Sea of Love — OSEA Malibu Looks to the Ocean for its Skin-Loving Ingredients
Albert Camus once wrote, “I grew up with the sea, and poverty for me was sumptuous; then I lost the sea and found all luxuries gray and poverty unbearable.” If you’ve every lived by the sea, then you understand this sentiment: there’s a magic to the ocean. The sound of waves crashing and water splashing can feel like a soothing lullaby or it can take on a foreboding quality akin to a hi-hat crescendo. Swimming in the ocean can feel like an intimate communion with nature, an experience through which your body and the water become one entity. And yet, when you encounter a potentially lethal creature during a dip in the ocean, it’s a reminder of the perils lurking in those waters. We’re constantly discovering new plant life, animals, and life forms at the bottom of the sea, which is a testament to how much remains to be learned about what lurks in the Earth’s many oceans. The sea, then, is a source of both comfort and fear, its vastness both fascinating and consternating.
From the time I was a year old, I was on my dad’s sailboat with my mom and older brother, so that I literally grew up on the ocean, often spending weekends anchored off the shores of Palomino or Culebra, both small islands off the coast of Puerto Rico. I can still recall how beautiful the starry night skies looked while laying on the sailboat’s deck or how invigorating the saltwater air felt as it blew against my face. I understand, then, how the sea can be such a source of inspiration for people in so many different walks of life.
When I heard the story behind the skincare brand OSEA Malibu, I instantly felt a sense of kinship, a solidarity rooted in a shared appreciation for the ocean and its marvels. According to OSEA founder Jenefer Palmer, her family’s relationship with the sea dates back to 1928. Her grandmother, a chiropractor in Long Island, New York, tore several tendons in her leg after a nasty fall. Despite the pain, she continued to work and treat patients — that is, until her injury left her bedridden. During that time, she had a dream that the ocean cured her. The dream proved prophetic: despite the frigid cold temperature of the water in the Long Island Sound, she swam every day from thereon out. At first, her husband would carry her into the water. Within weeks, however, her leg healed — a phenomenon she attributed to the mineral-rich ocean waters and the seaweed therein. The two continued their swims year-round throughout their lives. Inspired by this family anecdote, Palmer studied everything from Ayudervic medicine to aromatherapy, acupressure, and Shiatsu massages in search of finding holistic healing treatments. Eventually, as she began moving into the natural beauty space, she remembered her grandmother’s teachings about the healing and soothing properties of seaweed. OSEA Malibu, then, was built around the principle that the bioavailable minerals and nutrients naturally found in seaweed can soothe, replenish, and rejuvenate the skin.
But while the history behind the brand and its founder’s inspiration is fascinating, what’s truly remarkable is how effective these products are. I’ve only recently discovered OSEA Malibu, and I’ve been singing its praises ever since. I love that it’s a female-owned business, a family-run enterprise, and that it’s built on this rich family history and a profound respect for nature, but even if I didn’t know any of those details, if I were simply blind-testing these products, I’d still be awestruck by the results they deliver.
First on my skincare Dean’s List is the OSEA Malibu Ocean Cleanser ($44 at OseaMalibu.com), which is designed for normal to oily skin. I worried that perhaps this cleanser would be too harsh on my skin since my complexion is on the dry-to-normal end of the spectrum but, after each use, my skin felt refreshed but not tight or itchy. I did, however, notice my skin looked smoother and felt softer. As with all OSEA products, this gel cleanser contains algae extract — specifically, brown bladderwrack seaweed. This particularly type of brown algae is commonly found in the Atlantic Ocean, and it contains a number of minerals and nutrients including iron, magnesium, vitamin B, iodine (which can help to draw out toxins and impurities), and fucodian (a natural anti-inflammatory that helps to reduce redness and which is said to stimulate collagen production, thereby keeping skin taut and supple). This algae extract is married with jojoba seed oil, which hydrates the skin and helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles; lactic acid derived from beets, which helps to exfoliate the skin and slough off dull dead surface skin cells; sesame seed oil, which protects skin cells against oxidation and hence works to prevent the emergence of aging signs and which forms a protective coating atop the skin to better defend it against environmental aggressors. Lime oil and orange peel oil, meanwhile, boast astringent and antibacterial properties, helping to eliminate dirt and debris, while also adding a dose of skin brightening vitamin C and giving the formula a zesty, invigorating aroma. Jasmine oil, meanwhile, gives the cleanser a more feminine and romantic scent, while juniper oil boosts circulation to reduce any puffiness or swelling. I love the light scent of the lime oil, which I consider to be the most prominent aroma — it makes me think of Margaritas by the beach. When combined with the lush green quality of the cypress oil and the sweet berry aroma of the juniper oil, the lime scent becomes all the more playful. Citrus scents can sometimes be overpowering, but this cleanser gets the aroma just right, so that the fragrance titillates the senses without overwhelming them. Moreover, these fragrant botanical oils aren’t present for show alone — they all nourish, protect, hydrate, tone, and soothe the skin.
Next we have my new go-to lotion: the OSEA Malibu Atmosphere Protection Cream ($48 at OseaMalibu.com), which contains a wealth of hydrating natural ingredients — among them algae extract, jojoba oil, avocado oil, shea butter, and macadamia oil. Because of its high concentration of monounsaturated fatty acids, phytosterols, and vitamin E, avocado oil effectively moisturizes the skin and, moreover, some studies have found that it stimulates collagen production in connective tissue, so that it solidifies the bonds between skin cells and keeps skin from sagging. Macadamia oil, meanwhile, is also incredibly hydrating and it penetrates the skin quickly and deeply thanks to its molecular structure, which mirrors that of the human sebum. The formula also contains shea butter, probably the most effective skin conditioner and softener, and such soothing botanical extracts as lavender oil and chamomile oil.
The moisturizer is incredibly lightweight, so that the skin soaks it up in just seconds, and it never feels heavy or greasy. It also has a soothing herbal scent with floral and fruity nuances, with lavender oil emerging as the most prominent aroma, geranium oil adding a rose-like floral touch to the scent, and grapefruit peel oil giving the aromatic composition a zesty burst. Both the on-skin feel and the scent are remarkably pleasant.
As for its efficacy, ever since I started using this moisturizer, people have been commenting on the improved texture of my skin. Coincidence? Not at all! In just 5 weeks, the inflammation I had developed along my chin (the result of a freakish breakout) has disappeared, and my skin has maintained an optimal moisture balance, never feeling too dry or too greasy. In fact, my skin stays matte for hours after I apply this magical moisturizer.
From the brand’s rich heritage to its eco-minded ingredients and skin-loving formulas, OSEA is a boundless sea of hope.