Nicole Wood chats to Annabelle Hill, the brains behind the marine-based skincare business – Sea The Love…
Recently launched in March 2023, Sea the Love is a new sustainable skincare brand combining the healing power of the sea with skin-loving ingredients to create dreamy formulas our skin will thank us for.
Inspired by her hometown of Whitley Bay, her love of being by the sea and how the ocean helped her in a skin crisis of her own, Annabelle Hill came up with the idea to create a vegan-friendly skincare range using the sea’s natural ingredients to soothe, nourish and rejuvenate the skin.
“I graduated from Northumbria University in November 2021 with a marketing degree, but the initial idea was actually born several years before that. When I was in sixth form, for one of our projects, we were given a fake budget and had to produce a business plan.
“I’ve always been into skincare and I’ve lived in Whitley Bay my whole life and have always been obsessed with the sea, and this is where the initial idea was born,” Annabelle begins.
“After finishing the project, I always thought it was a pretty cool idea, but I never really thought it was going to become something. My dad used to always say ‘we should totally do this one day’ and I’d agree, but nothing ever came of it.
“The whole time I was at university, I kept getting this nagging thought in the back of my mind reminding me of the idea and every now and then I’d see opportunities come up and I’d always think ‘oh I should apply for that’ and I’d pull the original plan out and start adding to it, but never properly pursued it.
“Then after graduation, I got Covid so there was no going out and celebrating in the gorgeous weather for me. Spending the whole week isolating, I decided to work on the business plan again because I had nothing else to do,” she explains.
“It wasn’t until I got a job offer from my work placement, that I actually decided to take the plunge. For some reason I just didn’t want to take the job. It was so silly because of course after graduating you should take a job that’s offered to you, but something in my mind just wouldn’t let me
and I think it’s because deep down, I knew starting this business was always what I wanted to do.
“So I did it and registered the business in November 2021 and the rest is history,” she adds.
The Start Of Sea The Love
After noticing the benefits the sea was having on her own skin, Annabelle decided to carry out some research on what ingredients were working wonders for her.
“I feel like I’ve always felt a connection with the sea. It’s always on my doorstep and I’ve always loved being down by the waves. I think it’s common knowledge that the sea is good for our skin, we’re just not quite sure why.
“But for me personally, whenever I go on holiday, I always notice that my skin just looks and feels amazing. I remember being in Greece when I was around 13-years-old and I had the whole prepubescent, skin not 100 percent type of look going on.
“I didn’t get acne on my face, but I suffered really badly with it on my arms and my back. I was so insecure about it. This week away in Greece, I spent the majority of my time in the sea, scrubbing my arms down and it cleared up so much.
“That was my first experience when I thought ‘whoa, the sea has really helped my skin’ and I think that’s where the inspiration behind the products came from.”
“A day cream, night cream, cleanser and serum are the four products which make up this exciting new range, all of which are infused with two main marine-based actives including organic seawater extract that’s been clinically proven to improve the health of the skin, as well as some of our holy grail skincare heroes: hyaluronic acid and niacinamide.
Sea The Love And Sustainability
“Creating sustainable vegan-friendly products was a big thing for me when I was searching for someone to make the products. I wanted to avoid harsh chemical and synthetic ingredients such as parabens, sulfates and silicones and harnessed as many natural ingredients as possible,” she explains.
“In every product there’s seawater extract containing marine magnesium and minerals, clinically proven to enhance skin health from a cellular, molecular, and genetic perspective. Even better, it is certified as organic and sustainably sourced!
“It actually comes from the coast of Port Oriel only metres from the sea shore in the picturesque village of Clogherhead seven miles east of Drogheda, County Louth, Ireland.
“The only deep sea magnesium and mineral extract to be granted protected designation of origin (PDO) by the EU commission since the foundation of the EU.
“The extraction process is such a cool story as it comes from a designated protection site. So, this is the key ingredient that’s is in all products and then I try to pick another sea-based ingredient to target more specific skin needs.
“For example, in the night cream we have green microalgae which increases cellular turnover double times. The whole idea is that when it’s used at night time, when the skin is repairing itself; when they’ve done testing on this ingredient, what you would normally see after eight hours sleep, this does it in four hours.
“So, it actually accelerates skin renewal and repair during sleep thanks to night-healing enzymes that boost DNA repair. It also has antioxidant properties which can increase firmness, boosts radiance, and works to reduce wrinkles,” she adds.
A Success Story
Despite being a new brand in quite a crowded market, Sea the Love is already proving to be a success with high rating reviews flowing in, commenting on how much the products have helped with different skin concerns, as well as leaving a fresh, nourished and radiant complexion.
“The day cream has sea fennel which works to boost radiance, perfect for during the day to create a glowy look. The Beachy Clean Melting Cleanser has winged kelp, grapeseed and blueberry oil which are really great for hydration.
“And our newly launched Seaweed Super Serum combines two unique red seaweeds, niacinamide, sodium hyaluronate, marine magnesium and minerals, all of which are super hydrating,” Annabelle explains.
“When it came to the scent, deciding whether or not to have one was a difficult decision. The cleanser, night and day cream all have a very clean, fresh, spa-like scent, using essential oils only and no synthetic fragrances. Whereas the serum is completely fragrance free.
“So, I suppose it’s the best of both. I’m happy with the decision and have had lots of great feedback which is amazing,” she says.
To Annabelle, Sea the Love is more than just a skincare business. It’s a brand she’s proud of, a product created to help others which combines her skill set, her dream and her passion. When putting the business plan into action, one thing which had to remain in every step of the process was that she would do no harm to the ocean.
The Sea In Sea The Love
The sea is a big love of Annabelle’s which is why it was extremely important to do everything in her power to make helping our marine life a staple part of the business.
“Protecting our oceans is a huge thing for me. I’ve signed up to something called Work for Good and what they do is help smaller businesses connect with charities.
“The Marine Conservation Society was the perfect partnership for the brand, and 50 pence from every sale will go to the charity and over time I would definitely like to increase the donation amount, but as a startup it was the most feasible amount. I’d love to work with other charities too,” she tells me.
As well as coming with heaps of benefits for the skin, Sea the Love stands out from the crowd for its mantra, something Annbelle came up with to promote self love, self care and self acceptance. In a society ruled by social media, filtered photos and unrealistic beauty standards, it’s a breath of fresh air to meet a young woman in business doing her part to make everyone feel beautiful, confident and valid regardless of what society tells us.
“For me, especially during Covid because we all had more time on our hands, I really enjoyed taking time with my skincare. I would sit down and actually think about what I was doing, spending time with the products and the way I would apply them and I started to notice how much more comfortable I was becoming with my appearance.
Behind The Stereotype
“I think in today’s society, there’s so much pressure from the likes of social media to be and look a certain way. I have two younger sisters and seeing them grow up in this social media dominated world is awful.
“I know what insecurities I had at their age and I don’t want them to feel that way, especially with the added online pressures. That’s why we came up with the mantra of ‘hear the love, feel the love, see the love’.
“You hear the love by looking at yourself in the mirror and saying ‘I love you, you are beautiful, you are amazing’, you feel the love by applying the product and take your time doing so, you don’t just slap it on, you feel that love you’re giving to your skin.
“And then finally, you see the love because by hearing it and feeling it, you’ll see it,” Annabelle says with a smile beaming across her face.
Sea the Love is certainly making waves in the beauty industry already and we can most definitely see why. With tons of exciting ideas in the pipeline, we can’t wait to see what’s next from this inspiring entrepreneur.