SALLY OLIVIA KIM
Founder + Author of The Collagen Glow
Sally grew up drinking her Korean grandmother’s bone broth— essentially collagen broth—so when she experienced a painful burn and turned to collagen to successfully heal and regenerate her skin, it was an epiphany: she realized that ingesting collagen was key to good skin, healthy joints, and strong hair and nails.
Obviously, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that what we put into our body directly translates to how we look and feel. Still, I do think that most of us either like to conveniently forget, or underestimate just how much of what we ingest, translates to our skin.
I mean, I definitely did.
However, if we took a second to trace some of our most frustrating skin and hair problems to their roots though, we would find ourselves circling back to what’s underneath it all: our diet, our stomachs and liver, two of our most stressed out, hungover organs, and most importantly, our biology: what was happening to our skin at the cellular level.
I didn’t always know about this direct correlation— I always ignored that my under eye dark circles would get even darker on the weeks I felt more fatigued, or the immediate linkage of pizza date-nights to morning after pimples. So I focused more on purchasing eye-creams here and foundations there-- and wistfully lamented about how I was “getting too old,” or that I wasn’t seeing any changes.
And it’s no wonder why I wasn’t: my skin problems were actually starting from underneath it all.
But this revelation only occurred to me in my early twenties, when I got severely burned from scalding hot cooking oil that melted the skin off both of my arms instantly. I immediately bought every lotion, patch, and prescription ointment out there, but when nothing really did the trick, I resorted to the internet and researched all of the different ways for my skin to heal and regenerate as quickly as possible.
After countless hours of research, I discovered that there’s a city in Brazil, where they would put strips of fish skin directly onto the burned area, and the collagen from the skin would absorbed directly into the wound. This would relieve the pain, and get the patient's’ skin to heal faster.
I became super fascinated by it. Of course, I wasn’t going to go put fish skin all over my body, but I decided to order collagen to ingest. After a few weeks of consuming 20g of collagen a day, I was amazed at the results: I saw incredible changes not only on the burns on my arms, but everywhere, head to toe, even my nails, and my hair started looking better. Everyone started asking me what eye cream I was using— and that's when I realized— ingesting collagen was making my skin the healthiest it had ever been.
So I started evangelizing it to everyone: but turns out, everyone hated how collagen tasted. And because they didn’t have any severe skin conditions like I did, they just weren’t that interested in drinking what they didn’t like drinking.
And I didn’t blame them; as much as I loved the benefits of collagen, it was definitely difficult drinking it daily. Collagen is normally recommended to be mixed into coffee or other already flavored drinks, like any other protein powder. However, even in the blackest of the coffees, I was able to pick up on the taste, and because I was drinking bovine collagen at the time (which comes from boiled cow hides, and tastes exactly what you think that’d taste like), I would cringe after every sip. I was rarely able to finish a whole mug of the coffee, and because I hated that it would ruin my favorite morning routine, I actually ended up just mixing my dose of collagen into a bit of water, held my nose, and gulped it down. The fact is, there are other people who are able to stand the strong taste of collagen; I was not one of them.
But, knowing how beneficial collagen was for me head to toe, I couldn’t let the taste be the reason that I, or my friends and family, didn’t consume collagen. So after months and months of research, tasting essentially every collagen brand out there, and then flavoring it with other delicious superfoods, I found the king of all collagens, one that didn’t ruin whatever flavor profile of the drink you add it to.
I happily sent it out to every single one of my friends and family. But despite their approval, I came across another obstacle: they kept forgetting to take it daily (or were too lazy to scoop and measure other superfoods int it). And without taking it everyday, they did not see the results that I was seeing.
So I decided to reverse-engineer the experience a bit; if people genuinely liked the taste of the collagen drink and looked forward to drinking it, then they wouldn’t think of it as medicine, but any other flavored beverage out there. On a mission to get them hooked, and with the goal that my final product would taste good (so good that you’d have no idea that there were 10 grams of fish skin in it), I started formulating, and invented hundreds of recipes with collagen in it.
Finally, when my friends and family couldn’t taste the difference between the matcha latte that had the collagen in it, and the one without, that’s when I knew that I had succeeded. And that’s when Crushed Tonic was born.
I don’t think I talk about my experience with collagen enough— and because I’ve been asked the same questions so frequently, I figured I’d share them with you all as well.How often?
Everyday, sometimes twice a day.Favorite Flavor?
My favorite flavor is the matcha crush, but once in awhile, I freak out because once in a blue moon, I make the turmeric crush + almond milk latte, and I ask myself why I don't make myself it more often.
How I prepare my collagen lattes:
I don’t like drinking it with any collagen clumps, but I also don’t always have an electric whisk with me.
So I hacked the process a little bit; now, all I need is an empty water bottle.
In the empty water bottle, I’ll pour my crush in, and then add a tiny bit of water (really, just 1 tbsp. It’s all about the proportions here, so don’t add too much water.).
I'll shake the bottle until the crush has dissolved and turned into an elixir.
Then, I heat up coconut, almond, or pea milk (my favorite is pea milk) in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.
Finally, I’ll add the mixture into the heated up almond milk latte, and stir. I sometimes like to add things like vanilla extract, non-dairy creamers, and superfood powders to spice things up a bit!
What benefits have I been seeing?
Over the course of my <2 year collagen regimen, here are some of the things I’ve picked up on during my collagen regimen:
But beyond all these benefits, I genuinely enjoy my ritual of making and drinking my Crushed Tonic everyday. I wake up, and instead of running out the door to the next coffee shop, I start prepping my collagen latte. And I smile the entire time I'm drinking it! It’s become such a habit that now my mornings feel incomplete without them— so when you do give it a try, I really recommend that you take 5 minutes to really prep and make your tonic the most perfect for you.