What's the best collagen? I tried 9 kinds

What brand of collagen is best? I tried 8 kinds.

Products in this post were given to me to review, but all opinions are 100% my own. Some of the links included are affiliate links, meaning that, at no additional cost to you, I will make a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Updated 9/5/18: I added a new (to me) product — Physician's Choice — and a tip for getting the chocolate collagen to blend easily!

I hopped on the Collagen train when my friend Lindsay started drinking it. She's my hip friend who always knows what's up, so after reading a little more about it I bought the same kind she used: Vital Proteins.

I started putting it into my coffee in the morning. People use it for its benefits to your skin, hair and nails. Seemed like a great idea when I was dealing with weird postpartum hair. But mostly I like the extra protein in my day. As a breastfeeding mama, I struggle to get enough nutrition for me and babe and it's so easy to just put some powder in my coffee — something I drink every day anyway.

Coffee with collagen

This would have also been wonderful in the first trimester of my pregnancy when I was struggling with constant morning sickness. It's safe for preggos!

If you want to learn more about the benefits of collagen, Wellness Mama has a post about that here.

Fast forward. I went through a couple of containers and it was time to reorder. When I searched "Collagen" online a whole slew of brands came up I'd never heard of.

I was curious about them, but I'm also thrifty and it's hard to commit to a $40 container of something if I don't know it's good.

And then I started thinking ...

What if one of these is better than the Vital Proteins that everyone in the world seems to be having? What if one could drastically improve my quality of life or make me grow rainbow hair or give me magic powers?

I had to find out. I reached out to the brands that caught my eye and several of them were generous enough to send me some product to try out. Huge props to all of these brands for being so kind and for agreeing to send me product knowing that I would be comparing them to competitors. Respect!

Here's how this is gonna work: I rated each product on a scale of 1-10 (1 being EWWWW and 10 being SUPERB), in these categories:

  • Texture (how well it dissolves in liquid)
  • Flavor

I also stated the facts in these areas:

  • Nutritional Value 
  • Protein per calorie ratio - including this because I'm most interested in getting the protein boost! I'm not a calorie-counter but I still want to be somewhat conscious. 
  • Ingredients
  • Cost

At the end, I'll share which products (yes, there's more than one!) that I plan to purchase in the future and why, as well as a handy comparison chart.

Before we jump in, let me just say something about the selfies: When I first started this collagen voyage, I thought it was a great idea to snap a selfie with each product. Then I started feeling weird about it ... because collagen selfies are kind of weird. So I just went with the weird. 

OK. Onward.

 

Youth + Love Marine Collagen 

 When your shirt accidentally matches the product ❤

When your shirt accidentally matches the product ❤

Youth + Love Marine Collagen

Up first: Marine collagen from Youth + Love. OK. This packaging though. Honestly what drew me to this brand was all their branding. Super cute. And I was curious about marine collagen. Instead of coming from cows like most collagen, this comes from the scales or skin of saltwater fish like cod and salmon. I was worried about this being fishy, and to be honest if you smell it and try to get a fishy fragrance, it's there. But it's subtle, like being by the ocean. Not like being by the kitchen when your rude co-worker microwaves their leftover tilapia.

Texture: 10/10 - It dissolved INSTANTLY, I didn't even have to mix it

Flavor: 7/10 - I chose strawberry. It's a very subtle flavor and in water it had a slight taste of strawberry with a hint of fishiness. BUT, once I tried it in juice that flavor went away and it was fab.

Nutritional Value: 30 calories / 2.6g protein 

Protein: 11.5 calories for every 1g of protein

Ingredients: Pure Marine Collagen Peptide, Strawberry Juice Powder, Aloe Vera Extract, Green Coffee Bean Extract, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin C

Cost: $32 for 30 packets ($1.07 per serving)

Best for: Juice and on-the-go since servings are individually packaged. Especially if you're not a coffee drinker and what the little kick from green coffee bean extract.

I tried the strawberry but there's also blueberry. You can buy this on the Youth + Love website as well as on Amazon.

 

Natural Force Collagen Peptides

 Don't you take selfies with your collagen? Totally normal. 

Don't you take selfies with your collagen? Totally normal. 

Natural Force Collagen

I was drawn to Natural Force because they have a good story. It began in two dudes' dorm room with a quest to produce a pre-workout that wasn't filled with garbage. (I really want to try this vanilla-flavored Emulsified MCT Oil!) Then they realized many whey protein powders were also pretty garbage-y and expanded their product line. Now they have a whole line of natural, clean supplements. I tried the Grass Fed Collagen Peptides.

