Sea worthy

Skincare brands dive deep for an array of rejuvenating ingredients, writes Marjorie Pearl

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 April, 2013, 11:21pm

Covering 70 per cent of the earth's surface and home to countless plants and creatures, the ocean has long inspired artists, scientists and explorers. Its mysterious depths are also the driving force behind some of the world's leading skincare brands.

Aerospace physicist Dr Max Huber practically wrote the book on marine-based skincare with La Mer. Based on his extensive research into the healing powers of sea kelp, the company hand-picks the aquatic plant from the waters off Vancouver Island and combines it with other nutrient-rich ingredients through a unique biofermentation process. The result is the signature Miracle Broth found in every La Mer product - including the new Moisturizing Soft Cream, a lighter version of the signature Crème de La Mer.

French scientist Jean Gedouin turned his attention to seawater, creating skincare brand Phytomer in 1972. The brand's latest development is Hydrasea, a concentrated serum based on "weaving algae", said to encourage collagen and elastin production while helping skin retain water by activating the synthesis of hyaluronic acid.

Another champion of the "phenomenal" properties of seaweed, Algotherm has created a wide range of skincare and spa products. Its latest collection - Algoblanc CX+, designed to reduce and prevent pigmentation - uses two kinds of algae along with floral extracts and alpha-hydroxy acids. The Clarifying Night Cream aims to repair damage, reduce redness and brighten skin while you sleep.

Biotherm's new Blue Therapy collection, meanwhile, uses aquatic ingredients to tackle the signs of ageing. A blend of algae extracts from lakes and seas around the world acts to firm, strengthen and repair ultraviolet-damaged skin. The three-step regimen comprises Cosmetic Water, Milky Lotion and Serum.

First launched in 2007, La Prairie's Advanced Marine Biology collection harnesses the power of antioxidant-rich algae, plankton, kelp and other native sea plants in combination with its exclusive Cellular Complex formula. Its Advanced Marine Biology Tonic acts as a conditioning treatment lotion, stimulating circulation and infusing skin with oxygen.

Korean brand Laneige has long been popular for its rich moisturisers. Water Bank Intensive Cream, suitable for extremely dry skin, features algae harvested from the North Pole, known for its soothing and restorative properties. It can be used with the brand's Water Bank Essence, which includes chestnut and seaweed extracts to promote exfoliation.