Seaweed is pretty amazing stuff for skin care; it’s rich in vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Its texture is a bit sandy, making it a great gentle exfoliant, and when applied to the skin it is said to be a fantastic detoxifying ingredient, drawing out impurities. It can combat irritation, acne, and eczema, and leaves the skin glowing. It’s also one of relatively few ingredients that can be sourced within Canada, which is pretty exciting! All in all, it’s not hard to see why I purchased a big ol’ tub of it fairly early on in my DIY-ing days. So, when I got a recipe request from Deb for a seaweed mask she’d fallen in love with from a spa in New Brunswick, I thought it was high time (high tide? 😝) to dig out my tub and whip up a mask!
The first thing I noticed about seaweed powder when I first got it was the smell. It smells distinctly (but lightly) of seaweed when dry, but when combined with water it blossomed into the smell of a beach at low tide, and not in a lovely “I want a mai-tai” sort of way. If you grew up near the sea I’m sure it’s a lovely, nostalgic sort of smell, but I wasn’t hugely keen on it. Thankfully, this lovely mask is water free—we’re turning the powder into paste with oils, which helps keep the seaweed smell pleasantly (rather than overwhelmingly) ocean-y.
The original ingredients list Deb sent used a few sort-of butters I didn’t have—avocado and soy—so I swapped those out for shea. Avocado “butter” is hydrogenated avocado oil, so I figured I’d choose a real butter that I had on hand instead. If you happen to have avocado or soy butter on hand, feel free to use either (or a combination of the two) instead of the shea butter, though! To the shea I added some lovely virgin coconut oil (coconut oil and seaweed just seem like a brilliant combo, no?), and some richly moisturizing jojoba oil. A touch of lovely lavender essential oil rounds the whole thing off, helping to balance the seaweed scent a bit as well. If you don’t have (or love) lavender, you could easily use something like tea tree, rosemary, or eucalyptus instead.
Because this mask doesn’t contain clay or water, it doesn’t dry out or get tight as it sits on your skin, which is great if you have more sensitive or dry skin and don’t enjoy that pulling sensation. Since it doesn’t dry or start dropping clay it doesn’t get uncomfortable to wear, either, so you might find yourself going about your daily business with it on for much longer than you’d intended. If you’re more familiar with clay masks, you will find the consistency of this one a bit odd as you put it on—it’s not as smooth as creamy as a clay mask, but you won’t have any trouble smearing your face up like a seaweedy bagel, I promise.
Once you’ve got your goblin face on, all that’s left is to leave it on until you get sick of it (twenty-ish minutes) and rinse it off. The slight graininess of the seaweed powder will exfoliate your skin as you wash it off, and thanks to all the oils and butters in the mask, your skin won’t be nearly as dry as it would be after a clay face mask (you’ll probably still want to follow up with some sort of moisturizer, though).
I hope you love this vitamin rich detoxifying mask! I look forward to Deb chiming in and letting us know how it compares to the original 🙂 Happy making, and thanks for the request, Deb!
Deb’s Canadian Seaweed Mask
Prepare a water bath by bringing about 3cm/1″ of water to a bare simmer over low to medium-low heat in a small saucepan.
Weigh the coconut oil, shea butter, and jojoba oil into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup or a 120mL/4oz mason jar. Place the measuring cup in your prepared water bath to melt everything through.
Once the oils and butters have melted, remove them from the heat and begin whisking in the seaweed powder, a spoonful or two at a time, until you have a smooth, thick mixture with a consistency similar to that of natural peanut butter (you may need more or less than the amount called for depending on your seaweed powder—no worries, the consistency is more important than the amount). Then, whisk in the lavender and vitamin E oil. That’s it!
To use, spread to green goop over your skin and leave it for twenty or so minutes (until you get tired of having it on your face, basically). I highly recommend a dark washcloth and/or a shower to rinse this one off! You’ll find your skin is left lightly exfoliated and looking rather lovely. I did need to follow up with a few drops of a serum, but not as much as I would post-clay-mask as this one is nowhere near as drying.
Makes enough for 2–3 applications. Because it doesn’t contain any water it’ll keep relatively well, but I still wouldn’t recommend making it in batches any larger than this as seaweed is super delicious bacteria food, so any potential contamination from dipping into the mask with your fingers will quickly run rampant. Store any leftovers sealed in the fridge (this is where making in a mason jar comes in really handy!) and use within two weeks.