Texture: 8/10

Flavor: 10/10 - I couldn't taste it!

Nutrition: 40 calories10g protein / 0g carbs

Protein: 4 calories for every 1g of protein

Ingredients: Bovine Hide Collagen Peptides

Cost: $19.99 for 15 servings ($1.33/serving) / $34.99 for 30 servings ($1.17/serving) / $64.99 for 81 servings ($0.80/serving)

Best for: Someone into super clean nutrition. 

You can get this on Natural Force's website (if you subscribe you can save even more $$) or on Amazon.

 

Earthtone Foods Grass-Fed Collagen Peptides

Earthtone Foods Collagen Peptides
Earthtone Foods Collagen Peptides

Earthtone stuff

Texture: 10/10 

Flavor: 10/10 - No flavor!

Nutrition: 45 calories / 11g protein

Protein: 4.1 calories for every 1g of protein

Ingredients: All-natural bovine hide collagen peptides

Cost: $13.99 for 38 servings ($0.46/serving)

Best for: Someone looking for great collagen peptides that won't break the bank. This dissolved instantly, I couldn't taste it, it's packed with a lot of protein and it's the least expensive of all the products I tried at less than 50 cents per serving. I would say the only downside is that there's no scoop — you have to use a spoon to put it in your coffee. Not a big deal at all!

Earthtone Foods is currently available exclusively on Amazon.

 

Wild Foods Collagen Peptides

Wild Collagen
Wild Foods Collagen in Coffee

What I dig about Wild Foods is that they are all about ethically-sourced ingredients. From their website: "Our Wild Mission is to spread the importance of Real Food nutrition, ingredient quality, and the importance of transparency in the way the food we eat is made." They make some interesting products, like Wild Coal, that caught my eye in addition to the collagen I tried.

Texture: 8/10 - It dissolved well but took a few seconds of mixing

Flavor: 10/10 - No flavor!

Nutrition: 40 calories10g protein / 11g collagen peptides

Protein: 4 calories for every 1g of protein

Ingredients: Pasture-Raised Bovine Hide Collagen Peptides (Raised in Brazil) - Type 1 and Type 3

Cost: $27.95 for 41 servings ($0.68/serving)

Best for: Adding to protein shakes, smoothies or foods like oatmeal or soup

You can get this on the Wild Foods website or on Amazon

 

Further Food Collagen Peptides

 For modeling inquiries, contact my agent

For modeling inquiries, contact my agent

Further Food Collagen Peptides

I'd seen Further Food in my Instagram feed a few times. It's a women-owned company and all three founders have had personal experiences with chronic illness, with a portion of their proceeds supporting related causes. It's always nice to support companies who support others, so I wanted to give this one a shot! They also sell marine collagen, but I tried the 

Texture: 7/10 (I should note that I used 2 scoops instead of 1)

Flavor: 10/10 - Can't taste it!

Nutrition: 28 calories7g protein / 8g collagen peptides

Protein: 4 calories for every 1g of protein

Ingredients: Grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine collagen peptides

Cost: $19.95 for 28, 1-scoop servings ($0.71/serving) / $49.85 for 84, 1-scoop servings ($0.59/serving) 

Best for: Someone looking to support a female-owned business that supports a good cause! They also sell little individual packets if you're often on-the-go.

You can get this on the Further Food website as well as Amazon.

 

Primal Kitchen Collagen Fuel

Primal Kitchen Collagen Fuel Chocolate Coconut
Primal Kitchen Collagen Fuel

If you've ever tried a Keto diet, you've probably heard of Primal Kitchen, or have read books like The Primal Blueprint or The Keto Reset Diet, which were written by Primal Kitchen's founder Mark Sisson. I don't follow a Keto diet and to be completely honest I'm not interested in trying it. BUT, I am interested in quality ingredients and ... CHOCOLATE. Let's be real. The reason I was so interested in this product was because of the flavor.

Texture: 5/10 - It takes a little love to get it to dissolve in my coffee, probably because of the cocoa. Update: I've found that if you put the powder in your coffee cup FIRST, then pour or brew your hot coffee into the cup, it blends better.

Flavor: 10/10!!! Delicious.

