There’s a new word in the world of beauty: ‘nutricosmetics.’ Beauty foods and drinks fortified with a cocktail of ingredients that promise anti-aging and skin-nourishing benefits are muscling their way into drugstores and department stores.
In Europe and Asia, the nutricosmetic choices are endless, from skincare companies such as Shiseido to big food brands such as Tropicana, Minute Maid, Sara Lee and Parmalat. Now, skeptical North Americans are starting to accept a broader definition of beauty products, too. But do nutricosmetics work? That’s not yet known, as few clinical tests have been done. ‘The efficacy is generally implied by mentioning a powerful ingredient,’ says Kelly Koster, director, consumer strategist, health and beauty at Minnesota-based consumer research firm Iconoculture. Adds Taya Tomasello, the senior beauty and trend product analyst at Mintel, a Chicago-based global market research firm, ‘It is a tough area to prove benefits. [But] there is evidence of the effect of healthy eating on the skin, so drinking a healthy beverage full of antioxidants should be better for the skin than a carbonated soda.’
Here’s what’s on the global menu or at your local store’now and in the future.
Vancouver-based Happy Planet offers a lineup of health shots, including one called Glow that contains coenzyme Q10 and other skin-nourishing ingredients’e.g., vitamin E, beta-carotene’in a mango juice base.
‘ In the U.S., Nestlé Glowelle Beauty Drinks have phytonutrients, antioxidants and botanical fruit extracts that Nestlé says fight wrinkle-producing, skin-damaging free radicals caused by sun and pollution.
‘ The cosmetics company Borba‘s Skin Balance Waters of California targets such issues as skin firming.
‘ Shiseido recently unveiled White Update, a drink that contains vitamins C and E, licorice extract and ceramide. While tasting like lip-smacking lemonade, it also claims to brighten and illuminate skin.
‘ Many Europeans eat yogurt fortified with aloe vera to moisturize their skin. One from Swiss brand Emmi, for example, is purported to do everything from stimulate collagen to detoxify your body and lubricate your joints.
Moisture-boosting soft chews
‘ Japanese manufacturer Kanebo Cosmetics produces Fuwarinka soft candy with hyaluronic acid (known as a skin-plumping ingredient in traditional skin care) and collagen.
‘ Healthy Skin Chocolate Soft Chews, from Canadian supplement company Genuine Health, have 30 calories each. They contain ‘polyphenol-rich cocoa seed extract, hydrolyzed collagen, vitamins B2, C and E, lycopene, zinc and selenium,’ and are purported to deliver increased hydration, improved skin thickness, elasticity, improved blood flow to skin, and prevention of irritation caused by UV damage.
Japanese food oddities
‘ Collagen-infused marshmallows in a variety of flavours, such as blueberry, cherry and grapefruit, are mainstream in Japan, says Koster. ‘It’s an alternative to getting collagen injections,’ she says. (In the U.K., fashion retailer Harvey Nichols sells ‘Eat Yourself Beautiful’ collagen marshmallows.)
‘ You can also add chicken or bean soup infused with collagen to your meal. And Fuwarinka gum, also made by Kanebo, causes the body to secrete a rosy aroma through the pores for six hours. (Now, there’s an alternative to all those stray bottles of perfume on your vanity.)