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At the onset of the new year, most women are looking to set goals that promote the best version of themselves. I’m certainly no different. Now that the stress (and calories) of the busy holiday season are behind me, I’ve decided to start focusing on truly treating my body like the temple it is, and in turn, boosting my confidence and overall health and wellness in the process. As they often do, my eating disorders (yes, plural) added an additional twenty years of aging to the elasticity and appearance of my skin, so I’ve been doing copious amounts of research to find the best essential vitamins and beauty supplements for women who may find themselves in a similar boat– or who may just want to look and feel the best they possibly can.
After seeking the advice of my parents (they’re both doctors), my dermatologist, and about a dozen websites on the internet over the past few years, I’ve rounded up ten of the most popular and beneficial “pretty pills,” aka vitamins and beauty supplements for women. Although a daily multivitamin is still crucial to fulfilling your suggested nutrient intake, these vitamins and beauty supplements for women can help focus on the areas you hope to improve the most, whether it be your skin, hair, digestive tract, energy levels, and/or whatever is most important to you!
Phytoceramides are the plant derived equivalent of ceramides. They hydrate the skin from the inside out, helping to minimize the appearance of dry and wrinkled skin. As far as a “pretty pill” goes, the potential benefits are pretty incredible. Phytoceramides help restore the skin barrier function supporting healthy skin hydration, which can also increase the production of elastin and collagen.
What they are: Phytoceramides are a plant-derived equivalent to ceramides, which offer results that are described by health and beauty companies as “a natural face lift in a bottle.“
Recommended products: Sports Research Phytoceramides 350mg Made with Clinically Proven Lipowheat (the brand of phytoceramides features on Dr. Oz) and Revitol Derma Phytoceramide Capsules
Biotin, which supports your skin, nerves, digestive tract, and metabolism, has become the #1 B vitamin for hair growth (you can read a full round-up of the best supplements for hair healthy hair here). It’s also referred to as Vitamin H.
Where to find it naturally: yeast, grains, nuts, egg yolks, salmon, sardines, soybeans, peanut butter, bananas
Recommended product: Sports Research High Potency Biotin with Coconut Oil and OLLY Undeniable Beauty Gummies
Among many other things, Iron promotes healthy hair, skin, and nails. In fact, without sufficient iron intake, your hair can become dull, thin, and dry, and your nails could become brittle and break easily. It’s also accredited with making skin glow by activating B vitamins.
Plus, on a whole other level, without sufficient iron, your body can’t produce enough hemoglobin, a substance in red blood cells that makes it possible for them to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues, and may be susceptible to iron-deficiency anemia. As a result, you may feel weak, tired, and irritable, according to WebMD.
Where to find it naturally: spinach, oysters, clams, beef or chicken liver, cashews
Recommended Product: Luckily, if you eat a balanced diet (especially one that incorporates daily meat or seafood), it’s fairly easy to get enough iron from your diet alone. If you have an iron deficiency, MegaFood’s Energy-Boosting Iron Supplement is very highly rated. Otherwise, a daily multi-vitamin, like Olly’s Perfect Women’s Multi-Vitamin, is another guaranteed way to fulfill your daily iron requirement.
4. Vitamin C
According to Everyday Health, Vitamin C can improve hair growth, fight dandruff, stop hair loss, and lead to thicker hair. On the contrary, a Vitamin C deficiency can (and often does) cause split ends. As for its skin-preservation properties, a 2013 study found that people who took a Vitamin E and C supplement appeared to have less dryness and tighter, brighter skin after four months.
Where to find it naturally: bell peppers, dark leafy greens, kiwi, broccoli, berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, peas, papayas
Recommended Product: Viva Naturals Non-GMO Vitamin C and OLLY Ultimate Immunity Tangerine Twist Gummies
5. Viviscal or Phytophanere
I included Viviscal on the top of my list of recommended supplements for healthy hair in 2015. Almost two years later, I’m still a huge fan an advocate of their product and consider it one of the best beauty supplements for women. As long as you give it the suggested two-to-three month trial period to work its magic, you’ll be smitten with hair that’s stronger than ever before. As a reference point for its efficacy, Viviscal’s earned a 4.1-star rating on Ulta.com and a 3.5-star rating on Amazon.
I also wanted to mention PHYTO Phytophanere Dietary Supplement for Hair & Nails, since it’s relatively similar to Viviscal in function. It’s a French supplement comprised of natural elements, including all the nourishing vitamins, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants needed to promote healthy hair growth, fortify nails, illuminate skin, and elongate lashes. As a reference point for its efficacy, it’s earned a 4.3-star rating on Ulta.com, a 4-star rating on Amazon, and a handful of avid fans who swear by its formula.
