Did You Know Seaweed Is A Powerhouse Skincare Ingredient?

It’s not just the stuff you walk around on the beach.
Written by Beth Shapouri
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Did You Know Seaweed Is A Powerhouse Skincare Ingredient?divedog/Shutterstock

Slathering yourself from head to toe in seaweed may sound like a dare you contemplated accepting while spending a day by the ocean as a kid. But, had you done it, you would have come out of it with glowing skin and hydrated hair. That’s because these gelatin-like sea plants — also known as microalgae — from the algae family are loaded with nourishing elements like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that make it a powerhouse addition to your beauty routine. Here’s what you need to know about the marine-derived ingredient.

The Benefits of Seaweed for Skin & Hair

When it comes to providing benefits, seaweed is a real overachiever. It has antimicrobial and antiviral properties and can be used to help moisturize both skin and hair. It has a few bonus benefits for the complexion: namely, brightening, exfoliating, and balancing oil production.

Seaweed Skincare Benefits Infographic

It’s also a great anti-ager thanks to what Julie Russak, MD, a board certified dermatologist and founder of Russak Dermatology in New York City, calls “mycosporine-like amino acids.” As she explains, the amino acids “function in protecting seaweed from UV radiation and, therefore, are involved in radical scavenging and DNA-repair systems.” What’s more? The polysaccharides in these sea plants “play a major role in inhibiting collagenase and elastase activity — enzymes that break down collagen and elastin and contribute to development of fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin,” she adds.

How to Add Seaweed to Your Beauty Routine

All of these elements work across skin types and are fairly easy to work into your routine. “Peptides and clean extracts from seaweed should be safe for sensitive skin as long as a vehicle that delivers them is also made with sensitive skin in mind,” Dr. Russak shares. That said, when in doubt, she says to go slow to start out if your skin can be a bit fussy with new ingredients.

If you’re ready to welcome seaweed into your skincare and/or hair care routine without a trip to the beach, below are a few ways to do so:

For An Otherworldly Glow: La Mer Creme de la Mer


You can’t talk about seaweed without mentioning La Mer — it’s the first ingredient listed in this cult-fave skin cream and said to be the secret to the radiant finish it leaves on the skin. Intensely hydrating, it’s best for dry or combination skin types. from $95, cremedelamere.com

For Parched Skin: Hanalei Makai Marine Hawaiian Face Moisturizer


Made with ingredients completely sourced from Hawaii, this moisturizer contains brown seaweed alongside niacinamide and hyaluronic acid for a long-lasting dose of moisture. $34, hanaleicompany.com

For Busting Bags: 111SKIN Sub-Zero Depuffing Eye Mask


Packed with a wakame seaweed, these under-eye patches depuff thanks to a peptide complex that the brand claims helps prevent liquid from pooling under the eyes. $105 for 8 masks, 111skin.com

For an Oil-Busting Boost: Algenist Niacinamide Moisture Veil


This last-step serum is a real heavy-hitter. It moisturizes and balances (thanks to seaweed), protects the integrity of the skin barrier (thanks to niacinamide), and gives skin instant dewiness (thanks to an opalescent finish). $65, algenist.com

For Lush Hair: Aquage SeaExtend Silkening Power Infusion


Swap this hair treatment in for your usual conditioner once a week. Extracts from organic seaweed and algae seal the cuticle and leave your strands silky smooth. $56, ulta.com

For On-the-Go Hydration: Repechage Algo Mist Hydrating Spray


Tuck this little bottle into your purse or gym bag for a dose of hydration that comes via seaweed extract, aloe, and orange water. It’s a great mid-day reset for the hottest summer days. from $15, repechage.com

For More Youthful Eyes: African Botanics Eye Contour Gel Serum


Seaweed gets some help from ceramides, caffeine, arnica, and Dragon’s blood extract in this brightening eye treatment. Oh, and it's also quick-absorbing and provides an instant tightening effect, making it ideal for layering under makeup. $170, africanbotanics.com

For an Exfoliating Treat: Susanne Kaufmann Enzyme Peel


This weekly treatment employs seaweed and fruit acids from apple, papaya, and kiwi to strip away all the stuff that’s dulling your complexion, while also nourishing it with fenugreek and fermented white lupins. $71, dermstore.com

For Combination Skin Types: Coola Glowing Greens Detoxifying Facial Cleansing Gel


Seaweed gets help in this cleanser from another green ingredient — celery extract — to balance the skin as it lifts away makeup, impurities, and other gunk you may have accumulated throughout the day. $28, dermstore.com

For an At-Home Facial: BeautyBio Glass & Gloss Megawatt Glow Pro-Facial


First, this two-step at-home resurfacing facial buffs away dead skin cells with an exfoliating scrub. Then, it ups radiance with a seaweed- and micro-alga peptide-packed cream. We call that a win-win. $65, sephora.com

All products featured are independently selected by our editors, however, AEDIT may receive a commission on items purchased through our links.

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BETH SHAPOURIis a contributing writer for AEDIT.

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