In Depth: A Short History of Beauty from the Sea

Text by Holly Siegel

There’s evidence that we’ve been enhancing our beauty for the past 7000 years, probably longer. And it’s no wonder that across the world, people have been inspired to head to the sea for the means to do so. There’s even a term for using seawater for therapeutic reasons: Thalassotherapy. Sources differ on when and where the concept was first introduced (potentially Ancient Greece, 18th century Portugal, 19th century Brittany…) but we imagine the practice dates back much further. Legend has it, Aphrodite herself indulged in warm seaweed baths.

Most of the ancient beauty products we know about included ingredients that were later found to be harmful (lead-vinegar serum, anyone?) or just not ideal (good thing we’ve bested Ancient Greece’s sand-and-olive-oil sunscreen). But our ways of leveraging beauty from the sea have generally only improved.

According to historians, the Queen of Sheba inspired Cleopatra to build her very own spa to soak up the benefits of the mineral-rich Dead Sea and its mud. Ancient Mesopotamians used seaweed as a lip colorant. And an Empress during China’s Qin Dynasty outlined her skincare routine, which reportedly included ingredients from jellyfish and seaweed.

There’s evidence that pearl powder—made from salt and freshwater pearls below jewelry grade—has been taken orally and applied topically to improve skin in China since 320 AD. Pearl powder was also used in Ayurvedic medicine in India as a love potion, as well as in the Philippines and Europe to promote paleness and firmness.







algae history beautyAnd you may have heard the fact that in 2018, there’s less known less about the ocean floor than about the surface of the moon. So, it should come as no surprise that scientists continue to find both innovative ingredients and inspiration from under the sea, all over the world. Researchers in blue biotechnology are learning of new microorganisms living in complex extreme conditions and then studying how they have adapted to protect themselves from environmental stressors like high salinity, temperature and pressure changes, toxicity, and oxidation. Through marrying blue biotechnology with biofermentation, One Ocean Beauty is able to identify and leverage this research for skincare in unprecedented ways—and ensure that they’re supporting continued biodiversity in our environment for years to come.Over the next 2000 years or so, scientists isolated the benefits of seaweed and innovated on how to leverage them for skincare products. Different varieties began making their way into formulas to prevent signs of aging and inflammation, and to boost hydration. Brimming with amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and other skin-loving properties, it’s no wonder some of the most popular skincare of the past couple decades has included seaweed. Today, technology has allowed for new ways of using the marine ingredients we know and love. By using living micro0organisms to get the natural molecules needed for a specific use, biotechnology allows us to do it sustainably. Through biofermentation (fermentation under laboratory conditions), it’s possible to replicate desirable properties of various seaweeds in a lab to control and enhance their potency. This allows One Ocean Beauty to isolate specific benefits, like the protective factors of wakame from the Sea of Japan, developed over centuries of floating under an extreme sun.

algae history beauty

One Ocean Beauty has not only utilized breakthrough, rare, nutrient-rich ingredients from the sea, they’ve committed to radical transparency when it comes to maintaining our mysteriously magnificent oceans through Oceana.

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