Algae: Skincare’s New Miracle Ingredient

We know why Ariel always looked so luminous. The Disney mermaid had 24/7 access to the ocean’s most potent skincare ingredient: algae. Now it’s popping up in high-performance products, thanks to its unique ability to hydrate skin. Riva Barak, the Product Development Manager of Algenist, says, “Algae makes a great natural moisturizer that improves skin’s barrier function and helps it retain water.” These plant organisms fall into two groups: macroalgae (aka seaweed and kelp) and microalgae, tiny single cell creatures. Both thrive in extreme deep sea conditions and have a wide range of skin benefits. Find out our picks for the best algae-based products for every skin concern.

Wrinkles + Fine Lines

Try: Algenist Regenerative Anti-Aging Moisturizer. The scientists behind this biotech brand studied thousands of microalgae strains before hitting on their hero ingredient, alguronic acid. This compound triggers the repair process within cells—great for survival-minded algae, even better for aging skin.

Under Eye Circles + Puffiness

Try: Kiehl’s Abyssine Eye Cream. Beneath the Galapagos, hardy microalgae lives in hypothermal ocean vents. They stay protected against their hostile environs with the help of abyssine, the same fatty acids found in this rich cream. This formula deflates puffy dark circles while hydrating your under eye area, which makes it a perfect morning pick-me-up.

Dullness + Congestion

Try: Clark’s Botanicals Smoothing Marine Cream. This bestselling two-in-one exfoliator and moisturizer gets rid of dead cells while softening skin with mineral-rich marine algae extracts.

Sensitivity + Breakouts

Try: Mario Badescu Seaweed Cleansing Soap. The seaweed extracts in their creamy cleanser have anti-inflammatory properties and soothe chronic irritation.

Flakiness + Dryness

Try: La Mer Crème de la Mer. It may cost a pretty penny, but this moisturizer gives the term “cult” new meaning. A rescue remedy for dry skin, the lush cream is made with a broth of fermented sea kelp plus vitamins and essential oils.

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