There are many ways to fight against time—be it anti-ageing skincare or supplements to keep your skin youthful. But how often it is can you find an oral supplement that improves your gut health and give you glowing skin at the same time? Inspired by Korean skincare and diet, Crushed Tonic‘s founder Sally Kim decided to create a powder supplement that combines collagen, probiotics, and biotin for a multitasking elixir that’s easy to consume. If you aren’t big on swallowing tablets, Crushed Tonic’s powder elixir is your new health saviour.
We had a chat with Sally to find our more about what Crushed Tonic is all about.
What inspired you to start out on this health & wellness journey?
I’ve always been interested in nutrition and the impact of a clean and controlled diet on the mind and our overall health. But what truly sparked my wellness journey was when I got burned from a cooking fiasco. The oil melted the skin off my arms instantly, and when prescription ointment and silicone patches didn’t work, I turned to the Internet to find ways for my skin to heal, and regenerate, as quickly as possible.
After weeks of researching, I discovered collagen, and the role it played our skin, hair, bones, and muscles. I always thought collagen was something that had to injected. But it turns out that it was something our own bodies produce, and something we’ve been ingesting here and there everyday.
After a few weeks of taking 20g of collagen a day (which was not pleasant—I was taking bovine collagen, which was incredibly gamey tasting), I saw incredible changes not just on my burns, but my entire skin, head to toe, and also my hair.
I then tried to evangelize it to my aging parents and family, and this was where I saw the problem. No one wanted to ingest collagen, for how it tasted. And had I not been burned, I am not sure if I would have stuck it to daily either.
But I HAD to have my parents take it—I knew there were many gaps in their diets that collagen would help fill. So in wanting to fix this problem, I went down a rabbit hole, formulating with ingredients from all around the world. I wanted to create a wellness experience that people looked forward to and bring a healthful product that everyone—regardless of their lifestyles, gender, and age—could enjoy and easily incorporate into their lives without much friction.
In what way were you inspired by Korean skincare for Crushed Tonic’s inception?
Growing up in Korea, I was surrounded by seas of lotions, creams and moisturizers everywhere I went; therefore, I never second-guessed the importance of skincare.
However, despite all the craze today around the 10-step Korean skincare regimen, the ubiquity of topical products after products, all of the different ingredients popping up (from snail oil to gold-infused creme), the only Korean Skincare ritual that my family has passed down to me, the only regimen I’ve strictly ingrained into my lifestyle, is the one spoken about the least: the Korean diet.
For those who have never had Korean food, Korean cuisine is always a balanced meal of grilled protein and rice (never bread), with lots of various fermented vegetables such as kimchi, and miso paste.
Kimchi, a fermented, pickled cabbage almost iconic of our culture, is dense with minerals, vitamins A, B and C, fat-free and most importantly, loaded with probiotics, a gut-friendly bacteria that take shelter in your stomach once ingestion. And what probiotics do for our health and our skin, is almost immeasurable: our stomach, AKA the “second brain,” is actually the ruler of our overall health. And when our stomachs are off (think constipation, diarrhea, even just too much of the wrong food), our skin takes a beating almost immediately. With probiotics, our stomach is able to fend off a lot of what causes these problems, and therefore get our skin to its optimal condition.
Furthermore, Koreans consume a TON of collagen-based dishes and soups. Collagen is a type of protein that all living, breathing animals—including humans—produce. It makes up our bones, muscles, skin, and hair. Think of them as gatekeepers of moisture in our cells; and without this collagen “wall” to keep our cells hydrated, our cells increasingly lose structure, leading to weaker, stretchier, and thinner skin. And of course, this is what causes wrinkles, fine lines, dry skin, cellulite, and the loss of structure in your hair follicles (integral to holding on to your hair). And unfortunately, time and our environment, such as pollution, smoking, eating fried foods, and more, cause our body produce less and less of it (a rate of 1.5% a year). Ingesting collagen facilitates new regeneration of skin, muscle, bones and joint cells, something my mother and grandmother never let me forget if I ever decided to be picky with my food.
What do you think is the most important step in achieving healthy and beautiful skin?
Being healthy from head to toe.
