Tuesday, June 6, 2023

What Is Vegan Collagen? Plus, 7 Brands to Shop for Healthy Skin


For a skin-nourishing savior, check out these vegan collagen products made without animal ingredients.

In the world of beauty, there isn’t a single word quite as buzzworthy as collagen. A true proverbial fountain of youth, the miracle protein is largely touted for its age-defying benefits — namely, that it’s a deeply hydrating, wrinkle-smoothing, skin savior. 

The bad news: as the body ages, the production of collagen slows, causing many to turn to collagen supplements for support. Even worse news: most collagen products are made from animal-derived ingredients like bones, skin, and connective tissue. Yuck. 

But the good news is that there are vegan collagen products on the market—and we’ve got the lowdown on some of the best ones to try. But first, what exactly is collagen?

What is collagen?

Collagen, the most abundant protein in the body, is a fundamental building block for the body’s skin, bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

There are 28 different types of the fibrous protein, but the four most common are: Type 1 (found in connective tissue), Type 2 (found in cartilage and joints), Type 3 (found in the skin, lungs, blood vessel walls, and intestinal walls), and Type 4 (found in basement membrane).

Woman with glowing skin
Woman with glowing skin | Courtesy Good Faces via Unsplash

In addition to nourishing and strengthening the skin, collagen has been linked to a number of other health benefits, including increasing bone mineral density, alleviating joint pain, and improving gut and heart health.

The body’s ability to produce collagen diminishes with age. “Starting in our mid-20s, we slowly begin to lose collagen,” dermatologist Dr. Ohara Aivaz told Cedars Sinai. “For women, we can lose up to 30 percent of our collagen production in the first 5 years of menopause.”

Dr. Aivaz notes that there are natural ways to help prevent collagen breakdown, including wearing sunscreen (ultraviolet light can negatively impact collagen), not smoking, and by eating a diet high in antioxidant-containing foods like fruits and vegetables. Nutrients like vitamin C, zinc, and copper are especially essential for boosting collagen production.

What is vegan collagen?

Collagen supplements, such as powders or vitamins, are another alternative. Since collagen is only naturally found in animal products like meat and fish, traditional collagen products are a no-go for vegans.

Enter: vegan collagen. Although plants do not have the ability to produce collagen naturally, they do have their own vitamin- and mineral-containing proteins that can mimic the effects of collagen and help your body make it on its own, vegan collagen products typically contain plant-based ingredients, such as amino acids, copper, vitamin C, and ceramides, that can help to stimulate the production of collagen in the body.

best sustainable sunscreen
Courtesy Ron Lach | Pexels

Scientists are also busy creating vegan collagen in labs from genetically modified yeast and bacteria. The California-based company Geltor creates animal-free collagen via microbial fermentation. Earlier this year, the biodesign startup announced it had completed its first commercial run of its product, PrimaColl.

“We still have a long way to go, as the collagen market is hundreds of kilotons of product,” the company’s CEO and co-founder, Alex Lorestani, told FoodNavigator-USA. “But we’ve demonstrated that we can run a process at full scale. Now, we’ve got to scale this out to multiple facilities, so we can serve customers and hit the volumes they’re really looking for.”

7 brands to shop for vegan collagen

Here are some of the best brands to shop for vegan collagen without the animal ingredients.

sunwarrior collagen

1. Sunwarrior

This plant-based protein and superfood company has a number of vegan collagen options for those looking for a little collagen boost. Its Collagen Building Protein Peptides, available in flavors like chocolate, vanilla, salted caramel, churro, and coffee, is full of pea protein, brown rice peptides, spirulina, vitamin C, leafy greens, and silica — a nutrient necessary for the production of collagen.

mykind collagen

2. Mykind Organics

From Alicia Silverstone, the actor and entrepreneur behind the vegan vitamin brand Mykind Organic’s, you’re going to love the Plant Collagen Builder. It features 30 different organic whole foods, including silica from organic bamboo, pomegranate, and turmeric.

rae collagen

3. Rae Wellness

This wellness brand is an essential stop for vegan, non-GMO, and gluten-free supplements. Its Vegan Collagen Boost, which is available in powder and capsule form, are formulated to help support the natural collagen production for healthy hair, skin, and nails.

future kind

4. Future Kind

For a plant-powered collagen booster, shop Future Kind. The brand’s Vegan Collagen Booster Supplement contains 16 collagen-boosting nutrients, including biotin, silica, and grape seed extract. 

moon juice collagen

5. Moon Juice

Plant-based alchemy “ to elevate body, beauty and consciousness,” this brand’s collection of vegan collagen products includes Collagen Protect, a supplement that can be added to coffees and smoothies, Cosmic Cocoa, and the adaptogenic protein Blue Beauty.


6. Copina Co.

Take your morning routine to the next level with Copina Co.’s Plant-Based Collagen Supporting Drink Blends, available in varieties like Energy + Beauty, De-Stress + Beauty, and Beauty Boost.

ora organics collagen

7. Ora Organic

This plant-based nutrition company is a one-stop-shop for all things vegan collagen. The brand’s Aloe Gorgeous Vegan Collagen-Booster features a plant-based blend of aloe vera, pea protein, vitamin C, and more to help aid in collagen production for some much needed skin TLC.

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