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The Best Collagen Supplements For Healthier Skin, Hair, & Joints

Learn what to look for and what to avoid when shopping for a collagen supplement

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Many of us begin noticing a decrease in our collagen production around the age of 30 when our skin begins to lose elasticity, we start developing fine lines, and signs of aging begin to appear. That's why collagen is quickly becoming one of the most popular supplements on the market.

One of the best ways to make sure you're getting enough collagen in your diet is through a high-quality, clinically studied collagen peptide supplement. In fact, these have been found to help improve your health and well-being better than diet alone. A quality collagen powder can also support healthy weight management because it's low in calories and high in protein.

However, with so many collagen products currently available, it can be hard to distinguish which brands can restore your youthful appearance...and which are just trying to take your money.

That's why Smarter Reviews has compiled months of research about this emerging category and narrowed them down to the top 6.

Before we dive into what makes a supplement effective and worth your hard-earned money, it’s important to understand what exactly collagen can do for your overall health.

Why Do We Need Collagen?

Did you know that collagen is the most abundant protein in your body? It's not only responsible for keeping your bones & joints healthy, but it also improves the appearance of your skin, and helps you build muscle mass, which in turn promotes metabolism and healthy weight management.

A Quality Collagen Supplement Can:

  • Support healthy weight management
  • Promote skin elasticity
  • Strengthen hair & nails
  • Help support bone & joint health
  • Help encourage muscle mass
  • Boost gut health
  • Strengthen immune function

Hot Tip: Add Collagen To Your Favorite Drink

A quality collagen powder dissolves easily into your beverage of choice. Many people enjoy mixing collagen with their morning coffee, tea, or smoothie. The best brands make their collagen flavorless so there's little to no impact on the taste of the beverage.

This simple ritual helps customers stay consistent with their collagen intake, producing the best results.

But, not all supplements are created equally and when it comes to choosing a great collagen product, there are several things to consider.

What To Look For In A Collagen Supplement:

Diverse Amino Acid Profile

Our bodies require approximately 20 different amino acids in order to function properly. Therefore, when looking for a collagen supplement, we recommend finding one with a diverse amino acid profile — the more amino acids, the better.

Hydrolyzed Bovine Collagen

Though collagen can come from many different sources, bovine has been found to be the most potent and effective. Furthermore, when collagen is hydrolyzed it essentially means the amino acids within it have been broken down, so they're easier for your body to absorb.

Types I & III

We recommend finding a supplement that contains collagen types I & III -- as these support the primary areas of concern and are the most potent. However, be wary of any product that contains more than 3 types, as it likely means the supplement is "watered down" and less effective.

What Ingredients To Avoid:

Marine Collagen

A problem with marine collagen is that you never know what you're getting. "Marine" is a blanket term for any aquatic creature whether it be a jellyfish, shellfish, or shark — these sources are not easy for the body to absorb.

Artificial Flavors or Sweeteners

Some brands add a sweetener or artificial flavors that could upset your GI tract or add unnecessary calories. We recommend adding your own sweetener to an unflavored version or mixing it into a flavorful beverage.

How Much Collagen Should You Take?

If you're concerned you lost too much collagen and want to restore your levels quickly, you may benefit from "collagen loading."

Simply double your collagen intake for the first 30 days so that your body can return to the baseline level of collagen production.

After this level has been established, you'll likely start feeling and seeing the difference with just a single serving.

Your Definitive Collagen Checklist:

Now that you know what ingredients to look for and what to avoid, it’s also important to keep these additional tips in mind when shopping for a collagen supplement.

Clinically Recommended Dosages

Some brands will use quality ingredients, but skimp out on dosages in order to save money. So even if you’re getting the right ingredients, if they’re not in their recommended dosages, you won’t experience the full benefits. We recommend looking for a supplement that lists at least 9 different amino acids in their profile and is comprised of at least 90% protein.

Prioritize Quality

It's vital to prioritize quality when searching for a collagen supplement, even if that means paying a little more for a high-quality, safe, and clinically recommended formula. Your health is far too valuable to take such a gamble.

Money-Back Guarantee

It’s always a good idea to invest in a supplement that offers a 100% money-back guarantee that shows the company's faith in its product. Look for brands that offer at least a 90-day money-back guarantee.

Top 6 Collagen Supplements Of 2021

We've compiled a list of what we've found to be the top 6 products in this category on the market today.

1. Collagen Peptides

Total Ranking

336 votes

9.7/10

A+

Overall Grade

Vote and Review

5/10

PROS

  • Formulated with Types I & III 
  • Hydrolyzed bovine collagen
  • Contains calcium & magnesium 
  • Powerful potency 
  • 20 amino acids
  • 365-day, risk-free, money-back, product guarantee

CONS

  • Out of stock frequently
The Bottom Line

Live Conscious' Collagen Peptides contains both types I & III collagen. It also has one of the most diverse amino acid profiles we found, containing 20. We were also pleased to see it has been formulated with calcium, magnesium, and other important minerals that work together to help support your bones & joints while strengthening your hair & nails and supporting healthy weight management.

