Seaweed: Making waves in the global beauty market

January 26, 2016
3 min read

Recent consumer product launches have seen seaweed yet again prove its versatility as an ingredient, but this time it could be making waves in the global bodycare market.

According to Mintel’s Global New Product Database (GNPD), from January 2011 to October 2015 roughly 2% of bodycare products launched contained a seaweed ingredient(s). Of these, brown seaweed and red seaweed are the most common types of seaweed species used.

Seaweed enriched body and facial skincare

As a result of living in the ocean, seaweeds are bathed in a rich source of nutrients and can supply the skin with minerals such a potassium, magnesium, calcium, and vitamins such as C, A and even B-12. Brands are using these benefits to promote their seaweed enriched body and facial skincare products.




Innisfree Jeju Sparkling Mineral Essence, a facial skincare product launched in South Korea in 2015, claims to supply natural minerals from the thermal water on Jeju Island to refortify and reinvigorate.







Noevir Tokara Body Lotion is designed with moisturising sea water minerals and a variety of algae extracts that includes Porphyra yezoensis extract, beeswax and jojoba seed oil to leave skin moist and supple.




sea flora

SeaFlora Soothing Sea Kelp Soak is described as a therapeutic and detoxifying soak that nourishes the body with vitamins and minerals. Skin is rehydrated and relaxed and signs of skin redness reduced while achy muscles are calmed, promoting a healthy, ‘good night’ sleep.


Could seaweed be the miracle cellulite cure the market has been waiting for?

The benefits of seaweed extends beyond its mineral-rich composition. Algae has been ascribed to deter the plague of many female consumers: cellulite. Indeed, according to Mintel GNPD, global bodycare products with brown seaweeds (Oarweed* and Bladderwrack**) represented a greater percentage of all three body contour claims – firming, slimming and anti-cellulite – when compared to the global bodycare category (without seaweed ingredients) from January to October 2015.

Not only does seaweed target a big problem area for consumers, it also is becoming globally recognized as a ‘healthy’, organic and sustainable food. Meanwhile, more and more companies’ mission statements contain the term ‘sustainability’ in some form. With regards to sustainable ingredient sourcing, seaweed could be considered a top tier pick. It not only provides a rich source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants – even essential fatty acids – but it also helps to ‘detoxify’ humans’ commercial daily wastes of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and phosphorous.

These credentials will appeal to over half of US Millennials who believe their lifestyle must take into account the impact on the environment, with over a third wanting to be perceived by others as being environmentally conscious.

Seaweed makes waves in Europe

Of skincare products launched with the ‘ethical – environmentally friendly’ product claim from January to October 2015, four out of the five top countries are European, led by the UK and Germany; USA is fourth on the list with 13% of skincare products launched.

What’s more, Europe currently harvests natural stocks of seaweed. For example, AT~SEA technologies offers to make the process more economically efficient with higher yields using its two dimensional treated textile substrate. As a consequence, such innovation can deliver renewable, cost-reasonable sourcing of active seaweed ingredients that include the sought after carrageenans.

*Laminaria digitata extract (Oarweed)
**Fucus vesiculosus extract (Bladderwrack)

David Tyrrell is a Global Skincare Analyst, Beauty & Personal Care at Mintel. He provides analysis of consumer skincare needs and behaviors, ingredient and product assessments and competitive insights that impact business interests of skincare companies across the globe.

David Tyrrell
David Tyrrell

David Tyrrell is Global Skincare Analyst at Mintel. He analyzes consumer skincare needs and behaviors, ingredient and product assessments and competitive insights.

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