Collagen supplements keeps coming to the forefront of conversations with my friends. It apparently helps with your skin, hair and nails to start. I had noticed that my skin, particularly on my face, doesn’t seem to bounce back like it use to. I’m also noticing an increase in joint pain. Ugh. Welcome to the 50s. Beauty magazines and articles keep tell me that adding collagen to my everyday can help. So, it’s definitely been on my mind.  I’ve tried a few in these last couple of years but to be honest, none have stuck with me mainly because of taste…even when they say they are tasteless. That is, until I was recently introduced to Canadian brand Aura Inner Beauty.

I admit what caught my attention first was their packaging. Pretty enough to leave on the counter so hopefully I wouldn’t forget about it. I am THAT person. If it’s out of sight, it’s definitely out of mind. I even have my vitamins right next to my computer just so I won’t forget. Aura is pretty. Very. But it’s what’s inside that truly matters.

The Aura Collagen elixirs are offered in Coconut or Wild Berry flavours and are made of marine collagen (sustainably sourced Cod, Haddock, Pollock from Nova Scotia) which I had learned is a safer source. Also, our bodies can digest it easier than ones that are sourced from animals.

I’ve been taking the recommended dose daily. My preference is to add this to my cold  juices or smoothies. You can simply add it to a glass of water, but to be honest, I find water boring. Sorry water.

It’s been a month since I began using the product and sticking to it – my skin is actually looking better (joints? it’s too early for me to notice) according to those who I haven’t seen in a while. So, I was curious to learn more about Aura Inner Beauty.

After eight years in the corporate world, Aura’s founder Avalon Lukacs realized that her real passion was to help people make clean lifestyle choices when it comes to their health and wellbeing. She first launched an online green beauty retail space. She was also researching, mixing and matching supplements for herself. She’s learned that beauty was not just about what we put on our skin but what goes in our bodies as well. But she wasn’t satisfied with what was already out on the market. She began creating her own line that is based out of Calgary, Alberta and made in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Avalon understands that there is an overwhelming amount of information out there but when I reached out to learn more she was happy to answer all my questions! I have so many!

First off, in this highly competitive market, what was the inspiration for Aura?

AL: I was inspired to create Aura after suffering with my own skin issues. Over the course of four years I tried every topical product and treatment with absolutely no results, until I discovered the power of supplementing your diet and how you can nourish your beauty from within. I wanted to take the supplements that I was mixing and matching and create a single product that combined these unique ingredients for other women to support their skin, which is our first product Radiance. However, creating such a unique product made marketing very difficult — no one was searching google for “ingestible beauty,” and the product still required a lot of education. At the same time, I was also researching the benefits of collagen which was an extremely trending product. I started taking it (or I tried to) but found the smell and texture was not something I could drink in water. After realizing all of the collagen products on the market were in this plain powder collagen form, I was inspired to create a liquid form because I knew it could deliver an entirely unique experience and do something most supplement companies aren’t doing — innovating! I also knew that we could formulate collagen to pair perfectly with our inner beauty powder, Radiance, and now all of our collagen flavours have been made to pair with our comprehensive restorative powders.

The whole category of Collagen is overwhelming. What makes it so popular and why are so many people turning to it?

AL: Most people turn to collagen to support their hair, nails, skin, and joints. I find the reasons vary per person as do the results because collagen can support any one of those things. Collagen can be overwhelming because there are a few different sources that contain different amino acid profiles and provide different benefits — especially when trying to put a value on the competitive products — but collagen is still a single ingredient which is why it’s become so popular. It’s pure protein, and while there are many types of collagen, marine collagen is widely regarded as the best supplement source for hair, nails, skin, and joints. Studies show around the age 25, our natural collagen production slows, so collagen is really an excellent supplement for anyone looking to replenish their collagen formation. Collagen has also been studied to increase skin hydration and buoyancy, so I think it could support younger adults suffering from skin issues, but I don’t have any specific studies to support that. I can definitely say I notice a dramatic impact in my nails that have been quite thin most of my life and I very rarely experience breakouts (although I take our whole suite of supplements).

There are different formats to add collagen—from broths to powders to pills etc. Tell us about your liquid format and why you chose to offer it in this format?

AL: We use a marine collagen because it is the purest, most bioavailable, and is Type I collagen that supports skin, hair, nails, and joints (the primary reason consumers are taking collagen). The specific amino acid breakdown is what makes it different from bovine (beef) collagen and bone broth, which also support collagen throughout the body, but to a lesser effect of skin, hair, nails, and joints.

