Thalassotherapy: DIY Seaweed Baths Will Beautify And Boost Your Metabolism

It's slimy and smelly, but super rich in vitamins and minerals. Did I mention cheap? It's really cheap.
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Olivia S.
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It's slimy and smelly, but super rich in vitamins and minerals. Did I mention cheap? It's really cheap.

I just had the most amazing few days of all time.

I think I visited the most beautiful spa in existence: Limewood, a British countryside haven. There were lavender meadows and rooftop yoga and a raw food bar. There was also a ridiculously good selection of (extravagantly priced) treatments that I couldn’t afford if I were not being taken as a massive treat but am desperate to recreate.

Luckily, I am devoted to home beauty investigation and I’m going to share a few of my favourites that I picked up.

I am a really big fan of body scrubs. I am thoroughly invested in maintaining a clear, soft and milky complexion over my whole body, so having someone else putting in the work for me is always a delight. I had a seaweed scrub and wrap which was completely amazing, and a long, long chat with my beauty therapist about how I can recreate it.

I was scrubbed to ultimate exfoliation with a dry seaweed and salt scrub. Then, the lovely Ellen dry-brushed me with Voya’s Seaweed Scrub to remove any dead skin and ensure that my body was completely prepared to receive seaweedy goodness. She then wrapped me up in big strips of Fucus (or "bladderwrack") seaweed, which she had soaked in warm water.

Olivia, meet fucus. 

Olivia, meet fucus. 

I eat a weird amount of kelp in my daily diet, because it naturally supplies vitamin B12, magnesium and iron – vitamins which I am often deficient in. Having too little B12 and iron in your diet results in fatigue and depression, because they both contribute towards helping to produce enough red blood cells and having too little magnesium results (in my body, anyway) in muscle cramps in my legs.

Particularly when I was actively bulimic, when my magnesium deficiency was at it’s most painful, I was in agony through my calves and thighs when I lay down. Seaweed and coconut water were the only things that kept me relapsing on mega-doses of opiate painkillers. However, even now that I am back on track, I still get bizarre cramping and making sure I get enough magnesium in my diet really helps with that.

As it is a source of iodine, it assists in the production of thyroid hormones which maintain healthy metabolism. Disclaimer: if you have a thyroid disorder or are on a thyroid medication, avoid this treatment, because it might put you out of balance. But for the rest of us, it can also be a metabolic boost. Win!

Now, wrapping oneself in gooey strips of seaweed seems pretty difficult, but there is another way to enjoy the benefits of kelpy goodness, and that is from seaweed baths. The cool thing about fucus is that it has pockets of gel inside, which give out super-active vitamin-goodness so, whilst the electrolytic action of the seaweed releases excess bodily fluid from congested cells and dissolves fatty waste (gently exfoliating), it then replaces them with minerals and vitamins. It rehydrates, helps skin elasticity and skin tone and also helps resolve acne and muscular pain.

All you have to do is buy some seaweed online. I like to make sure it is hand-harvested to ensure sustainability, and even when it is literally scooped out of the sea by the arms of Scottish people, it is still ridiculously cheap. I also like to ensure that it is raw and unprocessed because I don’t want to lose any of it’s slimy goodness (I recommend this company which harvests to order).

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Once you have your seaweed, just pile about five or six large strips into the bottom of your bathtub, and run your bath with water that is as hot as you can bear to lie in. The seaweed will expand and turn the water kind of browny and murky but then all you have to do is like there for a while--ideally up to 45 minutes--and get out.

After this, my skin tone is noticeably improved but I smell pretty gross. My therapist said to do it before I go to bed and then just light a scented candle and sleep on a towel (because you are pretty oily) to maximize the results. Then, you just take a long, hot shower or bath (without seaweed) the next morning and revel in your kelpy glow. Guys, it’s like The Little Mermaid in real life. How can you resist?

You can also use the seaweed twice. You just roll it up and wait for it to dry out, and then do it all again. Although it isn’t as effective the second time, it is still definitely worth doing and utterly economical. Although, you don’t want to do it more than once a week because it might throw your metabolism and vitamin balances off. I am finding this part kind of difficult because all I want to do is lie in seaweed baths now.

So: DIY thalassotherapy for bargain prices. Do you try and incorporate seaweed into your life already? What is the weirdest or most revelatory beauty treatment you’ve ever had at a spa, or DIY-ed?