Seaweed: Unlocking the business secrets of the deep

Seaweed has been a staple beauty product for centuries, but this old underwater favourite has resurfaced as brands of all sizes discover its commercial potential and more research reveals unexpected skin care benefit

Seaweed has long been associated with beauty and health. From those in Ancient China using the plant to treat burns and skin complaints, to the 1950s Hollywood elite taking seaweed baths to improve their complexions, marine algae has been observed as one of nature's remedies for millennia.

Despite the UK suffering a seaweed shortage last year, which had a negative impact on the cosmetics industry, the ingredient is taking centre stage once again.

An abundance of brands have now released new products with claims about seaweed’s beneficial properties.

“Seaweed is globally recognised as a healthy and sustainable ingredient,” said a spokesperson for skin care brand Ren, which launched the Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium Range last month.

“It not only provides a rich source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids, but also farming seaweed helps to minimise the carbon dioxide, nitrogen and phosphorous emission. Hence, this ingredient has amazing skin properties and it's environmentally friendly.”

Ren’s new range aims to celebrate the algae’s heritage by reminding customers that sea kelp and seaweed have multiple benefits. For example, they have been used for bathing and as a restorative food source, for centuries.

Seaweed is globally recognised as a healthy and sustainable ingredient

Earlier this year Crabtree & Evelyn dubbed green seaweed extract as the new ‘hero ingredient’ of its reformulated the La Source collection.

The range now focuses on marine ingredients, predominately green seaweed, but also variations of algae, sea lavender and sea fennel.

“Seaweed is growing in popularity due to its high mineral content and rich antioxidant levels,” said Jamie Rockers, PR and Social Media Manager for Crabtree & Evelyn to Cosmetics Business.

“It’s also been shown to be detoxifying and in the big trend of ‘detoxing’ this ingredient has been popping up in skin care recently. It’s not just imported seaweed that has been showing up in British skin care but seaweed collected from our own shores too. It’s safe to say that seaweed is certainly having a moment.”

Estée Lauder sailed its product development to Japan to formulate its new micro-algae blend Nutritious range.

Opportunities large and small

Credit: Haeckels

Although large brands are at the forefront of the trend, it is also providing . . .

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