The Best Collagen Powders (2024) | Bon Appétit

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The Best Collagen Powders (2024)  | Bon Appétit

By Maggie Lange and Megan Wahn

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None of us are above vanity. And of all the food-adjacent products in all the land, collagen supplements tickle our vanity the very most. The best collagen powders promise positive side effects including strengthening our weak nails, promoting healthy skin, lengthening our limp hair, and amorphously improving our well-being with just a scoop of this meaty powder. (Yes, meaty—collagen is often extracted by boiling cow bones and dehydrating the stock.)

The health benefits of collagen are as alleged as they are numerous, from alleviating joint pain to keeping our connective tissues spry to promoting gut health. But regardless of the veracity of those claims, collagen-slingers are selling a promise of beauty. “Like many things in wellness culture, the marketing for collagen supplements talks about the supposed benefits for other body systems even though the main focus is cosmetic,” says Christy Harrison, author of Anti-Diet and the The Wellness Trap. “The marketing for collagen preys on people’s, especially women’s, societally conditioned fear of ageing. Collagen production slows as we age, and that’s a natural process.”

Ha Nguyen, a registered dietitian in Philadelphia, tells me that many of her clients express enthusiastic interest in all types of collagen. “Unfortunately,” she says, “the many studies regarding the benefits of collagen supplementation have been funded by the cosmetic industry or other industries that may benefit from the sales of supplements.” So while Nguyen doesn’t steer her clients away from collagen, she warns that most studies about it aren’t very scrupulous. The dietary supplement industry is notoriously unregulated, so it’s extremely difficult to ensure whether the ingredients used are high-quality in any case.

So if we’re ingesting a product that may or may not be a shiny placebo, we should absolutely demand that it taste amazing. Off we go into the dusty world of beauty powders to find the best collagen supplements (or at least the most delicious) on the market.

Tasting Notes: A hint of subtle yet creamy brothiness Nutrition info: 20g of collagen per two scoops; 18g of protein per two scoops; gluten-free

Ancient Nutrition is one of those collagens you’ve likely seen splashed all across the Internet. That was the case for BA staffer Kate Kassin, who decided to give the collagen powder a try. Ranked by Vogue as one of their go-to beauty supplements, Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen is called “multi” for a reason—and that reason is about ten different kinds of grass-fed and pasture-raised natural collagen sources. We’ve got eggshell membrane and chicken bone broth protein concentrate, bovine hide and hydrolyzed fish collagen peptides, along with Vitamin C that helps maximize absorption. While Ancient Nutrition boasts that you can add it to baked goods, Kassin favors adding it to smoothies and other hot beverages.

Tasting notes: Filtered water Nutrition info: 20 grams of collagen; 18 grams of protein; gluten-free

Vital Proteins collagen powder also contains hyaluronic acid and vitamin C, so it's practically powdered skincare. BA’s Commerce Editor Carina Finn swears by this one for everything from smoothies to matcha lattes because it adds almost no taste, and never makes the texture unappealing. “When I add this to my favorite smoothie recipes, it actually makes them a little creamier—and I honestly notice a difference in my hair and skin when I’m diligent about it.” This collagen powder is also one of the more affordable options on this list, so it’s perfect if you’re just starting to dabble in the dark arts of mixing stuff into your food and beverages.

Tasting notes: Unflavored margarine Nutrition info: 12 grams of collagen; 11 grams of protein; gluten-free

Dissolved in nothing but hot water, Earth Fed Muscle’s collagen supplement whispers very lightly. I mostly hunted down unflavored collagen options for this jaunt, assuming that products made from animal bones would reconstitute into salty, velvety broths. This first foray was far more neutral with something artificially compressed about it, like airplane air. But when I whisked it into basic salad dressing (mustard, red wine vinegar, olive oil, pepper, salt), it whirred into quite the emulsion. Even after two nights in the fridge, this powder somehow kept all the elements of my homemade dressing gorgeously emulsified. I can see this thriving in a milkshake or thickening up a delicate soup. This powder is like the chill, quiet person in the group project who is a dud on their own, but has the power of cohesion that just keeps everyone getting along.

Tasting notes: Shrimp shells, saline solution, gentle saltwater pool Nutrition info: 10 grams of collagen; 9 grams of protein; gluten-free

Shore Magic, an unflavored marine collagen peptide made from skins of wild cod, was one of the buzzier contenders—very avant-garde and gourmet. Shore Magic is a finer-grain, hydrolyzed collagen powder with a really slippery texture. I think it could add some congruous depth to any saucy seafood ordeal, any chowder, any bouillabaisse. I texted the greatest cocktail genius I know about adding it to a dirty martini. They attempted to dissuade me, but I did not listen; the martini was definitely scuzzy, but kinda good. I wouldn’t stray too far from “the ocean” or “an estuary,” with any flavor profiles here, but I’d see a happy future incorporating Shore Magic into lots of salty, briny concoctions.

