From the Odyssey to The OC, the sea has always been a source of inspiration and delight for us land-dwellers. Our oceans cover 71 per cent of the earth and are home to millions of different species of animals, plants and organisms that have evolved to thrive beneath the surface – and their secrets can benefit us, too.
Little wonder, then, that the beauty world set its sights on the sea, sourcing ingredients from its depths to boost our skin. While ocean-inspired treatments are not really anything new (we have long used ingredients from the sea to benefit our appearance and our health, an area more formally known as thalassotherapy), but recent formulas have come along in leaps and bounds.
“There is actually less known about the ocean floor than about the surface of the moon,” says Marcella Cacci, founder of One Ocean Beauty, “Researchers in the blue biotechnology field are discovering new microorganisms living in complex, extreme conditions and then studying their survival techniques, helping them to discover innovative ingredients."
One Ocean Beauty is making use of said innovative ingredients as the latest in a new wave of brands making the sea a number one source of inspiration. It’s also chic enough to have recently launched on Net-a-Porter. “I grew up by the ocean and it has always brought balance and happiness into my life,” Cacci says of the story behind the brand. “I always feel and look better by the beach, but it wasn’t until I read a book called Blue Mind [by Wallace J Nichols], that I fully understood the powerful psychological and physiological effects of the ocean. It is medicine.”
The ingredients found in the formulas are also notable for their effectiveness. From microorganisms and seaweed to kelp and algae, they've become failsafe additions to many a product, thanks to their ability to hydrate and fortify the skin. “They’re all brimming with nutrients, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and essential fatty acids, which they’ve developed to survive in such extreme environments,” says Cacci. Using them on our faces similarly helps our skin survive in - or cope with - the extreme environments we encounter, whether it be a polluted city or a beach with no shade.
Seaweed is one of the biggest buzzwords in the beauty world thanks to its ability to protect from free radical damage, hydrate, plump and reduce acne. Whole beauty brands are solely dedicated to it as an ingredient; like Margate-based Haeckels, which harvests seaweed by hand from the UK’s coastline. It has a starring role in all of their products, but special mention goes to the Rosehip + Seaweed Suspension, in which it's blended with rosehip oil to offer a lightweight treat for irritated or dry skin. Meanwhile Voya, another sustainably-sourced seaweed brand, has recently launched its Ritzy Spritzy Facial Toner, a spray-on liquid that simultaneously cools and hydrates skin.
There are also those that rise to prominence by catering the endless appeal of the beachy aesthetic. After all, sea-salty hair and a chilled surfer vibe can never be a bad look. New brand Beached plays off the ‘effortless Aussie look’, and offers multipurpose plant-based products that make getting ready a breeze. Check out Bondi Bum, which contains seaweed and skin-firming caffeine, for a sweet-smelling treat for the limbs.
And then there is Bali Body, made in Melbourne, which promises to make our skin glow as though it were permanently basking in an endless summer. The Shimmering Body Oil imparts a bronze glow while also nourishing skin. Saltee is on a similar wavelength (its tag line is ‘a little Saltee and a dose of vitamin sea’), its Sea & Sun Lotion is infused with a tan accelerator, MelinOil, that’s totally safe and encourages a tan to deepen.
What are you waiting for? Dive in.
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Photo: Richard Jacobs Inspiration from: Carl Safina, Beyoncé, NASA Astronaut... continue