“I always grew up with this understanding that the ocean is the source of healing,” said OSEA Co-Founder Jenefer Palmer over a Zoom chat from the beauty brand’s Malibu headquarters.
Jenefer is the brains and matriarch behind the independent family-owned OSEA brand, which in its 25 years, has developed from tupperware containers of handmade products by the demand of friends, family, and clients into a full-blown family empire. She’s created the ethically-sourced products from her own research like the famed Undaria Algae Body Oil that have landed place on the bathroom shelves of celebrities like Victoria Beckham and Lea Michele. Yet regardless of the Palmer family’s massive beauty industry success, their grassroots approach and familial heritage in holistic wellness instills a genuine trust within their brand and products that is unique in today’s beauty community.
“We all grew up seeding patchouli, literally we grew up with bathtubs full of seaweed around,” laughed Jenefer’s Daughter Co-Founder and CEO of OSEA s Melissa Palmer. The roots of OSEA first began at a retreat center on Washington’s Orcas Island. “It’s like where people would go and do meditation and juice cleanse, which was apparently very fringe in the 70s and 80s. We were always the weirdos who were into all the things that are cool now,” said Melissa.
During their time working and living at the retreat center, the Palmer family would eventually help Jenefer develop her products from a job as the retreat’s spa manager. “My mom focused on craniosacral therapy, shiatsu, and acupressure, all these different healing modalities inspired by my great-grandmother who was the first woman chiropractor in the US.”
“I always say any good story starts with your grandmother, right?” echoed Jenefer. “She had five children and my uncle got really ill. He felt that a chiropractor had eventually saved his life, so my grandmother’s response in her strong German accent was– “well the chiropractor healed him, then I need to become a chiropractor to heal”,” Jenefer said. After suffering an injury caused by pulled leg tendons, Jenefer’s grandmother had intuitive senses, and after a dream around how the ocean would heal her, she began wrapping her entire body in seaweed for several months and was soon miraculously healed. This idea became the seed of OSEA’s business model, passed down through generations like a family heirloom.
“My mom was given the job of the retreat center to build a spa, but she’d never been inside of one,” said Melissa. “She started looking at products to use in treatments and noticed a couple of things.” Whether a product was or , Jenefer soon realized that the products she was using weren’t products she’d use on her own body. “I did what I did all my life – read the ingredients,” said Jenefer. “I went to the library and got special books from the FDA and read about skincare ingredients. Some of these products had ingredients that were catalysts of skin irritations, and I just had this moment of what is going on here? Why are we using these products? We need to use products that are good for our skin, I felt like there had to be a better solution. OSEA chose me.”
Following in their great-grandmother’s healing footsteps, seaweed became the hero ingredient for OSEA’s product line. “For many of the products, our key ingredient is Undaria Algae, which is one of the worst invasive species in the world,” said Melissa. “It’s super nutrient dense, we love that we use it because it’s actually supportive of the environment that we’re removing it from.” There’s few unknown ingredients in OSEA products, their methods are simple, yet effective. Arguably their most popular product, the Undaria Algae Body Oil, is simply made by barrel soaking the seaweed in oil for three to six months. Elsewhere, their Gigartina Therapy Bath swaps the traditional epsom salts for an aromatic fizzy bath made from pure pulverized Gigartina seaweed.
These days, OSEA is still a family affair, but things have grown quite a bit since their days at the spa’s retreat. “My mom, sister, and brother and I all work in the business today. It is a constant practice of communication and love, I’m so grateful.” said Melissa. “It is like what Ram Dass said – “If you think that you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family” It’s honestly the best possible thing.”
Melissa has worked to propel the brand into the next generation working with its creative direction and online presence while Jenefer maintains her role as main product developer. “It’s been an evolution for all the generations of women in our family. My role has been growing the business which is really fun because I get to share everything that they’ve created on a broader scale,” said Melissa.
Their latest labor of love is OSEA’s first-ever Seabiotic Water Cream. For those unfamiliar with the style of moisturizer, a water cream is a water-based, lightweight moisturizer “Each product typically takes us two to four years to develop before they launch, so we launch very few new products,” said Melissa. The idea for the Seabiotic Water Cream came to Jenefer when most great ideas arise, in the shower. “I didn’t want to make a water cream because everyone else was making a water cream. That’s not how I roll, I’d rather appreciate someone’s creation,” said Jenefer. “I went to a three day science conference and there was someone talking about microbiomes. What I took away was how important a microbiome is. That’s when I realized I can do a probiotic face water cream that would actually help protect the skin’s barrier.”
The clean, vegan, and cruelty free formula combines a pre and probiotic, squalene, and of course, seaweed that combats skin exposure to blue light and pollution. The fragrance-free and ultra-light moisturizer also boasts locking in up to 72 hours of moisture without that heavy texture feeling on the face that some creams leave. “I wanted to have a seaweed base, but it’s also about the finish. In a sense, it could also be a primer for people who use foundation on top,” said Jenefer. In the heat of the close of summer, the lighter the moisturizer, the better.
“We really had a gap in our collection of moisturizers, we had the lightweight Atmosphere Protection Cream, the richer Advanced Protection Cream, then the Blemish Balm which is for oily and combination skin,” said Jenefer. “I wanted to create a universal product for sensitive skin.” This long-awaited release is a stepping stone for OSEA in creating a more comprehensive collection for all skin types. Not to mention, a move towards growing the ever-evolving family story and honest brand ethos behind the business. “We’ve stayed completely true to our philosophy and our ideals for these 25 years,” said Melissa. “To me, success would be continuing to do the same thing and expand with new and unique products, products that deliver results. And finally, to continue to innovate around sustainability, which to me is the most important thing.”
OSEA’s Seabiotic Water Cream, is now available on oseamalibu.com.
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createdAt:Thu, 26 Aug 2021 13:55:43 +0000