Nutrition: 70 calories / 11g protein / 2g carbs / 2.5g fat

Protein: 6.3 calories for every 1g of protein

Ingredients: Grass-Fed Bovine Collagen Peptides, Coconut Milk Powder, Organic Fair-Trade Cocoa Powder (Processed with Alkali), Monk Fruit Extract, Konjac Root, Sea Salt

Cost: $39.99 for 24 servings ($1.67/serving)

Best for: Treating yourself! I've been making a healthy version of a mocha out of this. Get the recipe here.

You can shop for the chocolate coconut as well as vanilla and unflavored on Primal Kitchen's website and on Amazon. (They also make little to-go packets!)

 

Collagen for Her

 Photo c/o  Collagen for Her

Collagen for Her is a new product that's designed "for women by women." So naturally, I was interested. I found them on Instagram! There's something alluring to supporting a new startup. Especially one founded by a woman.

Texture: 9/10 

Flavor: 10/10 - No flavor!

Nutrition: 40 calories / 10g protein / 11g Bovine Collagen Peptides

Protein: 4 calories for every 1g of protein

Ingredients: Bovine Collagen Peptides

Cost: $36.50 for 41 servings ($0.89/serving)

Best for: Women wanting a product created just for them!

You can purchase this product here.

 

Physician's Choice

Physician's Choice Collagen Peptides review

Physician's Choice reached out to me after this post was originally published so this is a new addition! They are dedicated to quality, safe ingredients. Here's a blurb from their website about the product: "Our collagen is NOT your generic collagen that was thrown in a tub and put out on the shelf with some fancy marketing behind it. Rather we worked with REAL Medical Doctors and formulators to develop a superior clean collagen product, that delivers the true benefits of collagen."

Texture: 9/10 

Flavor: 10/10 - No flavor!

Nutrition: 25 calories / 6g protein

Protein: 4 calories for every 1g of protein

Ingredients: Collagen Hydrolyzed Bovine, Digestive Enzyme Blend (Amylase, Cellulase, Lactase, Lipase, Protease)

Cost: $36.50 for 41 servings ($0.81/serving)

Best for: The digestive enzyme blend is meant to ensure the collagen is absorbed effectively, so I would say this product is for someone who really wants to make sure they're getting the maximum benefits of the amino acids.

You can purchase this product here.

 

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

If you've researched collagen, you've probably found Vital Proteins. It seems to be the most popular one out there. It's what I started with! I should note that the company didn't send this to me, I already had it. :) 

Texture: 9/10 

Flavor: 10/10 - Can't taste it at all!

Nutrition: 70 calories / 18g protein / 20g Collagen

Protein: 3.9 calories for every 1g of protein

Ingredients: Bovine Hide Collagen Peptides

Cost: $25 for 14 servings ($1.79/serving) / $43 for 28 servings ($1.54/serving)

Best for: Someone wanting to see what all the hype is about. Or, if you want to experiment, Vital Proteins has a great variety of collagen products (like coffee creamer!) that look tempting.

Vital Proteins can be purchased online here and on Amazon. I've also seen it sold in some gyms and fitness studios. 

 

Winner Winner Collagen Dinner ...

None of the products I tried were bad, they were just good for different reasons. Depending on what you're looking to get out of it, any of these products could be your collagen bae. Maybe you want to support a female-powered business. Or you are really passionate about clean, ethically-sourced ingredients. Or you already trust a brand included in this post. 

I drink collagen in my coffee. I like knowing that I'm feeding my skin, hair and nails but I also love getting some extra protein in my diet since I'm a breastfeeding mama who doesn't eat much meat.

Oh, and I'm thrifty AF. ("Thrifty" sounds so much better than "cheap.")

Based on all this, the ones I will probably purchase in the future are ... drumroll please ... Earthtone Foods Collagen OR Wild Foods (I know ... I still can't decide!) and Primal Kitchen Chocolate Coconut Collagen Protein.

I see myself using the unflavored Earthtone Foods or Wild Foods product everyday in my morning coffee (like I did with Vital Proteins,) and then treating myself to an occasional mocha with the Primal Kitchen product when I want to feel fancy.

Thanks for following along on this kooky collagen adventure, complete with awkward selfies and Instagram stories. If you're interested in trying collagen for the first time, or want to switch it up by trying a different brand, I hope this post helps you narrow your search!

Here's a helpful collagen comparison chart I put together of all the types I tried and reviewed in this post.

Collagen Comparison Chart - Which Collagen Peptides are the best fit for you?
What's the best collagen brand? I tried 8 kinds.