Ama sea beauty blooms local seaweed skincare

[USA] “Every single day, Mother Nature throws on the beach everything we need for food, beauty, and medicine,” says Antoinette Marquez, the founder of Ama Sea Beauty. “[The ocean] is our amniotic fluid and we are meant to be in it.” Ama Sea Beauty offers a line of mineral-rich skin care, including a cleanser, algae oil, serum, toner, and salt scrubs made from wild local kelp based on the practice of Thalasso Therapy, which involves a system of ocean-based healing for coastal dwellers. It incorporates things like seaweed baths, ocean swimming, eating kelp and breathing ocean air as part of a natural health and beauty routine.

Ocean health is important to Marquez, and she has goals that dive deeper than Ama Sea Beauty. “We are an ocean conservation company that decided to develop a beauty product, rather than a beauty company that dapples in ocean conservation,” explained Marquez. Her vision is of growing kelp sustainably and commercially in a sea farm, but she realized a viable path to getting there was with a product.

Marquez says sustainable kelp farming is key to healthier food and beauty products, but she also believes that kelp farming is essential for replenishing the ocean. “El Niño was a fire in our ocean and it decimated our kelp bed,” she said, likening it to California’s recent wildfires and forest damage. “And just like there’s soil erosion, we also have sand shift and non-native species. As it is on the land, so it is in the ocean.”

She and her husband, Daniel Marquez, took over the only available kelp sea farm lease in the Santa Barbara Channel, which was originally established as a kelp research plot. They are now entangled in a lengthily permitting process with the Coastal Commission and other state regulators who find themselves in mostly uncharted waters when it comes to kelp-farming permits. As the first of its kind on the California coast, it has garnered national coverage and a slew of interest from across the country. “Everyone is really curious about it,” Antionette said.

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