What Viviscal is: AminoMar® (a proprietary marine complex that strengthens thinning hair and promotes existing healthy hair growth) with a nutrient blend of 98% of your daily value of Vitamin C, 40% Biotin, 56% Iron, 73% Zinc, and Horsetail extract | Recommended product: Viviscal Extra Strength Hair Nutrient Tablets, 60 Tablets
What Phytophanere is: a proprietary blend of Vitamin A (wheat germ oil), Vitamin B, Omega 3 & 6, Vitamin C | Recommended Product: PHYTO Phytophanere Dietary Supplement for Hair & Nails
6. Vitamin E
Like Vitamin C, Vitamin E is a beauty-boosting antioxidant that helps fight free-radical damage that leads to dark spots and wrinkles. Its main function in skin care is to protect against sun damage, as it “photoprotects” skin and absorbs the harmful UV light from the sun. This can help prevent dark spots and wrinkles.
Where to find it naturally: almonds, raw seeds, swiss chard, mustard greens, spinach, kale, hazelnuts
Recommended Product: Solgar Vitamin E SoftGels and OLLY The Perfect Women’s Multivitamin Blissful Berry Gummies
7. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3s regulate oil production and help keep your skin moist. They also delay the skin’s aging process to prevent wrinkles. Also, according to Dr. Axe, Omega-3 foods are believed to help lower the risk for heart disease due to their inflammation-reducing abilities. They also are needed for proper neurological function, cell membrane maintenance, mood regulation and hormone production.
Where to find them naturally: fatty fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel), flaxseed oil, chia seeds, soybeans, spinach
Recommended Product: Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega SoftGels and OLLY The Mega Omega-3 Sweet Clementine Gummies
8. Vitamin D
As a native Floridian, I’ve never given Vitamin D much thought… until I moved to Maine and away from constant sunlight. Vitamin D optimizes the skin’s immune system and helps destroy free radicals that can cause premature aging. While the body can produce vitamin D on its own through sun exposure, too much sun accelerates skin aging, which includes damaging the skin, leading to wrinkles, sun spots, and increased risk of skin cancer. Unfortunately, it’s naturally present in very few foods, so a Vitamin D supplement or daily multivitamin is the recommended way to go.
Where to find it naturally: milk, flesh of fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel), fish liver oil
Recommended Product: NatureWise Vitamin D3 SoftGels and OLLY Hello Sunshine Vitamin D3 Gummies
You’ve almost definitely heard of probiotics, but do you know everything they do for women? In addition to being great for overall digestive health, probiotics are one of the best beauty supplements for women, particularly those concerned with urinary and vaginal health.
There are a bunch of different probiotic supplements you can take, but my favorite is OLLY Quick Melt Probiotic Sticks. These “melt in your mouth” probiotics are a brand new, delicious (they legitimately taste like candy), and multi-tasking blend of the good bacteria to help support digestive health and overall wellness. OLLY has packed 10 billion live cultures from four scientifically studied strains into every single-serving stick. They’re also great because they’re perfectly portable, making it easy to be good to your gut whether you’re at home or on the go, and you put them directly on your tongue, which is both cool and convenient if you don’t have filtered water around.
Another alternative to traditional probiotic pills is a detoxifying green drink. I talk more about this in #10, but a great product to check out is Amazing Grass Detox & Digest Powder.
Where to find them naturally: yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, dark chocolate, miso soup, pickles
Recommended product: OLLY Blueberry Quick Melt Probiotic Sticks (my favorite), NatureWise Time Release Probiotics Women’s Care, and Amazing Grass Detox & Digest Powder
10. Green Drink
What better way to get a full spectrum of nutritious greens, phytonutrient and antioxidant-packed fruits, veggies, cereal grasses, digestive enzymes, and probiotics than by shooting a small glass of organic powder once a day? Kyle and his family turned me on to the “green drink” over a year ago, and I look forward to this fruity green concoction every morning. It gives you natural energy, promotes detox, helps alkalize the body, aids in digestion, defends against free radicals, and supports a healthy immune system. Oh, and it helps you get your recommended 5-9 daily servings of fruit and vegetables.
As for the taste, I have an incredibly weak stomach, and I actually really like the taste of the Green Superfood ORAC powder– although one time we accidentally made it with hot water, and that tasted pretty gross. I’ve also tried Amazing Grass Detox & Digest Powder, which is literally jam packed with probiotics and ACTAZIN Kiwifruit shown to increase the growth of ‘good’ bacteria in the gut. Its taste is absolutely disgusting, but it’s easy to add into smoothies or juice. There are hundreds of different products available online and at mass retailers, like Walmart and Target. If you don’t like the taste of one particular powder, you have options.
Active Ingredients: organic, non-GMO wheat grass, barley grass, alfalfa, spirulina, spinach, chlorella, broccoli
Recommended Products: Amazing Grass Green Superfood ORAC, 60 Servings and Orgain Organic Superfoods
Is there a vitamin, nutrient, or beauty supplement you think I accidentally left off this list? Please don’t hesitate to let me know!