Listen, Ariel probably rubbed kelp all over her face and hair and that little mermaid has not aged ONE DAY.
If you’ve ever been to the beach, chances are you’re already familiar with kelp. Maybe you accidentally stepped in a pile of the stuff during a stroll on the beach, or nudged some out of the way to make space for your towel, or jumped when some brushed against your leg while wading, or swam amongst it during a particularly adventurous snorkeling session. And you may have even already incorporated it into your self-care routine, even if you don’t realize it.
First, a quick science refresher: All kelp is seaweed (but not all seaweed is kelp), which means it’s a sea plant that lives off sunlight (photosynthesis!). Unlike other types of seaweed (like red and green), kelp is brown and thrives in nutrient-dense water where it can fix itself to a single spot and group together, forming magical — and often quite large — kelp forests. (You’ve definitely seen pictures of these otherworldly underwater mazes.)
Because kelp needs nutrient-dense water to survive, the plants themselves are incredibly nutrient-dense. Why does this matter to you? Well, based on the transitive property we definitely all remember from middle school math, if you eat or apply a nutrient-dense substance, those nutrients become your nutrients. So kelp + you = health (or something like that). Listen, Ariel probably rubbed kelp all over her face and hair and that little mermaid has not aged ONE DAY.
But for real, kelp has been eaten and used medicinally for centuries thanks to its nutrient riches. Packed with vitamins A, B, C, D and E, and minerals like zinc, iodine, magnesium, iron, potassium and calcium, kelp is basically a one-stop-shop for all the things your body needs to keep your hair, skin and nails (and a lot of other stuff) healthy and working properly. And thanks to its iodine content, kelp is a star at removing free radicals, which means it can slow down the aging process.
But before you buy a boat to go kelp harvesting or swimming through shallow ocean water with your mouth open, consider starting a little smaller. Since the benefits of kelp are widespread, here’s a handy cheat sheet of a few ways and reasons to incorporate it into your routine. It may be slimy and brown, but the stuff isn’t playing around when it comes to beauty and health benefits.
If you’re looking for a system-wide rejigger…
consider adding some powdered kelp to your next smoothie or popping a green supplement. One of the star ingredients of Ora Organic’s Easy Being Green Powder, the kelp will infuse your breakfast with a bevy of vital nutrients and minerals, and its iodine content will help regulate your digestion and metabolism. And HUM Nutrition’s Cleanse To The Rescue is an ideal showcase for bladderwrack kelp, which works to break down protein, carbs, fibers and fats so your body can better ingest what it needs and get rid of what it doesn’t.
If you’re on a quest for hydrated skin…
spritz your face and pretend you’re standing on a pier as the ocean waves crash around you. When distilled into Nanaka’s Beam Face Mist, kelp’s high mineral and iodine content help to soften and hydrate skin, and boost collagen production to keep your face plump and moisturized.
If your skin has been freaking out a bit lately…
cleanse with kelp. A gentle, daily cleanser that contains kelp (like this one from Alder New York) will infuse your face with the algae’s minerals and antioxidants, removing aggravating toxins and treating inflammation.
If anti-aging is top of your “skin concerns” list…
slather your face in a kelp-heavy mask like their aptly-named Mermaid Mask from Captain Blankenship. Since kelp is rich in antioxidants, it works to protect your skin against sun damage and general daily pollution. A bi-weekly masking that involves kelp will go a long way in staving off dark spots and lines.
If you want hair like a mermaid…
kelp can help! Sea salt spray isn’t the only ocean-based product you should consider for your best hair ever. Kelp, like the kind found in Moon Juice’s SuperHair supplements, is a bioavailable source of the vitamins and minerals your hair needs to be healthy, grow stronger and thicker, and generally flourish.
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