Tapping into the ocean’s power, ‘blue beauty’ has become the gold standard in skin care


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“The ocean is medicine,” says One Ocean Beauty founder and CEO Marcella Cacci. She’s right: Research has proven that being near the coast boosts your mood and calms you down by lowering your cortisol levels. But in addition to our body, mind, and soul a regular dose of vitamin sea is also great for our skin.

Think about what it must take for one of the ocean’s two million organisms to thrive in such an extreme environment, where salt and harsh currents would seemingly make it impossible to survive. Not only are the plants found in the deep blue adaptable, but because they live in a mineral-rich waters, they’re also primed to be great for our mineral- and vitamin-loving skin.

Cacci founded her brand on exactly that principle. She wanted to harness the powers of the great blue beyond and turn them into lotions and serums that will make complexions happy. And while some seriously powerful stuff can be plucked straight from the ocean, brands like One Ocean are finding ways to use technology to replicate their benefits in a more sustainable way. “We take a single cell or micro organism out of nature, and then we regrow it in the lab through biotechnology, so it’s completely sustainable production,” says Cacci of the process, adding that the brand sources algae from all over the world, including France, Japan, and Antartica.

Luxury skin-care brand Algenist has also developed a more eco-friendly take on marine ingredients by way of its patented Alguronic Acid. “We naturally extracted and sustainably produced a vegan compound that allows algae to survive, thrive and regenerate in the world’s most extreme environments, and then put it in almost every single one of Algenist’s formulas,” says associate director of consumer engagement, Amy Turman. This creation promotes hydration and minimizes fine lines and wrinkles ,while remaining safe, vegan and conscious. But these aren’t the only beauty ingredients worth borrowing from the ocean. Below, the best blue beauty worth diving into.

Algae

The skin-care scene has been flooded with seaweed products of late, and you’ve likely seen the word “algae” in quite a few top-shelf photos belonging to your favorite beauty gurus. The reason, according to OSEA founder Jenefer Palmer: Minerals, minerals, and more minerals. “Seaweed is nutrient dense, plus it has a softening effect on skin,” she explains, calling it the “ultimate anti-aging ingredient.” “Seaweed deeply hydrates skin and promotes the appearance of youthful volume and firmness, and helps protect skin from external aggressors such as wind, dry climates and air pollution.” It’s also hydrating, helping reduce inflammation and minimizes the appearance of impurities and irritation. There are a number of different types of algae on the market, each of which targets a specific concern, but all skin-types can benefit from its soothing and skin-boosting benefits.

Pearl

Pearl serves up a skin-care double whammy by being both brightening and hydrating all at the same time. “Pearl powder has been shown to decrease transepidermal water loss, aka evaporation of water from the skin, which shows it has hydrating and moisturizing benefits,” says board-certified dermatologist Caren Campbell, MD, adding that they also act as effective antioxidants to help prevent the breakdown of collagen and elastin from the effects of environmental factors like UV rays and pollution.

Caviar

As any bougie spa menu (or La Prairie’s $500+ moisturizer)  proves, caviar is just about as luxe as it gets as far as skin ingredients go, but its benefits might just make it worth the investment. It’s packed with anti-aging powers, and a 2016 study found that it helps to accelerate collagen production to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles. “Caviar is rich in vitamins and amino acids, which provide antioxidant benefits and serve as building blocks for healthy skin cell functioning,” adds board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD.

Seawater

Sea salt gets a lot of credit for making waves in hair, but it’s also got skin-boosting benefits worth noting. You know how great your skin looks and feels after coming out of the ocean? Well, there’s a reason for that. And while you might think salt water is dehydrating, it can actually have the opposite effect on skin. Research has shown that the magnesium-rich salts in the dead sea help to improve barrier function, enhance hydration, and reduce inflammation. “The therapeutic effects of bathing in mineral-rich waters has been known for ages,” board-certified dermatologist Loretta Ciraldo, MD, FAAD told Well+Good. Plus, it acts an an antibacterial to help sterilize the skin, making it an enemy to acne.

In addition to the oceans, we’re also turning to our fruit bowls for ingredients worth slathering on our skin. And if you’re only going to buy one serum, make it one of these multitasking heroes

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