algae skin-care benefits

Will Algae Be Your Skin’s New BFF?

A new skin-care launch makes a compelling case.

Alec Kugler
Among friends, family, and coworkers, it’s well known that my skin-care routine is very minimal. My skin has always been low-maintenance, which I’m incredibly thankful for, so I don’t do anything outside of cleansing and using a daily moisturizing sunscreen (I’m not trying to mess around with those harsh UV rays). Whenever I get a facial—which is sometimes a perk of my job and something else I’m thankful for—I show up more so for the relaxation than for the benefits to my complexion. However, during a recent trip to London, where I received a treatment at The House of Elemis using products packed with algae, I was genuinely curious to know—is algae really that beneficial to the skin? And if it is, what’s the science behind it, and how do you incorporate it into your skin-care routine?

Just before the launch of Ultra Smart Pro-Collagen Complex 12 Serum and Ultra Smart Pro-Collagen Eye Treatment Duo—two of the latest products from Elemis—co-founder and president Noella Gabriel discussed the new launches, what she loves about algae, and why your skin may love it, too.

In the simplest terms, how is seaweed beneficial to the skin?

“What I love about seaweeds is that they have adaptogenic technology, so they’ll adapt to your skin’s pH and help produce what it needs. When combined in a complex of different [types] and sourced in different extremes, seaweeds stimulate the skin to function at its peak. They promote collagen production and improve elasticity while protecting the skin from environmental stressors.”

What is the Ultra Smart Pro-Collagen Complex 12 Serum formula comprised of?

“It’s 12 seaweeds that are a mix of micro and macro algae. Micro algae is sourced at the lowest depths of the sea, where there is absolutely no sunlight, and macro algae grows higher up in shallower waters. Three of these make up a line-fighting complex to address fine lines and wrinkles, and the other nine make up a powerful complex of hyaluronic acid, B-vitamins, vitamine C, potassium, selenium, and chlorella. The cocktail of that nine is then bonded with a drone peptide. What’s beautiful about a drone peptide power-packed with hyaluronic acid is that it will go and target the weak area of your skin. It’s a very bespoke delivery system.”

There are two eye creams. How do they differ?

“The day cream is a balm texture with a dermal complex targeting the matrix and lipids around the eye. It has tightening agents, so as it dries it tightens the area around the eye, and it also has the line-fighting complex, which includes padina and arctic peptide. No matter how the skin is challenged throughout the day, the arctic peptide will kick in to make sure there’s no damage to the eye area.

“Nighttime is a cream because we want the cream to sit a little longer externally. The more the skin softens and the more your breath drops as you go into a deep sleep, the more the complex will slowly release onto the eye area and nourish and condition it.”

Sustainability is important to a lot of consumers. Where are these seaweeds sourced?

“Everything is cultured. We take a lot of seaweed off the West coast of Ireland, grown in tepid, controlled waters, and it’s all regrown after it’s picked.”

These are prestige products, which are a considerable investment. How long will these last?

“People always OD on products; they never stick to the regimen. Six weeks is the minimum, but you can get eight weeks out of these. With the serum, you only need two drops—that will last eight weeks.”

Ultra Smart Pro-Collagen Complex 12 Serum ($335) and Ultra Smart Pro-Collagen Eye Treatment Duo ($230) are out now.

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