Want Algae In Your Skincare? This Is The Right Way To Do It

by Gio

Ever wondered why Ariel had such beautiful skin?

The little mermaid used the ocean’s most powerful anti-aging weapon: algae. She didn’t even have to buy them. They just grew in her back garden (which was probably the size of Central Park) and everywhere else. Some mermaids have all the luck.

We mere humans have to buy them. But, I usually don’t bother. Cos algae may do wonders for the skin, but not when you only put the tiniest sprinkle in a cream. Marketing hype doesn’t keep wrinkles away.

So, when I first heard that Zelens was bringing out a moisturizer with algae, I thought “here we go again. Another waste of £”.

Except, this time algae may do something for real. Zelens Marine Complex Deep Restorative Cream contains a whopping 12 types of algae! There’s no other cream (or serum, for that matter) that has as many:


Algae are aquatic plants that contain chlorophyll and plenty of antioxidants. They help fight wrinkles and hydrate skin to boot.

There are more than 2000 species of algae so I can’t give all of them the space they deserve. Heck, even telling you all about the 12 types used in Zelens would take an encyclopedia. So, I’ll just introduce you to the prime donne:

Alteromonas Ferment

This is an extract derived from Alteromonas, a marine bacterium that lives in the abyss of the sea. It’s a humectant that binds water to the skin, keeping it well hydrated. Plus, it has powerful soothing properties that can reduce inflammation, one of the main causes of wrinkles and dark spots.


The scientific name is undaria pinnatifida. You guessed it, it comes from Japan. This algae is loaded with antioxidants that fight free radicals, plus it hydrates skin and helps bind elastin and collagen together (elastin keeps skin elastic while collagen firms it, but they need to be glued together to do their jobs properly.)

Fucus Serratus

You probably know this as toothed wrack. It’s an algae that lives along the Atlantic coasts of Europe, where it filters the ocean for nutrients. That’s why it amasses plenty of minerals and vitamins. That makes it 30 times more powerful than most other types of algae at fighting free radicals.

Himanthalia Elongata

This is the scientific name for sea spaghetti, a type of algae that’s used to replace pasta. It’s full of vitamins A, C and E, all powerful antioxidants that fight free radicals, boost collagen and brighten skin. Plus, it hydrates and soothes skin.

Chondrus crispus

A.k.a. Irish moss. It’s a red algae that grows in the rocky parts of the Atlantic coast of Europe. It’s full of carrageenans, a group of substances that create a barrier on the skin that prevents water loss. 


Dr Marko Lens, the founder of Zelens HATES glycolic acid. If it were up to him, he’d ban it everywhere. He can’t do that, but it can ban it from his products.

What he uses instead? Gluconolactone. It’s a polyhydroxy acid (PHA), a group of exfoliants that offers all the benefits of AHAs (including glycolic acid) minus the side effects. That means no irritations or sun sensitivity.

Gluconolactone also draws moisture into the skin and keeps it in. That’s why it’s great for dry skin that needs an extra bout of moisture.

Shea Butter

I LOVE shea butter. It’s super moisturizing and leaves skin soft and smooth for up to 8 hours. For dry skin, it’s a godsend.

For oily skin, not so much. Its rich texture can clog your pores and cause breakouts. That’s why Marko ditched the original thing and replaced it with shea butter esters.

These esters are just as moisturizing but their texture is more lightweight and oily skin-friendly. If you usually stay away from shea butter because it turns your face into a war zone, you should be able to use this one without problems.

Let’s Put It To The Test: Personal Use & Opinion

I love the texture of this moisturizer. It’s rich but doesn’t feel heavy on the skin. It glides on smoothly and sinks in quickly, leaving my skin softer to the touch.

The cream does a great job at moisturizing my skin: it keeps it soft and plump for more than 8 hours. Plus, it smoothens out my wrinkles too.

I use the cream both at morning and at night. In the morning, it makes a great base for makeup. At night, it’s great to soothe skin after retinoids.

If you want to try algae, this is the way to do it.

Price & Availability: £125.00 at Cult Beauty and $190.00 at Barneys


Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Glycerin, C12-13 Alkyl Lactate, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Dimethicone, Glyceryl Behenate, Pseudoalteromonas Exopolysaccharides, Alteromonas Ferment Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Chondrus Crispus, Skeletonema Costatum Extract, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Undaria Pinnatifida Extract, Corallina Officinalis Extract, Plankton Extract, Dulse Seaweed Extract, Fucus Serratus Extract, Himanthalia Elongata Extract, Laminaria Digitata Extract, Sea Whip Extract, Spirulina Maxima Extract, Ulva Lactuca (sea Lettuce) Extract, Gluconolactone, Phenoxyethanol, PEG-75 Stearate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Butylene Glycol, Hydroxyacetophenone, Ceteth-20, Steareth-20, Sodium Salicylate, Citric Acid, Parfum (Fragrance), Linalool, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Hydroxide.

PR Sample. Affiliate links.

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