Poudre de mousse irlandaise (Chondrus crispus)
A gentle, soothing cleanser, Irish moss powder rehydrates in water to leave the skin and hair feeling soft and smooth. High in sulphur, it is thought to help treat acne and dandruff.
Despite its mossy name, Chondrus crispus is a bushy, red seaweed found on the Atlantic coast of Europe. People tend to be disgusted by seaweed floating in the sea, slime-ly touching bathers' ankles by surprise, but most of it is actually very beneficial for the skin and hair, like the Irish moss. Its mucilage (the gel produced by the plant) is anti-fungal and nourishing and can be extracted to create carrageenan powder, a popular thickening agent.
Within a product formula, Irish moss mucilage acts as an emulsifier, binding materials such as water and oil together. Also, powdered materials are great for use in self-preserving products as the drier a formula is, the fewer bacteria can grow, reducing the need for synthetic preservatives.
Lush buy this moss in powder or dried flakes. The seaweeds are hand-harvested at low tide, on the coast of Brittany, France, where they grow on the foreshore. After being picked and sun-dried, they are sent to a nearby factory for final quality check, cleaning and possibly grinding.