Making skincare products from seaweed



When Matthew and I were beginning to look at starting Macro Oceans, one of the things that got me interested in the opportunity was the mystery of it: if seaweed is so chemically rich and so easy to grow, why isn't it used for more things?

As we dug deeper into this question, I became convinced that there aren't fundamental reasons why seaweed can't be used for more things; instead, someone had to come along and make it happen.

While there have been many setbacks, false starts, and complexities over the past three years, I haven't seen anything that has changed my mind about this. Seaweed does have natural assets and it should be used for more things.

Today we announced the launch of our first product, Hydrating Marine Polysaccharides, which is our first contribution making this happen.

Hydrating Marine Polysaccharides is a bio active cosmetic ingredient, which means it's the thing that makes a skincare or haircare product make your skin feel better or hair look better. It has proven hydrating properties and a true clean beauty profile: zero waste, fully traceable to the farm in Alaska where it was grown. I'm excited to build on this in 2024!

Some personal reflections

  • This is my first cosmetic ingredient. I've launched more software products than I can count, but it was fun try this in a new domain. I was surprised at how much transferred!
  • In particular, cosmetic ingredients reminds me of developer products. The formulator is hiring your ingredient to do a job. This job is functional, but it's also a part of the marketing story for the product.
  • An added complexity is the brand / incubator / manufacturer relationship. Manufacturers purchase the ingredients, but brands ultimately own the formulas.
  • I'm really proud of how fast the Macro Oceans team moved to make this launch happen; we had our first planning meetings about this product in March and did our first manufacturing runs in August.

Alaskan Seaweed Update


The Alaskan Seaweed crop has expanded ~30x since 2017. That is from Macro Ocean’s grower survey in partnership with the McKinley Research Group.