exclusive range. Choose from hair, skin, sleep, and probiotic gummies, all of which use legit ingredients, are free of artificial flavors and sweeteners and are affordable for a 30-day supply.
Best for Hair: Olly Undeniable Beauty Gummies
“I can confidently say my hair looks strong and healthy, which I truly feel is a result of incorporating two of these gummies into my daily routine,” says our senior editor who raves about these. At work, biotin to help prevent breakage, plus vitamins C and E, and keratin, the protein that makes up a large part of your hair and nails. That’s the other upshot—these work not only to boost your strands but your skin and nails, too.
Best Multivitamin: Rainbow Light Women’s One Multivitamin
While nothing may ever be quite as glorious as the Flintstones chewable of your childhood, this multivitamin is what you need for adulthood. Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (all made to support female needs, specifically) promote everything from bone to breast to immune health. And as an added benefit, these also contain probiotics and a digestive complex, too.
Best Powder: Vital Proteins Blueberry Moon Milk Collagen Latte
We appreciate that this powder (meant to be taken pre-bedtime) is packed with benefits. Melatonin and GABA help you fall asleep and ashwagandha and magnesium help combat stress, all with a hearty dose of bone broth collagen to improve hair, skin, nails, and joints. Mix it with hot water, milk, or non-dairy milk for a yummy nightcap.
Runner-Up, Best Powder: Goop G.Tox Detoxifying Superpowder
Goop calls these packets a daily shot of detoxifying nutrients and botanical extracts and we won't argue with that. Specifically, it's made with milk thistle extract (a botanical that supports liver detox) as well as nutrients like zinc, magnesium, selenium, and antioxidants like vitamin C and resveratrol to neutralize free radical damage and eliminate dietary toxins. All of that translates to putting your best, healthiest skin forward each day.
As a bonus, you can save a bit of money by signing up for a subscription that'll send packets directly to your doorstep every 30 days, 60 days, or 90 days—your pick.
Best Liquid: DL.MD Liquid Multi-Vitamin Supplement
Those who aren’t big fans of pills will appreciate this doctor-developed liquid option. Thirteen different vitamins, five minerals, and one bioflavonoid (hence the name) work on hair, skin, nails, bones, teeth, and your immune system; talk about a multi-tasker. You just need one teaspoon per day, and you can either take it solo or mix it with water. Also nice: It can be taken at any time, with or without food.
Best CBD: Equilibria Daily Soft Gels
By our estimates, there must be (at least) 129191944 different types of CBD supplements out there. But there are several unique factors that set these apparent. The organic, Colorado-grown, slow-release CBD oil has three to four times the cannabinoids (the compounds that help fight stress, reduce inflammation and more) than other CBD products. And while they come in two different strengths, this brand is also unique in that it offers personalized dosage consultants. Chat with one to help you determine which dose is best for you.