Many of us are used to eating seaweed as part of our favorite sushi rolls but you may not be aware just how good marine algae is for you (yep, seaweed is algae). Seaweed is loaded with minerals like calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus and zinc, as well as vitamins A, B, C, D and E. All of which are not only good for your body but beneficial for your skin and hair as well, which is why this superfood makes an excellent ingredient in beauty products.
Macroalgae and microalgae have been used in cosmetics (as well as nutritional supplements) for many decades because of their anti-inflammatory, detoxifying and antioxidant properties, says holistic skin care expert Paula Simpson. Sometimes we might miss them on the labels because their scientific names are used, but they’re in the formula, boosting the vitamin and mineral content to help us achieve better skin and hair.
There are a staggering 50,000 algae species on the planet and, according to Simpson, each seaweed has a unique profile that results in different beauty benefits. For example, ones with high amino acid profiles are great for improving skin texture and elasticity. Others have lipids that help soothe and moisturize skin, while antioxidant-rich algae with chlorophyll are ideal for detoxifying. Kat Burki, CEO and founder of Kat Burki, adds that minerals and micronutrients from algae provide protective moisturizing benefits to skin. Because of these many benefits, marine algae is often used in beauty products for skin, hair and body, as well as makeup.
Get ready to add marine algae to your routine with these 12 seaweed beauty products worth trying.
The Seaweed Bath Co.
Citrus Vanilla Smoothing Argan Shampoo, $12.99 at The Seaweed Bath Co.
It's not necessary to choose between a fruity shampoo and a warming vanilla one. This shampoo combines both for an invigorating scent. The argan oil formula takes strands from dull and stringy to smooth and silky thanks to sustainably harvested bladderwrack seaweed. The ingredient infuses tresses with over 65 vitamins and minerals. Think of it as a multivitamin for hair.
The Body Shop
Seaweed Oil Balancing Toner, $7.50 at The Body Shop
Struggling with shiny skin? This toner contains mineral-rich seaweed from Roaring Water Bay, Ireland. The ingredient helps control oil production for skin that's matte, but not dry. Apply the alcohol-free toner after cleansing and it will purify without leaving behind a telltale residue.
Sea Vegetable Soap, $7.95 at Lush
Use this vegan soap in the bath and it's the next best thing to actually taking a dip in the ocean. The bright blue bar is infused with skin-softening seaweed plus lime, seaweed absolute and lavender for an at-the-beach scent. The soap is finished off with a salty "crust" that helps slough off dead skin.
Berry Lip Fix With Wintered Red Algae, $14 at Ulta
Keep lips soft and supple in the cold weather with this emollient-rich balm. The vegan lip treatment has an arctic berry complex and wintered red algae to repair and hydrate lips. Wear the Berry Lip Fix by itself or underneath a matte liquid lipstick for comfortable wear.
Beauty Infusion Purifying Sea Kelp + Probiotics In-Shower Mask, $7.99 at CVS
In-shower masks couldn't be easier to use. Apply this one before getting wet, then leave it on for 5 to 10 minutes in the shower. The formula combines the benefits of sea kelp and probiotics to restore and balance skin for a clearer complexion.
My Daily Dose of Vitamins ABC Serum, $65 at Nordstrom
Seaweed goes high tech. This serum utilizes patented Japanese seaweed encapsulation technology that protects the other ingredients so they're able to be applied to skin in their most effective state. The brand is known for its bespoke serums that can be mixed and matched, but this pre-blended serum has everything needed for those dealing with spots, congestion and stressed skin.
Bumble and bumble
Seaweed Shampoo, $24 at Sephora
Sea salt is praised for its ability to give us good hair days, but seaweed doesn't receive the recognition it deserves. This shampoo has marine seaweed, spirulina and kelp to cleanse hair without stripping.
I'm Real Seaweed Mask Sheet, $3 at Ulta
Tomato, red wine, avocado, rose. TONYMOLY's sheet masks feature a range of different ingredients. This purifying mask contains seaweed essence. Unlike some flimsy sheet masks, it has a three-layer construction so it can be unfolded and applied to skin without accidental rips.
Scrub Stix Exfoliating Lip Balm, $19 at Sephora
Banish flakes with this easy-to-use exfoliating lip balm. Apply it, then work it around to encourage exfoliation. Seaweed extract promotes rejuvenation for baby-soft lips. The micro scrub can even be applied on the go since it won't leave behind any particles.
Seaweed Night Cream, $22 at Ulta
Apply this bladderwrack extract night cream before bed and wake up to hydrated, glowing skin. The plumping formula absorbs well, so the ingredients go down into pores as opposed to on pillows.
Mermaid Detox Face Mask, $30 at Captain Blankenship
Make like a mermaid and apply this detoxifying face mask on days when the harsh elements of life on land have left skin looking worse for wear. The mask is suitable for all skin types and contains organic Atlantic bladderwrack and spirulina (a natural blue-green algae) to cleanse and detoxify.
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