In addition to using a marine collagen, we formulated it into a unique liquid format that most people haven’t seen before, bringing an innovative and memorable elevated experience that you can’t really get anywhere else. Not only is it easier to mix, but it allows you to get creative and truly enjoy the collagen elixirs — to create simple, refreshing drinks as part of your daily rituals, or elevated into more luxurious experiences that celebrate moments of good health. Inspired by spa-water, organic fruit flavors and extracts are infused with marine collagen in a liquid elixir that gently balance subtle and sweet notes. It was also important that we partner with local suppliers and keep our liquid collagen elixir as pure as possible, which why we use marine collagen from NS, organic flavours from QC, organic palm—free glycerin from BC, and even a natural preservative, potassium sorbate derived from mountain ash berries from ON. Every ingredient is in its purest, highest quality form and sourced within Canada – something we are extremely proud of!

Can we not get collagen naturally in what we consume? 

AL: Large amounts of collagen are found in the foods you eat everyday like chicken and beef, but consuming collagen-rich foods won’t actually increase those levels within your body. It’s just not possible for the body to breakdown these large proteins and reassemble the amino acids as collagen so that they can be absorbed in the body.

That’s why collagen supplements are gaining so much popularity! Collagen can be supplemented from a handful of land (animal) and sea (marine) sources, but there are unfortunately no natural sources of vegan collagen.

Some vitamins and minerals, like Vitamin C will help boost your natural production of collagen, but they are missing the key structural components of collagen (amino acids) so you will not see the same benefits as you would a collagen supplement.

If you are opting for a more natural way to ingest collagen, I’d probably recommend bone broth in place of stock broths in your kitchen recipes, but it would be less effective than taking a marine collagen supplement.

What age should we be paying attention to adding this? 

AL: Around the age 25 is the right time to start supplementing your diet with collagen, or any adult 18+ if you are looking to support your joints, hair, skin, or nails.

If we’re consuming other products (e.g. broths) and we are adding Aura, what should we know? 

AL: Health Canada recommends not exceeding 10g of collagen per day as an upper limit on supplementation.

How do we know if your product is working?

AL: Collagen is an excellent supplement because it’s quite easy to notice the visual benefits. Some people may notice improvements in their hair, or skin, or nails, or joints, all within 2 weeks after starting to take it as a supplement. Most clinical studies suggest taking for 5-6 months consistently to replenish this very large protein before you notice all of its benefits.

Our other products on the other hand don’t have the same visual benefits or “noticeable results.” Something like antioxidants that support your body with nutrients for vital organs is much more difficult to measure. Usually it’s about how you are feeling, how well you are handling stress, how well your digestion is working, whether you are feeling more energy, your skin is looking clear and brighter, and so on.

What makes your product different from others out on the market?

AL: You won’t find our products in traditional vitamin stores or grocers that carry a wide range of products, but rather highly curated assortments in beauty retailers that are held to a higher standard. We use high quality ingredients, exceptional formulations and sustainable high-end packaging that you would expect of premium beauty products, so that consumers make the connection between beauty and wellness.

Wellness and supplements can be tricky because there are so many different kinds, but most people are used to seeing pills or synthetic vitamins. We don’t formulate our products with synthetic vitamins and instead use ingredients from nature because they are the most bioavailable, highly absorptive and easiest to process by our bodies.

Aura also has other products—they all sound amazing can you use them all at the same time? 

The short answer is yes, you can use them all together. We usually recommend collagen + restorative powder + omega drops daily. Our restorative powders are holistic comprehensive formulas that include pre/probiotics, adaptogens, and antioxidants, so we usually recommend taking only one of those per day (Radiance or Resilience) not in the same day.

What else would you want our readers to know about Aura?

To inspire wellness as a lifestyle, we bring wellness to the forefront of your self-care rituals by creating memorable experiences and elevating wellness through holistic nutrition — an extension of your existing diet and something that is easy to make part of your daily wellness regimen. We start by creating unique one-of-a-kind products, the ones that consumers haven’t seen before or seen in a certain way, and that they can really swear by. We follow that with philanthropic initiatives that give us the opportunity to give back to our community, and support other women, charities and businesses, such as: our partnership with Mamas for Mamas which support moms in need; our women in wellness blog series where we talk with inspiring women about what wellness means to them; and, our collaboration with local ceramic artisans that help us create beautiful limited edition custom containers and other accessories for our products.

Our products are unique in that they focus on making meaningful and positive long-term impacts to your overall wellness in an industry where so many products focus on using the latest trending ingredients or treating buzzworthy issues in the short-term. You can’t build great wellness with products like matcha powders, superfood latte blends, vitamin gummies or mushrooms on their own — in fact many of these products go unregulated and unfortunately claim to do more than they should. At Aura, it can take us anywhere up to 2 years to bring a new product to market. While the process to create, formulate and test a new product is extensive, all of our products must also go through Health Canada’s rigorous regulatory process because our products are to meant to have a profound impact on your overall wellness, using medicinal level ingredients that are regulated and approved by Health Canada.

Similar to the clean beauty movement, we know there is a better way and it starts with us — by creating the truly nourishing products, inspiring wellness as a lifestyle, and empowering our community of women to make wellness a priority in their lives.