Algae-Based Makeup: Would You Wear It?

New Algae Makeup Beauty Products Solazyme Algenist
Heidi Schumann/The New York Times

If you looked through your makeup collection right now, you would see that all of your products are made with a base of three standard ingredients: water, oil or silicone. But what would your reaction be like if you saw algae —yes, the fuzzy, slimy green stuff you see in ponds, lakes and oceans — listed as the main ingredient?

Researchers at a biotechnology startup in San Francisco called Solazyme are the masterminds behind Algenist, a makeup line that uses compounds from microalgae, a very old and nutrient-rich type of algae, as its base. And get this, its new collection could replace all other types of contouring, including baking, strobing and clown contouring.

Source: Sephora Glossy

According to Algenist, the makeup uses two algae-sourced ingredients as its base. The first, called alguronic acid, is a compound released by microalgae that helps it thrive and grow even in harsh conditions. The second, microalgae oil, is a renewable, sustainable oil that’s been clinically proven to keep skin moisturized five times longer than untreated skin in a 24-hour period. As a result of this two-part base formula, Algenist’s makeup promotes healthy skin and has been proven to reduce signs of aging.

So far, Algenist’s lineup is made of a few different collections, including cleansers, anti-wrinkle products, firming and lifting products, moisturizers, exfoliators and polishes, and damage-repair products. Soon, they’ll be releasing REVEAL, a color-correcting collection that contains naturally occurring red, blue, green and gold algae. Each color is meant to be applied on different parts of your face depending on which specific skin discolorations you’d like to remedy, and before blending, the shades look like subdued versions of clown contouring products. The result? Healthy, glowing skin with an even, almost airbrushed look.

Source: Observer

Algenist says all of its products are suitable for all skin types, dermatologist-tested, hypoallergenic and won’t clog pores. Plus, they don’t contain any parabens, sulfates, synthetic dyes, GMOs, plasticizers or the pesticide Triclosan, and its algae-based ingredients are environmentally sustainable, so you can feed good about using Algenist products daily.

If the concept of wearing something made of algae on your face still weirds you out (understandably so), consider this: Many of your favorite beauty products may already contain algae (but they’re probably not using it as a main ingredient). Randy Schueller, a cosmetic chemist and editor in chief of The Beauty Brains, told FASHIONISTA that "There's enough science here to say that algae, seaweed, and kelp may provide some benefits, but of course it depends on the specific type of extract, how it's processed, and how much is used.”

So what’s the verdict? Would you try an Algenist product or two, or do you think algae is best left in nature?

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