Sipping pretty

Coffee betters your appearance? Chocolate fixes your skin? Introducing the "inside out" beauty movement

Published January 8, 2010 1:01PM (EST)

Take  cream or sugar in your coffee? What about a dash of collagen? Yeah, collagen. That's how women in Singapore like it, according to an article in the New York Times about a recent jump in the number of food and drink products making claims of beauty benefits. Nescafé's low-fat collagen insta-coffee comes in a package highlighted with pastel pink and has "found an avid market" in the country. In Japan, collagen is put in "yogurt drinks, dried fruits and other foods" under the belief that it will perfect women's skin. Dermatologists are skeptical of such claims, but whatever. I mean, if you're drinking Nescafé, you better hope it's doing something for your skin, because that shit is nas-tay. 

The Times article also mentions a couple related products you've probably never heard of featuring multi-syllabic ingredients meant to work some dermatological magic, but even familiar brands are testing out the eat-yourself-pretty angle. Dove has Beautiful, a chocolate bar "with skin-nourishing vitamins C&E, plus the natural goodness of cocoa flavanols to help promote beautiful-looking skin." It's all part of an alleged "inside out" beauty movement (which makes the old saw "it's what's on the inside that counts" sound like superficial ad copy).

This seems like an offshoot of the "snack your weight off" marketing geared toward women. You know, the kind that features hot pink, boasts a low-calorie count and imagines cheeky "hey, girlfriend" gossip as being the defining element of female life. (Which is to say: The kind of advertising that make me feel like an alien to my own gender.) Before we know it, there will be yogurts and candy bars that promise to not only help you shed pounds but also erase wrinkles and cure acne, boost your bustline and banish menstrual bloating. As Broadsheet's editor Sarah Hepola wrote me in an e-mail: "My Degree deodorant for women touts its ability to 'respond to emotional situations.' And then, hilariously, there is an asterisk  and at the bottom it says '*emotions that produce sweat.' Ohhhhh, so the Degree doesn't help me when I'm just feeling a little blue? Rats."

To all of this I say: Sure, bring it on, but maybe with fewer asterisks.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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