From skin-boosting seaweeds to salt sprays that deliver mermaid-worthy waves, Beauty Editor Sophie Quereshi reveals how to reap the benefits of the Big Blue.
Marine ingredients crop up on an awful lot of skincare labels – and with good reason. For although algae might sound sludgy, slimy and distinctly unglamorous, it’s packed with inordinately high levels of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants. When aerospace physicist Max Huber created the now legendary Crème de la Mer to treat burns he’d sustained in a laboratory accident, he chose sea kelp for the formula, because of its remarkable ability to regenerate itself (it can do so at a rate of up to 2ft a day). Fans of the cult moisturiser will attest to its similarly impressive regenerative powers and, this June, the brand is celebrating World Oceans Day with the launch of La Mer Blue Heart, £255 – a limited-edition jar of the original cream with a swirly, sea-inspired print.
Another wonder of the deep with an equally fabled back-story – but slightly less weighty price tag – is Elemis’ Pro-Collagen Marine Cream Ultra Rich, £80. The key to its much-lauded formula is padina pavonica – a marine algae stumbled upon by a French cosmetic scientist during a diving expedition. While exploring a shipwreck off the coast of Malta, he noticed that the wood the algae grew on had been preserved, as if time had stood still. And the effects of this humble brown algae on the skin are pretty extraordinary, too – boosting collagen, balancing its metabolism and encouraging the cells to renew themselves. Use the moisturiser morning and night for two weeks and we guarantee you’ll start to get envious enquiries as to what you’ve been doing differently.
British beauty brand Haeckels will make you want to move the whole family to the seaside immediately. Created in a clifftop lab in Margate by filmmaker and coastal enthusiast Dom Bridges, the brand holds one of only two licenses in England to harvest wild seaweed. Packed with natural antioxidants and minerals, the seaweed is gathered from the beaches by hand and used throughout the skincare in powdered form, as distilled extracts or, in the case of the Traditional Seaweed Bath, £18, in all its leafy glory. Our favourite products are the Seaweed Facial Masque, £34, which recreates the wholesome glow of a bracing seaside walk, and the Seaweed/Sea Buckthorn Body Cleanser, £34 – almost as invigorating as a dip in the deep. And if your other half is a fan of facial hair, we have it on good authority that the Sailors Beard Oil, £34, is life-changing. There’s also a beautiful collection of fragrances – each a snapshot of a particular coastal spot, created with ingredients found there. Instead of names, each bottle is etched with GPS coordinates and the date the team went there.
Saltwater is amazing for giving your hair a cool, tousled texture, but (as anyone knows who has ever tried to comb a kid’s hair after a dip in the sea) it also makes it knotty and dry. The latest salt sprays include plenty of conditioning oils to give you effortless beachy waves without the crunchy, crispy feeling you get from the real deal. They’re ideal on holiday, because you can just spritz them on after your morning shower and leave your hair to dry naturally in the sun, scrunching occasionally with your fingers. By the time you’ve finished breakfast, you’ll have the hair of a bona fide beach babe. Two of our favourites are Original & Mineral Surf Bomb Sea Salt Spray, £19, and Olivine Love + Salt Beach Hair & Body Mist, £39.95. For a mermaid-worthy mane, we also recommend lathering up with Bumble & bumble’s Seaweed Shampoo and Conditioner set, £39. Both contain marine greens like spirulina and sea kelp, which moisturise your hair and add a healthy sheen.
Aquatic spritzes never go out of style. Part of the appeal is probably that they remind us of happy, beachy days with the sun shining and sand between our toes. So, if it feels rather too long since you last heard the crash of the waves, here are three marine scents we highly recommend sniffing out…
Bulgari: House of Fraser
Bumble & Bumble: bumbleandbumble.co.uk
La Mer: worlddutyfree.com
Original Mineral: selfridges.com
The Library of Fragrance: Boots