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Ayla Sea Soak: Your self-care Sundays just got an upgrade
I could have stayed in my tub all night. The minute I lowered myself into the hot water, in which the sea kelp along with sea salt had been seeping for about 15 minutes, I unconsciously let out a sigh of relief. I hadn’t realized how stressed and tense I was until this moment (true story). And it was glorious. I didn’t think it would actually do anything for me, I am not one to relax easily, but Ayala’s Sea Soak is truly as close as you can get to a specialized spa treatment without leaving the comfort of your own tub. Not to mention that seaweed is full of skin benefits.
A bit of history
Interestingly enough, sea soaks, scientifically coined as thalassotherapy and seaweed soaks, also referred to as algotherapy, are ancient medicinal practices.
While seawater bathing was officially coined as “thalassotherapy” by French professor Joseph de la Bonnardière in 1865, soaking in seawater predates its French popularity (in the 1860s) by several centuries. In fact, the Egyptians treated, severe burns and wounds using seawater, “and evidence exists that Herodotus (484–425 BC), Euripides (480–406 BC), and Hippocrates (460–377 BC) praised and recommended its use.” 1
Better yet, using seaweed in thalassotherapy treatments dates back presumably to 3000 BC. In fact, the “first document dealing with algotherapy, evidently a branch of phytotherapy, a venerable therapeutic approach, was written on clay tablets. This record of therapies in cuneiform characters was produced by the Sumerians around 3000 BC.” 2 And, let’s not forget the Irish have been longtime fans of seaweed soaks.
Ok, so maybe this is a bit more historical information than you bargained for but I figured, if I was going down the rabbit hole of research, I might as well take you there with me.
The sea washes all man’s ailments.
Seaweed Skin Benefits
There’s no denying the health benefits of seaweed. This is one sea vegetable that is packed with minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and antioxidants, just to name a few. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that these mineral-rich plants, which are beneficial to your health, would equally benefit your skin. (You can read more about the health benefits — and risks — of consuming seaweed here.)
In fact, seaweed is known to help hydrate, detoxify, tone, moisturize, repair, minimize fine lines, promote collagen production, boost radiance, help treat hyperpigmentation, and to relieve inflammation and aging in skin due to environmental aggressors like pollution.
And, if that’s not enough to convince you, seaweed also has amazing benefits for your hair. According to Ricardo Vila Nova, a resident trichologist (aka someone who specializes in hair) at Urban Retreat in Harrods, says, “The intake of seaweed helps to promote scalp hydration, which improves the condition of dry hair. Seaweed can also increase hair mineralization, which leads to thicker hair.” 5
Ok, so back to Ayala’s Sea Soak
Ayala’s Sea Soak consists of only two ingredients: sea salt and giant kelp from the Pacific Coast. This giant kelp, which is rich in anti-inflammatory alginate gel and polysaccharide fucoidan can easily grow up to 2 feet per day. 6
Fun fact: According to This is Seaweed, “Fucoidan (pronounced foo-koy-den) refers to a group of complex carbohydrates, called sulfated polysaccharides which are found in the cell walls. For the past decade, fucoidans have been studied extensively for their health benefits, ranging from helping the body recover from minor illnesses to protecting the body from major diseases.” This is part of the seaweed that helps to give it all it’s amazing skin benefits I mentioned above. 7 8
Ayala’s Sea Soak kelp is hand-harvested by a seaweed forager off the coast of Santa Cruz, California. Once harvested, it is then rinsed, cut into small pieces, and finally sun-dried in the California desert. FYI, each batch of seaweed is tested for purity and potency. Nobody wants to be soaking in a tub filled with lead-packed kelp, am I right?! So I really appreciate that Ayla Beauty has made this a priority.
The salt is also handmade by a local salt artisan in Big Sur (you can read more about the process here).
It doesn’t get any more eco-friendly and natural than this. Or does it?
One of the things I absolutely love about Ayala’s Sea Soak, other than the fact that it’s super nourishing for my skin and creates a relaxing tub experience, is that there is absolutely no plastic in the packaging (no microplastics in the salt for that matter either as the salt is filtered extensively).
The packaging is made out of recycled cardboard.
There is one cardboard cylinder that contains the coarse sea salt, a small paper bag that contains the dried seaweed, and a biodegradable cotton bag.
How does it work?
Once you’re ready for your in-home spa experience, pour the entire container of sea salt in the tub (while hot water is running of course). Fill the cotton bag with the entirety of the dried seaweed, and then place the seaweed-filled cotton bag into the hot salted water and let it “steep” for 15-20 min. And finally — and probably the best part — step into your hot tub, relax and simply let your body absorb all the amazing skin/health benefits the seawater+ seaweed combo have to offer.
A few tips:
- Be prepared to sweat — in a good way! I placed a cup of cool water next to my tub and hydrated throughout my soak every so often.
- Dara Kennedy, the founder of Ayala Beauty and of this awesome Sea Soak, recorded a super relaxing meditation to complement your soak. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend you give it a listen once you’re ready to relax.
- After my soak, I applied a bit of Pure Mana Hawaii’s body oil to my skin. It’s not needed but the combination of the seaweed and macadamia minerals (scent/nourishment) was a great way to end my sea soak experience.
Ocean scented bathroom
Once you let the kelp soak in the tub a few minutes, don’t be surprised if your bathroom starts to smell a tad bit like the ocean. I absolutely loved this and to be honest, it most likely contributed to my zen-like state.
Ayala donates 5% of all Sea Soak sales to Reef Check Foundation, a nonprofit located in California whose mission is to protect tropical coral reefs and California rocky reefs through education, research, and conservation.
The Wise Consumer
Moment of gratitude: This post has lovingly been edited by Susan Farley.