Can algae fight wrinkles and glow up skin tone? Yes, it absolutely can. Marine plants are one of the best natural vegan retinol alternatives we know of.
Rich in minerals, antioxidants, and protein, algae are increasingly used in topical skincare for their age-defying and skin-brightening capabilities (1).
If you are looking to try out this natural plant-based ingredient, here is our favorite vegan algae skincare for 2023. Find vegan algae serums, moisturizers, and cleansers to your taste.
PS all products below are vegan and cruelty-free, meaning they are free of animal-derived ingredients and have not been tested on animals. 💚
Best Vegan Algae Skincare
Here is the best vegan algae skincare in 2023. From moisturizers to cleansers, keep your skin youthful with these cruelty-free vegan seaweed skincare products.
- Kora Organics Active Algae Lightweight Moisturizer
- Josie Maran Argan Beta Retinol Pink Algae Serum
- Biossance Squalane + Marine Algae Eye Cream
- The Body Shop Seaweed Deep Cleansing Gel Wash
Kora Organics Active Algae Lightweight Moisturizer is our favorite vegan algae skincare product. Tailored to oily, combination, and acne-prone skin, this vegan moisturizer provides great hydration without clogging pores or leaving a greasy finish.
The vegan algae face cream uses natural and organic ingredients starring green algae and green tea – a pair that purifies, detoxifies, and balances the skin whilst hydrating. Love the fresh lightweight texture. Plus, this sustainable cream has a refill available.
- What we like: lightweight consistency, very hydrating
- What we don’t like: takes time to absorb
- What reviews say: works great with other skincare, feel very soothing on the skin
Key ingredients: green algae, green tea, alpine rose, swiss glacier water | Main benefits: soothing, hydrating, softening | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, artificial fragrance-free, artificial colors-free, GMO-free, climate neutral, recyclable packaging, made in Australia
Josie Maran’s natural vegan algae serum is designed to give you the benefits of retinol without irritation. The vegan serum uses beta carotenoids from pink algae along with a variety of plant antioxidants and fatty acids. It reduces wrinkles and keeps the skin plump and youthful.
- What we like: smoothes the skin, very hydrating
- What we don’t like: takes time to absorb
- What reviews say: a little goes a long way, feels soothing even for sensitive skin
Key ingredients: pink algae, quercetin, organic argan oil | Main benefits: smoothening, brightening, firming | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, GMO-free, artificial colors-free, artificial fragrance-free, made in the USA
Biossance has made a wonderful vegan algae eye cream using vitamin-rich pink marine algae and hydrating squalane. This vegan eye cream is so rich yet goes on smoothly. The natural cream hydrates the eye area beautifully while reducing crow’s feet and soothing the skin.
- What we like: reduces fine lines, very hydrating
- What we don’t like: takes time to see results
- What reviews say: works great with makeup, smooths the skin around the eye area
Key ingredients: pink marine algae, squalane | Main benefits: smoothening, firming, hydrating | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, artificial fragrance-free, recyclable packaging, artificial colors-free, made in the USA
The Body Shop also offers an iconic vegan seaweed skincare line for oily and combination skin. We especially love their vegan algae cleanser which clears dirt, blemishes, and excess oil from the skin and leaves a really clean and refreshed feel.
The algae collection is made from Irish moss – an alga that is rich in chlorophyll, minerals, and sebum-balancing sulfur. From The Body Shop’s Seaweed line, the cleanser, toner, and gel cream are vegan, the exfoliator is labeled ‘vegetarian’.
- What we like: affordable, removes makeup, feels very refreshing
- What we don’t like: contains fragrance
- What reviews say: works great for the oily skin type, cleans the skin without drying it out
Key ingredients: seaweed (Irish moss) | Main benefits: freshening, mattifying, cleansing | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, soap-free
Osea Malibu is a vegan skincare brand that specializes in organic seaweed skincare. We love their Undaria Algae vegan body oil. Made with mineral-rich brown alga, this luxurious oil makes the skin much more toned and elastic and gives it a subtle nourished glow.
- What we like: helps with redness, feels very nourishing
- What we don’t like: feels a little sticky
- What reviews say: fast absorbing, lovely smell, feels refreshing
Key ingredients: brown algae, acai pulp oil, babassu seed oil, passion fruit seed oil, sesame seed oil | Main benefits: hydrating, soothing, nourishing | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, climate neutral, artificial fragrance-free, made in the USA
Seaweed also fits well in vegan sunscreens as helps fight off sun damage with antioxidants. Made with green algae, Supergoop’s Play is a reef-safe mineral sunscreen for the face and body. While it leaves some white cast, it has a nice lightweight texture which we like.
- What we like: works great with other skincare, does not feel greasy
- What we don’t like: leaves some white cast on the skin
- What reviews say: works great for sensitive skin, lightweight consistency
Key ingredients: green algae extract, tucuma butter | Main benefits: nourishing, defends against UVA light | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, dermatologist-tested, artificial fragrance-free, made in the USA
Are Algae Vegan?
Yes, algae are vegan. Algae is a large group of aquatic organisms that are basically marine plants. The most common type of algae in skincare are seaweed, kelp, and spirulina.
While algae is a vegan ingredient, you should still be careful when buying algae skincare. Often, algae are paired with other animal-derived ingredients such as beeswax or collagen.
To make sure your algae skincare is entirely vegan and cruelty-free, prefer products and brands with a certified vegan label.
What To Look For In Vegan Algae Skincare?
What matter most in vegan algae skincare is the type of algae used. Different colors of algae have different skincare benefits and work best for different skin types.
Widely speaking, algae in skincare can be classified as red, brown, blue-green, and green algae.
- Red algae (e.g. astaxanthin): Rich in carotenoids, proteins, and vitamin C, red algae is one of the most potent antioxidants to brighten the skin and combat signs of aging. It also boosts hydration making it perfect for dry and mature skin.
- Brown algae (e.g. kelp): Brown kelp has also excellent anti-aging and collagen-boosting properties. It also soothes and hydrates the skin, so it is suitable for sensitive skin.
- Blue-green algae (e.g. spirulina): Blue-green algae are excellent for balancing and detoxing the skin. As an anti-inflammatory ingredient, it helps reduce acne and prevent future breakouts. Also boosts cell repair and fights signs of aging.
- Green algae – Green algae have high levels of chlorophyll that helps to balance and clarify the skin while reducing inflammation. Rich in vitamins C, A, and E, green algae fights dullness and wrinkles and improves the skin’s texture.
While green and blue-green algae are slightly better for oily and acne-prone skin types, we recommend all algae types to protect the skin and fight premature signs of aging.
Overall, just make sure your vegan algae skincare is as clean and skin-friendly as possible. Avoid needless chemicals, and artificial fragrances, especially if you have sensitive skin.
FAQ About Vegan Algae Skincare
Yes. Algae aka seaweed is vegan. Algae are a group of marine plants.
The best vegan algae skincare product is the Kora Organics Active Algae Lightweight Moisturizer.
You will find the best selection of vegan algae skincare online, especially on Amazon, Ulta, and Sephora.
Algae is one of the best natural ingredients to keep your skin firm and youthful. Algae is also one of the best vegan retinol alternatives out there.
We hope you found your new favorite vegan algae skincare from Kora Organics, Josie Maran, Biossance, and other cruelty-free and vegan brands.
We’ll be sure to add all the latest exciting vegan algae moisturizers, serums, cleansers, and other vegan skincare products to this list.
See also: Best Vegan Anti-Aging Skincare
Update on May 04 (2023): Fact checked and medically reviewed by MD Shimona Garg
Update on February 19 (2023): Added a reference for main benefits