Haven’t heard of seaweed beauty? For centuries, humans have harvested the vast resources of the underwater world to enhance the skin. Luxury skincare companies have built many of their reputations on high-end creams formulated with ingredients like sea kelp and caviar. But with consumers seeking more natural products, the marine beauty wave has gone mainstream – introducing seaweed as its go-to ingredient.
Many big brand name skin care lines say their research reveals sea ingredients make excellent beauty products: They moisturize, fight free radicals and tighten skin.
Another interesting breakthrough comes from the medical profession, who have found that seaweed heals burn patients at a remarkable rate.
It is interesting to note that more and more “Growers” of seaweed are emerging in the marketplace, to protect the ecosystem.
Many manufacturers buying from contracted harvesters say they screen suppliers carefully. Many companies now source farmed sea plants grow their ingredients in the lab.
Some companies explain their harvesting practices on their websites, but it’s best to check if you’re concerned.
Is seaweed beauty really beneficial for my skin?
With tens of thousands of varieties in the world, seaweed (a type of large algae) could be the most ubiquitous underwater ingredient in skincare.
Medical studies show taking it in supplement form or including it in your diet can help to reduce joint pain, lower blood lipids for better heart health, and prevent allergies. Cosmetic companies look to these results, plus research by marine scientists and experiments in their own labs, to formulate products.
Our skin likes seaweed’s nutrients such as beta-carotene, potassium, zinc, and iodine.
“Seaweeds don’t have a root system,” says Diane Bernard, owner of Seaflora in Sooke, Vancouver Island. “They take nutrients directly from the ocean, so these nutrients are more potent than they are in inland plants.”
It has been proven that sea plants are eight times more potent than land botanicals.
Large companies harvest laminaria, a large brown seaweed (also called kelp) that hydrates, soothes and stimulates collagen.
Red seaweed is rich in beta-carotene, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and is used in many formulas for sensitive skin.
Land plants that grow on the shoreline have self-regenerating and stress-resistant properties, so Stem cells from Sea Holly in coastal France grow them in a lab and uses them as an anti-aging ingredient.
Phytoplankton, tiny plant-like microorganisms, which is mixed into skincare formulas, because they appear to fight ultraviolet damage and free radicals, along with an extract from corallina (a coral that thickens the skin).
Do these seaweed beauty products actually work?
As with many beauty products, it’s hard to tell how effective ocean ingredients truly are.
Skincare companies that release its lab results: One in-house study found that its brown seaweed derived molecule Pheohydrane increased the skin moisture of 15 users by 215 percent after seven days.
Some companies may over-hype their seaweed beauty lines and use as little as two percent of a sea ingredients in their products, we here at Private Label Skincare Florida, always publish our percentages of natural and organic ingredients to garner the confidence of our clients in our ability to make the most innovative, and best products possible.
How is seaweed processed?
To further differentiate themselves, cosmetics makers say processing impacts a product’s efficacy and their own way is, of course, best.
Indigena uses a seven-minute dehydrating process that ensures freshness.
Phytomer freeze-dries ingredients just after they are collected from the sea.
Dermalogica claims that wild ingredients can be inconsistent and that it can better control efficacy by growing plants in the lab. Other companies eschew such approaches.
“I believe that if things are picked apart too much, they lose their magic,” says Helen Ambrosen, arts and sciences coordinator and co-founder of Lush at its head office in Dorset, England. “Everybody knows that an apple is better for you than a vitamin tablet.”
Lush puts sea salt directly into its Big Shampoo and its Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub and simmers fresh seaweed before mixing it into Aqua Marina Cleanser.
Bernard cold-presses seaweed to harness its natural powers.
So, feel like taking a dip?
Research-driven companies already understand many earthbound ingredients, but the sea has such vast potential that you can be sure beauty companies will continue to explore.
So much Hype and Very Little Fact.
It’s very easy to bash the art and knowledge of a formulating chemist with an 8 year college degree, versus a “stay at home blogging mom” that writes about “some perceived NO, NO ingredients” that she has no idea about, simply because she read some article that was later proven incorrect but in the meantime destroyed the company that made the ingredient that proved to be no way harmful.
This is the battle that we face here at Private Label Skincare Florida, along with many other companies trying to make the best possible products personal care industry.
I hope we can help you formulate your favorite sea ingredients into your next project and bring to market an incredible line of Sea products.