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Algae Extract



We have to admit that Algae Extract is not our favorite ingredient name. It does comply with the INCI standard (the official list about how ingredients on the product labels have to be called, the thing we help you to decode here :)), but there are about 20 000 different kinds of algae and an extract from them can be made in another 10 000 ways.

So, Algae Extract can be anything from La Mer's "Miracle Broth" to a simple brown algae extract that helps to smooth the hair. The official description in the Europiean Cosmetic Ingredient listing is this: "an extract of various species of Algae; Extract of the Seaweed, Fucus vesiculosus, Furaceae". Its official functions include being a humectant (helps skin to attract water), emollient (makes skin feel smooth and nice) and skin conditioner (a catchall phrase for saying it does something good for the skin).

A 2015 research paper on the potential of uses of algae in cosmetics summarizes that algae are rich sources of biologically active metabolites including antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, alginates, polysaccharides, and carotenoids. Currently, algae extracts are mostly used as moisturizing and thickening agents, but algae also have great potential to combat skin aging, pigmentation as well as working as an antimicrobial.

We have also browsed through Prospector to see what manufacturers say about their algae. There is, for example, an algae extract trade-named Lanablue that comes from blue-green algae (green algae is rare, less than 1% of the total macroalgae in the world) and is claimed to have retinoid like effects (i.e. reduce wrinkles, smooth skin) but without the side effects (though it seems now that the INCI name of Lanablue was changed to Aphanizomenon Flos-Aquae Extract). 

There is another algae extract from another manufacturer that comes from red algae (much more common, about 40% of total macroalgae worldwide) and is claimed to have not only moisturizing but also skin smoothing and densifying effects. 

Here is a brown algae extract (the most common type, about 59% of macroalgae), also just called Algae Extract on the product label that is simply claimed to be a free radical scavenger, aka antioxidant. These were just three random examples from three manufacturers all called Algae extract even though they all come from different algae with different claims.

Anyhow, the point is this; there are tons of different types of Algae Extracts out there. Unless the brand tells you what they use, it's impossible to know for sure. The most probable scenario for the Alge Extract is that it works as a moisturizer and emollient and it might have some additional anti-aging properties.

Show me some proof

  • Bioresource Technology, May 1, 2015, Exploring the potential of using algae in cosmetics

Products with Algae Extract

La Mer Crème De La Mer La Mer Genaissance De La Mer The Serum Essence La Mer The Eye Concentrate La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Lotion Manyo Factory Ultra Moist Spa Ampoule Garden of Wisdom Oh No!! What Did I Do To My Skin?!?! La Mer The Concentrate La Mer The Treatment Lotion OSEA Advanced Protection Cream OSEA Atmosphere Protection Cream OSEA Ocean Cleanser OSEA White Algae Mask La Mer The Intensive Revitalizing Mask Red Flower Plum Blossom Silk Cream The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronics Bare Republic Mineral Face Lotion Spf 30 Bobbi Brown Skin Reviver No 91 Power Greens Ferment Borghese Insta Form Platinum Healgel Intensive Image Iluma Intense Lightening Serum Chanel L'Huile Anti-Pollution Cleansing Oil Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque Madre Labs Serumdipity Vitamin C Facial Serum SeneGence Climate Control Simple Revitalizing Eye Roll-On The Chemistry Brand Retin-Oil Brickell Men's Products Repairing Night Serum For Men Coola Makeup Setting Spray Organic Sunscreen Spf 30 Jurlique Purely Age Defying Mist La Prairie Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Oil Make P:rem Wonderful Me In-Shower Face Pack Murad Age Reform Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture For Eyes Neogen Dermalogy Vita Lightening Serum OZNaturals Vitamin C Facial Serum RevivSerums Telomerase Serum Shangpree Marine Energy Eye Mask Tarte Mermaid Skin Hyaluronic H20 Serum Avon Anew Power Serum Dr. Jart+ Dermask Water Jet Vital Hydra Sleeping Mask Freeman Anti Stress Dead Sea Minerals Clay Mask Goodal Mild Sheet Mask Apple Le Mieux Vita-C Serum Murad Age Reform Refreshing Cleanser Peter Thomas Roth Marine Algae Mask Intense Hydrating Treatment Renee Rouleau Advanced Resurfacing Serum Revuele Anticellulite Serum With Thermo Effect Revuele Slim&Detox Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil Garnier Anti-Dark Spot Renovator Night NOW Solutions Hyaluronic Acid Firming Serum