Tasting notes: Evaporated Starbucks Frapp, grocery store birthday cake Nutrition info: 11.1 grams of collagen; 10 grams of protein; gluten-free

This non-GMO grass-fed bovine powder caters towards anyone with a sweet tooth. Thanks to monk fruit, it leans into a vanilla-adjacent taste that you can tell gives you a shot of wellness with every sip. It’s practically begging to be popped into a smoothie and will fluff up beverages with a nice supple foam.

Thrive Market Grass-Fed Collagen Peptides (Vanilla)

Tasting notes: Mushroom risotto, a damp hike, the delicious wispy steam from the rice cooker Nutrition info: There’s no collagen, per se, as this is a vegan product. But there is “high molecular weight of 10k-20k Daltons” of hyaluronic acid and 2.5 grams of Tremella mushrooms per serving, both of which could promote collagen synthesis and skin hydration; < 1 gram protein

As indicated in the nutrition info, vegan collagen is an iffy premise from a technical standpoint. But regardless of whether this will promote skin elasticity, I’m glad I made the exception for this one. Moon Juice’s Collagen Protect is billed as a “vegan creamer,” which raised my expectations for its employment as a texture-builder. I was not disappointed. The texture was so much creamier than its animal-based counterparts, and mushrooms provided that earthy depth I’d been looking for. Many of Moon Juice’s magic powders smack of a shroomy-umaminess that I love. This collagen powder is made primarily from rice bran and silver ear mushrooms, which are kinda sweet in a loamy way, and the gentle flavor of jasmine rice powder comes through as well. I’ve only tried it solo, but I want to add it to rich veggie ramen next.

Tasting notes: Nothing Nutrition info: 10 grams of collagen per serving; 9 grams of protein; gluten-free

No texture, no taste. I remade it immediately because I wondered if I’d stopped making memories for ten seconds and forgotten to add this bovine collagen powder entirely. I hadn’t. These printer paper white hydrolyzed collagen peptides—a visual dupe for Morton salt—almost disappear into whatever you add it to, while still delivering a supplement chock full of health amino acids. If you want luscious hair, joint health, and all the other alleged benefits of collagen without an actual awareness of consuming collagen, Primal Collagen is the pick for you.

Tasting Notes: An upscale, milder version of ramen flavor packets Nutrition info: 12 grams of collagen per serving; 12 grams of protein; gluten-free

This is the outlier of the group, as it’s not necessarily collagen powder but a powdered chicken broth bouillon. However, I am compelled to include it because food is better than powders, I’m realizing. It’s got a good “chew” to its sip, as my sommelier friend I kept texting about this experiment would probably never say.

Kroma 24K Chicken Bone Broth

Tasting Notes: Slight bone broth taste that mostly disappears once it’s added to something Nutrition info: 10g of collagen per serving; 10g of protein; gluten-free

GOODONYA’s 100% Grass-Fed Beef Collagen was the collagen that made Bon Appetit editorial operations manager jump and stay on the collagen bandwagon. The female-owned and California-based brand doesn’t use any added flavors or sweeteners, relying only on beef collagen peptides sourced from Australia and New Zealand. Kassin reports the powder “dissolves easily without grittiness” and doesn’t leave any lingering beef tastes. “Call me crazy, but I’ve been adding it to beverages and smoothies for a few months now and notice stronger nails, faster hair growth, and soothing of my always upset tummy,” she says. Throw some in your tea or matcha for some extra creaminess—Kassin recommends using an electric frother for ultimate texture.

GOODONYA 100% Grass Fed Collagen Peptides

Tasting Notes: Ambiguous taste that mimics whatever you put it in Nutrition info: 11g of collagen per serving; 10g of protein; gluten-free

Another pretty much flavorless powder, production manager Janine Dispensa felt drawn to Sports Research’s collagen peptides about three years ago because of its ability to blend perfectly into her morning brew. Whereas some other collagens recommended more than one scoop, resulting in clumpy mixtures, she felt like Sports Research’s disappeared while still hitting the recommended daily intake of 2.5 grams to 15 grams. While it might be tough to notice visible results from some collagen supplements, Dispensa reports seeing a noticeable change in how quickly her hair grows.

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