I Tried Rihanna's Remedy for Instant Energy (Needles Were Involved)
In her approach to beauty, Rihanna is my Regina George. I mean that not from the ill-willed perspective of Cady Heron or Janis Ian, but as the totally earnest girl who bought army pants and flip flops because the queen bee of her high school did. I think we could all benefit from RiRi's fearlessness, which is why I am always game to try anything—even the treatments and products that most people in their right minds probably wouldn't. "Are you nuts?" is something I hear on a weekly basis. I love it.
So when I was invited to try out an IV vitamin treatment recently, I was more than game, and not just because after a battling a cold for a week, I seriously needed a boost. I also remembered that Rihanna swears by these drips to keep her energy running high while she's touring, and I was officially sold. Rihanna gets vitamin drips, so I got a vitamin drip.
To be fair, it's not just Rihanna. "Any musician or performer you can think of—chances are they get these vitamin drips," Dr. Ehsan Ali told me after I arrived for a mid-afternoon appointment at the Beverly Hills Concierge Doctor clinic. But in recent months, the trend has expanded beyond the A-list set to a wellness and convenience-obsessed public: You can now boost your immunity, amp up your energy, improve your skin, hair, and nails, and even say goodbye to your hangover just by hooking a vitamin cocktail up to your arm for several minutes to an hour, and people obviously want in. I'll never forget the first industry event I attended in LA just a couple of days after moving, where vitamin drips were just part of the complimentary festivities alongside green juice cocktails and a braid bar. It was a laughable caricature of an LA party to be sure, but it was also proof that this medical treatment has officially hit the mainstream. (So maybe I was a little late to it by Rihanna standards, but c'est la vie.)
And the opportunity arose at a very timely hour. Again, I was on the tail-end of a horrific cold, the kind that feels like someone is repeatedly hitting your sinuses with a sledgehammer. I was also on a deadline, and the congestion had made its way to my brain. Maybe I'm not performing sold-out shows across the globe on a nightly basis for my ANTI world tour, but the internet is my humble stage, okay? These stories don't write themselves. Dr. Ali assured me that just an hour-long treatment ought to do the trick. "Especially when you're not feeling well, you'll feel it right away," he said, adding that it was the same if said illness was drinking-related. Those in perfect health would feel "subtle rejuvenation." For beautifying effects like glossier, healthier hair, bright skin, and strong nails, I'd need to repeat the treatment on the regular.
As he slipped the IV into my arm, Dr. Ali explained that he'd be administering a Myer's cocktail, which under any other circumstances would have actually sounded quite appealing. In this context, however, he was referring to a specific (booze-free) blend of vitamins named for the doctor who invented it: magnesium, calcium, a spectrum of B-vitamins, and vitamin C. "Vitamin C is known to help with your immune system, so if you're trying to recover from an illness it'll help the recovery process," he explained. "The B12 we throw in helps to just boost your metabolism and naturally increase your energy levels, but it's like a natural, subtle energy production. Not like a I've-taken-10-shots-of-
I was instructed to keep my arm very still, and was then left to my own devices for the next hour. Sadly the only device I had on hand was my phone, which died after five minutes, and I was forced to meditate on the steady dripping of the IV and reflect on my formative years as a needle-phobe. (How far I've come.) At one point, I realised I could actually taste the vitamins, which Dr. Ali had said might happen. It wasn't particularly unpleasant—just the usual aftertaste of a daily multi-vitamin, amplified.
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Fortunately, a noted taste was not the highlight of my experience. While on my way back to the office from my appointment, I realised that my sinuses felt significantly better—I could even kind of breathe out of my nose. By the time I sat down at my desk, it was about 4pm, which is usually prime time for my afternoon slump. Instead, I felt laser-focused and raring to go, and cranked out my story with time to spare. Placebo? Not exactly: I woke up the next morning with no signs of my cold at all. Is this where Rihanna gets all her superpowers?
But for me, the mere mortal, the story ends there—for now, at least. For convenience and cost-effectiveness, I'll probably just stick with my daily supplements and questionable coffee habit. Still, while vitamin drips may not be in the realm of frequent possibility, I can definitely see myself springing for that boost on a special occasion: fashion week, a big family wedding—or, say, a sold-out world tour.
Would you ever try a vitamin drip? Sound off in the comments below.