What is the difference between marine and bovine collagen?

Making sense of supplements

Editor / November 06 2023

For a lot of us, ingestible beauty has become as much a part of our routines as moisturising. After all, if you’re on a quest for glowing, plump, and youthful skin, you’ve got to have your inside and outside bases covered. 

Collagen supplements are often the ones to get the call-up, thanks to studies that have proven their ability to improve skin hydration and elasticity.

But there are two main types to choose from: marine collagen and bovine collagen.

So what’s the difference and what does each do for our skin?

What is the difference between marine and bovine collagen?

It’s quite funny when you think about it, but both collagens have simply been given a more *elegant* name to refer to the animal they derive from.

Put simply, marine collagen comes from fish and bovine collagen comes from cows. More specifically, marine collagen is often made from fish skin and scales, whereas bovine collagen is typically made from cow hide.

For this reason, a lot of people who don’t typically consume meat products (or may be pescatarian) prefer marine collagen. But it’s also good to look into whether the product you’re considering purchasing is sustainably sourced.

Which form of collagen is most effective?

Just like asking whether cream blush or powder blush is better, the answer depends on what you're looking for.

Marine collagen is primarily Type I collagen, whereas bovine collagen is a mixture of Type I and Type III collagen. Both help with elasticity in the skin and gut support, but there are some differences in their performance.


Marine collagen benefits

Marine collagen (Type I) is said to absorb 1.5 times more efficiently, giving it the reputation of having superior bioavailability. Type I collagen is also the strongest and most abundant type of collagen in the body, providing more support for skin healing and strengthening. For this reason, those focused on skin care benefits alone are often swayed more towards marine collagen.

Bovine collagen benefits

As well as skin care benefits, there have been some studies that suggest bovine collagen can also help to support muscle mass. This is attributed to the type III collagen that's mixed with the type I, and can be of benefit to age-related muscle loss. It’s also been demonstrated to help improve joint and bone health, in particular in alleviating osteoarthritis symptoms. It seems having a mixture of collagen types can also present a mixture of benefits.

The 6 best collagen supplements to shop in Australia 2023

Vida Glow Natural Marine Collagen Original

The Collagen Co Passionfruit Mango Collagen Powder

Dr. LeWinn’s Marine Collagen Peptide+ Inner Beauty Liquid Shot

1/ Vida Glow Natural Marine Collagen Original, $70 at Vida Glow

Firm, youthful looking skin will be yours in no time at all with the help of Vida Glow's original Natural Marine Collagen (as well as stronger nails and thicker hair, of course). This hydrolysed marine collagen has been activated to help boost absorption (so your body can actually use it) and stimulate fresh collagen production. It's also clinically-proven to help smooth fine lines and wrinkles, while increasing skin firmness and enhancing skin elasticity.


2/ The Collagen Co Passionfruit Mango Collagen Powder, $79 at thecollagen.co

If this easy-breezy, reminiscent-of-a-vacay flavour doesn't leave your mouth watering, its anti-ageing support for your hair, skin, nails, joints and gut definitely will. The proof is in what it contains: hydrolysed bovine collagen powder, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and biotin.


3/ Dr. LeWinn’s Marine Collagen Peptide+ Inner Beauty Liquid Shot, $59.95 at Oz Hair & Beauty

This concentrated shot of sustainably sourced hydrolysed marine collagen not only helps to enhance skin hydration but also promotes improvements in skin firmness, smoothness, overall complexion, and it strengthens hair and nails. Taken daily, it can deliver a concentrated shot of collagen to your daily routine.



The Beauty Chef Deep Collagen Inner Beauty Support Unflavoured

Nutra Organics Collagen Beauty

WelleCo The Collagen Elixir

4/ The Beauty Chef Deep Collagen Inner Beauty Support Unflavoured, $67.50 (usually $75) at a-beauty

Unlock the secret to ageless beauty with this cult-fave supplement from The Beauty Chef. This powerful elixir is packed with sustainably-sourced marine collagen, specially designed to enhance skin elasticity, hydration and collagen density. Made from wild-caught North Atlantic cod, it meets the highest MSC standards for eco-conscious beauty.


5/ Nutra Organics Collagen Beauty, $39.95 at Nutra Organics

Glow from the inside out with Nutra Organics' Collagen Beauty, a natural collagen supplement with VERISOL bioactive collagen peptides and vitamin C. It helps to reduce wrinkles, increase skin hydration and elasticity, and support healthy hair, nails and gut.


6/ WelleCo The Collagen Elixir, $54.68 (usually $60.75) at a-beauty

This powerful formula is loaded with marine collagen peptides, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and digestive enzymes, giving your skin deep hydration and essential support from within.


Main image credit: @jourdandunn

On a wellness crusade? Here's how your gut health impacts your skin.

Ensure to read the label of any supplements you are taking and consult with your doctor first.