'Sexy water' is all the rage. Is it good for you?

Sexy water
Creator Kelly Stranick brought so-called sexy water to TikTok. (Getty Images)

There’s water — and then there’s “sexy water.” That’s what content creator Kelly Stranick (who goes by Kelly Grace Mae online) calls her practice of adding ice, fruit and both powder and liquid supplements to her H2O in an effort to boost her health and bring a bit of fun to her hydration routine.

For Stranick, those supplements often include collagen, colostrum, electrolytes, chlorophyll and a mushroom multivitamin, all mixed into a fancy glass. The combination of ingredients can change; the point is to take the hydration experience to the next level by throwing in whatever you think your body needs that day.

Now the trend is taking off on TikTok, where others are sharing their sexy water creations using a variety of supplements. But are these concoctions actually good for you? Here’s what you need to know.

What is “sexy water”?

In an interview with WWD, Stranick says that giving a fun name to her routine of adding ingredients like electrolytes, magnesium, collagen and chlorophyll to water has allowed her to “romanticize” hydration. “It felt like less of a chore and more of a self-care ritual.”

She also regularly posts about her sexy water concoctions on TikTok, where she has more than 81,000 followers. “Sexy water does not have to be super complicated and super extra. It can just be stuff that you have in the house to make your water a little sexier,” she says in one video.

In another video she says, “I look forward to making sexy water every single day because I know I’m getting in all of these good things,” referring to the supplements. “What can I throw in my water today to make it more fun?”

Why it’s part of a bigger water trend

Sexy water is the latest trend stemming from “functional hydration” — now a multibillion-dollar industry in which, according to a report from Fortune Business Insights, “functional beverages as a whole have robustly emerged as a preferred drink over soft drinks due to lower sugar content and lack of synthetic additives such as colors, flavors and preservatives.”

“Functional hydration sounds like a fancy term, but it’s not really,” Yasuki Sekiguchi, director of the Sports Performance Lab at Texas Tech University who researches optimal hydration strategies, tells Yahoo Life. “It’s just adding some ingredients to water to increase other benefits, like [athletic] abilities.”

Sports drinks like Gatorade, Powerade or Propel are examples of functional beverages. These products typically have two major added ingredients: electrolytes to increase water absorption, and carbohydrates to act as fuel for a performing athlete, Sekiguchi explains. But new products feature more complex blends — from Smartwater Alkaline with Antioxidant to Gatorade Water, which boasts an electrolyte infusion and “enhanced filtration process.” Brands like Sakara, Moon Juice and Bloom Nutrition also create tinctures and powders to add to water for various claimed benefits.

But is “sexy water” good for you?

It depends on what ingredient is added to the water. There’s not enough research on many of Stranick’s go-to supplements, Sekiguchi notes, to determine if they’re providing a benefit at all.

Julia Perlman, a dietitian with JAM Nutrition, tells Yahoo Life that while some supplements may indeed add value, most haven’t been properly studied. As such, it’s hard to say if they are effective or in what quantities they should be used.

“Dietary supplements are regulated more like foods versus drugs. They are not rigorously tested,” she says. “You can end up taking a cabinet full of supplements that may not be necessary and [are] just breaking the bank.”

Some supplements can even cause gastrointestinal upset or may pose a threat to food safety because of the inclusion of common allergens like soy, Perlman says. Others might not be properly absorbed when added to water.

An electrolyte mix that includes sodium, potassium and chloride, is the only one Sekiguchi would currently recommend. “We know from a research standpoint that water follows sodium, so that increases water absorption,” he says. But even that can be overdone if added in excessive amounts.

So long as a person isn’t experiencing adverse effects from the products they’re using, Sekiguchi says that there is one real benefit: hydration. “If it increases drinking behavior, that’s great,” he says.

Do you need to be drinking sexy water?

The short answer is no, according to water sommelier Martin Riese. “Every water will hydrate you. The idea that some water won’t is obviously not true,” he tells Yahoo Life. He adds that foods can also be a source of hydration.

But drinking enough water — and avoiding the ill effects associated with dehydration — is an issue many people struggle with. So, if making water “sexy,” or more appealing, will get people to drink it more often, that’s not a bad thing, experts say.

“People are starting to realize hydration’s impact on health and daily life, and hydration is something that’s easy to change,” says Sekiguchi.