There is a clear difference between consumer brands and professional brands. Professional brands spend time and resources in product development as opposed to marketing.
"How can we grow the algae without having a negative impact on nature?" - Romuald Vallée, Codif Director and Co-Founder
Using science to unlock the powerful secrets in our waters, Phytomer has developed a series of proprietary ingredients found nowhere else. From the freeze-dried seawater concentrate Oligomer to weaving algae oil, Phytomer seeks answers in the sea. Phytomer employes a wide range of scientists to develop and test formulas - from chemical engineers and biologists to cosmetic chemists. Their dedication to science, sustainability, and enjoyment is a breath of fresh (ocean) air in the beauty industry.
In addition to traveling to the Phytomer laboratory in France, Bellini's recently also had an in-person training for all staff. One of the keystones of the Bellini's brand is continual education, so we frequently have in-depth, day-long trainings for each of our brands. This most recent Phytomer training was a two day event for our staff. Below is a brief summary of our aesthetician's favorite parts of this training:
Eliza: I love to be [an] esthetician, and I love to learn and grooving with my skills in this! I was lucky to be a part of Phytomer training. I always love getting to know about how each ingredient supports the skin at a molecular level. It is nice to know the complete process [of how Phytomer] brings ingredients from environment to the jars. I love to learn in depth about the products and ingredients to give me confidence to speak about it with customers.
The Sea: The Best Therapist
Bioth-Ecology: Sustainable Skincare With the Highest Level of Performance
"In 2006 Codif collected a 1-milligram fragment of a calcified macro algae, Jania Rubens. In 2022 the company passed the milestone of 1 tonne of dry matter produced since then."
Bioth-ecology is the idea of bio-engineering products in an ecologically sustainable way. The word comes from a portmanteau of biotechnology and ecology. This concept is a more advanced form of sustainability (aka green or blue beauty), which reverse engineers plant chemicals using a single specimen. In other words, all the lavender Phytomer uses comes from one single flower stalk. Just once. From there, the flower (or other plant) is taken through a laborious process to improve and extract the beneficial chemicals.
One of the most obvious, but incredibly important, steps they do to do this is by growing plants and algae identical to their natural environment. By replicating the ideal natural environment, plants and algae are able to grow into their most perfect forms. For example, Phyomer's symbolic algae, Jania Rubens, can be found floating through the ocean in little puff ball shapes -- although not often, as the algae is notoriously slow to grow. When this algae was taken to grow in its ideal natural environment, this algae was visibly different than the naturally-ocean grown algae. It should be noted that this is not at all like a GMO. GMOs modify natural organisms to produce a drug, for example, which is not what Phytomer/CODIF do. CODIF grows the original plant or algae in its ideal condition, nothing else. They are not attempting to create new plants, like corn was developed from maize, but instead are looking to understand and utilize the already naturally occurring DNA of plants.
Naturally occurring Jania versus Bioth-ecology developed
After this, the chemical is perfected via cultivating the molecule in the perfect conditions. From there, this perfected, distilled product is used as needed in a variety of formulas. All of Phytomer's products are able to further develop the efficacy of these natural plants without destroying or depleting the environment, while also perfecting application of the ingredient. Phytomer believes that bioth-ecology is the future, as it can "cultivate the living" without putting pressure on nature.
"To continue to dip into the planet’s reserves is no longer a sustainable solution." - Romuald Vallée, Codif Director and Co-Founder
Masters of marine biotechnology, Phytomer is the only company to use bio-photoreactor tanks to cultivate algae, which makes the algae cultivation consistent year round. This is where nature is at its ideal - each variable is 100% controlled from beginning to end:
- the tanks are cleaned using hot water only, so that no cleaning chemicals contaminate the products.
- In line with thalassotherapy centers, the ocean water is purified before ever being utilized. Read more about thalassotherapy in our blog post here.
- In addition to having formulas peer reviewed, Phytomer utilizes Ex Vivo testing on all Fitzpatrick types prior to release. Skin samples are retrieved from local hospitals, which allows Phytomer to perform tests on human skin without any harm to humans.
From macro seaweed to micro algae, Phytomer uses over 35 different marine ingredients to accomplish a variety of results, and supplies almost 80% of the world's seaweed cosmetics. You can read in depth about each ingredient here. Every step of Phytomer’s production embodies their respect for the ocean. For example, all algae is hand harvested, thus removing any possibility to contaminate the ocean with machine oil. Sustainability is just one way that Phytomer has earned worldwide recognition, their main claim to fame is the bioaffinity our skin has with seawater. Truly, Phytomer is passing along the benefits they have found to us. Watch this video to hear a brief explanation about Phytomer's passion for science.
All their efforts to preserve the natural environment has earned them the Ecovadis Gold Certificate for six consecutive years. At the heart of Phytomer is a sincere eco-responsible sentiment that has been maintained since their founding more than 50 years ago.
Wait, so does Phytomer grow its own algae in tanks, or in the ocean on ropes?
Yes! Phytomer does both methods of growing and cultivating. The strength of growing algae in biochemical reactors allows Phytomer to control each variable - from current strength and water temperature to day and night cycles - and is used for both growing current ingredients, as well as scientific research towards finding more effective methods of cultivation and development. In addition to macro algae and seaweeds, the species cultivated in the bio reactor include microalgae, which are only visible under a microscope. The tanks allow for a sealed, limited space for scientists to work with the microorganisms.
"Today, Codif Technologie Naturelle offers 49 active ingredients. Among them, 22% are from bioth-ecologies, 18% are from greenhouse or marine cultures and 18% are from virtuous harvests (certified organic)."
Phytomer grows algae in the ocean on ropes to contribute to the natural ecosystem. The ultimate goal for all ingredients is to collect a sample, purify it in the lab, and not touch nature for it again. By keeping algae in its natural environment, Phytomer contributes to the sustainability of ocean life that use algae and seaweed for shelter or food. The algae that grows on these ropes is the starting place for the algae that is developed in the ideal-lab conditions. Below is a video example of the bioreactors used to grow and develop different algae.
From one microgram, to one billion micograms - from having no research available, to becoming the #1 algae cosmeceuticals research and development lab - from sea to skin - all this is thanks to Phytomer and Codif.