If you’re on Instagram, you’ve likely seen a bunch of ads for online women’s vitamin products recently. There is a whole new way to get multi and prenatal vitamins today, with startups like Ritual and Care/Of and The Honest Company competing to become your trusted supplier. As these companies battle to get you your required daily nutrients and boost your “she-power” (we made that word up), do they really offer anything different than what you’d find at the pharmacy? Yes and no — I guess it depends what you mean by different. Let’s dig in and compare these new direct to consumer vitamin upstarts to see how they compare to more traditional alternatives.
But first, a review of daily women’s vitamins.
Do you even need a daily vitamin? If you are thinking about getting pregnant, or are pregnant, the answer is YES, you need a prenatal. If you are not getting pregnant – and are a normal, healthy woman – then the research is a bit more nuanced on a daily multivitamin.
In fact, many nutritionists say that a daily may not be required, but does provide a bit of insurance in case your normal diet is light on particular nutrients and minerals. Registered dietitian nutritionist Keri Gans, author of The Small Change Diet, (as quoted in Allure), says that multivitamins are “almost like a safety net to ensure that you are consuming plenty of important vitamins and minerals.” If you know you want a vitamin, skip ahead to the comparison of Ritual, Care/Of, and The Honest Company’s offerings.
And again, if you are trying to get pregnant, or are pregnant, get a prenatal vitamin and take it according to your doctor’s instructions!
Three new players to the women’s vitamin market, Ritual, Care/Of and Honest Co., are trying something different – rather than a regular trip to the pharmacy to get your bottle, they offer a subscription. The supplements are sent to your home regularly, so you never run out and never have to make a trip to the store.
Ritual vs Care/Of vs The Honest Company: Women's Vitamin Subscription Comparison
Each new provider has a specific bent on how to best benefit women, and each has their own pricing model. Ritual takes pride in having high quality, “transparent” sourcing, meaning that they test and can track their ingredients back to reputable, generally 1st world suppliers. Care/Of starts with a personalized survey, designed to help you address your own, unique health needs. And The Honest Company focuses on providing gentle on the stomach and easily “bioavailable” ingredients. Here’s a quick price comparison and more details on how each company is trying to bring better women’s vitamins to market:
Ritual vs Care/Of vs Honest Co. Vitamins for Women
|Multivitamin Monthly Pricing||$30||$5 to $50+||$19.95|
|Multivitamin Link||Ritual Multi||Care/Of Multi||Honest Multi|
|Prenatal Pricing||$35||$25 to $45|
or Bundle with DHA for $35.95
|Prenatal Link||Ritual Prenatal||Care/Of Prenatal||Honest Prenatal|
|Shipping Costs||Free||Free for orders over $20||Free for orders over $40|
|Special Diet Features|
No High Fructose Corn Syrup
for 30% off the 1st month
|Key Features||Only the vitamins needed, no extra vitamins||Customized nutrients based on personalized health survey||Bio-available ingredients that absorb more easily|
|Other Features||Money back guarantee after 1st month if not satisfied||Offers both pill packs and individual pills||No subscription required, but available if wanted|
What’s the difference from what you would get at the store?
There are a few key differences between the products offered by The Honest Company, Care/Of and Ritual vs. what you can get at the local pharmacy.
Advantages of vitamin startups
- Subscription. Ritual and Care/Of only offer subscriptions, and The Honest Company has an optional subscription. This means you won’t run out of pills out in the middle of the month. Plus, you’ll enjoy the convenience of the vitamins showing up at your house, instead of having to run to the pharmacy all the time.
- Better Sourcing. These companies take a lot of pride in explaining the sources for their ingredients. Both Ritual and Care/Of have maps on their website showing where they get their different minerals and nutrients. And The Honest Company is known for having ethical product sourcing.
- Extra Testing. Ritual and Care/Of write about how they test their materials before making their products, checking to make sure the ingredient is what it is intended to be, and Ritual makes it clear they also check to make sure there are not contaminants like heavy metals.
- Pricing. These are more expensive than more “ordinary” vitamins. For example, you can get Nature Made Women’s Multivitamins on Amazon for less than $8 a bottle.
- New Companies. The Honest Company, Ritual and Care/Of are all venture capital backed startups. These types of companies do not always stay in business for more than a few years, so it is possible the product you grow to love may no longer be available in the future.
If you eat a well-balanced diet and are looking for a place to start, I’d recommend Ritual. Their sourcing is truly inspiring, with ingredients in the Ritual prenatal coming from places like Pisticci, Italy (that’s where they get the Folate in the prenatal) and Odgen, Utah (the Iron). You can read our review of Ritual, or click below to try either their multivitamin or their prenatal vitamin for 30 days risk-free.
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What are consumers saying about Ritual Vitamins online?
Although results are difficult to measure, customers seem to enjoy the ability to customize their supplements via Ritual, and also call out their strong customer support.
For someone with specific health needs or who wants a personalized nutrient plan, Care/Of is a great option. Before you even get going with the service, you’ll go through a fun and interactive online survey that Care/Of will use to offer you customized vitamin pill packs. Care/Of also offers a special prenatal vitamin with 22 nutrients designed for you and your baby’s health.
What are consumers saying about Care/Of Vitamins online?
This Care/Of customer appreciates the empirical data the company provides to better understand their supplements:
Review of The Honest Company
The Honest Company’s women’s vitamins are tested for quality and purity, and are designed to be easy to digest and gentle on the stomach. You can buy these vitamins one-off or in a subscription, and the Honest Company also offers bundles that save quite a bit of money, such as a prenatal “Health and Wellness Bundle” that comes with a prenatal vitamin and prenatal DHA pills. As an aside, if you want to stock up on all-natural baby products for postnatal use, Honest Company is the place to go.
What do consumers say about women’s vitamins from The Honest Company?
Among expecting mothers, The Honest Co.’s prenatal vitamins are quite popular:
A final thought on women’s vitamin subscriptions.
Remember, if you are going to get pregnant or are pregnant, you NEED a prenatal. Talk to your doctor about your nutritional needs. Ritual, Care/Of, and Honest Co. have a lot to offer in this category, but if they seem a bit too pricey, at least consider getting a low-cost prenatal like the Nature Made Multivitamin Prenatal — a 250 count bottle from Amazon costs less than $25 (which is less than 10 cents a day!) Prenatals keep your baby from getting very serious diseases, so seriously, don’t delay.
The usefulness of daily multivitamin is more heavily in question, unless you have a known nutritional deficiency. But don’t let the science, marketing, or health gurus sway you. Ultimately you need to do what makes you feel good. So if you’re convinced they work, or if you’d rather play it safe than sorry, a multivitamin subscription can be very worthwhile. Try Ritual, Care/Of, and Honest Co. Note how you feel. Then make a final decision.