Ingredient focus

Ingredient in Focus: Collagen

{Collagen} is a protein found naturally in the body, and it’s one of the main building blocks for your bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, hair and, of course, skin. It’s responsible for keeping skin plump and youthful-looking, but as with so many good things, our bodies begin to produce less of it as we get older (starting in our 20s). Smoking, sugar and sun exposure can also contribute to collagen loss.

With less collagen to plump it up, skin can become less elastic and less radiant, and fine lines and wrinkles can start to appear. This is a natural part of aging, there’s no denying it, but having a good {skin care} routine and using topical or ingestible collagen can help to build your collagen levels back up and get you skin looking and feeling as healthy and radiant as ever.


You have two options when it comes to collagen: topical products (like creams), and ingestible {supplements} (in the form of collagen shots, powder or pills).

There’s been a lot of debate around the topical use of collagen – mostly related to the fact that the collagen molecule is too large to penetrate the skin. But creams that contain hydrolyzed collagen (collagen that’s broken down for better penetration) can solve that problem, especially when they’re accompanied by ingredients that help with collagen stimulation (like hyaluronic acid, retinoids and vitamin C). Collagen is also known for being a brilliant {moisturiser} when applied topically, so at the very least you’ll get soft and smooth skin!

Collagen supplements are an ultra-popular option in the beauty world, and there’s more evidence to show that taking these can stimulate collagen production, helping to minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and giving you firmer, plumper and more youthful-looking skin.


As a general rule, you can use collagen cream and take collagen supplements every day, but always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions when using a new product.


Just about anyone can use collagen, but beware if you’re vegan or if you have allergies or intolerances to animal products, as most (though not all – more on that later) collagen products are made using animal-derived collagen. Always check product ingredients, and consult your GP if you have any questions or concerns.


Here’s a selection of our favourite collagen {supplements} and topical collagen products:


Strengthening your skin from within, The Beauty Chef’s {Collagen Inner Beauty Boost} is a bio-fermented probiotic elixir that helps to boost your skin’s natural collagen production. This liquid formula is bursting with goodness – grape seed extract, zinc and vitamin C combine to leave skin looking smoother and firmer, while a delicious combination of maqui berry, acai, papaya, blueberry, goji berry and pomegranate make your hair and nails longer and stronger in the bargain.


Looking for a collagen offering that’ll fit your vegan lifestyle? Let us introduce you to Algenists {GENIUS Liquid Collagen}. This unique topical formulation binds together corn, soy and wheat protein fibres – alongside Algenist’s signature microalgae oil – to create vegan amino acids that structurally mimic collagen. It’s genius, you can’t argue with that! Rich in omega 3, 6 and 9, as well as vitamin E, this vegan collagen will restore bounce, resilience and suppleness to your skin – hello, contented complexion!

Try their {GENIUS Liquid Collagen Lip} formulation too, for fuller, smoother and more defined lips.


For skin that’s in need of a little TLC after a long day, allow {Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm} from {Elemis} to lend a hand. This transformative, 3-in-1 cleanser works to deeply cleanse, nourish and soften in one fell swoop – and it can even be used as a face mask for ultimate nourishment. Boasting a unique blend of nine essential oils, this spa-in-a-jar will leave you feeling invigorated, soothed and perfectly cleansed.


The Nue Co’s {Skin Hydrator} features a trio of hydration-bolstering ingredients: PhytoCeramides, hyaluronic acid and, you guessed it, collagen. This blend works to repair skin’s defences and strengthen its collagen framework for supple, resilient, luminous skin. These capsules are clinically proven to increase skin’s hydration by 16%, boost elasticity by 18% and reduce wrinkles by 9% (increasing, after two months, to 21%, 26% and 18% respectively)!


For a collagen supplement you can add to smoothies, porridge or your morning coffee, turn to {Vital Proteins}. Their collagen powders include good-for-you staples such as matcha and coconut milk, as well as their bestselling Collagen Peptides. The range is approved by the ever-glowing Jennifer Aniston – and if it’s good enough for Jen, it’s good enough for us!


PACIFICA’s {Vegan Collagen Overnight Recovery Cream} is a must for nocturnal nourishment. Flood thirsty skin with a wave of hydrating heavy-hitters (think vegan collagen, antioxidants, vitamins and plant extracts) and wake up to perfectly plump, dewy and radiant skin morning after morning.


{Confidence in an Eye Cream} is a super formula from {IT Cosmetics} that’ll make the delicate skin around your eyes appear more supple, healthy and youthful – the ultimate confidence boost! It combines collagen, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, peptides, a super ceramide complex, chrysin, liquorice root, avocado, squalane and even more high-performance ingredients to hydrate, smooth and refresh skin, making your eyes look more awake and plumping fine lines and wrinkles in the process.


Cult Beauty

Cult Beauty

Writer and expert