If I had a dollar every time someone asked me about collagen, I’d be one happy (and rich) lady. If you’ve been following me for awhile (specifically on Instagram), you know collagen is a staple for me every.single.day. And today I want to share the why, the how, and the what-the-heck-is-it kind of personal story. This is why I take collagen.
Collagen is all the rage in the healthy living world – for a variety of reasons. But I’m not here to tell you all the scientific facts or what using collagen could do for you. I’m here to share my story about collagen and why I consider it my BFF (along with sparkling water, my food processor, and sheet pan dinners. But for the sake of keeping this post focused *SQUIRREL*, I’ll just focus on my collagen BFF for now).
Let’s break this down into ‘brain is fried because I’m a tired mom’ terms, shall we?
Collagen definition dummified: a protein found in our bodies that makes healthy skin, bones, gut, and tendons.
Collagen definition in Physical Kitchness terms: super awesome thing that we naturally produce for great hair, skin, nails, gut health and joint/connective tissue stuff.
Bad news about collagen: as we age, we naturally produce less and less.
Good news about collagen: we can ingest it to make up for our bodies’ lack of.
Think about it, when we get older, wrinkles start to make their wonderful debut, maybe hair and nails start to get brittle, and we can’t bounce back from jumping off trees like we used to (or let’s be honest, getting out of bed).
Are you seeing where I’m going with this? Less production of collagen naturally = supplement with a powdered collagen supplement like Vital Proteins.
Ok, now that we’ve gotten all the ‘this is why’ blah blah blah stuff out of the way, here’s why I use collagen and what it’s done for me.
Why I Take Collagen
#1. WOW skin
Guys, this is big for me. I’ve always had skin insecurities – never being that teenager with a few pimples during puberty or the lady that can walk into the grocery store bare faced without worry. My skin
sucks sucked. To prove I’m not making this up, I went on Accutane TWICE (once in high school, once in college) to combat my cystic acne that had made me insanely insecure and consumed with worry about having my concealer with me at all times. Sleeping over at a friend’s, going to the pool/beach without makeup, sweating at the gym were just a few of the things I stressed about. And although Accutane absolutely help my acne issues (*note – I am not saying collagen cleared up my acne), I continued to live in this world of heightened awareness of my skin, and the fear to go bare. Fast forward to post children era, I broke out every once in awhile (and still do) but my self consciousness took a different turn – baggy eyes, rough, dull, and tired skin. I felt like every time I looked in the mirror I shuttered at the old woman looking back at me. My skin just looked grey and lackluster. There was no dewy glow – just a Thriller style zombie staring back at me.
I blamed it on being a new mom. I figured this was just the natural progression of life and the effects of having kids. It wasn’t until I started taking collagen roughly five months after my second baby that things took a turn. And in all honesty, I didn’t immediately notice until people started complimenting me. No stranger to Instagram stories, I started getting messages daily from my followers – asking me what I used for beauty products, how I had such glowing skin, and if I have had Botox (seriously!). It wasn’t until THEN did I realize that collagen was the only changing factor.
I can’t say it has been night and day difference, but there is absolutely a difference when I look back. The zombie is gone, and I absolutely feel more confident to ‘bare all’ in public. In fact, I rarely use any makeup these days – usually just mascara and concealer if I have a pimple. And coming from a girl that was crippled with insecurity about acne, that is HUGE.
In true busy-mom fashion, I never thought to take a ‘before’ photo prior to starting collagen, but for context, I found an old one on my phone about 10 weeks after I had my second baby. Then I took another photo in the same exact spot (and lighting) today, roughly 9 months later.
Difference is very subtle, but I definitely see an improvement with my skin and a natural glow.
#2. Go go gadget nails
This is actually something I never struggled with in the past, so it wasn’t a huge concern of mine, but daaaaang even when your nails already grow pretty fast, add collagen to the mix and mani/pedis seems like such a waste of cash. I love collagen but don’t love how fast that beautiful polish grows out after like 3 hours. Ok, I’m being dramatic, but you get the picture. Nails that grow for days.
