Dove, Imedeen - and even 'doctor brands' like Perricone - have all enjoyed huge success with their own brand of beautifying supplements.
The problem with mass market nutraceuticals sold in the UK, however, is that they have such a low concentration of active ingredients (not to mention a host of unnecessary bulking agents) that it's often hard to quantify their efficacy / value. Moreover, they're just plain unsexy when compared to the slick and well-designed topical skincare solutions on the market.*
Onca is about as close as you can get to a functional, attractive - and, crucially, tasty - beauty food. Made from a variety of (mostly unfamiliar) foodstuffs sourced from the Amazon, the twice-daily beverage provides you with all the essential vitamins and minerals... and then some. Amino acids, lipids, hydrolysed collagen, antioxidants, carotenoids and flavonoids do not come in synthetic form; rather they are the byproducts of exotic ingredients such as Mana-Cubio, Acai, Soursop, Buriti and other stuff I can't spell, let alone pronounce.
The morning elixir is a powder-based formula that dissolves in water (with difficulty - I discovered, it's far better when stirred into plain fat-free yoghurt) and is designed to cleanse and detoxify the body. It's packed with Guarana (an energy-boosting alternative to caffeine), Biotin (for skin, hair and nail renewal) and Camu-Camu, an antioxidant superfruit that allegedly contains 80 times more Vitamin C than the humble orange. But best of all, there's no chemical / synthetic aftertaste to the multivitamin cocktail.
The evening supplement is designed to wind down the nervous system and has a distinct passion fruit tang (which, worryingly, I still associate with a vodka-based cocktail called the 'porn star'...) . Passion Fruit helps relieve stress, anxiety and insomnia while Hydrolysed Collagen and Grape Seed Extract work on plumping and replenishing the skin.
While the effects on my skin have been negligible, Onca has had a noticeable impact on my immune and digestive systems. It's also replaced any sugary snacks and regulated my energy levels throughout the day. Without going into too much gruesome detail, I also discovered rather quickly that it's a great source of, er, dietary fibre.
But since Onca is limited to only 3000 units worldwide ('not for the sake of elitism', the manufacturers stress, but because there is a finite supply of certain superfoods) it's a rather pricey way to stay in good nick. Still, it's a infinitely better than most of the junk that passes for health foods in today's market.
£156 for a 30 day supply from oncacompany.com
* = Unless, of course, you happen to live in Japan, where things are a little more exciting on the edible skincare front. The nation went all ‘banzai’ over Shiseido’s The Collagen, a drinkable dermal filler containing 100mg of low molecular fish collagen, hyaluronic and amino acids to plump out ageing skin. Japanese confectioners Eiwa have even launched collagen-filled marshmallows, heralding a veribale beauty food revolution.