This was one of the only products that we could verify had no hidden additives, fillers, or artificial ingredients. It was also one of the only collagen supplements that was third-party tested.

Additionally, their return policy was topnotch — a comprehensive, 365-day, risk-free, money-back guarantee, proving the company stands behind its products. This was a huge advantage versus the competition, along with total effectiveness projections that rivaled any other supplement we found. All in all, Live Conscious Exitis our top pick. 

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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2. Collagen Peptides

Total Ranking

214 votes

9.5/10

A

Overall Grade

Vote and Review

5/10

PROS

  • Includes types I & III collagen 
  • Derived from bovine
  • 365-day money-back guarantee 

CONS

  • Less diverse amino acid profile 
The Bottom Line

Coming in a close second is Essential Elements for their dynamite collagen peptides.

Essential Elements formulated their product with the optimal dosages of types I & III collagen. They fall just shy of being great, however, because their amino acid profile only contains 8 amino acids, so they lack the building blocks to deliver results as effective or fast.

Beyond that, Essential Elements offers a comprehensive 365-day return policy, so everyone can try their products completely risk-free. Plus, they just opened a store on Amazon making ordering easier than ever.

For all these reasons, the Collagen Peptides by Essential Elements is number 2 on our list. 

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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3. Collagen Peptides

Total Ranking

263 votes

8.9/10

B+

Overall Grade

Vote and Review

5/10

PROS

  • Contains types I & III collagen 
  • Diverse amino acid profile 

CONS

  • Only a 30-day money-back guarantee
The Bottom Line

The Collagen Peptides by Vital Proteins contains a hefty dose of types I & III bovine collagen, but unfortunately, fails to use the more potent form of hydrolyzed collagen. It also lacks some key minerals, such as calcium and magnesium.

However, it was formulated without any harmful additives or fillers, which gives it a boost in our rankings. Plus a majority of the customers were happy with their purchase and reported positive results.

Vital Proteins offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is not as comprehensive as others on this list.

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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4. Foundation Beauty Elixir

Total Ranking

494 votes

8.7/10

B+

Overall Grade

Vote and Review

5/10

PROS

  • Contains types I & III collagen 
  • Diverse amino acid profile
  • Includes prebiotics, keratin, vitamin C, ginger & blue spirulina
  • Uses hydrolyzed bovine collagen

CONS

  • Flavored collagen

The Bottom Line

Coming in at number 4 on our list is Foundation Beauty Elixir by Hair la Vie, a collagen-based drink specifically formulated to support healthy skin, hair, and nails. If enhancing your beauty is a top priority, this is the collagen for you.

Foundation Beauty Elixir’s formula not only contains types I and III grass-fed bovine collagen and 19 amino acids but also includes prebiotics, keratin, vitamin C, ginger, and blue spirulina for added health and beauty benefits.

While we don’t usually recommend flavored collagen, this product uses a natural honeydew flavor for a touch of sweetness without added sugar. It also gets its color from blue spirulina, a well-known superfood with a natural blue hue.

Most customers have reported noticeable improvements in their skin, hair, and nails after taking Foundation for just under one month. Hair La Vie also has a 90-Day money-back guarantee so you can try the product virtually risk-free. For these reasons, we had to include Foundation Beauty Elixir on our list.

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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5. Super Youth Collagen Powder

Total Ranking

571 votes

7.9/10

C+

Overall Grade

Vote and Review

5/10

PROS

  • Contains types I & III collagen
  • Diverse amino acid profile
  • Uses hydrolyzed bovine collagen

CONS

  • Uses 5 types of collagen, which dilutes effectiveness
  • Lacks calcium, magnesium, and other minerals 
The Bottom Line

Rounding off our list is SkinnyFit with their Collagen Peptides. It’s formulated with types I, II, III, V & X collagen. But with so many different types, it's difficult to get the maximum benefits and bioavailability.

Once again, SkinnyFit also lacks some key nutrients and minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, for it to be a truly top-notch collagen supplement.

Potential customers should also take into consideration that SkinnyFit offers a 90-day, money-back guarantee

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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6. Multi Collagen Protein

Total Ranking

388 votes

7.6./10

C

Overall Grade

Vote and Review

5/10

PROS

  • Uses hydrolyzed bovine collagen

CONS

  • Lacks key minerals 
  • Contains 5 different collagen types 
  • Doesn't specify amino acid profile 
The Bottom Line

Coming in at number 6 on our list is Multi Collagen Protein by Ancient Nutrition. This product is formulated with a whopping 5 different types of collagen from 5 different sources.

However, this formula is still missing some key ingredients and fails to specify its amino acid profile, which most likely means it's less potent than the others on our list.

Additionally, a handful of customers reported seeing an increase in skin blemishes and pimples since starting this supplement. So if you’re prone to breakouts, you may want to be careful with the Multi Collagen Protein by Ancient Nutrition.

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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