Sometimes when we head out to surf we see these little green blobs floating in the water. We try to avoid them as much as possible because the majority of the time they feel like ocean-made pasta noodles or slimy ocean-mucus – pretty gross. These little green blobs and squiggles are oftentimes algae, organisms that produce the majority of the planet’s oxygen. And what if we told you the very green things you avoid when paddling out, are the next best friend to your hair post-surf?
Specifically, chlorella, a green alga of both terrestrial and aquatic habitats that frequently turns stagnant water an opaque green.
Convinced we can’t sell you on these little boogers? Read to find out.
What Is Chlorella?
Chlorella is a single-celled, green freshwater alga. There are over 30 different species, but two types, Chlorella Vulgaris and Chlorella Pyrenoidosa are most commonly used. It has a hard cell wall that can be difficult to digest, so it’s oftentimes consumed as a supplement that is either crushed or in whole tablets. When crushed, the powder can be mixed in drinks and consumed – looking and acting a lot like today’s most notorious tea, matcha.
Chlorella has a reputation for being nutrient-dense and containing a surplus of nutritional values including vitamin C and B12, iron, omega-3s, protein, and fiber, as well as other vitamins and minerals. These may sound like a load of fancy words to most, but understand that these vitamins and minerals are key benefactors in maintaining the health of your hair, skin, and the very organs that allow you to maintain your adventurous lifestyle.
If you’re familiar with the beauty world, you may have heard of another popular alga known as spirulina. Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae with strong antioxidant effects. Compared to spirulina, chlorella contains higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which provide proteins and nutrients to hair follicles in skin. It’s also higher in antioxidants.
Where Does It Come From?
Chlorella lives in freshwaters such as paddles, marshes, ponds, and lakes, and has a worldwide distribution. It is considered one of the first organisms on earth and has maintained its original form for over two billion years. These organisms are tiny plants – they measure only a half of human red blood cells, and come together in a large number to form algae. Chlorella grows through photosynthesis by using solar energy and carbon dioxide in freshwater.
While most chlorella is harvested in Japan and China, it’s very possible to grow chlorella on your own. However, it may be a bit of a difficult task because you’ll need to chlorella cultures from a reputable vendor, and purchase a gadget such as a CO2-generator.
Beneficial Inside and Out
Chlorella has a plethora of benefits, contributing to the health of your hair, and the rest of your body when ingested and used on your hair and skin.
Chlorella provides incredible benefits for your hair. To start, chlorella is a fish-free source of omega-3s that provide nutrients for hair follicles and the skin. Omega-3s aren’t naturally produced by our bodies so it’s important to ingest them whenever possible. Chlorella is also high in antioxidants such as chlorophyll, vitamin C, beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein – which maintain the collagen in the body or the connective tissues of hair follicles. It consists of a whopping 60 percent protein and contains all nine essential amino acids. Amino acids help moisturize dry cuticles. If you have dull or dry hair from a long day at the beach, then you may have to replenish your amino acids.
Not only does chlorella aid in hair growth and protection, but when ingested, can help treat your body. Chlorella has the awesome ability to bind with heavy metals, aiding in detoxing the body. Incredibly, research has shown that algae, including chlorella, can help to decrease the number of heavy metals in the brain, liver, and kidneys. It also reduces the amount of other harmful chemicals that we absorb from foods and the environment. One of the major ones is dioxins, a group of compounds that are found in food throughout the world, especially in dairy, meat, fish, and shellfish, although they are also found in plants, water, and even in the air – thus helping the body relieve itself from toxins.
In addition to toxin relief, chlorella can help ease the pain from our monthly aunt flow. Taking chlorella supplements may help relieve period pain. Chlorella is also known for lowering cholesterol levels because it contains niacin – an A B vitamin known to lower cholesterol – fiber, carotenoids, and as stated previously, loads of antioxidants.
Lastly, chlorella contains what are called branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs. These aminos help increase performance during exercise, building muscle, and even weight loss. They can even help fatigue and muscle soreness after exercise – so with a supplement of these, you’ll be catching waves left and right (at least, if the surf report is good).
Why Does Surf Soap Use It?
Now, while you may finally be convinced that chlorella is the next best thing for you, we advise you don’t go around trying to swim – or even consume – any stagnant water with chlorella in it. This may sound like sad news – trust me, if it satisfies my haircare woes I’d consider it too – but look no further for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: Surf Soap’s very own Muku Milk.
Muku Milk is weightless milk that provides shine, detangles hair, and heals stressed hair. Utilizing chlorella, Muku Milk assists in tissue regeneration and is packed with B vitamins, iron, carotenoids, and vitamin C. B vitamins help with hair growth because they play a key role in producing red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the scalp so that hair follicles can generate new hair. Iron helps boost circulation and carries oxygen to your hair's roots, which helps the hair grow faster and longer. Carotenoids help protect against dry, dull hair by encouraging the strands in your scalp to make an oily fluid called sebum that keeps hair from drying out. Vitamin C promotes hair health, reduces hair loss and improves hair growth.
In addition, ocean conservation is our biggest mission here at Surf Soap – aside from the optimum health of your hair and skin – and just like us, chlorella conserves the health of the ocean by fighting oxidative damage and stress. It's loaded with antioxidant compounds including vitamin C, beta carotene, lycopene, lutein, and chlorophyll, which can help minimize the harm done by free radicals.
So there you have it, those slimy green squiggles aren’t so bad after all.