Algae, sea water, salt… All these marine ingredients are well-known and recognized by the cosmetics industry for their skin benefits. Formulators have been increasingly and intensively using them, like Guérande Cosmetics, recently arrived on the market in 2016. Founded in Brittany, France, the brand offers skincare products featuring ingredients derived from this region. In addition to promoting the local heritage, Guérande Cosmetics developed a component that is one of a kind: Eaux-Mères©.
Morgane Johannet, Product Manager of Laboratoire Science et Nature for Guérande Cosmetics, answered CosmeticOBS’s questions.
It is the Salines de Guérande Cooperative that set up the project involving cosmetics based on Breton marine ingredients. Paludiers, the employees who work in salt marshes, decided to take advantage of these natural resources. Guérande Cosmetics was born from this idea, in collaboration with Laboratoire Science et Nature. The brand was created in 2016 and gathers all actors in the supply chain, from paludiers to formulators.
What is Eaux-Mères©?
Algae, plankton, and sea water all play their own role in the brand’s beauty products. However, the name of another ingredient sounds unfamiliar: Eaux-Mères©. It actually refers to the wastewater found in the last evaporation ponds of the salt marshes after harvesting salt. It is collected in the late season, in August or September – it varies from one year to the next.
It is interesting because it is 8 to 10 times more concentrated than sea water in mineral salts and trace elements, like magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and potassium, in the form of active ions. ‘This “living water” is a real natural concentrate of life; it cannot be reproduced in a laboratory. Only nature can offer it to us,’ Morgane Johannet explains.
The extraction protocol
The water is pumped from the salt marshes of Guérande, and then transported in a refrigerated lorry to a laboratory, where it is micro-filtered for enhanced preservation. ‘The whole protocol is carried out in accordance with the Specifications laid down between the Salines de Guérande Cooperative (paludiers) and the laboratory: they aim to provide for good collecting practices in order to ensure the repeatability between the various harvests. That is essential to guarantee the quality of our cosmetics,’ Morgane Johannet adds.
Cosmetics claims and benefits
Water is the main component in cosmetic products, but it is usually incorporated in a demineralized, treated, and neutral form. On the contrary, Morgane Johannet emphasizes the importance of integrating Eaux-Mères© to their beauty product formulas. To her, ‘thanks to this ingredient, water recovers its role of life and activity vehicle. We select the right dose to create a perfect affinity with the skin (isotonic dose), so that skin cells get remineralized and cosmetic actives are better assimilated, due to the isotonic osmoactive principle.’
How is it incorporated into beauty products?
Everyone knows that waters filled with minerals can destabilize formulas. Eaux-Mères© is no exception to the rule. ‘Due to the rich composition of this ingredient, our know-how lies in our ability to correctly proportion it in the formula, depending on the product at stake in our range, so that the natural mineral balance of skin cells is preserved,’ explains Morgane Johannet.
Both a producer and distributor of this famous Eaux-Mères©, Guérande Cosmetics has managed to promote the marine potential in cosmetics quite unexpectedly. Who knows what other cosmetics resources the sea will offer us?