Skin is the biggest indicator of one’s overall health. If our health is not in-sync, then our skin shows exactly that especially after a stressful day or a bender of a weekend—I always feel my skin struggling. And to achieve both a mental and physical wellbeing, we have to be very deliberate about what we put into our bodies (and what we don’t).
Which is why we have to drink as much water as possible, cleanse out the toxins out of our system as often as possible, and do our best to fill those nutritive gaps in our diets. We couldn’t possibly eat ten grams of fish skin everyday even if we wanted to (and seeing that it’s usually prepared not in the healthiest way—deep fried with oil, or too heavily salted).
What other flavours are you experimenting to add on to Crushed Tonic?
I am constantly brainstorming what my next flavors would be! I would like to bring more Korean influences—aloe and yuzu together—and one that I probably shouldn’t be telling you about, is a hot sriracha-based one. More to come!
What were some of the challenges that you faced when you were starting out with Crushed Tonic?
Creating a wellness product that spoke to women and men from all of the different walks of life.
I never agreed with how gender-prescriptive certain skincare brands and protein supplement brands were, so I wanted to ensure that all the marketing language and branding aesthetic wouldn’t alienate anyone.
I also wanted to make sure that there would be a flavour that worked for almost anybody. This is why every crush is so different from one another: one is fruit-based, one is herb-based, and one is root-based.
And lastly, I wanted to create a product that was insane by twenty year old girl, a forty year old woman, and a sixty year old man—because collagen should be used by more than women who want to enhance their skin (collagen is beneficial for the bones, muscles, joints and hair ).
What is your favourite flavour of Crushed Tonic?
That’s a hard question—it depends on the time and day.
During the week, I always start my morning out with the matcha crush. I love the kick of caffeine, and with almond milk, it fills me up and I feel supercharged to take on the day. It’s also something I drank daily starting at a young age, so it was really easy for me to stick to it.
When I feel myself coming down with a cold and want something warm and soothing, I turn to the turmeric crush. After mixing it into hot water, I add in a splash of almond milk and grind up black pepper on top. I kid you not, I’ve beat multiple strep throats with turmeric!
And the original crush is something I put into just about everything—coffee, yogurt, smoothies, shakes, cookies, and even with water (but always with almond milk after!)
- The Original Crush
Pour into smoothies, protein shakes, cups of coffee or sprinkle over granola or cereal
- The Matcha Crush
Add to hot water or your favourite milk to make a latte matcha-style or cold water or favourite milk for a refreshing green tea infused drink. Also makes a great addition to green juices and smoothies
- The Turmeric Crush
Mix with hot water or your favourite milk to make a warm golden milk latte or cold water or milk to make a spicy cleansing tonic or power milk. Also adds a fiery kick to fruity, citrusy juices
What would you recommend to a new customer who hasn’t tried Crushed Tonic?
I would recommend getting the assortment of all 3 flavours. Drinking anything everyday can become a pain — and it’s important that it’s taken daily (protein isn’t something our body stores — hence it’s important that we ritualise collagen as a daily habit). And always, always put it into water first so that it dissolves perfectly!
What sets Crushed Tonic apart from the rest of the anti-aging collagen/probiotic brands out there?
I have yet to come across a collagen brand that has combined multiple top-shelf superfoods, vitamins and supplements together into one single-packet drink.
Crushed Tonic is also special in that it is gender-neutral, portable (no more scooping and spilling or forgetting to take your vitamins), can be added to just water and taste great x includes biotin for an extra oomph of hair growth support x and only uses marine collagen.
Not only is marine collagen the most effective for the body, it is sustainably sourced from fish skin that would have been otherwise disregarded, and we would also never stand behind any other types of collagen. Bovine/porcine collagen are sourced from boiled cow hides and pig skin, and that would never work for us.
A personal beauty & wellness tip you can share with our readers?
Glycolic acid peels. They are amazing at getting rid of scarred and discoloured skin, and having new skin regenerate quickly and homogenise in colour. I would use it about 3 times a week to get rid of the discolouration, and after 3 weeks, my skin is once again of the same colour!
In what way is powder more effective than pills – as stated on the site?
Powder collagen, when mixed with water, turns into a liquid collagen—which by far is the most easily absorbed by the body. It also takes less for the body to break down liquid collagen; while capsules can take more than 30-45mins depending on what you had ingested that day.
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Featured image: Crushed Tonic