#3. The nitty gritty about postpartum hair loss
Sigh – ok, I don’t even know where to start here. I’m going to simplify to keep this short and sweet. Momma has first baby = postpartum hair loss (it sucks). Hair sorta/kinda grows back but still thin. Momma has second baby 23 months after first baby – postpartum hair loss is out of control (it major sucks). My hair was falling out in chunks, and I had bald spots ALL OVER. It was frightening guys, frightening. No matter how I wore my hair (ponytail or down), the massive spots of baldness were visible.
I did the biotin supplement thing which I really thought would work, but I didn’t see much improvement. I tried being patient but I was fretting.
I started taking Vital Proteins collagen roughly 3 months after my hair was down to a few little strands left. I wish I could say I woke up a few months later and had Repunzle hair, but no. I was beginning to think the collagen/hair link was a bunch of hooey. Until one day I put my hair in a pony tail and found all these pesky whispies around the base of my hairline and the front. Weeks of new whispies and annoyingly bad hair days were my norm until it dawned on me – DUH, this was new hair growth!! Those whispies have now turned into big patches of new hair and it gives me hope things are coming back. Heck, I’ll take all the weird growth and uneven crazy hair any day, for the chance to get it all back again!
These are not separate photos on separate days (again, I kind of suck at the before and after thing), but merely showing the bald spot I still currently have (on the left), and the new growth length (on the right). Am I saying collagen is the magic solution to postpartum hair loss? I’m not sure, but I am hopeful it’s helping my new growth come back full and strong!
#4. Joint Health
I’m really, REALLY active. And I’m getting really old (ok not THAT old, but the years are adding up). Running, boot camp, HIIT, barre, lifting – I do it all. I thrive off of variety and working out is my stress relief. But the older I get, the more things start to ‘hurt’. I mean, I can’t even wake up anymore without a crick in my neck. Seriously, it’s so lame. For as active as I am, I’m actually shocked I haven’t had achy joints that I had even in my 20’s! I grew up dancing, so basically my knees and feet have taken a beating. But once again I am convinced of collagen’s magic powers – I’m pain free on the daily (aside from sore muscles due killer classes at the gym and stiff neck from sleeping funky). Collagen is a magic joint potion, this I am convinced.
#5. It’s easy
I forget taking vitamins, sunscreen, and sometimes I’m so dang tired I don’t even bother taking off my mascara before bed. If it’s not mindlessly easy, it doesn’t happen in my daily routine anymore. But pouring a scoop of grass fed, marine, or vanilla & coconut water collagen in my morning coffee every.single.day is like stupid easy.
You know when you add any sort of ‘powdered stuff’ to coffee or tea, and you mix it really well, only to get the excess crud sitting in the bottom that makes you kind of want to gag? Not with Vital Proteins. It dissolves QUICK and leaves no weird residue in the bottom of my coffee mug. Dissolves is also code word for ‘I don’t have to mix it up really really good to blend’. Because when I have a baby on my hip, a toddler that woke up at 5:20am, and I haven’t had my coffee yet, tasks cannot frustrate me. Period. And because a serving of collagen boasts a good dose of protein, I find that adding it to my morning Joe also helps keep me fuller, longer.
I’ll also add collagen to healthy baked goods like these Allergy-Friendly Blueberry Chia Vanilla Breakfast Cookies, yummy treats like Chocolate Chia Pecan Pie Parfaits, and even dinners like this Whole30 Tuscan Chicken Spaghetti Squash.
How I Use Collagen
Ingesting collagen can be a confusing concept. “How do you use it?” is a question that I often get in addition to the inquiries about why I take collagen.
Vital Proteins collagen is a powdered supplement that that quickly dissolves in liquid and is nearly flavorless. The easiest way for me ingest it is in my coffee (as stated above). I simply pour one scoop in my morning coffee with a big scoop of coconut cream. Caffeine, collagen, healthy fat = one happy momma despite the insanely early wakeup call from my toddler. My personal favorites are the wild-caught marine collagen and the grass fed collagen peptides.
If coffee isn’t your thing (what?! Are you even a human?), Vital Proteins also offers a line of collagen beauty water products with hints of flavor like lavender lemon, cucumber aloe, and melon mint that can be added cold water for a little afternoon refresher.
So there you have it, exactly why I take collagen and my first-hand experiences with Vital Proteins products. Have you incorporated collagen in your life yet?
Disclaimer: Please note that there are affiliate links on this page and I will earn a small commission if you purchase through those links. However, all opinions are my own. Thank you for your support.