Seaweed, kelp, salt and even pearls… the latest beauty innovators are scouring the ocean for healing marine ingredients which provide a host of benefits.
The sea has long been a source of healing therapies: from the lure of the Red Sea for thalassotherapy to the use of sea salt for detoxifying. With only 5% of our oceans having been explored, there’s still an infinite amount to learn about marine life and it is this allure that is attracting the newest beauty labels.
Brands such as Thalgo, which uses marine algae in its products, and Voya, famous for its seaweed harvested from the Atlantic coast of Ireland, have long tapped into the benefits of the sea. Crème de La Mer, of course, is one of the most famous brands associated with its powers. The luxury skincare label was conceived by Dr Huber after studying the regenerative qualities of Pacific sea kelp.
“Rich in minerals and with the ability to regenerate itself, sea kelp is the basis of La Mer’s Miracle Broth™, which is at the heart of every product, including our new Moisturising Gel Cream,” he says. “Importantly, we harvest the sea kelp by hand during peak growth seasons so as not to disturb the underwater ecosystem it supports.”
Based in Margate, Haeckels’ natural products, based around seaweed and local botanicals, also have sustainability as a core value. Created by volunteer beach warden Dom Bridges, his beautifully-crafted products for skin, body and hair, have captured the zeitgeist.
“Natural products are every bit as effective as chemical-derived alternatives. Seaweed hydrates; it’s rich with valuable vitamins, minerals and amino acids,’ he says. “There’s an abundance of goodness on our coastlines and I’m passionate about getting the message out. We still harvest our seaweed by hand from the beach, just steps away from our shop.”
Extracted from fish scales and oils, marine collagen is another ingredient with intense beauty powers. Rich in amino acids, it is famously used in Elemis’ award-winning Pro-Collagen Marine line, while latest supplement brand Vidaglow takes an inside-out approach.
Its range of natural powders harness the power of French marine collagen, which helps firm skin, strengthens nails and aids muscle toning. Meanwhile, new luxury haircare range Kerluxe, uses marine collagen throughout its Luminage collection to strengthen and protect hair.
Anna-Maire Solowij, former Vogue beauty editor and co-founder of BeautyMart, which champions cult brands from across the globe, agrees that oceanic beauty is a rising trend. “Under the sea is as rich a source of ingredients as on land,” she says. “It ties in with a rising quest for natural beauty. We’re seeing a lot of sea plants used for their nourishing and protective properties.”
Sourcing the latest trend-led products from Korea, Melon + Starfish stocks a range of marine themed goodies. Blithe’s Abalone and Sea Cucumber Face Masks, for instance, are rich in amino acids and protein. While Etude House’s Pearl Sheet Mask, has a skin brightening effect. “The use of pearl in products is a rising trend,” says Gloria Pei, Melon + Starfish’s founder. “I’ll soon be stocking Klavuu, a new South Korean beauty brand, which infuses natural marine pearl, essential oils, and marine plant extracts into its signature formulas. Natural pearls are said to enrich, hydrate, and firm the skin, for a luminous complexion.”
For the closest thing to a magical ocean dip, try BOD’s Mermaid Salts, which use Dead Sea salt, with added shimmer, to detoxify and re-energise the body.
Salt, sea kelp and bladderwrack is also the basis of Mr Smith’s new Sea Salt spray for hair. Spritz it on for that just-off-the-beach look.
As well as being the inspiration for a whole host of skincare ranges, the ocean is also making a splash when it comes to the fragrance industry, with cult brands using marine notes to transport you to seaside idylls. From Linari’s exquisite Mare Pacifico – which captures the scent of the Pacific Ocean – to Sel Marin by Heeley – an aqueous creation with lemons and Italian bergamot to evoke the sea breeze – the perfect marine perfume captures the spirit of holidays.
Michael Donovan, fragrance expert, has the last word: “The ‘marine’ family of fragrances is perhaps the most joyous, entwined as it is with holiday memories. The scents of the sea have a commonality but also extraordinary difference – fragrances inspired by the Mediterranean have a totally different nuance to those of the Indian Ocean, for example, and it is these glorious subtleties that really connect with our stored scent experiences.”
SPLASH IT ON
Top three cult oceanic fragrances
Imaginary Authors Falling Into the Sea, from £90 (roullierwhite.com)
Tropical flowers blended with the scent of warm sand.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Celestia Forte, from £130 (liberty.co.uk)
Captures the essence of sun hitting the sea with sparkling notes of petitgrain and jasmine.
D.S. & Durga Rose Atlantic, from £139 (roullierwhite.com)
Brooklyn perfumer David Seth gets inspired by the Atlantic with this scent that uses sea salt blended with a rose accord and lemon.
RIDING THE WAVE
The best marine-rich beauty products
Algenist’s Algae Brightening Mask, £45 (spacenk.com)
This treatment uses six different types of algae to hydrate and refresh.
Anne Semonin Marine Emulsion, £54 (annesemonin.com)
Formulated with shea butter and sea algae to nourish, this is the perfect summer moisturiser.
Seahorse Plankton 60 Second Manicure, £14.99 (hollandandbarrett.com)
A hand and nail treatment which uses sustainably-sourced plankton and seaweed extract, with a percentage of sales going towards The Seahorse Trust.
Kissed by Mii Effortlessly Easy Tanning Lotion, £23.95 (miicosmetics.com)
This new tanning label uses coral seaweed and coastal flowers to leave skin super-soft and streak-free.
Mrs White’s Old Soak, £15 (roullierwhite.com)
Mineral-rich English sea salts will exfoliate and soften skin.
Zelens Marine Complex Deep Restorative Cream, £125 (zelens.com)
This just-launched cosmeceutical face cream targets skin ageing with its cocktail of algae.
This article is also published in the June 2018 issue of Canary Wharf Magazine