Two If By Sea
Looking offshore for skincare solutions took off after Max Huber started marketing his Crème de la Mer “miracle broth” back in the eighties. Deep-sea water, salts, mud, and even blue-green and red algae have been blended, bottled, and branded as sunken treasure for your complexion. Somewhat less well utilized are the creatures that inhabit the world’s vast briny basins. But two new companies are now tapping into the phenomenon—let’s call it fish for your face. (Vegans, stop reading here.)
From Norway, With Love
Among its many superior civic services, the Norwegian government gives out grants to small biotech companies to boost the level of research and technology coming out of its pristine country—biotech companies like Dr. Runhild Gammelsaeter’s Regenix, which she set up to look into the wound-healing properties of arctic salmon roe. Noticing the smooth, uniform skin on the hands of women who mix the roe at Norway’s salmon hatcheries, Gammelsaeter developed a complex named LEXA, which combines an extract that’s taken from salmon eggs, immediately frozen, and then combined with biomarine proteins and peptides to stimulate fibroblast cells that produce collagen. Somewhat revolutionary in its stabilization of marine omega-3s, which are more readily absorbed by the body than plant versions, Regenix caught the attention of Ole Sandberg, who was scouring the biotech scene for a hot new skincare idea. The brains behind Norway’s Voss Water, Sandberg turned Gammelsaeter’s product into Freya+, a five-piece antiaging line that just launched at C.O. Bigelow. The collection boasts a Hydrating Day Cream, an Intensive Anti-Aging Serum, a Firming Eye Cream, and a Restorative Night Cream, all of which pack the LEXA complex and nano-encapsulated marine omega-3s into luxuriously emollient formulas. Also of note is its Arctic Cleansing water, an über-gentle cleanser that you pat on with a cotton pad and don’t wash off. It stems from the Norwegian beauty ritual of washing your face with cold water to increase circulation and vitality.
Somewhat less glamorous but with an equally sound scientific background is bio-tech entrepreneur Elliot Entis’ Lift Lab, which uses that perennially chic ingredient, fish blood. The son of a Boston seafood wholesaler, Entis began experimenting with cell protection proteins in the nineties. Having evolved over millions of years to help protect cold-water organisms like deep-sea arctic fish from cold-induced injury, dehydration, UV damage, and free-radical oxidation, CPPs boost the production of skin proteins and enhance cell rejuvenation and replication. Entis originally devised a serum using the clear, tasteless liquid he extracted from the white blood cells of winter flounder in Newfoundland to help preserve organs designated for transplantation, but it wasn’t long before the beauty industry came calling. Having sold his technology to an unnamed (but well-known) producer of marine-based skincare products, Entis became dissatisfied with the low, nearly ineffective concentrations of the stuff used at the retail level and decided to branch out on his own. With an edited selection of four products launched on Luckyscent.com and at Milan’s 10 Corso Como this month, Lift Lab’s standouts include the Lift and Repair Treatment Serum, which is a long-term anti-aging solution that has the line’s highest level of concentrated active peptides and proteins to increase elasticity, and its Lift and Fix High Potency Solution, which reinforces the skin barrier and fights redness and sensitivity, making it an ideal post-procedure solution to the irritation often caused by lasers and deep peels. Both are a boon to even the most fish-phobic of beauty fiends.—Celia Ellenberg