“We turn to the ocean around us to restore, replenish, and purify the ocean that is within all of us,” says Dan Fryda, a.k.a. the “Jacques Cousteau of the beauty world,” and founder of Spa Technologies, a seaweed-based, skin-care line. “The ocean is the ultimate mineral water whose chemistry is virtually identical to that of the human body,” he notes. Rich in minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and potassium, as well as elements such as copper, iodine, selenium, and zinc, seaweed is nature’s ultimate beautifier.
“It’s a perfect food for your skin,” Fryda explains. “It provides the richest sources of minerals, trace elements, amino acids, antioxidants, phytohormones, and enzymes. Through the transdermal penetration of these substances, your skin gets the essential building blocks to synthesize collagen and elastin fibers.” And that’s not all. When you bathe in a seaweed bath, your body is bombarded by billions of marine ions that diffuse through the skin, creating a transdermal alternative to eating as a source of vital nutrients to the body.
Below are a variety of seaweed-based products for face and body to get you started.
For Gentle Facial Care
Terre & Mer is a gentle facial line of Ecocert-certified and Cosmebio-labeled products that are rich in essential organic oils like cade wood, immortelle, and lavender, as well as green and red algae. The Marine Scrub with Organic Almond Shells is an excellent exfoliating product for the summer months especially, while the Marine Cleanser and Marine Tonic Lotion contain soothing organic orange blossom floral water (thalgo.com).
For the Delicate Eye Area
Red algae take center stage in the Moisturizing and Toning Cream for Eye and Lip Area from Osea (oseamalibu.com), while Bright Eyes from Youva helps ease fine lines, puffiness, and dark circles, thanks to the addition of marine collagen, marigold, and rosemary (youvaskin.com).
For Soft and Supple Skin
Give your body a radiant glow with Bioactive Berry White Peat Exfoliant (it’s gentle enough to use on your face, as well). Ingredients like organic sea minerals, algae extract, and aloe butter make this a luxuriously purifying product (redflower.com). The best time to nourish your skin is postbath, pre-bedtime. Apply Undaria Algae Oil, rich in certified organic seaweed extract and botanical oils, such as lime, flax, and grapefruit peel to your entire body in circular strokes (oseamalibu.com).
For the Bath
Two types of brown seaweed are used in the Wildly Natural Seaweed Powder Bath (we like the Eucalyptus & Peppermint Scent) for a soothing soak. This small company also makes affordable seaweed-based shampoos and conditioners, body washes, and body butters (seaweedbathco.com).
For Mature Skin
Light, nongreasy, and scented with healing essential oils, Marine Serum is one of the most sought-after products from Spa Technologies, while Marine Repair Cream contains DNA-repairing enzymes to help prevent the aging effects of sun exposure and pollutants. Another bonus: its marine antioxidants neutralize radicals (spatechnologies.com).
For Luminous Skin
The Brightening Miracle Mask with Laminaria Complex is a standout in the new Biolight Collection (cleanser, toner, serum, and day and night moisturizers) that combines cutting-edge peptide and marine biotechnology specially formulated to make skin more luminous. Ecocert-certified seaweeds provide hydrating, nourishing, and antioxidant properties (repechage.com).
The ABCs of Algae
Did you know that there are 30,000 species of algae and that they’re categorized by color (blue-green, brown, green, red, and white)? Dan Fryda explains the varieties and their benefits. Here’s what he shares:
Blue-Green Algae: Concentrated in amino acids, blue-green algae such as spirulina add an abundance of chlorophyll and trace elements to stimulate cellular metabolism. They are the natural way to provide brilliant color to seaweed bath products.
Brown Algae: The most remineralizing algae, these have traditionally been used in slimming and rejuvenating programs. Among the most active are the laminaria, fucus, dictyopteris, ascophyllum, undaria (wakame), macrocystis (Pacific bullwhip kelp), and sargassum seaweeds. Laminaria algae are the richest in trace elements as well as betacarotenes, vitamin K, and B vitamins.
Green Algae: These algae are a rich source of vitamin C and chlorophyll. Their mineral content is weaker than that of the brown and red algae, and they are therefore not commonly used in thalassotherapy treatments, but they are attracting more attention in skin care. Examples of green algae include the ulvas commonly found along estuaries and the mouths of rivers, as well as plankton and chlorella microalgae.
Red Algae: Red algae are rich in amino acids, folic acid, and mucopolysaccharides to gently stimulate sensitive and iodine-sensitive skin. Red algae are rich in essential fatty acids such as the omega-3 and omega-6 oils normally available from fish, as well as gamma-linoleic and arachidonic acids.
White Algae: A unique family, these algae grow a natural calcium-magnesium shell. White algae such as Lithothamnium calcareum are soothing when applied directly to irritated skin and help to drain excess bloat and water retention. Excellent in combination with the brown-green algae in the treatment of cellulite and inflammation, these algae play an important role in women’s health.