This Is How to Use Seaweed in Your Skin Care Routine


In the world of skin care, there are some ingredients that we’re all familiar with, like PHAs, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin C. But along with those familiar names, there’s a new ingredient on the market that we should all pay attention to: Seaweed! In skin care, seaweed and algae is quickly becoming a sought-after ingredient. And in fact, some of your favorite products might already be incorporating seaweed in their formulations. But what exactly are the benefits of seaweed in skin care, and what are the best products that use it? Here, we’re breaking down everything you need to know, along with some of our favorite seaweed skin care products.

What are the skin care benefits of seaweed?

If you take a look at your favorite products’ ingredient lists, odds are there might be an algae component. That’s because seaweed is a plant with a whole host of benefits. “Seaweed is full of minerals, salts, amino acids, and lipids. Because of this, seaweed is a great resource for nutrient-poor skin. Nutrient-poor skin can manifest with dry, dehydrated, and/or sensitive skin.” says Dr. Lal.

These components can all help treat a wide range of skin issues. “Seaweed is an amazing humectant–drawing in water to the skin leaving the skin hydrated. Seaweed contains vitamins and minerals that can serve as antioxidants protecting against free radicals. Some research points to an ability of seaweed to promote elastin and collagen supporting the skin and leading to some anti-aging benefits,” adds Dr. Wolinsky.

Additionally, there are many different types of seaweed, which means it can be used in very specific ways. “Seaweed comes in multiple colors and consists of a myriad of species that provide a range of exciting skin benefits: firming, brightening, moisturizing, exfoliating… and more!” Palmer adds.

What skin types should use seaweed in their skin care routines?

Because seaweed can treat so many different skin issues, almost everyone can benefit from using it in their routines. However, some people may see more benefits than others. “Sensitive skin and rosacea patients may see some improvement from the anti-inflammatory benefits of products with seaweed. Also, anyone in colder climates may like the soothing, moisturizing nature of seaweed-based skincare products,” says Dr. Wolinsky.

Because seaweed and algae can be used in a wide range of ways, including in cleansers, oils, and moisturizers, finding a product whose formulation fits your specific skin concerns is the best way to reap the best results. Seaweed can be found in products for all skin types, including acne-prone skin.

How should people begin to use seaweed in their skin care routines?

If you want to start using seaweed in your skin care routine, there are a lot of ways to get started. “There are so many ways to incorporate seaweed into your routine based on your individual needs. Whether you’re looking for deep hydration and moisturization for the winter months, a boost of nutrients to brighten and firm the skin, or overall nourishing benefits your skin will love, seaweed is the best source,” says Palmer. She continues, “We always say that our seaweed-based products provide ‘results you can sea’ because the unique benefits speak for themselves after regular use. You can start by replacing one of your skincare products with a seaweed-powered option and observe the effects. As a powerful humectant, seaweed provides long-lasting hydration for moisturized skin. No matter what you’re looking for, there’s a seaweed-based product available for you.” Not sure where to begin? “I think seaweed is best in a gentle wash or moisturizer since its properties are anti-inflammatory and moisturizing,” adds Dr. Wolinsky.

Here, shop our six favorite seaweed-infused skin care products that you’ll become obsessed with.

Sea Acne Gone & Sea The Glow Algae Face Wash

Urban Hydration Sea Acne Gone & Sea The Glow Algae Face Wash

This new face wash launched in partnership with The Marvels—the only brand to do so—and the results will give you superhero skin. Packed full of algae, this nourishing formula is an anti-inflammatory that keeps acne at bay while gently removing the day.

Key ingredients: algae, aloe, peppermint oil, coconut oil

Ulta rating: 5/5 stars

An ELLE editor says: “I got this face wash at the NYC premiere of The Marvels and it’s blown away my expectations. The formula is hydrating and nourishing. I’ve experienced some hormonal acne and it’s really soothed my skin and reduced redness. The formula has a peppermint smell and feels so refreshing on your skin. I was also surprised at how gently, yet effectively it takes off my makeup— no double cleansing needed!” Danielle James, digital beauty director

Advanced Protection Cream

OSEA Advanced Protection Cream

This moisturizer not only hydrates the skin, but also provides lifting and firming benefits. “I created this rich-texture cream as I needed something that could get me through the dry winter months. In this formula Undaria seaweed improves skin smoothness, softness and suppleness. Plus it’s clinically proven to instantly increase skin hydration by 121 percent,” says Palmer.

Key ingredients: Undaria seaweed, bio-retinol, turmeric

OSEA rating: 4.7/5 stars

An OSEA reviewer says: “I have dry combination skin and have not had one blemish using this. It has decreased the redness in my face and helps with fine lines as well. Great product!”

