By Carson Ross

A Discussion with Jenefer Palmer of OSEA Malibu

One of the best parts about working in natural cosmetics is getting to know the different creative ways that people utilize common plants and materials, and seeing the great work that other companies are doing to address our dependency on toxic substances and the industry’s environmental footprint.

Our superstar ingredient is obviously moringa, but at OSEA Malibu, they rely on seaweed to make their products naturally vitamin and nutrient rich. I spoke to Nina Munk, who agreed to do an interview with OSEA’s founder, Jenefer Palmer for us. Below are some insights on the importance of using natural products, and some of her personal skincare tips!

I met Jenefer Palmer (OSEA Founder) in 2006 through her daughter and dear friend, Melissa Palmer (OSEA CEO) while I was finishing up my doctorate in French literature at UCLA. We immediately bonded over a mutual love for rare botanicals, the healing arts and foraging for seaweed on the Malibu and Pacific Northwest coasts. I joined the OSEA family a few years later and am so grateful to have Jenefer as a master mentor in all things skin care, wellness and the art of being concise. - Nina Munk


Nina: What inspired you to start OSEA Malibu?

Jenefer: I’ve always been drawn to the ocean. I come from a long line of women connected to the sea. My grandmother, Elsa Reuschle, one of the first female chiropractors in the U.S., swam daily in the frigid Long Island Sound (outside of NYC) until her mid-nineties. Through her mentorship, I learned about the full spectrum of vitamins, minerals and trace elements present in seaweed and the incredible healing benefits they have on the skin.

In the late 80’s, as a spa director in southern California, it was nearly impossible to find skin care for our clients that wasn’t loaded with toxic synthetic chemicals. OSEA was born in 1996 from my desire to create natural luxury seaweed-based skin care. Products that not only were free of synthetic ingredients, but actually delivered powerful, age-defying results.  As my grandmother taught me and chemistry confirmed, seaweed is a nutrient-dense superfood. Seaweed, the star ingredient in OSEA products, contains powerful bioavailable minerals and nutrients that are readily absorbed and utilized by the skin.

Nina: What is your skincare routine?

Jenefer: Twice daily, I wash my face with OSEA Ocean Cleansing Milk, which is incredibly soothing and hydrating. I follow with Vitamin Sea Serum, Essential Hydrating Oil and Advanced Protection Cream. Since I live in Malibu, I wear sun protective clothing and a wide brimmed hat whenever I’m outside. In the evening, I’ve been trying to spend more time in my cedar sauna, sweating out the toxins (and the news) of the day and meditating. Other nights, I soak in my outdoor bathtub. I add a big scoop of seaweed powder to the bath, then throw in some pieces of wild Gigartina algae for a mineralizing, aromatic experience. I get some of my best ideas while sitting in that tub, looking out over the bluffs of Zuma Beach. And on a clear night, there is no better place for stargazing.

Nina: Tell us a bit about OSEA’s products and mission.

Jenefer: OSEA products represent a synergy between organic seaweed, beautiful botanicals and pure essential oils. We use only plant-based, vegan ingredients. Our mission has always been to create powerful anti-aging solutions and effective acne treatments without the use of toxic synthetic chemicals.

Nina: What are some of the pressing environmental challenges that you seek to address at OSEA? 

Jenefer: It’s always been crucial for me to leave the smallest carbon footprint possible while at the same time maintaining a business that supports my family. At OSEA, most of our products are packaged in glass–despite the additional cost. Our landfills and oceans are filled with plastic, which basically never biodegrades. Glass is not only endlessly recyclable, but is also impermeable, ensuring the purity of our products. We have made it 20 years in the business without ever packaging our products in individual boxes. This massively cuts down on waste. Finally, we are committed to using only plant-based, vegan ingredients in our products as this is the most eco-friendly option, not to mention that we believe in the importance of animal rights!

NIna: What do you love most about your job?

Jenefer: I love working with my family and I love our amazing team. I’m obsessed with researching the latest plant-based ingredients and formulating new products. Stay tuned!