Osea Has Been Setting the Sustainability Bar in Skincare for Three Decades

Seaweed's the star ingredient.

osea malibu


Osea stands for ocean, sun, earth, and atmosphere, four of life's most essential elements. Manufactured in California, Osea's founder Jenefer Palmer drew from the endless benefits of seaweed to provide hydrating, barrier restorative, antioxidant-rich products. The brand has come a long way since its inception in 1996 before the clean beauty category exploded. Still, its mission to foster an intentional relationship with our skin and planet remains the same.

Keeping up with social media trends and market changes is challenging for any brand, but Osea has proved hip despite being around for three decades (a long time in the beauty industry). From its viral Algae Body Oil to its trendy Venice skincare studio, we spoke with Palmer about how she built the classic good-for-you skincare brand.

About The Brand

"Osea chose me; I'm not sure I chose Osea," Palmer says. "I've always been fascinated with origin stories, starting with my own because I'm an adopted person; in college, I studied archelogy, and I had the opportunity to work on excavation digs. I've been curious about how it all works."

Although Palmer did not know it at the time, her fascination for digger deeper and seeking connection to the earth would propel her to lay the foundation for a seaweed discovery. "Even though I grew up between Toldeo, Ohio, and Geneva, Switzerland—nowhere near the ocean. I believed with every part of my being that the ocean and seaweed are healing," Palmer says. "It all started with my grandmother who had a bad injury, which led to a dream the ocean and seaweed would heal her." Palmer's grandmother packed her injured leg with seaweed in the dream and felt better.

Unconsciously beginning to unlock her purpose, Palmer was appointed as a spa director in the early 80s. Her archeologist studies inspired Palmer to craft services in that role. "I thought about different healing modalities studied after being an archeologist, I thought about ayurvedic medicine, I thought about cold water therapy," she says. "However, the one thing I knew nothing about was skincare."

According to Palmer, her routine at the time didn't see more than water and a layer of almond oil. Still, facials were in high demand at her spa, so she became dedicated to learning about skincare. Palmer paid close attention to the products she stocked in the spa and ordered books to learn more. In her research, she found that most of the products used at the time contained synthetically derived ingredients that were irritating to the skin. 

"That's when I knew there had to be a better approach," Palmer says. She revisited the idea of using seaweed as a healing method for the skin. She thought about using sea plants because they are rich in minerals, and she simultaneously learned about organic farming to understand that we were depleting the soil. From all of these ideas and information, Osea was born. 

Osea launched with six products, and Palmer knew early on that she wanted to create a safe, sensory experience for consumers. "I knew the effect of the olfactory nerve and how it creates or triggers memory," she says. "I wanted our products to have a sensory effect that sparked happiness." 

Beyond sparking a feel-good experience during your skincare routine, Osea is centered around improving the planet. In addition to using recyclable packing, they are the first-ever Ocean Positiveskincare brand, meaning the brand has used its carbon footprint as a baseline to create a positive benefit for ocean health. All Osea products are packaged in recyclable glass so you can feel good about consumption while caring for your skin. The brand also partners with Seatrees to go beyond carbon neutral, to offset even more carbon than they make by investing in coastal restoration projects. 

Palmer's journey to building Osea reaffirms that good intention and curiosity often lead to success, and she has a fantastic brand to show for it. I got a chance to try some of Osea's lineup. Read more about my top three favorites ahead.

Product Picks

Osea Undaria Algae Body Oil ($78): Tiktokers have recently discovered the magic that is this body oil. Infused with seaweed, acai, and passion fruit extracts, it delivers antioxidant-rich moisture for soft, smooth skin. Beyond your limbs, some fans of the oil have also found it beneficial to gloss over your hair and cuticles.

Osea Seaglow Overnight Serum ($64): This may be my favorite serum as of late. I tend to be wary of over-exfoliating, but I used this twice weekly and woke up with a noticeable glow. A blend of AHAs, phytic acid, and fruit enzymes exfoliate to promote skin renewal, tone, and texture overnight. Fermented shiunko oil, spirulina, and kappaphycus alvarezii seaweed round out the potent ingredient list to nourish and hydrate the skin. 

Osea Ocean Cleanser ($48): I use this as the second step in my double-cleanse routine. The cleanser is infused with seaweed extract and lactic acid, which gently exfoliates and leaves my skin feeling smooth. Its formula is mineral-rich and hydrates while targeting a clear, radiant complexion. I like to leave it on for a couple of seconds before washing it off for extra brightening benefits.

Osea Undaria Algae Body Butter ($48): This body butter's scent is fresh with a hint of citrus. Nutrient-rich undaria seaweed whipped shea butter, and ceramides melt into the skin and leave even the driest skin soft for hours.

Final Takeaway

Through its customer connectivity, sustainability, and—most importantly— its track record of being kind to the planet, Osea redefines what it means to be a sustainable, ethical skincare brand, and our beauty routines are much better for it.

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