Baobab Face Oil

KAIBAE Baobab Face Oil

“This is a leave-on oil with multiple plant derived oils and algae extract. This is great for those who want a thinner product for moisturizing. It also protects against pollutants that can affect our skin,” says Dr. Lal.

Key ingredients: Baobab seed oil, algae extract, squalane, moringa oil

Amazon rating: 4.8/5 stars

An Amazon reviewer says: “The results I noticed from KAIBAE made me realize the others didn’t really do much for my skin. After just a few days using KAIBAE my skin is noticeably brighter. It feels lovely on–not too thick, but doesn’t disappear either.”

Sea Salt & Pacific Kelp Exfoliating Body Wash

St. Ives Sea Salt & Pacific Kelp Exfoliating Body Wash

The benefits of seaweed and algae can also be seen in body products. “The St. Ives Sea Salt & Pacific Kelp Exfoliating Body Wash is a great plant based, hydrating wash particular for the winter months, gently exfoliating while also calming and hydrating the skin,” says Dr. Wolinsky.

Key ingredients: Sea salt, kelp extract, glycerin

Amazon rating: 4.6/5 stars

An Amazon reviewer says: “Not only does this smell amazing, but the exfoliating properties are also effective without being too harsh. It leaves my skin feeling invigorated and smooth after each use. This body wash offers a perfect balance, making it suitable for regular use without causing any irritation.”

Sea Minerals Marine Peptides Replenishing Day Cream

Vitamins and Sea Beauty Sea Minerals Marine Peptides Replenishing Day Cream

Investing in seaweed skin care doesn’t have to break the bank. “This is an affordable alternative that has algae extract along with marine peptides. This not only moisturizes but it also helps promote even skin tone and texture,” says Dr. Lal.

Key ingredients: Sea algae, peptides, collagen, glycerin

Ulta rating: 3.8/5 stars

An Ulta reviewer says: “I love this moisturizer. Bought on a whim and was afraid it would make me oily, but even after hours of wear it actually keep the oil at bay. It absorbs quickly, and leaves my skin feeling plump. Will buy again.”

The Concentrate Serum

La Mer The Concentrate Serum

For an ultra-luxurious experience, this serum immediately makes the skin feel pillowy and soft–and the benefits only get better with time. “This is a costly product but it has algae extract and other oils and extracts that help heal the skin and reduce damage from pollutants,” says Dr. Lal.

Key ingredients: La Mer’s Miracle Broth, algae, natural extracts

Nordstrom rating: 4.6/5 stars

A Nordstrom reviewer says: “I’m on my second bottle of this stuff. It is probably my favorite part of my nighttime skin routine. It’s so smoothing and it makes your skin feel amazing. I absolutely believe it is part of the reason my skin is brighter. I love love love it. And I will continue to buy it again and again. I promise you, this little guy is a winner!”

Seaweed Cleansing Lotion

Mario Badescu Seaweed Cleansing Lotion

This product is somewhere between a toner and a cleanser, effectively ridding your skin of pollutants, soothing the skin, and making pores feel tighter. Thanks to its combination of ingredients, it manages to feel lightweight and gentle, while still giving the skin a ton of benefits.

Key ingredients: Bladderwrack seaweed extract, aloe vera, witch hazel

Ulta rating: 4.6/5 stars

An Ulta reviewer says: “I wanted a toner that would help with uneven skin tone, and help minimize the pores on and around my nose. After several uses, I noticed a huge difference! This product really works! It helps minimizes the small breakouts I get, clears the oils from around my nose and shrunk my problematic pores.”

Meet the Experts

Dr. Karan Lal is a double-board certified dermatologist based in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Dr. Claire Wolinsky is a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City.

Jenefer Palmer is founder of OSEA.

Why trust ELLE Beauty?

As a leading publisher of fashion, lifestyle, and beauty content, is committed to highlighting the best products in various categories by personally testing the latest and most innovative products, interviewing countless experts, and vetting customer-loved items. For this piece, Tatjana Freund spoke with experts and industry leaders about the benefits of seaweed in skin care. Freund also tested a few top-rated products and pored over reviews for dozens of others, evaluating each on their features and customer feedback.

Headshot of Tatjana Freund

Fashion & Luxury Commerce Editor

Tatjana Freund is Hearst’s Fashion & Luxury Commerce Editor, covering beauty, fashion and more across multiple brands. Previously, she worked at and Marie Claire. She’s a fan of whiskey neat, podcasts that give her nightmares, and one time Zoë Kravitz laughed at a joke she made. 

Products You May Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *