They’re personalized and pretty, but are they worth it?
Now that the Christmas festivities are over and you’re parked on the couch, bag of foil-wrapped chocolates in hand, you might be starting to think about your health-related New Year’s resolutions.
This time of year is prime season for making new health goals and prioritizing wellness, and there are tons of products that aim to help you meet those goals. With this in mind, I decided to test out one of the most hyped wellness products around — the Instagram-worthy, individually packaged, personalized vitamins from Care/Of.
I first spotted Care/Of vitamins on Instagram and thought they were quite cute, and I liked the concept of vitamins that were tailored to my health goals. At the same time, I’ve always been skeptical of vitamins and how much benefit they actually offer. Would a tailored vitamin regimen change my mind? Curiosity piqued, I ordered a month supply to test out.
My Care/Of Experience
When I got to the Care/Of site to place my order, I was impressed with its design. I appreciate websites that are easy to navigate and pretty and this one was both. Step one was to take a quiz (only five minutes long) to give the Care/Of system an overview of my health and lifestyle.
Questions included my name, whether I currently took any vitamins and supplements, whether I was prescribed any medications (the answers for this were just “yes” or “no” — they don’t ask you which medications), how I felt about vitamins (apparently useful information), and how long I had been taking vitamins. They also asked how many vitamins I would be comfortable taking, what state I lived in, and what kind of health outcomes I wanted to focus on.
My answers were as follows: I have taken vitamins in the past, but not often, and I am a skeptic. I live in Washington. My health goals include focusing on my sleep, stress, digestion, hair skin, energy, and immunity. (They don’t limit your number of goals.) The questionnaire was cute and incredibly in-depth for a five minute internet quiz. I finished it feeling like I had answered every possible question that could be relevant to vitamins.
The only thing I didn’t like about the quiz was the gender question, specifically that they only have male and female as options. While it’s understandable to ask this question (RDA amounts of different vitamins vary between genders), I think it’s important to have other options listed since not everyone identifies as male or female. If you are gender non-conforming, for instance, it appears that Care/Of can’t provide vitamin recommendations for you. Given how exhaustive the rest of their quiz is, this was a disappointment.
Now that I had filled out my quiz, all that was left to do was wait for my box. When it arrived, the box was difficult to miss. It was bright orange, with my name in large text when I opened it up. Inside were my personalized vitamin packs, filled with the supplements that had been recommended for me.
My vitamin regimen consisted of the following: Rhodiola, B-Compex, Vitamin D, a Digestive Enzyme and a Probiotic Blend. I was recommended Vitamin D because I live in Washington which doesn’t get a lot of sun. I was recommended B-Complex (which has B-6, B-12 and Biotin) because I’m a vegetarian. (They also made sure all the vitamins they recommended were from vegetarian sources, which I thought was a nice touch.) The digestive enzymes and probiotic blends were for my digestion and immunity, two of my chosen health goals. Rhodiola was recommended for energy and stress, two other things I indicated I wanted to focus on.
The total for all of these vitamins came to $38 without shipping, but a quick search for coupons online knocked 25% off that price. Comparing this to Amazon, I was definitely paying a premium for convenience, but I was also able to purchase a perfect month’s supply, which is harder to do when shopping on Amazon as many supplements came in 60-day supplies.
I liked that each supplement was linked to a page on their website explaining the reasoning and research behind the product. For instance, Vitamin D and Vitamin B are well documented vitamins, but Rhodiola is a more “up and coming” supplement. Its page has a number of studies linked, along with the years in which each study was performed, if it was a double blind placebo, and the dosage used in the study. For a skeptic like me, this was great: Care/Of isn’t asking you to just blindly trust that this vitamin is helping, they are linking the studies and the information they have about each supplement.
From here, there’s not much to say. I took my vitamins for a month. Care/Of’s easy packaging made this a cinch, and I loved how cute the packaging was. It made vitamin-taking a little more fun, and my month’s supply went by fast.
The Verdict on Care/Of
There were definitely some drawbacks to my month with Care/Of. As a consumer attempting to be eco-friendly, I found myself upset by the waste that this company generates. The photo above is from my personal package, and I wasn’t even finished with all the packets! The vitamins don’t come in compostable or recyclable packaging and so it’s this huge amount of waste when you think about it month to month. That said, Care/Of is supposedly working on a more sustainable solution — maybe they will come out with personalized bottles which could be just as pretty as their current packaging.
So were the vitamins themselves worth it? To be honest, I’m not sure. Despite the benefits I was supposed to see from them, I don’t think the vitamins did anything at all for me. I did only try them for a month, so maybe the short time frame was a factor. I really don’t know.
Overall, I think I will continue to buy from the brand, although probably not monthly, because expensive vitamins — especially if they don’t have an obvious benefit — can be hard to justify on a college budget. I might buy one-off supplements from them on occasion, but I don’t think I’ll be a regular subscriber.
Of course, everyone is different so your experience likely will be different from mine. I think that is good because everyone’s health is different and deserves attention and products specific to you and your needs. That is where I really think Care/Of shines. It wasn’t a win for me, but it might be for you.
What do you think?
Do you like personalized products? Would you try or have you tried Care/Of? Let me know in the comments below!