Beauty fiends are now obsessed with pricey custom vitamins

What’s the newest way to part with your beauty bucks? Splashing-out on chic designer vitamins. With sharp, Insta-worthy packaging, allegedly higher-quality ingredients than drugstore fare and zeitgeisty names like “Why Am I So Effing Tired?,” “Flatter Me” and “#MoodPills,” these aren’t your grandma’s Centrum Silver.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop is a vocal proponent and reality-TV stars are also getting into the pill-purveyor mix. After suffering a health crisis that included depression, anxiety and inflammation, Lo “The Hills” Bosworth bounced back with organic foods and loads of (purportedly) high-quality supplements. Now a convert, she has her own line. “I’ve made a full recovery,” Bosworth says. “But it was that dark moment in my life that inspired me to found Love Wellness, so that all women can access natural, doctor recommended products for total body health.”

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Several of the buzziest supplement brands are sold online and use interactive quizzes to hone in on buyers’ unique needs. Visit HUM Nutrition, for example, and expect to answer a barrage of questions ranging from how much protein you’re consuming to whether your typical day includes doses of love. (Awww…) Once you’ve ordered products recommended specifically for you (e.g., “Turn Back Time” if you’re getting wrinkly, or “Skinny Bird” if you could stand to lose a few), you’ll receive an in-depth report from your very own HUM nutritionist.

Other quiz-based brands, like Care/of, have a more serious vibe. With a Web site highlighting responsible ingredient sourcing and minimal impact to the environment, the label is targeting a more exacting (albeit still looks-focused) consumer. According to co-founder and CEO Craig Elbert, Astaxanthin, a powerful anti-oxidant that “helps keep skin healthy and beautiful,” is the brand’s bestseller.

And the Essential for Women multivitamin (made by Ritual) is become a social-media juggernaut, thanks to its cool-girl packaging and daily sticker chart. “Ultimately, as gorgeous and as Insta-friendly as it may be,” says founder and CEO Katerina Schneider, “it’s essential, not trendy.”

But such ’grammable packaging and personalized formulas are certainly helping to drive the chic supplement craze. Add in steep price tags — a one-month supply of “High School Genes” by Goop Wellness runs $90 — and it’s all but guaranteed that these pills won’t gather dust in your medicine cabinet. Which may be its own sort of good medicine.

“If someone is more excited by vitamins from one of these ‘designer’ brands, they’d be more likely to actually take them and benefit from them,” points out New York nutritionist Brooke Alpert.

It’s worth noting that the FDA doesn’t regulate any supplement, and a recent study published in JAMA Network Open warned that many may contain hidden — and potentially dangerous — ingredients.

Still, New York internist Holly Phillips, author of “The Exhaustion Breakthrough,” says that certain supplements can offer benefits. For example, women with less than stellar diets can fill in nutritional gaps via a high-quality multi with folate. “If they’re not getting their green, leafy vegetables, that’s where a supplement would come in,” she says. “I’m not averse to supplements, as many traditional MDs are.”


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