This summer we’ve seen Harvey Nichols leading the way, putting their faith in this increasingly popular concept. Canadian company Functionalab produces beauty capsules containing supplements that directly target our most pressing beauty needs such as wrinkles and dry skin (functionalab.co.uk or harveynichols.com. Launching in SpaceNK 15th September).
“Topical cosmetics are massively limited in that they only penetrate to a certain depth within the skin,” says CEO Erick Geoffrion. (Note to Belles – possibly the most attractive man in the cosmetics industry. Think George Clooney, but with blue-er eyes). “Not only are we hydrating skin and stimulating collagen growth from within, but we are also improving health.” Such is the company’s confidence, they suggest it may be time to dispense with expensive cosmetics and put your faith in their supplements to look younger and healthier.
Yeah yeah. It’s hard not to be cynical. For the last year or so there has been an insidious wave of ‘miraculous’ consumer products such as acne clearing water and slimming chocolate. There has always been an air of gimmick about them – and on examination they appear to offer just basic nutrients which can be found in an everyday diet.
Luckily, the science for these new wave super supplements is well documented. Functionalab isn’t making rash promises. Each product is created from the results of exact clinical studies of the ingredients and each one tailored to a specific beauty need. There are ten nutricosmetic formulas – from Age Defence 30+ and 40+ to Collagen and Detox formulas. You can even choose Radiance – a vague name for a product with a precise list of ingredients. Be warned, these are not a substitute for a healthy diet or a quick-fix solution. It may take up to three months for your skin to rejuvenate or your hair to swish healthily. Thankfully, this clever beauty comes at a reasonably low cost. A month’s course of 30 Plus costs £29.
But is Harvey Nichols just leaping on a trendy bandwagon, or do they genuinely believe in this new line? “We receive between thirty and forty enquiries a week from a plethora of categories within the beauty portfolio,” says Hannah McInnes, Beauty Buyer at Harvey Nichols. “Of these we see maybe one or two a week. Each year we only take on two or three new stands.” That’s a lot of faith placed in a brand. Harvey Nichols are not the only serious players realising the potential of the nutricosmetics market. Other companies are investing in the notion of beauty from within. Take the latest innovation from Rodial. Their Glamtox sticks apparently had advance orders of 35,000. The sticks are packed with natural collagen boosting extracts and peptides. Take one stick daily for a quick fix boost and within twelve weeks lines and wrinkles are reduced by thirty per cent (£48 for 14 sticks www.rodial.co.uk).
Intravital – from legendary aesthetic surgeon Dr Shulte – is another brand helping to get us beautiful from the inside out. Containing Collagen Hydrolysate, Vitamins and Coenzyme Q10, it offers radiant skin, hair and nails as well as – apparently – an increased sense of wellbeing. (£60 www.qmsmedicosmetics.com). His range of medicosmetics gets the thumbs up from Vogue, Tatler and the Sunday Times Style magazine.
On a more specific medical front, Works With Water Nutriceuticals has just launched its 100% natural beauty solution. Help: Clear Skin is a food supplement containing Praventin – a bioactive protein extracted from milk. Clinical trials show that acne will be clearer within six weeks (From £14.79 www.workswithwater.co.uk).
Turning to expert opinions, comments are cautiously optimistic. “Some supplements may well provide some benefit,” says cosmetic dermatologist Dr Hilary Allan, MD at Woodford Medical Aesthetics (www.woodford.com). “They provide certain crucial amino acids necessary for the production of collagen, but I would want to see more studies to be sure of the facts. I certainly don’t think we can ever dismiss the idea of sophisticated skincare.”
Nutritionist Tina Richards (www.tinarichards.com), who counts Jamie Lee Curtis amongst her clients, is less guarded. “If you have wrinkly, de-hydrated skin and take the Functionalab age 40+ for three months, alongside a healthy lifestyle, I would suggest that you’d see dramatic improvements.” She points out that the problem for many ageing women is lack of essential fats in the diet. “It’s always a good idea to supplement your diet with Omega Three as it will help fortify the cell membranes and plump up skin. Taking these is like filling in the gaps. They do make sense.” However, she warns that you don’t expect too much from just one product. “People mustn’t think that all their nutritional needs are being met within a single capsule.”
So next time you’re lingering over hundred pound face creams, think again. For the same price you could buy three months supply of something that long term might do your skin, and indeed your whole body, more good.
By Alice Smellie
[picture credits: Functionalab]