The notion that we are what we eat is nothing new. But these days, it seems, we are also what we drink. The beauty smoothie, a concoction of fresh ingredients and supplements, is being touted as the perfect way to boost your skin-care routine.
Beloved by social media influencers for their photogenic quality, these colourful blended drinks are the latest symbol of the pursuit of wellness. Clean-living celebrities, such as models Cindy Crawford and Karlie Kloss, who share their favourite smoothie recipes with the likes of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, suggest that while skin care can only go so deep, smoothies represent a nourishing form of self care that holds the key to a lit-from-within glow.
And it’s not just beauty tastemakers jumping on the smoothie bandwagon. We’re seeing the reverse too, as beverage brands such as Moon Juice cross over into the beauty space by offering skin-care products. With three juice bars in Los Angeles, Moon Juice is best known for its powdered supplements with names including SuperYou and SuperBeauty, which promise reduced emotional fatigue and protection from accelerated aging. The claims of its cleansers and creams are even more intangible, touting “skin magic” and “heavenly hydration.”
I started making my own smoothies this past winter after Montreal skin-care guru Jennifer Brodeur explained how my delicious habit of frites and cinsaut wasn’t doing my skin any favours. It was a rude awakening, if not entirely unexpected. For years, aestheticians and dermatologists have been telling me that my skin is dehydrated. Lately, no matter how much cream I slather on before bed, the pink flush on my cheeks has gone from rosy to a diagnosis of rosacea.
Stocking up on smoothie ingredients including leafy greens and chia seeds – both of which have anti-inflammatory properties – I reminded myself that, all vanity aside, surely there were plenty of other benefits to be had from drinking a glass of pulverized kale.
“Because the ingredients in smoothies are blended, your body expends less energy on digestion and at the same time is able to absorb even more nutrition from the ingredients inside,” American nutritionist Kimberly Snyder says. The founder of supplement and skin-care line Solluna, Snyder advises Hollywood stars on holistic wellness, has her own smoothie bar at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., and wrote a book with Deepak Chopra titled Radical Beauty.
Snyder’s Glowing Green Smoothie recipe, which she developed more than 15 years ago, is the blueprint on which many beauty smoothies are built. “It is always the first thing I recommended when working with all my clients because it’s so powerful and you can see and feel the benefits it has on and within your body in a very short period of time,” she says. Along with her signature melange of spinach, romaine lettuce and celery, Snyder recommends I add coconut water, turmeric and cilantro to my smoothies to respectively hydrate, reduce inflammation and cleanse.
For Aura Inner Beauty founder Avalon Lukacs, adjusting your diet for your skin’s sake goes beyond chasing an elusive, ageless glow; it’s an effective means of improving some very persistent medical skin conditions. When Lukacs developed cystic acne in her 20s, the Calgarian struggled with different skin-care products until she finally found relief through ingesting probiotics, live bacteria that promote healthy inner flora. “I think that anyone who has a persistent skin issue, whether it’s eczema or acne, should really look into the gut-skin connection,” she says.
Aura is part of the billion-dollar global beauty supplements market, a growing crossover product category stocked in the aisles of both Sephora and your local grocery store. Sometimes used to pump up smoothies, these pills, potions and powders contain ingredients such as herbs and mushrooms selected for their potential to deliver shiny hair and glowing skin. They’re often part of the personal regimens and product offerings of wellness entrepreneurs including Gwyneth Paltrow, who says she drinks her GoopGlow Morning Skin Superpowder mixed with water every day, and Elle Macpherson, whose WelleCo Super Elixir retails for about $125 for 300 grams (at the recommended 10 grams for each serving dose, that breaks down to about $4 a smoothie).
Over the past few months, I’ve worked my trusty Vitamix overtime in pursuit of my own ideal beauty smoothie formula, grinding up apples and pineapples and even pressing my own cashew milk. I’ve recreated a smoothie of blueberries, almond milk and protein powder recommended by Meghan Markle before her foray into royal life and one that resembled the fiery, cayenne-fuelled Master Cleanse. I can’t say I noticed much change in my appearance, but the upped veggie intake did leave me feeling bright and energized.
To be honest, this newfound sense of vitality may have had more to do with the fact that COVID-19 cut me off from my favourite wine bar. According to Desiree Nielsen, a registered dietitian in Vancouver, it’s all connected. “When we move toward healthy and positive things, we have a better mindset about it,” she says, adding that you should be consistent with any dietary change for 12 weeks before deciding whether it’s working for you. “And the healthier we are, the more we crowd out those behaviours that are less healthful for us.”
I’ve yet to muster the courage to swap my French press coffee for one of Elle Macpherson’s morning beauty tonics, but I’m not giving up my smoothies any time soon. “You can’t necessarily say that eating this or not eating that will instantly improve your skin health,” Nielsen says. “But I do believe that what we eat is foundational to how every single cell in our body operates, including our skin.” Consider me a believer – and feel free to use my own smoothie recipe below as a starting point for developing your own beautifying mix.
What my personal beauty smoothie lacks in flavour, it makes up for in skin-supporting nutrients courtesy of cashew milk (rich in copper), blueberries (antioxidant), hemp hearts (heavy in omega 3 to improve hydration and the skin’s barrier function) and cilantro (detoxifies the body of heavy metals). I drink one daily.
- 1 cup cashew milk
- ½ cup blueberries
- 3 tbsp hemp hearts
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 cup cilantro
- 2 cups spinach
- Handful of ice
Add all of the ingredients to your blender in the order they’re listed, along with any supplements you wish to include (try Aura’s Radiance, which contains a blend of botanical extracts, antioxidants and pre and probiotics, or WelleCo’s The Super Elixir, a supermodel favourite containing more than 40 natural ingredients). Blend until smooth.
Makes 1 serving.
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