You know all about the green and blue algae that grows in the ocean, but what about the hot pink algae that thrives in frigid climates? It sounds like something straight out of a cartoon but nature is lit, kids, and snow algae is 100% real.
You'll find this cosmic-looking algae, nicknamed "watermelon snow," growing on ice caps and mountain tops, particularly in the alpine and polar regions. Interestingly, snow algae grows green in the warm months but once temperatures lower, it turns pink — via red carotenoid pigment — as a defense mechanism against harsh UV rays.
Its unique makeup makes it a surprisingly beneficial skin care ingredient. Specifically, snow algae increases hydration in the skin for a more supple complexion, boosts collagen production for improved texture and appearance, and protects skin from environmental damage at a cellular level. A handful of brands already use snow algae in their formulations, so if you're interested in trying the ingredient out for yourself then start here.
It's definitely a splurge, but PCA Skin is heralded in the skin care community for its innovative, high-quality formulations that deliver on packaging promises. HydraLuxe is a super-rich moisturizer that hydrates while imparting anti-aging benefits, part of which come from the inclusion of snow algae. Overall, it targets and reduces fine lines, plumps the skin and helps you retain moisture while improving barrier function.
A sheet mask is definitely an easy and affordable way to experiment with snow algae. This mask, by Timeless Truth, features a creamy and lightweight serum that combines both skin-protecting snow algae and plumping hyaluronic acid. It's a bio-cellulose mask instead of paper, which means it feels sturdier, adheres better and is generally higher quality.
This lightweight snow algae serum can be applied after cleansing and toning and before your moisturizer. In addition to snow algae, it's made with soothing aloe vera, skin-purifying salicylic acid and an array of botanical extracts, including passionflower, white tea and green tea. It also features an ingredient called Antarcticine, a fermented extract taken from a strain of bacteria discovered in Antarctica.
Let us take a second to introduce you to Dimitri James, a celebrated esthetician and makeup artist who founded his own skin care line, Skinn Cosmetics. The brand's Collagenesis Eye Stem Rejen Elite combines the anti-aging powers of snow algae with ultra-hydrating glacier water and skin-fortifying alpine rose. In addition to bold formulation, the product also boasts innovative, patent-pending packaging — "a multilamellar encapsulation delivery system."