Algae Themed Hair Masks

Algae Themed Hair Masks

Botanicals make fabulous hair masks if you know how to use them the right way. This week our focus is specifically on the nutrient-rich algaes, which are highly beneficial to both hair and skin.

When you think of algae, you may think of chlorella, the green superfood powder, or Irish sea moss, which has gained popularity in the natural hair community. Both of these algaes are incredibly rich in nutrients and are highly conditioning.

Other algaes include Atlantic kelp, which is also nutrient dense and classed as a brown algae, as well as Bladderwrack kelp, another brown algae.

Irish moss and the kelps can all be rehydrated and blended to form a gel. These gels make for wonderful conditioning hair masks, which will leave your hair feeling super soft and moisturised.

You can also combine these gels with other botanicals. I’ve tried with chlorella powder before with good results. Be warned, it is extremely green and you will have green hair while the mask is in! Don’t worry though, it rinses out easily and won’t stain.


Similar to last week's Balancing Scalp Gel, these algae-based hair gels are hydrating and conditioning, but we're going to use them as a single-use conditioning hair mask rather than a pre-poo conditioner.


Making Up An Algae Gel

To make up a gel using any of the algaes (except chlorella powder), follow these steps:

Make up a gel by soaking Irish moss/kelp in enough water to cover it for a few hours or overnight. Once rehydrated, blend the mixture to form a gel, then strain it through some folded cheesecloth to remove all the ‘bits’, leaving behind a smooth gel.

You may find it has a slight scent of the ocean but I don’t mind it too much.

Regarding ratios of algae to water, there isn’t a set ratio. I usually use about half a cup of dried algae and enough water to cover the algae in a beaker. If you use more water it will be a more runny gel. If you want to make a bigger batch then just increase the quantities of both algae and water.

Once you have your gel you can add other water based ingredients to it if you like. I enjoy adding a hydrolyzed protein, some honey and even something like hyaluronic acid is great for the hair and scalp. You could also try apple cider vinegar.

Algae Hair Mask

1/2 cup Irish sea moss, kelp, or a blend of both (approx. 25g) 

At least enough water to cover the algae; you may want to do a little more

Choice of water based actives and/or ingredients; add as many as you like:

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon buttermilk powder

1 teaspoon hydrolyzed protein (2g)

1 tablespoon hyaluronic acid

1 teaspoon niacinamide (1.6g)

1/4 teaspoon caffeine powder (0.3g)

1/2 teaspoon chlorella




spatula spoon

stick blender


Hydrate the algae for a few hours or overnight, blend to form a gel, then strain through a muslin cloth to remove all the bits. You should be left with a smooth gel.

You can now blend in any water based actives or ingredients you like.

To use the hair mask, apply to damp hair and massage in from roots to tip. Allow to sit for an hour with your hair wrapped in a towel, then rinse out.


You may double or treble the recipe as needed if you have lots of hair or want to split it between two or more people.



About the author:

Juliette van der Meer

BSc, BScH, Adv Dip Cosmetic Science

Cosmetic scientist